This post is sponsored by Texas Department of State Health Services
It’s another beautiful day in Wonderland! It’s going to be a lovely season in the backyard and I can’t wait to show you around. This is the third season for my roses and I have a feeling this will be the year when they really take off.
We’re going to take a tour of the garden today but first, we have something to discuss. I’ve partnered with the Texas Department of State Health Services to keep you all safe from mosquitoes in the garden this growing season. Texas has a long mosquito season and, as someone who loves to spend as much time outdoors as possible, I’m all about reducing the risk of mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases.
We all need to DECLARE WAR on mosquitos. The Texas DSHS is encouraging Texans to:
Wear long sleeves and pants while outdoors.
Apply EPA-approved insect repellent.
Remove standing water from your yards.
Mosquitoes don’t only ruin your day, they can ruin your life with mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, West Nile, Chikungunya virus, and dengue fever. The best way that we can protect each other is to help reduce conditions for mosquito breeding.
Mosquitoes can breed in even a tablespoon of standing water. Be aware of items left outdoors that can collect water and dump it. This is a big one for me. My fire pit cover collects water when it rains so the first thing I do when the rain stops is run outside to dump the water. Check your window screens each spring so that you can enjoy fresh air without letting any mosquitoes indoors. I often entertain outdoors and keep my favorite EPA-approved insect repellent by the door for my guests to use.
As a gardener, I also want to mention a few plants I like to have in my yard to repel mosquitoes. Lavender, rosemary, basil, scented geraniums, and marigolds are said to repel mosquitoes with their strong smell. Plus, those are lovely addition to any garden.
I have a pot of lavender by my fire pit patio. I absolutely love relaxing by my fire pit at the end of a long work day with a glass of wine and each night, I pluck a lavender leaf off and inhale deeply. It’s a ritual that takes just a few seconds but is so calming. I also make sure to wear EPA-approved insect repellent or long sleeves to protect yourself while enjoying your garden.
In my herb garden I grow rosemary and basil. Basil needs to be replanted each year, as it’s an annual, but rosemary can grow so large, you can actually use it as a wonderfully fragrant hedge! My rosemary is still in my herb garden but eventually, I’ll move it when it needs more space. Also in my herb garden is oregano, sage, thyme, and chives. I have mint in a separate pot because it’s so invasive and needs to be contained. I don’t actually love sage but I do use it in a couple of recipes and grow it so that I never have to buy it in a grocery store. It also looks lovely in a vase!
Moving on with our garden tour, I planted a new hydrangea. Now I’ve tried a hydrangea before and it died but it wasn’t in a great spot. My mother always told me that everyone thinks the key to gardening is water but it isn’t. Light is the key to gardening. Even though this hydrangea was moved just a few feet over, it’s in a shady spot that’s free of roots from my backyard trees so I think this one has a fighting chance!
My courtyard roses are several years old now, as I planted them as soon as I could when I bought the house. Do not hesitate when you move in to pop things in the yard – many plants need years to get established! The first two years for roses is crucial; they focus on their roots and now they’re getting to the point when they can focus on the blooms. Already I can see the huge difference between this spring and last spring!
Whether you’re planting new hydrangeas, roses, herbs or tending to your garden, it’s important to remember to create physical barriers between yourself and mosquitoes. Gardening should be a relaxing and rewarding experience – don’t let mosquitoes ruin your outside time!
That’s it for now! Stay tuned to see how the garden fares this summer. For more information on mosquito prevention, visit http://www.TexasMosquitoes.org.