You’re not the only one enjoying the garden this summer. Chances are good that aphids, gnats, rabbits, and deer also love your lush annuals, perennials, vegetables, and herbs.
Watching pests destroy your garden is frustrating, not to mention expensive (Americans spent more than $36 billion on their lawns and gardens in 2015, according to the National Gardening Survey, but giving up on gardening or spraying tons of toxic chemicals are not the only ways to deal with pests.
For a garden filled with beautiful blooms that insects and furry foragers won’t touch, plant these four naturally pest-resistant plants:
Lemon thyme: If neighborhood cats are using your garden as their litter box, this citrus-scented herb will have them searching for another place to do their business. The ASPCA rates this annual herb as nontoxic, but cats don’t like the scent, making lemon thyme a safe way to keep Fluffy out of the garden.
Zinnias: This colorful annual is a feast for the eyes but not for deer. Zinnias have prickly centers that deer will avoid.
The easy-to-grow annuals are native to Mexico and come in a range of colors from red and pink to yellow and white. They grow best in full sun and well-drained soil and bloom all summer long.
Marigolds: The flowers of these bright orange and yellow annuals are edible – and make a delicious addition to salads – but rabbits don’t like the bitter flavor and will leave marigolds alone. Marigolds also repel mosquitos and aphids, making this triple threat a great choice for the garden.
Marigolds thrive in full sun but will also tolerate partial shade. The summer-blooming annuals can be grown in garden beds or pots and will tolerate poor (but moist) soil.
Columbine: The star-shaped flowers of this colorful perennial make it a pretty addition to the garden. Native to wildflower meadows, columbine attracts bees, birds, and butterflies but is resistant to deer and rabbits.
Columbine thrives in partial sun and will tolerate shade; the plants grow best in moist, well-drained soil and can reach up to eight feet in height. The flowers bloom in a range of colors from red and yellow to blue and pink.
In addition to keeping pests from ravishing your plants, you can keep them from pestering you.
Let’s face it – no one wants to spend time outdoors when mosquitoes, gnats, and flies are buzzing about, but staying indoors is about as appealing as slathering your skin with toxic bug repellant.