What's This Herb? Use Flickr for Garden Reference

Last week I found a tall, fragrant plant growing in a weedy corner of my little yard. It looked like lemon balm, an herb that has a sweet lemon aroma and makes a really wonderful herbal tea. But was it really lemon balm, or just a weed? I turned to my new favorite garden reference point: Flickr.

The sheer mass of photos on the photo-sharing site Flickr make it a great resource for cooks and gardeners. In this case I searched for lemon balm on Flickr, and came up with nearly 2000 results. I would never base a plant identification on just one or two anecdotal photos, of course, but browsing through several dozen images of lemon balm in various stages of growth confirmed that, yes, I had a healthy lemon balm on my hands. (In fact, exploring more of the yard has turned up even more of it; it turns out that lemon balm is in the mint family, which means that no matter how often I tear it out, lemon balm will always be around. Never put this stuff in the ground!)

Overall, as I have been gardening like mad this spring, Flickr has been a wonderful resource. Want to know what a baby dahlia should look like? Check Flickr. Want to know if a sprout is a radish or a weed? Look through Flickr. Want to see what Pink Beauty tomatoes will look like when they're all grown up? You get the idea.

• Visit Flickr

Related: Good Garden Question: Can I Eat This Plant?

(Image: Flickr member Jess, Beemouse Labs licensed for use under Creative Commons)