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This Month's Feature


Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), not to be confused with bee balm (genus Monarda), is a perennial herb in the mint family (Lamiaceae), native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm requires full sun, average soil, and looks best with watering when dry.  It grows to 2-4 feet tall. The leaves have a gentle lemon scent, related to mint. During summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear. These attract bees, thus the genus name Melissa (Greek for "honey bee").

Lemon balm is often used as a flavoring in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as spearmint. It is also frequently paired with fruit dishes or candies. It can be used in fish dishes and even in small amounts in salads and pasta dishes.

Lemon balm is sometimes used to make a lemony herbal tea. The leaves have also traditionally had uses in a number of herbal remedies.


Past Featured Plants



(Borago officinalis)

 A decorative, vigorous herb, borage is crowned by blue, star shaped flowers which have distinctive black anthers in the center.  The entire plant, including flower buds, is covered with stiff hairs which give the plant a prickly feel.  The plant is an excellent bee herb.  The plant  history in traditional herbal cosmetics and medicine. It was once thought to bring courage, but is now used by most gardeners only as an ornamental.  Borage has a strong cucumber like flavor and can be chopped and used like celery both raw and cooked dishes.  The plant is an annual which is easy to grow from seeds and readily naturalizes in a garden.

Archive of Prior Features


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