What’t the buzz this week at LaBella Flora? Bugs.
There are things I love about summer and things I don’t….
Things that I L-O-V-E:
- Walks on country roads
- Bike rides
- An ice cold glass of pop
- Lazy days with nothing to do (still looking forward to one of these)
Things I don’t like about summer:
We have a love-hate-relationship. I HATE them, they love me. Have you ever read a blog or watched a TV story about why mosquitoes selectively bit some and ignore others? I don’t care why! I just know they love me, I mean really, really love me. I can be sitting in a group of 20 people and I am the only one that gets bit. Not just once, 20 times. Unless my brother is sitting beside me, then I get 10 bites and he gets 10 bites. And to make it even better, I don’t just get a little bump – I get a huge bump that won’t stop itching. I tell my self that I won’t itch it, but I do. Followed by me pressing an X into my bite with my finger nail. I just stopped typing to itch a mosquito bite on my finger. I am not exaggerating!
I live on a couple acres on the edge of town surrounded by fields, a creek, and an overgrown tree line. All of which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Instead of grabbing my bug spray or citronella candles this summer, I decided to explore some more natural options. I keep seeing posts about plants that mosquitoes hate. So I am doing it! I am planting plants and flowers that, according to blogs and experts, make mosquitoes turn and run…or fly. So I am going to put planters by my front door, backdoor, and on my patio filled with a special cocktail of flowers for my little friends.
What am I going to plant?
With a hint of lemon sent, this plant related to the mint family naturally detours mosquitoes. Better yet grab a handful, crush it and spread it on your exposed skin. It is an aggressive plant and will take over if you plant it in your garden, so it is best to keep it under control in a planter right by your backdoor.
Citronella (grass and plants)
Many of us burn citronella candles to fend off mosquitoes, but they are loaded with chemicals. So why not try planting citronella? Not only does it smell great it’s a natural deterrent and, like lemon balm, when crushed, it can be applied to uncovered skin to ward-off pesky mosquitoes. When looking for citronella I found citronella grass, which was also listed as lemon grass. Citronella grass can grow to be 5′-0″ to 6′-0″ so it should be grown in a large planter. There are also citronella plants, which are available at Walmart.
Not only does it smell yummy, mosquitoes don’t agree. Win-win! Better yet, it is beautiful and thought to have calming and relaxing qualities. It is easily planted in a garden or pot. Like other plants, rubbing the plant on your skin releases oils that are naturally offensive to mosquitoes and other bugs.
Although I think marigolds are beautiful, I will agree with mosquitoes they don’t smell very fragrant. Available in an array of bold colors, what a gorgeous addition to your planters. Lovely for garden or landscape borders. Hardy and easy to take care are also two great characteristics of marigolds.
Scented geraniums, particularly lemon, are a popular mosquito repellent with gardening sites. Because they are large flowering plants, scented geraniums are is a fantastic choice for planters. In addition, they grow well in different climates and can take full-sun. Geraniums do need to be pruned, but in my case, my 9-year-old loves to prune and water my flowers. It is amazing to me how serious she is about flower care. My flowers are way more likely to make it to Labor Day, when she is in charge of them.
So I am going to tell you about this one, but because my dog is old and grumpy I am not going to use Catnip in my yard…out of safety concerns for the cats in my neck of the woods. Catnip works, mosquitoes dislike it, BUT cats go crazy over it. We used to have two cats, one of my favorite things to do was to give them catnip. Is was hilarious to watch them roll in it, hug it, and rub it all over themselves. My “fat cat” would also eat it. So if you want cats vegging in your yard go for it. Me…no thanks.
Now that the plants have been been selected, I am walking away from the computer to buy my plants and soil. I am hoping I can find everything locally.
I visited my local nursery and found scented geraniums and marigolds. The scented geraniums smell amazing! You may think I am strange but one of my favorite smells is lemon Pledge. My geraniums smell just like it. The smell takes me back to my childhood and dusting for my mom. Which I gladly did, just to smell the Pledge. Yes, I do realize that this probably was not a healthy habit from my childhood.
I found lemon balm and lavender at Home Depot, but they were out of stock when it came to the citronella. I will be checking back, more is supposed to be coming. Evidently, I am not the only person that has had this great idea. I also read that that mosquitoes don’t like mint so I am doing a small container for my patio.
So here is one of my planters with scented geraniums, lemon balm, and marigolds…keep in mind I just planted it. I will let you know if they really kept those blood-sucking mosquitoes away. For now, I am heading out to my patio to read a book.
Cheers to summer relaxation – MOSQUITO FREE!