Thursday, May 02, 2013

Front (porch) line of defense

It appears that winter has (at last!) taken its final bow and let spring onto the stage. Thank goodness for that. I'm not usually one to wish away seasons but I found myself uncharacteristically antsy the past few months. I've been itching to take walks, go on picnics, and remind my pale skin what the sun feels like. Now those itches can be scratched, so to speak.


Speaking of itches, though, there is one tiny problem with my love of the spring warmth. Actually, it's more like a million tiny problems: bug bites. Oh my word, do I get them! Ever since I was a little girl I have been a magnet for bug bites and they well up like I've been pelted with a paint gun. This year, I'm getting serious in my defensive plan against those pesky biters, starting with my favorite outdoor spot: our front porch. I did buy a citronella candle but wanted to do something extra that would also perk our curb appeal.

Here is a quick list of some of the best plants for repelling bugs, especially mosquitoes. You can click on each one to find a thorough overview it, courtesy of the fantastic Missouri Botanical Garden.

Lemon grass

Catnip is generally regarded as one of the very best plants to repel mosquitoes, roughly ten times better than DEET. That made it the obvious winner for me! It's a hearty perennial herb that prefers sunlight and yes, is loved by cats. I read somewhere that catnip has the equivalent affect on cats that marijuana has on humans. How about that? Matt and I walked over to our local nursery and bought up three bunches. I painted some very old terracotta pots and voila! our porch is a bit more colorful and I'll hopefully avoid some welts bug bites. And maybe make a few feline friends?

I'll keep you posted on how well the Catnip works!


  1. I've been waiting ages for a new post! I think I might go buy some catnip now for our front porch. Great idea! Also, I have some extra green paint, so I may find some old pots at my parent's house to paint as well. I like your "real" craft projects that anyone can do/afford.

    1. Thanks, Mary! It makes me so happy to know that there are some folks actually trying this stuff! :-)

  2. Interested to see how it works. I have had potted basil on the deck before but didn't notice it helped. Now, I bought bunches of orange mint. It smells lovely. The person I bought it from at farmers market, said I can boil it for a mood lift, add it to my bath, or even freeze it in ice cube trays. So far, all I've done is bring the pots inside every week for winter's return! It's May 4, and I have snow boots on!

    1. P.S. What is the white fuzzy flower in the first photo?

    2. Orange mint...sounds like an interesting herb! Let me know how it works for you. Also, the first photo is of a Blue Shadow, or Fothergilla depending on how scientific you want to be. ;-)