Friday, June 19, 2015

Reality Bites

"A little learning is a dangerous thing." --Alexander Pope

We still do not have a yard.  We have mud.  A little bit of grass is beginning to emerge here and there but it's mostly a vast expanse of mud and puddles bordering our new pool.  I remembered seeing a post or two on Facebook listing flowers and plants that deter mosquitos.  I remembered marigolds but did a quick search to see if the post had any basis in fact and what other plants would work.  Different sites gave similar lists so I headed out for pots and plants!  I couldn't find lavender in the garden center and forgot to look for an actual citronella plant (I didn't think to search the lists while actually at the store) but found marigolds everywhere.

I put pots of marigolds on my upper deck a month ago.  I did not buy any of the large, pretty, colorful flowers as we already had large black bumblebees out there.  (They tend to freak my kids out a bit.  I've reminded my offspring that while they're sweet, they need not worry about a bee mistaking them for flowers so they'll be fine.)  I put marigolds up there and was happy that we've been able to sit up there without many mosquitos!

Later, when talking with a landscaper, I asked him if it was true that lavender would deter mosquitos like marigolds.  He didn't know of any plants that actually deter them and reminded me that my deck is higher and mosquitos prefer to stay low by the ground.  Okay, maybe my marigolds weren't helping but I figured they weren't doing any harm, either so I left them on the deck and yesterday, bought many, many more to plant near my pool.  While I was planting, the kids were having fun in the pool but had to duck once in a while to avoid a pesky wasp or two that were scaring them.  (What happened to those big, fuzzy bees?)  I suggested we take a break and go sit up on the deck for dinner. They could stay in their wet suits but get up and away from the pool and the bugs.  They climbed the stairs half-way and stood there, waiting for another wasp to stop circling the deck, then went to sit down.  My youngest started yelling that our dog "pooped on the chair!"

My Golden Retriever is capable of a lot of mischief but actually climbing up on a patio chair to do that?  Not likely.  I came up to investigate and did find something on the chair but it was not put there by my dog.  I stormed into the house, complaining that I've been trying to avoid chemicals but I now we had a mud-dauber nest on a seat cushion and no spray to kill those suckers.  My husband said he thought we had hornet killer in the garage but while I went to get it, he took care of the nest.  He went out with a fly swatter and swatted the one trying to protect the thing, scraped it off the chair and kicked it somewhere!  (I asked what we would do if it was still full of wasps but he said he stomped on it!)

It was gone but the kids didn't want to sit there, any more.  One went inside and another came back down to sit by the pool, beside the large pots of marigolds as I went back to planting.  I finished the pots up with ivy around the edges, just as a deer came by to investigate!  (I'd forgotten the deer as I was planting my large pots of salad for them!)  The deer left, I cleaned up, poured a glass of wine and got back online.  I wanted to read more about marigolds and see if they really would deter any insects, at all.  This time, I read a little further.  One site said that both mosquitos and many gardeners dislike them for their strong smell but they are a good plant to place by windows and doors to keep the mosquitos from entering your house.  The same site cautioned, however, not to put them on patios or around a pool as the large orange blooms can attract wasps.
It does look like poop.

No comments: