Eastern Black Swallowtails love Bee Balm Wildflower. They hover over this cluster of lipstick-red tubular flowers, wings beating furiously. They are insert their double-tubed proboscises down into each flower, and sip on the carbohydrate-rich nectar.
Ruby throated hummingbirds also favor these beautiful blooms. There’s a particular spot on the Nichol road trail at Raccoon Creek State Park with a patch of these perennials close to a small running stream. There’s heavy traffic flying around these flowers, with butterflies and birds frantically doing the helicopter thing to sip the sweet nectar cache.
Bee Balm Wildflower has been a cultivar for wetland species in my home garden for many years. Once you learn which spot they prefer (moist, full sun) they will reward the gardener with years of fantastic color. They do look less becoming after your blooms have gone, usually becoming surfaced with a silvery, dusty patina. At this stage I cut them back. Garden cultivars can enjoy ruby throated hummingbirds every hour on the hour, from 8 A.M. to dusk!
With Bee balm, Prairie fire, pentestomens, purple and black whatchamacallits, it’s just too much fun sitting in my garden in the morning, watching the air show that unfolds.
I love Bee balm (Monarda Didyma), and judging from the fliers noted above, I’m in good company.
- Crimson Bee Balm – Monarda Didyma (wildflowergardener.wordpress.com)
- Muse: Bee Balm. Hummingbird Tested and Approved. (themarketinglens.wordpress.com)
- A hummingbird feeder without ants (outdoorlivingne.com)
- Thursday, July 11th – A sea of color (barefootinbrookwood.wordpress.com)