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Lemon Balm Bounty

It’s May, so of course the garden is more green and lush everyday. No doubt it’s relishing the cooler than average temperatures even if its gardener is not. Typical highs for this time of year are around 77°, but this weekend was close to 10° lower than that.

We’ve had a skink family living in the stone wall. They come out and sun themselves occasionally. Their metallic blue stripes seem, I don’t know, magical? Miraculous? At any rate, something worth marveling.

Bluebirds are in the bluebird box. Yesterday they would fly from the box to the car mirror and peck at themselves. Are they attempting to establish territory with rival birds? Guess what they left on the car.

And, hummingbirds are back zipping from flower to tree and back to flower. It’s busy (and buzzy) out there. Still no mosquitoes, though, thank heaven.

Some of the plants currently blooming here are eastern columbine, which is going to seed now but still has a few blooms; bigroot geranium, whose color and fruit shape are eye-catching even from a distance; Indian pink, except that deer got most of the buds again this year; and wild watermelon sage, which the hummingbirds adore. Oh, also the oakleaf hydrangeas are just starting into bloom–big white panicles topping out above the Raulston allspice, which is still blooming as well.

Foliage is more notable now with most of the spring ephemerals gone. Jelena witch hazels are fully leafed out. They look like frilly parasols arching over the path.

A growing favorite of mine (npi) is fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), whose leaves are soft and fuzzy and slightly fragrant. It has a very dry spot in my shady garden but is doing well so far. Propagation is in its future. I would love to have many more of these.

Herbs are hard to keep up with in May. Elderberry has sent up new shoots, made several new babies, and now has blooms. Marjoram is spreading a little too much and is about to bloom. Lemon thyme has tiny pink flowers  atop its varigated leaves and looks more confident than ever before. I think it’s because I put it in a concrete bowl. It drains well and can drape over the edge of the bowl, which it loves to do. That way it avoids the moisture of the soil on its leaves. Maybe it gets some lime from the concrete, too.

But the plant I’m really enjoying, even if it might make a few of you look askance if you saw it, is my lemon balm. It’s everywhere now and I’m pulling it every day to keep it in check. But it smells so good and it’s also very delicious! I make tea with it most afternoons. It calms and soothes me, and seems to help me focus–all big wins for me.

What’s going on in your garden this week?

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