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Keep Liberty Beautiful: Fight bugs naturally with easy-to-grow plants
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

Dr. Karen Bell

Keep Liberty Beautiful

Keep Liberty Beautiful is getting ready for our Earth Day Celebration 2023, April 21 at Bryant Commons, from 3–6 p.m. This year, we are looking at having our first mobile garden workshop near the container garden exhibit. The participants will learn about having a mobile garden, how to take care of it, and hands-on planting their choice of plant.

With the weather getting warmer, more people are out enjoying their yards. More sunshine means more flying bugs. How cool would it be to have plants around you that help controls them? We need our flying friends, but I also want to sit in peace on my patio. So, I found some natural ways to help control the bugs.

To help control mosquitos and other flying pests, it might be time to start digging in the dirt! You can add several plants to your landscape that are natural bug repellents. Several can be used to make some bug spray! And on top of that, the herbs are edible. These are some versatile plants, and they look pretty, too. And here is another selling point: Most are very easy to grow.

When choosing which plants are right for you, consider where to place them. Put them where they will make the most impact, like at doorways, near windows, and near outdoor seating. Now is a great time to plant many of these.

• Basil is an excellent plant for cooking and for making your bug repellent. You can search your own recipes, but here is a quick natural mosquito repellent made with dried basil. Steep a cup of dried basil in ½ cup of filtered boiling water like you would make tea. You can use a tea ball for steeping the basil. Add in a little basil essential oil and about ½ cup of alcohol that is safe for the skin.

• Catnip is also a plant that is considered a mosquito repellent. Citronella is an alimony plant that is an option, too. Why buy citronella candles when you can plant some in pots near outdoor seating areas?

• Garlic plants are also a possibility. You can blend the bulbs with water and water other plants and foliage with it to help repel insects.

• Lemon balm is a wonderfully fragrant plant that can also be useful for keeping mosquitoes away. It is also, of course, much more appealing than garlic and citronella.

• Rosemary is a fragrant cooking herb that can be grown as a bush in your yard. You can boil a cup of dried rosemary in a quart of filtered water for 20 minutes. Then just strain it into another quart of filtered water. Pour into individual spray bottles to use when going outside where mosquitoes lurk. Be sure to store unused portions in the fridge.

• Several flowering plants, such as geraniums, lavender, and marigolds, are unpleasant for bugs. They make an excellent choice for patio and deck gardens. Bug fighters and pretty, too.

• Mint plants are not only delicious and fragrant dessert garnishes; they can also be excellent mosquito repellent. Bugs hate the smell and the flavor of them. Mint is easy to grow; you can use it for mosquito repellent and mojitos. Make sure that you plant it in a container or confined area because it grows and spreads rapidly. This is a great time to start prepping your patio or deck area with plants that will work for you in the ongoing fight against flying pests.

March is the start time for Great American Cleanups. The City of Midway will start the cleanups on March 25, 2023, at the Liberty County Community Complex, from 9 a.m. to noon. Allenhurst is next on April 1, 2023, at their City Hall, from 9 a.m. to noon. For the list of dates for the other cities and the county, go to www.

We hope to see you all at the Liberty County Earth Day, on April 21 at Bryant Commons, from 3–6 p.m. For more information on natural gardening options that can enhance your life or more information about Keep Liberty Beautiful call us at (912) 880-4888 or email klcb@libertycounty

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