I'm not a fan of this approach but you can give it a try and see how the plants respond. It will tell you if it isn't happy by under-performing. Bee balm likes moist soil and spreads slowly via above-ground stolons. The fabric will be an impediment to spreading out so it is likely to get very crowded. This makes it prone to powdery mildew. Landscape fabric has other problems. It doesn't stop weeds; it just makes it much harder to pull them. It reduces the amount of water and air that reach the roots. The rocks heat up under the sun and increase soil temperature. This isn't good for soil moisture (warmer soil evaporates faster) and it isn't good for plant roots. You can tell I'm a fan of starting with a clean planting bed and using mulch. 3 inches of compost or wood chips - or any other plant-based material - will suppress weeds, help retain moisture and slowly improve your soil as it breaks down. Enjoy your bee balm.
Answered on July 4, 2018
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