Plants DO Keep Bugs Away!
Recently I was asked if plants really keep unwanted insects away; yes, to a degree, they do. Just as the fragrance of some flowers, herbs and grasses attract insects—especially pollinators—the reverse is also true. There are dozens of plants that repel the nasty insects and spiders that invade our lives. If you are willing and diligent in your efforts, you can eliminate the need for dangerous pesticides.
Before I talk about just a few of the many worthy plant repellents, let me remind you that there are many biologicals and insects worth introducing to your garden. Among these are lady beetles, praying mantis and lace wings. These can be purchased quite reasonably and, IF you provide a good habitat, they’ll stick around for the season. Nematodes, little worm-like parasites, will attack over 200 garden pests and Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring spore will safely attack unwanted insects and is harmless to birds. All of these are available online.
Now, for those who also want to add beauty and color to the garden while also eliminating bad bugs, we have a wide-array of plants and flowers; in fact, there are at least two or three dozen plants known to provide insect and spider control. I’m going to offer some tidbits on the most common plants typically available in garden centers. These include flowers, herbs and small shrubs. In each case, a given plant may have a stronger effect on some insects but not others.
Marigolds are one of the oldest garden pesticides provided by nature. Unfortunately, they are not very effective pest controllers. The odor of Marigolds is pungent, and many people dislike it (not me!) and then leap to the conclusion neither will bugs like the smell. There is some evidence marigolds repel mosquitoes so all is not lost if you plant some. If you plant marigolds, plant them for their beauty and in groups of seven to nine plants.
Many herbs repel insects. Basil, lavender, lemon thyme, mint and rosemary all repel mosquitoes. Additionally, they have pleasant fragrances for our noses and they further offer themselves as seasoning for our foods. One can dry a number of these herbs and bring them indoors as bundles to lay about for fragrance and insect repelling.
Many annual flowers DO have insect-repelling qualities. One I intend to use this year is the Four O’ Clock. This was my favorite flower as a kid because of the large bush-like growth and the myriad of colors. I’ve recently read that these flowers attract Japanese Beetles and then poison them with their nectar! What a great last meal! If you have room in your vegetable garden, plant lots of tulips around tomatoes, squash and most any aphid-attracting plant in the garden. These easy to grow and readily available annuals will liven up the garden as they deal with aphids, leaf-hoppers, tomato hornworm and squash beetles.
Finally, I suggest you do a little searching on the internet because there are many, many more beneficial plants we can add to the garden. The key is planting in groups so consider even using low-hanging baskets of plants right in the middle of all the veggies. Similarly, use mosquito repellent plants around where you might spend a warm summer evening. So, start wandering about the garden centers as you imagine how you’ll set up insect barriers.
Dog’s Rapid Decline Blamed
Supremist Tea Set
This group of porcelains, a teapot and two cups, was made in Russia in 1923 in the “Supremist” style.
It did not attract any bidders at a Florida auction,
even though it is a good example of a special style.
Once in a while, an unfamiliar design shows up in an auction. The Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches listed a tea set, two cups and a teapot with an Art Deco look and unfamiliar marks. The set was white with black and red blocks of color. The teapot had a vertical spout and rectangular handles creating a new geometric shape. The mark solved the mystery once it was translated. Written on the bottom of each piece in the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet was the word that translated to “Supremist.” Next to it was the familiar hammer-and-sickle logo.
Some quick research told the story: It was an example of Supremist Art popular in Russia from 1913 to the late 1920s. (The teapot was dated 1923.) The Russian who created the style claimed it to be superior to all art of the past. It was totally abstract, based on the circle, square and cross and the colors red, white and black. Yet something — the extreme look of the set, the high estimate of $7,000 to $9,000, the lack of demand for a teapot with cups instead of a set with teapot, creamer and sugar, or perhaps the Russian origin —kept bidders away. The group did not sell.
At any auction, there can be valuable items that are passed over because the day’s crowd is looking for something else. Timing and location do have an effect on prices.
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How much is an old World War I helmet worth?
Steel helmets, sometimes called trench helmets, were developed in France in 1915 to provide protection to troops fighting in the trenches during World War I. Most soldiers wore leather or cloth hats before that. The British and Germans developed their own version of the steel helmet. When the American Expeditionary Forces entered the war in 1917, they only had wool hats. Helmets were bought from Britain to outfit troops until the U.S. began making a version known as the M-1917 later that year. The helmets were coated with sawdust while the paint was still wet, making a harder, non-reflective surface.
There are collectors who want anything from World War I, and re-enactors who want authentic equipment. Complete World War I steel helmets in good condition sell for over $100.
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Celery dish, RS Prussia, pink roses, green leaves, light green ground, white handles, 13 1/2 x 7 inches, $30.
Bottle, soda, Catawba Club beverages, 8 1/2 inches, $120.
Mardi Gras, parade bulletin, Krewe of Proteus, Zoraster, Walle & Co., 1912, 28 x 42 inches, $340.
Comic book, detective comics No. 27, 1st Batman appearance, DC golden age, 10 cents, May 1939, 8 inches, $660.
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TIP: Mix three parts water and one part vinegar and use the mixture to sponge off the white salt stains that form on leather shoes or boots.
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Cremer’s Baked Ham with Maple Glaze
5-6# Roses Spiral Cut Ham
1/4 cup Big Timber pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1. Remove ham from refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before roasting. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place ham in a roasting pan.
2. Roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and mustard powder.
3. When the 30 minutes are up, brush 1/3 of the glaze over the ham. Bake 20 minutes, remove ham, brush with remaining glaze. Let ham stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.