What I'm planting this summer: bergamot

21:44, Dec 17 2012

A few weeks ago now, I visited the farmers' market at Hastings. Among the organic vege sellers, coffee carts and sauce purveyors, was a stall where I spent many happy minutes deciding which plants would come home with me in a hot car. If I could have, I would have brought the whole place home with me.

Eventually, I settled on a raspberry plant (which I've now regretted, my raspberries are putting out suckers, or new plants, like crazy, so off to the Northern Suburbs community garden they will go) and a bergamot plant. They both cost me $3, which feels like peanuts compared to what you might pay in a garden centre. 

Bergamot, also known as bee balm, appealed to me because I love ornamentals that also double as pollinators, or companion plants for my edibles. Bergamot is also a herb you can make tea from, but don't try to make Earl Grey out of it - it's bergamot orange, a fruit, that gives Earl Grey its zing.

A perennial, I've planted my bergamot in a corner where it will get sun until about 2pm in the summer, as it likes a partially shady spot. I've given it plenty of space as it will grow up to a metre and a half, and needs about 60cm square to spread out into. It needs to be dug up and divided every so often, so I've put it in a spot where I won't break my neck trying to get to it. At the moment, it's surrounded by some dianthus which I might move as the bergamot gets bigger. 

I can't wait until it blooms it's bright red spiky flowers, and we can test whether it really lives up to it's bee-inducing name. 


Have you grown bergamot? What plants do you grow just to bring bees to your garden?

Follow me on Twitter or join Woman vs Wild on Facebook for links, updates and news. 


Lower image source here.