Amaryllis

 

Amaryllis are one of the world’s famous flowers.  You will most likely see them around Christmas time. The name Amaryllis means “to sparkle” in Greek – making them a great gift to give to friends and love ones. These plants are native to South America and South Africa.  Nowadays most Amaryllis plants are grown in green houses around the world.  Amaryllis plants can have single or double blooms, with petals that are frilled at the edges.   They come in various

shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange.

Amaryllis Plants

The plants can grow up to 10 inches wide, with a top stalk being 18 to 36 inches tall.  Amaryllis are most often grown indoors to provide bright colors in a winter home, but they can also be planted in the spring and bloom in the summer.

 

Planting Tips:

Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting soil. Plant the bulb up to its neck in soil, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting. You can dig up bulbs after the blooms die off and store them for future use.  Amaryllis are a gorgeous flower to brighten up your life, no matter the season.

Mosquito Repelling Plants

Okay, okay, I know that it’s still too soon to talk about mosquitoes but now that the weather is FINALLY breaking and staying above 50 degrees, I’ve got that summertime mindset. And what’s a worse way to ruin the season than to be constantly chewed on by mosquitoes? There is no worse way; that was a trick question. Mosquitoes are everywhere, you don’t feel them as they suck your precious life juices, and when you do catch them in the act and smoosh them, you get blood of questionable origin on your hands and it’s really just awful.

There are several ways to deter mosquitoes from coming near you when you venture outside. First of all, bug sprays like “OFF” can help. My friend’s sister spent several months doing volunteer work in South America and swore by vinegar, as in she took a tablespoon of vinegar orally every day to keep the mosquitoes away. This sounds disgusting, I know. I found that mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup of orange juice is the best way to do it. The strong citrus taste covers the vinegar flavor. And though it took a while for the vinegar to saturate my system enough to be effective, it was, in fact, effective. You can trust me, I’ve had more than fifty (yes, fifty) mosquito bites at one time.

Now, if drinking vinegar—or OJ for that matter—just isn’t your thing, there are several plants that you can put in your garden to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

This first is a citronella plant. Citronella is perhaps the most common cure for mosquitoes. Look in any home and garden store and you are guaranteed to find many different kinds of citronella candles. The scent of citronella is so strong that it masks any smells you may be giving off that would attract a mosquito, thus making it harder for them to find you. Synthetic citronella fragrance is effective but having an actual plant in your yard works best. It is ideal to keep them in pots so that you can bring them indoors during the winter to keep them alive and so that you can arrange them around yourself wherever you are in your yard.

Another plant is the marigold. Not only will this plant repel the pests, it will add a lot of color to your garden. It’s a win-win kind of plant. Placing them around doorways and windows may create a barrier that will prevent mosquitoes from coming into your home while a door or window is open.

Catnip also works to repel the insects. It is undecided just what exactly mosquitoes don’t like about the plant, but studies show that there is something. The downside to using catnip however is that you have to be within close proximity of it to work and it WILL attract cats. So you’ll get rid of mosquitoes, but you will be covered in cats. (Of course, not everyone will consider this a bad thing.)

For a plant that doubles as both a mosquito repellant and a nice addition to your cooking, choose rosemary. Though people don’t typically find the woody scent of rosemary offensive, mosquitoes will avoid it. The plant looks lovely, smells fine, and can be added to cooking to enhance flavor so it should definitely be a top pick for your garden. Another herb, basil, will also do the trick but be warned that it doesn’t smell as nice.

If you really want something that smells nice and looks absolutely lovely, opt for lavender. Lavender is a renowned fragrance; most commonly used in aromatherapy to help people relax. The soothing scent, the bright purple buds, and the pest repelling power make this plant perfect for any garden.

Don’t let mosquitoes stop you from enjoying the warm, sunny days of summer. There are plenty of pest repelling options available. With a little research, you can find which plants will work best in your garden. The right plants will keep you from getting itchy (and angry.)

 

 

-Lacey Bouchard

 

http://www.gardendesign.com/ideas/mosquito-repellent-plants

http://eartheasy.com/blog/2011/04/5-easy-to-grow-mosquito-repelling-plants/