Growing Bee Balm

I found Bee Balm (also known as Bergamot) in a garden nursery in a section of plants labeled “adored by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.” I liked the color of this variety, and bees and butterflies are most attracted to blue and purple flowers.

I was interested in this fact because we are in the midst of a honey bee crisis – colonies are collapsing everywhere. The next time you are in the produce section of the grocery store, consider this: agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees. Often bees are shipped into areas to pollinate crops. If we don’t take an interest in what is happening to bees, we may soon see empty produce bins and shelves. You must also consider all the plant life that sustains the animals we eat as well (e.g., cows, sheep, pigs). Bees are essential to our survival!

You will not be disappointed by the show of wildlife attracted to Bee Balm.

If you’re a gardener, you should add this perennial to a sunny space in your yard. If you live in a hot climate like I do, this plant is ideal. The only negative characteristic of Bee Balm is that it is a “spreader” like mint, so you’ll have to periodically extract portions from the growing area or it will overtake everything.

I enjoy the blooms in the spring and fall.

Bee Balm like other herbs can be used to make a tea or added to other food to enhance flavor.

  • For tea: Place a tablespoon of fresh or one teaspoon of dried Bee Balm leaves and/or flowers in a tea strainer and pour one cup of boiling water over it. Allow it to steep for ten minutes. Remove tea strainer. Sweeten as you like.
  • Chop the leaves and flowers finely and add to fruit salads for extra flavor.

Other posts which discuss bees:

Groundhog Day 2011 – Early Spring Prognosticated

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPCrp7qW0SY]

Despite the prediction, cold, blizzard-like days call for curling up under the covers and watching a good movie or two. Today is perfect for one of my favorite comedies…yes, Groundhog Day!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMtWAcVy6-w]

Lunar Eclipse December 2010

I’m really interested in this astronomical event, as it is very rare. The last time a lunar eclipse happened on the day of a solstice (first day of winter for the Northern Hemisphere) was 372 years ago, in 1638.

The lunar eclipse will be visible from 1:33 to 5:01 a.m. ET Tuesday, with the total eclipse starting at about 2:41 a.m., according to NASA. (source: CNN)

It’s absolutely beautiful outside this evening. I went for a walk and took a few pictures. The sky is amazingly clear. Sadly, not all of my pictures are fit to show, but I did capture a couple of interesting pre-eclipse shots. I hope I’ll be able to snap an image or two of the eclipse. I get pretty tired after 11:00 pm, so I’m not promising anything!

Pre-lunar eclipse December 2010
This was taken at an elementary school nearby. I have always wanted to take this shot.
Moon before eclipse 2010
Moon viewed through a tree’s branches.

Well, I actually did it. I stayed up and watched the lunar eclipse. Here are the images that are presentable. I took a zillion. I wasn’t sure how to shoot this event. Anyhow…hopefully, you’ll see the change in the moon’s appearance. I’m glad my neighbors could not see me. They already know I have multiple cats and if they saw me taking pictures of a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice…well, they might just think I’m a little spooky.

Eclipse of the moon 2010
The shadow of the earth is just beginning to cover the moon.
2010 lunar eclipse
The shadow of the earth has progressed further over the surface of the moon.
lunar eclipse
The moon has almost completely vanished in the shadow.

Here is a time lapse video of the event. Awesome!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhZWIgUUPZ8]