Beware Friends Bearing Gifts of Lemon Balm

The heat wave has hit.   When it’s 100 degrees in the country, that’s really hot.  Even with air conditioning, I need to stay hydrated.  I  have a really neat  glass apothecary jar with spout that I fill up with water, a big chunk of ice, and a sprig of herbs.  It’s so much more inviting than the kitchen faucet, and I find I drink more water as a result.  Today, the water is lightly scented with spearmint, pineapple mint, and lemon balm.

Ah, but a dilemma arose when I went to snip herbs.  Last week, I had attacked the lemon balm with a fury.  Lemon balm will take over the planet if you let it.  In fact, do not ever spend money to acquire lemon balm.  Anyone with lemon balm will gladly share.  You will think they are being nice, but they are really laughing as they gift you with this fragrantly prolific herb.  They will picture you at first gently snipping,  then hacking, and ultimately ripping plants  with reckless abandon in an ongoing attempt to maintain a garden with other things actually growing in it. 

My lemon balm arrived by way of a friend at work named Linda.  It was a chunk of plant in a nothing kind of container–a plastic bag or milk jug or something, I don’t recall.  I do recall that I…um…did not exactly plant it right away.  It sat in the driveway with all the other random things that sit in our driveway.  It sat for a very long time.  Like through the winter.  Eventually it found a home in a crack in the pavement.  I took pity on it and planted it in the herb garden.  And it was happy.  Very, very happy.  It bloomed with lovely little white flowers.  And then those lovely little flowers cast seed everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  Last year I moved the lemon balm away from the chives and put some–just a little bit–with the mint.  Last week I noticed that I couldn’t find the mint.  Mint is pretty prolific too, but it spreads under the ground.  Lemon balm attacks like a Blitzkrieg attack on London.  So I ripped out the lemon balm.

So how was I going to scent my apothecary jar of water with lemon balm if I ripped it out?  Ha.  There is always lemon  balm somewhere.  I’d be more than happy to share.

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