PLANTING AROUND THE BARBEQUE
I would like to plant something beside a barbecue that would give both colour and scent in summer and autumn - and that would repel wasps, bees, and flies. I have only just finished the structure so I will be planting for next year Do you have any suggestions? T. G. Buncrana
As bees, wasps and flies tend to be attracted to fragrant flowers for their nectar, your best bet is to go for fragranced foliage plants instead. Many a barbeque has been thrown into turmoil when you find yourself sharing the food with a swarm of bees and wasps. Some aromatic herbs, such as lavender, tansy, mint and rue were traditionally used in dried form as insect repellents for aphids, midges and mosquitoes. You may however find that you need to pinch out any flowers, as these will attract bees and wasps. This attraction may not pose such a problem if you intend to entertain in the evenings, as bees and wasps are generally more active during the day. Lemon scents tend to deter flies, so you could try growing lemon verbena in a pot (this plant is not fully hardy and would therefore need to be brought into a greenhouse or conservatory during the winter months). Alternatively, burning citronella candles can be just as affective. For colour try using double flowering cultivars and hybrids as these tend to be less fragranced and therefore less attractive to the beasties.