An unfortunate name for a friendly, sweet perennial, but don’t let it deter you. Bastard balm (Melittis melissophyllum) has enchanting pale blooms resembling snapdragons or orchids. The cultivar ‘Royal Velvet Distinction’, has white puffs with a pinkish mauve splotch on the bottom skirt. The bloom is reminiscent of a hooded angel with white wings and a fancy violet patterned dress. The foliage is bushy vivid green with opposing veined leaves on robust hairy stems. Bastard balm is a wildflower in the UK, but an unusual find in nurseries here. A common request is for a plant that is happy in an average soil and part shade siting, with blooms as a bonus - bastard balm fits this request.
Technical stuff – Bastard balm/ Melittis melissophyllum, hardy perennial to zone 5, height and spread of 12”-18”, prefers moist but thrives in most soils, full to part sun, blooms late spring into summer, comes in white, pale pink or white with pink/mauve markings.