Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bee Balm, Beech, and Berries

Monday I ventured out to pop some things into the mailbox, when I was sidetracked by the black raspberries growing along the driveway (like the ones you see in the June solstice post). I had collected a handful when I realized that the awesome rain we’ve been having had ripened more than a mere sprinkling of berries; after running all the way back to the cottage for some bowls, I returned to the driveway and began picking.

As I made my way in around the gardens of the mainhouse, I found many amazing things in bloom. There are several of the Japanese snowbells growing near the playhouse, and I realized that someone must have brought a transplant to my cottage years ago. I also found many surprises in the brush beneath the trees as I berry-picked my way through the gardens. Flowers from many previous generations are still raising a hand here and there among the wild brush and from underneath the trees.

Nothing could have prepared me, however, for the righteous show of red that the bee balm flowers possess. There I was, minding my own business, picking and wandering, when these beautiful red flowers practically jumped out from under the beech tree. After staring breathless for a moment, I remembered my camera and brought some images back to share with you. This is the first time I’ve ever seen bee balm; once they’re done flowering, you can bet I’ll be over with a shovel and a will to transplant!

As I turned around to survey the beech tree, I saw that her fine leaves have matured from their pale green youth into a deep leathery green. You can see how this wonderful rain makes the leaves glisten. I’m still trying to get used to 80-degree weather with rain, but it makes for some wonderful gardening! I managed to get a healthy three or four cups of those tiny berries, and I have the half-eaten pie to prove it!


  1. Oh, I *love* black raspberries!

    You're reminding me of some delightful childhood memories - running into the wood across the street and picking any and every berry I could find!


  2. Even with the hot weather we had this week, you are ahead of us back here in western WA. Last year I received some bee balm starts from a neighbor. They're growing tall and I hope they'll bloom this year. Not sure if I've seen one in person either.

  3. Howdy FrankenGirl... you must be the third person to mention to me how picking black raspberries brought back good childhood memories. I admit I really just got lost in my own little world, hunting along for berries. I should do it more often!

    Greetings Petunia's Gardener! I do not envy you that hot weather - woof! I'm an overcast-rain-with-periods-of-heavy-showers kinda girl! I hope we get to see your bee balm when it blooms; a friend of mine just wrote me to say that she used to have some in purple growing with the reds in her garden! You are seriously in for some fun - these flowers are just 100% magic.

  4. What a perfect color red (almost with a hint of blue) that flower has.

    Just in time for the 4th of July weekend.

    Have a good one.

  5. Hey Jade;

    Dad and I went camping last week, on Rainy Lake. The blueberries are early this summer and I ran into "Saskatoons" for the first time in a while (that may be a regional berry name).

    Ran into an article that you may be interested in: unusual geology in UK and associated flora.


  6. Thanks Barbara, I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

    Eric, thanks for the article link, and for the other links at Brainripples! As for the berries, I've heard the word "Saskatoons", but I don't think I ever realized that they were berries! I'm missing the wild huckleberries of Western Washington. Those and the blackberries are both great staples of late summer back there.

    As for Rainy Lake - that sounds like my kind of place! :)

  7. Wow - I just checked out that page, that IS a cool article! Thanks again!

  8. isn't bee balm adorable? i never grew it, but had some strange mystery purple flower that looked like thistle (but no pricklers) which my mom in law swears it was bee balm, but i don't think it was. anyway, it invaded my entire land and so i was forced to dig it all up and created my herb/tomato garden.
    great pictures.

  9. Greetings Rachelle! Indeed, I've fallen in love with bee balm. According to a friend of mine bee balm also comes in a deep purple color, so your mother-in-law may have been correct!

    I would love to have my space invaded by bee balm! Although, I too may have conceded some sacrifice to may way for herbs and tomatoes ;)

  10. another lovely post... thank you.

  11. It is I who thank you - I'm glad you're enjoying Arboreality!


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