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The days are finally getting longer, the snow is (slowly!) beginning to melt, and spring officially arrives in just a few days! While the prospect of warmer weather has us all a bit giddy, we can’t forget the unwelcome intruders that tag along with the sunny summer weather.

Yes, we are talking about mosquitoes, and everybody knows that they can be a huge nuisance. However, using chemical products to keep them away is not on the top of everyone’s wish list.

Read on for some ideas of plants that repel mosquitoes – naturally!

Citronella

citronellaChances are, you’ve heard of this one before- it’s one of the most common ingredients in most mosquito repellents. Strange enough though, many people don’t even know that citronella is actually a plant! Citronella is a beautiful perennial clumping grass that emits a strong aroma. That aroma masks other scents, and keeps mosquitoes from being attracted to things located around it. The citronella plant has a much stronger aroma than other mosquito repellents that contain citronella, so it is a great choice. Citronella is very easy to grow, and can get to be a very tall 5 or 6 feet high! You can grow citronella in pots and place it around a porch or patio, or you can plant it directly in a yard or garden bed. It’s a great choice for repelling mosquitoes naturally.

 

Lemon Balm

lemonbalmAnother great choice for a mosquito repelling plant is lemon balm. A member of the mint family, the plant also known as horsemint and beebalm is a very easy plant for beginning gardeners to grow- even if you don’t have a green thumb! Lemon Balm is a very hardy plant, it resists drought, and it grows well even in shade. It is a very fast growing and sometimes aggressive plant, so you might want to contain it to a pot, where you can move it to wherever you like to ensure that it doesn’t take over your garden! An added bonus? You can dry the leaves and use them to make a delicious herbal tea!

 

Catnip

catnipYour feline friends will be happy to know that catnip is a great mosquito deterrent! In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in bug repellents. It is a very easy plant to grow, and if you have cats in the house, they will surely be happy to have it around. However, be careful not to plant catnip in with other flowers, veggies, or herbs if you have cats around your garden. They will surely roll around in the catnip and smash everything nearby!

 

Marigolds

marigoldsA bright, hardy annual plant, marigolds are a great choice for repelling mosquitoes. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and they have a unique aroma which bugs find repulsive. The flowers themselves are beautiful and can make a great border or addition to any flower bed! Try placing them around borders of your home, and mosquitoes might not want to cross over!

 

 

Basil

basilCalling all cooks! Want a double whammy when it comes to mosquito protection? Plant some basil! Not only will you have a quick and easy mosquito repellent, you will also have a delicious fresh herb on hand to add to all of your favorite recipes! There are many different varieties of basil around, so feel free to experiment and find the ones that you like best. Many expert gardeners recommend trying lemon basil or cinnamon basil to deter insects.

 

Lavender

iStock_000020860973XSmall-1-300x228You probably know that lavender is a gorgeous purple flowering plant with a soothing, calming scent. But, did you know that it is also a natural mosquito repellent? Grow it indoors near a sunny window, or outside in your garden or flower bed to keep the bugs away. While you’re at it, make a delicious herbal tea, or use lavender to fill your home with a wonderful calming aroma.

 

Peppermint

peppermintMost bugs despise the smell and taste of peppermint, so planting it around your home is a great way to keep them from dropping by uninvited! Plus, if you do happen to get bitten, peppermint leaves rubbed directly onto the skin make a great itch relief treatment! Added bonus for the wonderful minty smell that makes a delicious addition to food and beverages!

 

Garlic

garlicUnfortunately for all of us who love Italian food, studies have shown that EATING garlic does not repel mosquitoes. (Unless, however, you were to eat a HUGE amount!) However, having garlic around DOES! Make sure to add some garlic to your flower bed or vegetable garden for added protection!

 

Pennyroyal

pennyroyal-300x225The adorable pennyroyal flower is a natural deterrent for mosquitoes! Make sure to plant some around your flowerbeds! Pennyroyal plants also make great groundcovers, and they attract a plethora of beautiful butterflies. Some people even use pennyroyal to flavor certain fish dishes. As you can see, this plant has plenty of benefits!

 

Rosemary

rosemaryRosemary is a beautiful flowering plant that is often used to flavor lamb or fish dishes, but did you know that it is also a natural mosquito repellent? It’s perfect to add to your herb garden or flowerbed to keep bugs away, and it even attracts butterflies!

Plus you can simply snip a few springs off every time you need to add extra flavor to your lamb or steak!

 

 

Geranium

geraniumThis beautiful flowering plant is a great choice for mosquito repellent. When planted in a hanging container, the colorful blooms will cascade over the side of the pot, providing a beautiful visual piece as well as a very useful bug repellent!

As you can see, there are many different plants out there that can help to keep bugs away! Next time you reach for the chemical bug spray, take a minute and think again, and choose something more natural!

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Take common household items and repurpose them into charming garden art. Most can be made for less than $20.

1. Turn an old window frame into a planter

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2. Use an old ladder to display collections

Our Fairfield Home & Garden

Hang up those old watering cans and birdhouses!

3. Use old lamp globes to add bling to the garden

4. Plant A Bike

5. Make a fabulous garden art chandelier from thrift shop finds

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6. Create a seasonal display with upside down clay pots

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7. Plant a toy truck

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Greenhouses can extend your growing season, allow you to propagate plants from your yard, and the yard of fellow gardeners, and let you grow tender or delicate plants you might not otherwise be able to grow. I’ve seen lettuce and spinach grow in a greenhouse when there was a foot of snow on the ground. An old gardening friend of mine would use her greenhouse to pot up all her volunteer seedlings from her yard, grow them in four inch pots in the greenhouse, then have a plant sale to raise money for her charity. Any way you look at it, if you’re a serious gardener, you would love to get your hands on a greenhouse. So how do we solve problems at TGG? We DIY it! We found you some great DIY greenhouse projects and plans that range from a temporary row solution, all the way to a full size backyard greenhouse! Before you pick out a project, read over our “getting started” tips to help you choose, site and start your DIY greenhouse. Our feature project, above, is a mini window greenhouse by Crafts Ala Mode.

Getting Started with Your Greenhouse

  • Position your greenhouse running lengthwise east to west. This will give it the longest stretch of daylight each day.
  • Make sure your greenhouse will get at least 6 hours of sun in the winter.
  • Remember, if you plan on having electricity in your greenhouse, site it close enough to your source.
  • Try to position it away from kids play areas.
  • Make sure your greenhouse has a working thermometer. You will need to pay attention to temperature unless your system has automatic venting. In the winter, the minimum inside temp should remain between 45-60 degrees for active growing. A sunny winter day can quickly heat up the interior of a greenhouse, even if its freezing outside. Be sure to open vents and allow cool air to enter when the temps rise too much.

‘Design Dreams by Anne’ created this DIY baby greenhouse from old storm windows. This may be one of my favorite projects! It may not be air tight for all you who are looking for that, but I think it would do a very charming job for the most of us. Did I mention it’s charming?

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Want to save the earth? Ana White has free plans on how to make a plastic bottle greenhouse! What a great idea and re-use of materials!

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Here’s another soda bottle greenhouse for inspiration, photo by John Rutherford.

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Need a quick and inexpensive idea for protecting plants already in the ground? 2-Liter soda bottles and some ingenuity.

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Need a portable seed starting greenhouse/ cold-frame? Find out how to make thisgreenhouse at Instructables from Brian Perry.

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Ok, let’s get serious. Ana White made her own DIY barn style greenhouse from her plans, and it is incredible! All her DIY plans are amazing, but with all the step by step photos, I really feel like I could make this!

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Find our how to build a $50 greenhouse! Yes, this hoop house was built by Door Garden, and was profiled in Birds and Blooms magazine. Lot’s of good information here, and step by step photos.

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 How to make a greenhouse from a pallet, by Anthony Win on Instructables.

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Find an easy tutorial for this homemade greenhouse at ThinMac. It looks like it would fit well in a small yard, too!

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No, this isn’t 1982. This geodome greenhouse is perfect for areas with high winds and heavy snows. Northern Homestead made this easy for the rest of us, because they did all the hard work. They even included a link to an online calculator to help figure out the mathematics of the dome!

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Finally, Fabulously Frugal made this greenhouse for less than $100! Great instructions…actually, theirs came out to $67!

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GrowingTulips_1-2

With spring around the corner, I’ve been thinking about gardening quite a bit. I LOVE flowers, so I thought why not grow flowers myself?

Last fall, I purchased a whole bag of tulip bulbs from Costco for a pretty reasonable price ($10-$15 for50 bulbs!). However, I have come to realize that I don’t have enough space to plant all 50 tulip bulbs in the yard.

After doing some research (and staring at some photos on Pinterest), I learned that you can grow bulb plants in containers. So here begins my experiment of growing tulips in vases!SUPPLIES-1

What I used:

  • Tulip bulbs
  • Gems (pebbles or river rocks also work)
  • Vase
  • Water

STEP1Step 1. Place gems in vase—fill up about 1-2 inches, depending on the size of your container

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Step 2. Place bulb on gems.

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Step 3. Surround the bulb with more gems for support.

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Step 4. Fill vase with water until about 1 inch away from the bottom of the bulb.

Step 5. Move the vase to a cool, dark place. The bulbs should be in this environment for 4-6 weeks. This is meant to simulate the dormant, cool period that tulips need in order for the roots to grow well. Then, they can be brought out into the light.

That’s it! As long as everything goes well, you can expect to see some updates on these! I have planted four bulbs this way—two in small mason jars, and two in vases. I’m really hoping this works!

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Here are the instructions of how we made my tea pot fountain. Hope it helps with all of you who are interested!

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Here is my tea pot fountain in full bloom.

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We drilled a a hole in the tea pot and then threaded it. We attached flanges to a solid concrete block to support both the tea pot and the gold pan. The block is heavy…

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We then built a support for the gold pan and dropped the unit into the whiskey barrel. We added a fountain pump and inserted tubing up through the tee on the bottom…

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Add water and your done! The unit is free standing so it can be leveled and no holes are drilled in the whiskey barrel. I put it all away every winter and take it out

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Last year we poured a concrete base that the whiskey barrel sits on so it doesn’t sink into the dirt.

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One of the fun things about succulents is that they look terrific in all kinds of containers and they are easy to grow (even for those with “black thumbs”).   There are so many different shapes, sizes and colors of succulents that it’s easy to make a beautiful and unique succulent garden!  Here are some pretty indoor succulent container ideas for your home to inspire you.

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You can use all kinds of containers for your succulents that coordinate with your decor. I made this succulent garden in some red and white transferware because I decorate with red and white (and transferware). I used a old soup tureen from the thrift store as the main planter.  The steps for making this succulent garden .

 

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Don’t these succulents, planted in a beautiful silver gravy boat , look classy and beautiful! via The Little Round Table.

 

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This stunning succulent candle wreath by J Peterson Garden Design uses a wire wreath form but you could achieve a similar look by using a pretty bowl!

 

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Here are some pretty succulents in a white ceramic pitcher and gravy boat by A Little Tipsy. You can use all types of vessels for your succulents!.
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These beautiful succulents in mercury glass can be found at  BHG.

 

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I love these succulents planted in a shell via flickr.   I may replant the ones I have into a shell for the summer.

 

Succulents

Isn’t this simple footed bowl a marvelous planter for succulents – by Sand & Sisal.
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This red colander with succulents would be perfect for a kitchen by Petite Pots.

 

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You can learn how to make this cool industrial tiered succulent centerpiece  at Infarrantly Creative (she shows you how to make the tiered piece).

 

succulents-in-eggshells

These pretty succulents planted in eggshells  would be perfect for an Easter tablescape – by The Hunted Interior.

GARDENING