We need to talk about lemon balm
I was given a lemon balm plant last year, and duly popped it in with all the other herbs. There it sat, looking vibrant, being fragrant, but untouched. I used and used and used the oregano, even chucking its flowers into tomato sauces, and then chopped it right down, hung large chunks in the kitchen, and used it all through the winter. Thyme, basil, sage, chives and loads of rosemary, all used and very much appreciated. But the lemon balm. Not even not so much. Just not.
Of the other, much-loved herbs, only the chives and parsely came back. Even the rosemary got too frozen to return. But the lemon balm popped up again, a very appealing bright spring green, and it’s already become a veritable bush. I’ll give it points for trying, but really, what are you supposed to *do* with it? I mostly like my tea with milk, and minus big floppy floating leaves.
Then! I realise that the millions of tiny little sprouts coming up all over the place - largely but not only in the same container as the lemon balm - is more bloody lemon balm. And the little oregano seedlings I had been so carefully nurturing were not oregano, but also lemon balm. No idea how that happened. It said oregano on the packet.
So I look it up, and lemon balm is related to mint, which would explain its expansionist tendencies. And there are about a million health reasons to be ‘taking’ it - calming for internal organs including belly and cramping uterus, and the mind apparently too. I may have to start drinking lemon balm tea to release my lemon balm tension - I SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING, DON’T THINK I DON’T!
Oh my lord this made me laugh, because I have fought this very same battle! The woman that owned our house before us must have planted one lemon balm at some point, and when we took possession I was like “oh no, lemon balm!” So I started a one woman campaign against it. A few years later I think I finally have it under control, but it’s early days yet this year, so only time will actually tell. ~AR