trees with lavender bushes underplanted


I hate mosquitos. They have now upped their game so that when I am bitten I get a huge swelling. Last year this led to me missing a school trip as my face exploded into a Frankenstein’s monster look, and this year a worrying lump of spreading red around my midriff. That is an area that does not need any extra volume at the best of times.

It is the curse of sitting outside and enjoying your garden: the plagues of bitey things. We have tried citronella candles, incense, spray, none of which seem to have any great effect on the small varmints. Having done a quick bit of research, the advice was to use, wait for it, citronella candles, incense or spray. Brilliant. Failing that, burning dried sage was suggested as a more ‘home grown’ solution (yes, burning dried leaves – surely that can’t go wrong in any way?!) and, finally, a thought that you could grow certain flowers near your seating area that might repel the winged marauders.

‘Ah ha!’ I thought. Here is an opportunity to have a permanent (or annual, depending on the plant!) solution without having to cart the stinking bug spray around all the time. The suggestions were to grow citronella (clearly no surprise there..) lavender and rosemary – both things I enjoy the smell of and already have dotted around the garden. I decided it might be time to take some lavender cuttings and build up the mosquito defences near the pool and BBQ area. Pretty flowers, nice smell, no bites. All round winner in my book!

A couple that I DIDN’T expect were basil (damn it, I feel like I am being taunted here! Although this year’s crop is still doing well, I do feel that it is only because 2020 is such an odd year. Global pandemic. Children not in school. Murderous hornets. Sam’s basil growing… .. all on a similar weirdness level!) Basil is apparently good at repelling mosquitos and houseflies. I wish someone would tell the houseflies currently in my house that they aren’t supposed to like basil – I am not that convinced by this one.

Another that is a real winner, apparently, is chrysanthemums. I did not see that coming! They are not meant to be great for mozzies, but ants, beetles, mites and silverfish (bleugh) are among the list of creepy crawlies that don’t tolerate these pretties. Some bug repellents use an ingredient from the flower as it is so effective. So, good to know how to stop lice, but less helpful for my anti-swelling campaign.

Finally, the plant I am definitely going to invest in (by ‘invest’ I mean plant EVERYWHERE) are marigolds. These not only target mozzies, but they also repel RABBITS! And those of you who have read my previous rants will know that there is an ongoing battle on my estate, very reminiscent of Looney Tunes, involving Bugs and Fudd...  if only I could find one for squirrels, we would be set!

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