Sunday, August 9, 2009

Battle of the Balm

Tonight as the evening began to close in on the day, I felt the aggravating bites of mosquitoes. I decided it was time to attend to a task I had saved for just such an occasion, the cutting of the Lemon Balm.(Melissa Officinalis). Lemon Balm is good for helping to ward off insects and at this point I was desperate.

My Lemon Balm had been assigned a spot on the far side of the Herb House, but it was attempting a coup on the Oregano in the front of the Herb House. Aggressive action was in order.

Lemon Balm is a perennial herb that can be invasive. I love the leaf, it is heart shaped with scalloped edges. The fact that bees love the flowers and the herb’s wonderful lemon scent make it a good addition to the garden, but do take heed. At the Arboretum Garden Lemon Balm is trying to rule the Tea Garden, consequently we will be giving away free Lemon Balm to anyone who wanders into the park.

I use the young leaves of this lemon queen in salads; add it to fish and chicken, and lemonade. Basically, any place where you would use lemon peel, Lemon Balm can be substituted. I have a friend in Indiana that swore she polished her furniture with it plus put it under the cushions to keep the fleas away. (She had a big dog)

One parting comment, I am fascinated by all the Lemon Herbs! Many years ago I was sharing herbs with a class of 3rd graders. I passed around Lemon Balm and asked the youngsters to identify the scent. One kiddo could barely contain himself; “I know, I know, it is pledge!”

My task is now completed and the Lemon Balm somewhat controlled. I am bug free and ready to relax with a cool glass of wine or perhaps lemoncello would be more appropriate.

1 comment:

  1. Love the lemon balm -- and I enjoy finding it in odd places in the garden. But the most lemony is the verbena -- wow!

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