There are those who categorize all bugs as creepy crawly, biting creatures that need to leave you alone when trying to enjoy the outdoors and need to stop making themselves at home in places they shouldn’t – like my house! Without certain bugs, we wouldn’t exist as we do today; pollinators assist our farms with food, wiggly worms assist with the quality of soil and the beloved lady bug feeds on Aphids and other soft body garden pests. Spiders even have a great place in our gardens to catch those flying night bugs in their webs that eat plants. The list of helpful gardening bugs is long. If we go “higgledy-pigglely” spraying to kill bugs, we will ultimately kill the bugs that help us grow fruits and vegetables. Confucius says, “Never use a cannon to kill a mosquito.” With that being said, I have a couple of suggestions for your patio and next outdoor picnic or party that will look lovely, smell great and keep pesky bugs away.
Rosemary will keep the fleas and ticks away. If these pests are bothering you or your pet, surround the yard and patio with rosemary. You will not only repel the little blood suckers, but you will also have a great fresh herb to cook with. A bonus is it smells great and when you or your pet brushes up against it, you will too!
Lavender is a lovely, relaxing, stress relieving herb. You can place it on your patio next to your favorite lounger or arrange it as a picnic table center piece. This herb naturally repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes. Imagine what everyone will say when you have lavender nosegays scattered on your picnic table? After they comment on how beautiful they are, tell them they are actually helping to keep the pests away!
Peppermint is a lovely smelling plant to everyone but many spiders. Not a fan of spiders? Add some peppermint to your landscaping and table arrangements. Ants are not a fan of peppermint either, so invite peppermint and the ants won’t crash your party.
Catnip and Marigolds help keep mosquitoes away but it is a personal preference to many of us on whether their odd smell is worth the extra protection!
Why use harmful chemicals when you can plant your way to a peaceful summer? With the right plants, you can experience a quiet, less stressful summer – free of bug bites – to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and not the smell of chemicals.
Find information about the Fort Gordon Community Garden at gordon.armymwr.com/community-garden.