Flower? Pineapple? Princess.

My glorious bee balm: part flower, part pineaapple, part "specimen."

I don’t remember it multiplying in height.  But one day last summer, I found myself looking eye-to-eye with one of the newest additions to my flower garden, my bee balm specimen.  I call it a “specimen” because no horticulture magazine, no mail-order catalog, no greenhouse would ever believe a bee balm plant would outgrow it’s advertised 36″ height description into a stand of miniature balm trees eye level with its own gardner.

This was quite a specimen.  Tall and strong.  I couldn’t help but applaud myself for finding what must have been a most perfectly suitable growing place in my garden in which to plant this bee balm root.   And that’s exactly what it started out as just the summer before:  a meager, spindly root, shipped not-so-carefully in purple gardening fabric, cardboard and bubble wrap.   It was my mail-order experiment from a faraway, foreign greenhouse land.

My, oh my, how my little “Raspberry Wine” monarda had grown from such humble beginnings!  From its strong, thick, early spring shoots I cut beautiful greens to complement jars filled with spring’s first purple iris.  A little later, its tall green stems and spicy-scented, sworded leaves joined orange coneflowers and green-centered rudbeckias.  But would anything more ever come of my stand of bee balm trees?

A floral firework of radical realms

I was worried that the seed catalog must have hastily mislabeled this giant.  Would this colossal plant be content with just its greenery, refusing to bloom due to its steroid-seemingly induced growth spurt?

Then one day, it rose above my head, a cluster of purplish-green leaves squeezed upward with a glorious spray of hot pink shooting from the top of the bunch like a fuzzy, pollen-encrusted headdress upon a garden princess.  A floral firework of radical realms.  It was glorious in its absolute uniqueness.  I had never seen its likeness, mostly just leaves, but bright tinted leaves topped with a crown that was part flower, part pineapple, part “specimen.”

If bee balm had a facebook page, at that very moment I became a fan and announced it to the world by hitting the “like” button.


7 thoughts on “Flower? Pineapple? Princess.

    • Amazing, isn’t it?! We had a very wet spring last year, so more than my choice of planting location, I should probably attribute it’s giant stature also to the great moisture we were blessed with! I’m a forever fan now! Thanks for reading!

  1. KT I’m glad to see you share the same enthusiasm I do for this plant. I have an older one I do not remember the name, I got it many years ago from my Mom’s original plant. She has Alzheimer’s now and no longer remembers the names of plants. Mine grows as tall, if not taller then me also. I purchased a new species last summer, it is a pale lavender color – can’t wait to see what it does this year. I have at least a million photos I’ve taken,of the bees, butterfly,hummers, and such that share our love. Best, Kim

    • Yes, the bees and hummingbirds they attract are so fun! Now if only my kitties would stop harassing them! My one fear, with its gigantic size last year, was that it may start to take over my garden 😦 Have you had any problems containing it? Can’t wait to hear about your new lavender version!

      • I’m a sloppy gardener and I don’t worry too much about roaming plants, I just embrace their determination. Now, having said that I might feel differently next week!

  2. Say could that unbelievable growth be due to that wonderful concrete curb that some really nice person helped you construct last year? I want one of those for my yard!

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