Lazy Gardening: Include plants that pull double duty
Growing plants that yield beauty is great. Growing some plants that yield additional benefits makes gardening more worthwhile.
I have marigolds (picture above) planted in containers and flower beds throughout my backyard. Marigolds come in differing sizes and various shades of yellow, orange and red blooms, making it easy to blend those flowers in with other plantings.Marigolds repel mosquitoes, making time spent in the backyard more pleasant. Marigolds also repel insects that feed on vegetable plants, which is why I have them growing amid my bell peppers (picture below).
A field beyond our backyard fence has been farmed since our house was built in 1993. Every time that field got worked over, we’d have mice coming into the house. A particularly bad infestation occurred in October 2013.
We bought small blocks of poison and placed them throughout the house. More than a dozen mice were killed, with each dead mouse emitting a stench. I didn’t enjoy killing mice, let alone dealing with the stench: I just wanted the infestations to stop.
I read that mice detest the peppermint aroma, so I ordered some peppermint plants to grow in the backyard. As the plants grew, I snipped off leaves and placed them in small mesh sachets (picture below). The sachets then went in the kitchen pantry, cupboards, closets, garage and attic. I haven’t detected evidence of any mice in our house since 2013. One of these years I may try using peppermint to flavor food or beverages, too.
While I grow marigolds and peppermint to deter pests, I grow zinnias (picture below) because they attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Seeing the butterflies or hummingbirds flutter and hover amid those zinnias is delightful.
You may wish to keep some animals away while attracting others. You may wish to grow some plants that help vegetables grow, or you may wish to include plants that emit pleasant fragrances. Adding plants that deliver such benefits makes the time invested in gardening so much more worthwhile.
Richard Buse is a Dallas-Fort Worth area freelance writer with more than 25 years’ professional experience. For more information regarding his background and services, contact him at: email@example.com.