Now that Springtime is here, our attention turns outside, which mainly involves assessing the condition of our backyard or garden. But before you make the trip to Lowe's or Home Depot to purchase plants or related supplies, we found some plants that will not only beautify your backyard, but repel pesky summertime pests as well.
Marigold. This bright, hardy, annual plant is an effective mosquito repellent. They contain pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and also have a unique aroma that repulses bugs. The flowers themselves are lovely, and provide a beautiful pop of color to your outdoor space. Extra tip: place them around the borders of your home to form a natural mosquito barrier (for your house).
Citronella. A common ingredient in mosquito repellent, this perennial grass emits a strong aroma that overpowers other cents, keeping mosquitoes at bay. It grows very easily, and can reach heights of up to 6 feet high, and can be either grown in pots, or added to your garden.
Basil. This plant is actually a triple threat. Not only is it a delicious cooking ingredient, but it looks great in your garden, AND repels mosquitoes! Many varieties of basil exist, but experts recommend lemon or cinnamon basil as a mosquito repellent. And since it is an easy plant to maintain, no green thumb is needed to enjoy its benefits.
Lavender. Known for its beautiful purple flowers and calming scent, this plant naturally repels mosquitoes as well. It can be grown indoors near a sunny window, or outside to repel bugs.
Pennyroyal. This cute little flower is another natural mosquito deterrent. Planted around flowerbeds, it also makes a wonderful groundcover, not to mention that they attract butterflies of all kinds! It can even be used to flavor some fish dishes as well.
Check out more plants and flowers that are also natural bug repellents at: http://www.naturallivingideas.com/11-plants-that-repel-mosquitoes/
With snow in the forecast for this weekend, now is is a great time to start thinking about the warmer weather! Entertaining in the summer is great - it gives us a chance to enjoy the warm weather, pool, and sweet summer treats together. But we've all had the same dilemma once the guests have been invited: What should I serve? How can I spruce up the backyard and get it ready to accommodate my guests? How can I "wow" my guests? Not to worry, Coldwell Banker has a list of great ideas for backyard parties that will provide unique answers those questions, to which we have added our own suggestions. It will help you create backyard parties that will be talked about long after the summer season.
1. Low Country Boil. Serve a compilation of summertime must-eats family-style: shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn-on-the-cob smothered in Old Bay. We suggest serving up some ice cold Sam Adams Summer Ale for the adults, and some fresh lemonade for the kids to compliment this delicious meal.
2. Old-Fashioned Family Picnic. When guests aren't swimming, play games such as a 3 legged race and water balloon (which are available at our store) toss. Have the kids manage the scoreboard with chalk on a nearby sidewalk. For cuisine, provide a make-your-own sandwich station. Kids and adults alike will enjoy an afternoon or evening of family fun!
3. Craft Beer Tasting. There's nothing like an ice cold beer after a dip in the pool. Have guests bring some bottles their favorite craft beer. Pour each beer brand into one-ounce tastes into small cups labeled by number. Then have your guests rate their favorites based on pre-set criteria (such as flavor, body and aroma). At the end of the party, announce the winners and call out the guest with the best palate. Serve beer-friendly foods like pretzels, pigs in a blanket and chicken wings. Guests will certainly be saying "Cheers!"
4. Backyard Movie Night. Who says cooking out is the only thing you can do in the summer? Why not take advantage of the balmy nights by setting up the silver screen in your own backyard! Just set up a screen (a white sheet and projector do the trick), and pick your favorite movie - instant outdoor theater! To enhance the movie going experience, serve cinema snack staples like popcorn and Junior mints. Ask friends to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets to make themselves comfortable, and your party will be sure to get a five star review!
For more cool ideas, check out http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/10-unique-backyard-party-ideas/ and stop by our store to get your pool up and running!