Blooming today in the Herb Garden: The Beebalm (Monarda didyma) is showing a stunning red flower that looks just like fireworks, so hopefully it was blossoming for the 4th of July. Even if it didnt have the most gorgeous flowers, it would be worth growing for the smell alone. Crush a few leaves in your fingers the next time you are in the garden and enjoy the rose-like scent. Beebalm is a perennial native of North America and was used by the Indians to brew an enjoyable tea and as medicine.
The Anise Hyssop is starting to blossom with lavender flowers. This is another plant with a wonderful fragrance. As you could guess, it smells like anise and tastes like a sweet black jelly bean. Add some to your iced tea for a nice change. Common names for plants are often misleading, and this is why I add the botanical name when writing about plants. It is neither a hyssop or an anise plant. Its botanical name is Agastache foeniculum. It is a member of the huge mint family (check for the square stem) and is native to northern North America.
The oregano (Origanum) is also blossoming with tiny while flowers. Not particularly showy, but they have an interesting structure if you look closely. As soon as it is done blossoming, it will be making an appointment for a haircut to keep it from getting too wild looking.
Its been nearly a month since I have been in the garden and there was a nice surprise waiting. I planted some old seeds of borage (blue flowers) and white borage earlier this year. Its always a matter of luck and faith to plant old seeds because of their viability. Both these were up and looking good. Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual which I hope will self-seed in future years. According to an old wives tale, borage was sometimes smuggled into the drink of prospective suitors to give them the courage to propose marriage. I know of no scientific or cultural study that has proven this to be effective.