Mosquito-Repelling Garden

School will be out soon, and the warm, sunny days will be filled with barbecues, lazy paddling at the lake, and melting ice cream cones. Unfortunately, with the warmer weather comes the stinkin’ mosquitos. Here are a few plants that you can add to your garden to chase away these buzzing pests!

Marigolds…These vibrant flowers are a favorite to gardeners for many reasons. They’re easy to grow. They bloom all season. They attract beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. They smell awesome. And more importantly, they are fantastic at repelling mosquitos!

Lavender…While most of us adore the relaxing aroma of lavender, mosquitos HATE it. You can add this butterfly-attracting herb to your garden and even make an essential oil for your skin which will also help ward off insects. Other herbs including lemon balm and basil have the same effect.

Catnip…This perennial herb has been found to repel mosquitos in close proximity. However, you might also attract every stray cat in the neighborhood so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword with this one.

Of course, if all else fails, a bug zapper is always a nice backup option.

Marvelous Marigolds

Showcasing blooms in vibrant golds, coppers, and brass, marigolds are a popular flower for many reasons.

Blooms for days…While marigolds can often bloom year-round in warm, dry climates, they’re still a great flower choice for cooler climates and showcase beautiful blooms from summer through fall.

Foodie fact…For ages, farmers have added marigolds to their chicken feed to make the egg yolks brighter!

Mystical powers…The Aztecs believed that marigolds had protective powers and, according to historical references, used the flower to protect themselves from lighting strikes. Needless to say, they put a lot of stock in this flower.

Friend of gardeners…Do you have pesky bunnies eating up your garden? Add some marigolds! Not only are they beautiful, they repel rabbits and pesky bugs.

Visit the Greenhouse to add some gold to your garden!

Carnations in Germany…

The carnation is the customary Mother’s Day (or ‘Muttertag’) flower in Germany. As in the U.S. and Canada, colorful carnations are worn to celebrate mothers who are still alive while white carnations are worn to honor mothers who have passed. Mother’s Day was originally implemented in Germany as a way to encourage women to have more children at a time when the country had a low birth rate. In the 1930s, women were honored for having children with gold, silver and bronze medals called ‘Karnickelorden’ (‘Order of the Rabbit’). This custom ended after WWII and the holiday became more or less what it is in the U.S. today.

Daffodils in Scotland…

For Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday), mothers are given daffodils and other spring flowers that are in bloom. Mothering Sunday originated back in the 16th century when youngsters left their homes to enter the workforce. Mother’s Day gave them the opportunity to return home once a year to attend church with their family and spend time with their mothers.

Roses in Japan…

Although all western customs were banned in Japan during WWII, Mother’s Day has made a comeback and carnations and roses are the country’s traditional Mother’s Day flowers. Carnations represent endurance, sweetness, and purity while roses symbolize love, devotion, and honor. Japanese children often draw pictures of their mothers and enter them into contests!

‘Mums’ in Australia…

Chrysanthemums (‘mums’ for short) are in season in Australia during Mother’s Day and, as a result, are specially presented to Mum. Aussie children pamper Mum throughout the day starting with morning tea, doing all of the housework, and showering her with gifts. Lucky ladies!

‘Laurki’ in Poland…

Children in Poland honor their mothers with ‘laurki’, sheets of paper decorated with beautiful flowers. A special wish for Mom is written inside. As Mother’s Day is an official holiday in Poland, all businesses and shops close down for the celebrations and families enjoy festivities at home.

Need beautiful flowers for your Mom? Visit the Greenhouse for oodles of gorgeous goodies!

Fresh Mango-Tomato Salsa

What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with a big batch of fresh mango-tomato salsa? The mangos help balance out the heat of this traditional Mexican recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 large mango, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Serrano chili, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, toss together all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Add that farm-grown taste with cilantro, Serrano chillies, and tomatoes from the Greenhouse!

DIY Mason Bee House

Insects like butterflies and bees are fabulous pollinators and are incredibly important in helping our gardens grow!

Mason bees are the busiest bees of them all. It only take a few female mason bees to pollinate an established apple tree! Unlike the pompous honey bee (just kidding, we like them, too), mason bees will work in inclement weather. Another perk? They’re less likely to sting than a honey bee. The male mason bees don’t have stingers and the females will only sting when squished.

So with how amazing these little guys are, why not put out a welcome mat? You can buy a mason bee house OR you can have some fun and build one at home.

What you’ll need…

  • tin can (label peeled and can rinsed)
  • paint (optional)
  • hollow bamboo, straws, or rolled up scrap paper
  • hammer and a nail
  • twine (to hang)

First, using your hammer and nail, put a hole in the bottom of the can near the edge (this will help hang your mason bee house). Spray paint the exterior of your can and let dry. Thread your twine through the bottom of the can and out the top allowing enough length to hang. Insert your bamboo, straws, or rolled up paper tubes (kids love to help do this!).

That’s it! All you have to do now is hang your new mason bee house near your garden and wait for your guests to arrive!

For more ideas on attracting pollinators, visit our Pinterest page!

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