Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | GARDEN - GREEN THUMB WORDS: MA­REE CUR­RAN Got a gar­den­ing ques­tion? Email ma­[email protected]­nat­by­

Last week I wrote about how good bugs can help in your gar­den, and some of the plants that can at­tract them. This week, we’re look­ing at the flip side of that – how can you use plants to re­pel in­sects.

Pest re­pel­lent plants work in a few dif­fer­ent ways. Mask­ing plants – in­clud­ing sage, sweet mar­jo­ram, thyme, laven­der, and scented gera­ni­ums – pro­duce strong, volatile oils and scents that ac­tu­ally mask the fra­grance of the plants the in­sects might be look­ing for.

So you can plant th­ese herbs, as well as mem­bers of the gar­lic fam­ily, such as chives, near roses and citrus to help re­pel aphids. They’ll also help to keep white­fly away.

There are also re­pel­lent plants such as cot­ton laven­der or san­tolina, tansy and worm­wood. Th­ese plants pro­duce a scent or taste that is so bit­ter or pu­trid it drives in­sects away.

Marigolds help to re­pel ne­ma­todes, which is why they are such a good com­pan­ion for toma­toes. Oregano will help re­pel cab­bage moth from cab­bages, broc­coli and kale.

Cat­nip is said to be good planted with egg­plant to re­pel the me­tal­lic flea bee­tles that chew holes in the leaves. This herb from the mint fam­ily is also a good de­ter­rent for ants, aphids, cock­roaches and wee­vils. It’s also known to re­pel mice.

Tansy and basil will both re­pel ants, flies and mos­qui­toes, so you might want to plant them near doors, win­dows and out­door en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas. Tansy, laven­der, cat­nip, pen­ny­royal and mint also re­pel fleas, so you can plant th­ese near your pet’s rest­ing places.

Worm­wood is good for re­pelling cats, and sprin­kling the leaves around young seedlings can help to keep snails away.

The scent and flavour of tar­ragon is dis­liked by many pests, mak­ing tar­ragon a great herb for in­ter­crop­ping to pro­tect its gar­den mates. Nearly all veg­eta­bles grow well with tar­ragon.

One of the fore­most au­thor­i­ties on this topic is Penny Wood­ward. You can or­der her book, Pest Re­pel­lent Plants, on her web­site – www.pen­ny­wood­

There is ab­so­lutely no doubt that you can limit the need for pes­ti­cides by in­clud­ing in your gar­den plants that will at­tract ben­e­fi­cial in­sects. You can also plant to re­pel some of the pesty ones. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing area of study, and there is a wealth of in­for­ma­tion avail­able. And it’s de­light­fully easy to make some small changes in your gar­den that will yield big re­sults.

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