Sneak around to the far end of the Gardens to find the bright purple bursts Monarda, better known as bee balm! This striking perennial is in full bloom with its firework-shaped flower clusters and showy purple bracts. The flowers of this plant attract hummingbirds and pollinating insects and are great if you are interested in seeing butterflies in the Gardens!
As part of the mint family, the leaves of bee balm carry a spicy, pungent aroma and can be crushed to produce a fragrant essential oil. Color for your eyes and fragrance for your nose!
There are many cultivars of Monarda blooming throughout the Gardens right now and my favorite is the deep scarlet Monarda didyma, ‘AChall’ (Grand Marshall Bee Balm) found along the tram path past the Thai Bridge crossing.
The next time you visit Olbrich be sure to keep your eye out for our bursting bee balm!