[Herbalist] RE: patchouli oil, insect repellent, and a Zone 9 garden report

Wyllow MacMuireadhaigh wyllowmacm at netscape.net
Tue Feb 24 20:14:18 PST 2004

Well, I timed out while writing this a week ago, and am just getting around to sending it...

Thanks for all of your inputs on the Patchoul oil - what a wealth of information!

Well, if patchoulli is Indian or late-period, it my not be an appropriate herb for me to use.  If it specifically dealt with mosquitoes, I might have used it anyway.

I did a little more digging on the web:
 - did you know it is a mint?  It is specifically used to scent Indian cloth & inks.
 - it does seem to be good for the skin, but has no listed bug-repelling qualities. (Someone mentioned fleas...)
The lavender in the soap  probably acted as the repellent.  I'll see if I can pick up a bottle of that, instead.  If I have time, I'll make up the non-pennyroyal version of insect repellent to try.  I'm not sure I am ready to play with pennyroyal...
And I'll have plenty of fresh rosemary for our beds.   I wonder whether burning it would act as an area repellent, like the sandalwood?  I know it releases a lot of smoke, which acts as a bronchial dialator.  (A local herbalist shared that with me during a rough bout of bronchitus.) 

Well, it's past the frost date in my area (Coastal Ansteorra) - and we actually got a day of frost this year.  My garden report, as usual, reads like a humerous tragedy:
My garden survived the winter with:
- a struggling patch of creeping thyme, 
- a big rosemary bush, 
- a banana tree  (which I didn't plant!) who gave us bananas last year, 
- a tiny green pepper plant with a tiny green pepper, 
- a tiny lavendar sprig, 
- and a sprawling root vegetable that may be potato or yam.  (I can't remember what rotting vegetable I shoved in the ground - it's developing orange root buds.)  
I think I starved the armadillo & opossum out.  I killed the peppermint again, but am (ever the optimist) starting some catnip, basil, and marjoram inside.  And I have a bio-contained vanilla plant that is ready to be opened.
My insidous blackberry bush plantings on the culvert bank are still alive, but haven't produced yet - maybe this will be the year.
Once again, I am going to try to start a dyeplant garden.  This starts with turning clay into real soil, and I usually rush it.  If I instead move the mulchpile to that garden for the summer, it'll be ready for cool-weather plants (yarrow, lady's bedstraw - hmm, need to dig up that old list) in the fall.

I think I'll focus on adding to the thyme, this spring.  Before planning much else, I definitely need more thyme...

Anyone else have early garden reports?  Any unexpected survivals or deaths?  Hopefully, I'll see some of you at the Thursday get-together at Gulf Wars!

--H.L. Wyllow MacMuireadhaigh

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