If you want to attract Bees, Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden, do you risk planting perhaps the best pollinator attractant among native plants? That would be red Bee Balm.
This red- or purple-flowering mint plant is beautiful and its leaves are what is used to brew Oswego Tea. (That home-grown tea became the tea of choice for American colonists after they pitched the highly-taxed English tea into the harbor at the Boston Tea Party.) The problem with Bee Balm is that it needs strenuous policing -- its robust root system can grow quickly and smother other plants.
If you're willing to tame Bee Balm's urge to take over your garden, however, you can't go wrong with using that plant to attract beautiful pollinators. That's what Barbara has done with her garden's isolated patch of Bee Balm, pictured in Image 2, above.
This month, in addition to Bumble Bees, we've had Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies (Image 3) and Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Images 4 and 5) there.
Bee Balm seems to be worth the effort. (Brooklin, Maine)
1. Nikon D-810; Nikkor 500mm, f/4 VR lens with 1.7 Nikkor T/C producing 850 mm; f/6.7; 1/3200 sec.; ISO 1000.
2. Nikon D-810; Nikkor 17-55mm, f/2.8 zoom lens; f/16; 1/80 sec.; ISO 250.
3. Nikon D-180; Nikkor 200-400mm, f/4 zoom lens;f/16; 1/100 sec.; ISO 320.
4. Nikon D-810; Nikkor 500mm, f/4 VR lens with 1.7 Nikkor T/C producing 850 mm; f/6.7; 1/3200 sec.; ISO 320.
5. Nikon D-810; Nikkor 500mm, f/4 VR lens with 1.7 Nikkor T/C producing 850 mm; f/6.7; 1/3200 sec.; ISO 1000.