bee balm

With all that is going on around here at the Retro Ranch, it is important to remember to stop and smell the flowers — or at least admire them for a bit. During Mom’s visit for Christmas in July, we took a trip to a local garden center to pick out a few new plants. Mom’s yard is nearly full, and she has a love of acquiring new flowers — so she was excited to go flower shopping for me. Number one on my list — the bee balm above — which I’ve always wanted. This particular variety is supposed to multiply rapidly over the years — fingers crossed for a bigger patch next spring.


We planted the new plants in a bare spot next to the front door…

new flowers

…they fill in the space nicely, don’t you think?


This large plant was too cool to pass up. The name escapes me at the moment, but it may have been a variety of Sedum. (Do you remember Mom?)


One of my all time favorites — the coneflower — was also on the list. My garden is filled with the standard pinky purple variety, so experimenting with new colors is exciting. We picked up a few new varieties — including this sunrise coneflower. So pretty!


The circular garden that was constructed in last summer’s heat is looking great. It is filled with ornamental grass (blue fescue) and another variety of sedum that “came with the house.”


This particular variety has tiny pink flowers that emerge in early summer.


Even the flowers that are past their prime — like this allium that is now a mere skeleton — are still a visual treat. I don’t have the heart to tear out these used up stems  — to me they look like fireworks. Leaving them up every year since they were planted may have something to do with my allium population doubling every spring.

As much as I feel that I should spend every free moment working on my bathroom (and it feels like I am already!) it is important not to get too caught up in indoor projects, and allow myself some time to admire the beauty of summer.




  1. Looks very nice. Bee Balm will multiply (and the hummingbirds love it!) The spent allium is fine in the garden…(reminds me of a mid-century starburst!) and I am sure the birds will pick at it (they will also pick at spent coneflower blooms so make sure to leave them, too!) I am not sure where you live…but be sure to google ‘native plants’ for your state. Native plants are best for the natural environment in which you live. They require less water, less fertilizing (which in turn is better for the lakes, rivers, etc!) and attract beneficial insects (which in turn attract wild birds!) It’s a win/win for everyone! (I know I mentioned native plants in another post…but it is something in which I strongly believe and I like to spread the word!) 🙂

    • Thanks Brenda, I do remember you commenting about buying local plants. I live in Wisconsin and I think coneflowers and bee balm must be good for this area. I’ve never watered or fertilized my coneflowers (except for a few days right after planting or transplanting) and they look great all summer long. Several of my neighbors have bee balm and it grows so well that it is taking over their garden, which makes me hopeful that I’ll have a bunch in a few years too. The sedum around the pole light is growing everywhere around my garden, with no fertilizer or watering…I have high hopes for the new, big sedum too! I saw a hummingbird yesterday at the bee balm!

      I agree about the fertilizer and watering. We do not water or use chemicals our lawn. Maybe it looks kinda icky at some times, but it is green and we aren’t putting tons of chemicals into contact with us and Leo. Certain times of the month, nearly all our neighbors have those little “stay off the grass, pesticide application” tags in their yards. I don’t see the appeal!

      • Glad go hear you are not using chemicals! And I am sure Leo is happy about that, too!

        Just because something DOES grow does not mean it SHOULD be growing in your yard. Just about anything grows here in Florida…and that is a problem because people plant what are known as ‘exotics’. And while they will grow here…they grow TOO well, become invasive and choke out the native plants. It has been documented that a non-native plant will attract 2 types of beneficial insects while a similar native plant will attract will attract hundreds. The latter will make the birds very happy! Here is an informative link on Wisconsin native plants: http://www.johnsonsnursery.com/Native_Plants_of_Wisconsin.aspx Let me know what you think! (Thanks for letting me rant. lol)

  2. I believe the large sedum that I got for you is called “Purple Emperor” … here’s a link:
    http://www.plantdelights.com/Sedum-Purple-Emperor-Purple-Emperor-Stonecrop/productinfo/3588/#.Ufpo923wayE The broken piece we found is rooting, so I will have some here. 🙂 Your flowers look great, and shopping for flowers with you last month was very fun for plant addict mom. Glad you are taking some time to stop and smell (and photograph) the flowers!

    • That might be it Mid Century Mom! I’ll have to find the tag and double check. Glad your piece is taking root! Hope you can find a spot to put it in your garden! It was fun to plant shop with you — thanks again for the pretty plants! 🙂

      • Oh .. and the bee balm (Monarda) is called “Jacob Kline” … supposedly a hardy and popular variety. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s