With the long glorious days and warm nights of summer come flies and mosquitoes. Most of the available remedies are poisonous and harmful in the long run. But after a few years of trying to combat pests, I’m pleased to say that I have finally found a simple solution.
Not only do hanging baskets of plants keep away flies, mosquitoes and other annoying intruders, they also look pretty and will complement any stable yard, unlike, say, some of those smelly commercially available flytraps.
The plants that you can combine and mix in baskets have such great properties it would be a shame not to have at least one basket in your stable yard.
Do it yourself
To make your own hanging garden in your stable, you will need:
- A hanging basket
- A plastic liner
- Potting soil
- Peat or hessian
As to what goes into the basket, you can choose from the following: marigold, garlic, basil, lemon verbena, spring onions, chillies, wormwood, rue, carnations, yarrow, turnips, costmary, pyrethrum, feverfew, tansy, coriander, lavender, mint, oregano, scented geraniums, sage, petunia, rosemary, santolina, and soapwort.
The combination is up to you. Choose the plants that you love.
As you can see, some are winter plants, others are summer. Some are annuals and others are perennials. Chat to a knowledgeable nurseryman and pick what will work best for your area.
Many of these plants can be eaten by you and your horse. Others can be harvested and used in creams and sprays.
Once you’ve made your choice, line the basket with peat or hessian. Put in the thin layer of plastic. After piercing a few holes in the plastic, fill the basket with potting soil.
Plant the seeds according to the instructions on the packet. Water regularly – most hanging baskets need water every day.
Place the baskets around the stables, your home, the muck-heap, in fact any where you want to repel insects. It’s a good idea to hang them at such a height that you can admire the flowers and not smack your head when rushing around the stable yard.
If you’re not enthusiastic about watering the baskets daily and changing the plants regularly, you could plant them in a flowerbed on the ground.
I have my mint growing at the tap where the water buckets get filled. My fruit trees are circled by cheerful marigolds. The catmint is planted in an old dog basket outside the tack room, for the cats to sleep on.
The muck heap is hidden by a beautiful hedge of santolina – and the beautiful grey leaves contrast nicely with the dark manure. One could easily be forgiven for thinking it was landscaped by a famous gardener.
And the plus point is that there are no flies on the muck heap.