• Jenny Lynn Keller

Flower Child


Do you eat organic? I do, especially fruits like apples and berries. I garden organically too. Live and let live is one of my gardening mottos, and I apply it to bugs. As for other critters, you all know every animal living with and near me loves to sample my flowers and vegetables during the summer. Remember last Friday’s tomato thief post and my occasional deer commentaries? Well, on this hot and muggy Southern-fried Friday allow me to introduce you to a plant the bee community absolutely adores and other creatures ignore—beebalm. I grow the native kind, of course, and I’m overjoyed to say deer won’t touch it. Nope, not a munch in years.


Why? Because the native variety has a stronger citrus smell than the cultivated ones. And there’s an added bonus if you’re into organics. Beebalm tea is a summer delight with the soft tangy flavor of orange and lemon. You can buy it in stores where other herbal nutritionals are sold because its medicinal benefits have been touted for years. No, this claim is not one of my grandmothers’ mythical mountain cures like the cleansing concoction they gave their children every spring. To this day, all of them still talk about their annual spring dose of “clean-you-out-from-head-to-toe” tonic. What was in it? You don’t want to know.


Thankfully, beebalm enjoys a better reputation. Native Americans brewed beebalm tea for pleasure and medicinal purposes, and Colonists served it as a replacement for the black tea thrown into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party. Obviously both groups followed the wise advice of 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Unfortunately, my aunts and uncles weren’t given a choice with their mothers’ cleansing tonic.


Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite summer drink for these super hot days?

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