Opposites Attract For a Fall Floral Arrangement: Lemon Balm & Dahlias

©2012 Beth Billstrom Dahlia & Lemon Balm arrangement

Like sugar and spice, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and dahlias are opposites that bring out the best in each other.  Lemon balm is forever green and calming, yet bursting with a fresh, citrus aroma that brightens a gloomy day and recharges a draining battery. Dahlias can be counted on to deliver over the top color and exotic floral shapes, but nay, not a whiff of fragrance.  When you pair them they provide a dazzling bouquet that refreshes and rejuvenates.  Add a little Russian sage and your bouquet will take on a free-spirited attitude.

It’s easy to incorporate lemon balm into any fall floral arrangement.  Lemon balm can be as dressed up or as dressed down as you prefer.  Just follow a few simple tips and your arrangement will turn out stellar:

  1. The stems will remain fresher longer if you snip them early in the morning once the dew has dried.
  2. Cut stems from the bottom of the plant and handle carefully to avoid bruising the leaves or stems.
  3. Keep a container of water handy while you’re snipping and place the lemon balm stems directly in the water.
  4. When making your arrangement, be sure to mist the leaves a few times as well.

©2012 Beth Billstrom

While handling the lemon balm, you may notice the stems are square. That tells you that lemon balm is a member of the mint family.  (Remember this little square-stem tidbit as you peruse the rest of your herb garden, and you’ll be able to identify the other members of the mint family.)

Lemon balm is considered a perennial in zones 4-9.  It’s easy to grow and is a favorite of many gardeners. If you have a fairly large garden, you can grow it right in the bed without much trouble.  However,  I grow mine in containers, harvest the leaves in the fall, and then begin again from cuttings or seed indoors.  I don’t sow lemon balm directly into my small garden because of lemon balm’s prolific nature.  While not as aggressive as spearmint or peppermint, if given a chance, it will try to take over.  I also prefer to keep it in containers because I can then set those containers near my patio doors.  When the breeze blows, the fresh scent permeates my home, a nice little bonus.

One response to “Opposites Attract For a Fall Floral Arrangement: Lemon Balm & Dahlias

  1. Pingback: Add a Fragrant Note of Spice: Purple Ruffled Basil « More Than Oregano·

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