“The sight of a cat in this strange ecstasy over a bunch of Catnip always gives me a half-sense of fear; she becomes such a truly wild creature, such a miniature tiger”.
Alice Morse Earle, Old Time Gardens, 1901
The catnip in my garden is flourishing after the rain. A few weeks ago it was a patch of brown sticks, that someone else may have given up for dead, but I knew it would be back, and if not cut back often, would take over my whole garden.
Catnip is a great container plant, for the yard or patio. Catnip is perennial, and is a member of the mint family. Nepeta cataria can be used as an ornamental, in teas, for medicinal purposes, for the bees, and last but not least, for your cats.
This is Tinkerbell, my old cat. She was dropped off at my house about 13 years ago, (that happens a lot when you live in the country), and pretty much rules the roost. But catnip does nothing for her. The leaves contain a chemical call nepetalactone, which acts as an aphrodisiac for some cats, and just drives some bananas.
But catnip does deter mosquitos, and research has show that it is ten times more effective than DEET, and certainly more earth friendly. Here’s a recipe you can make yourself to repel them.
Catnip mosquito repellent
2 cups catnip, washed
2 cups almond oil
Bruise catnip and pack into a clean jar. Cover with oil, put a lid on the jar and set in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Shake jar lightly every day, and push herbs under the oil to avoid mold. Strain into a clean jar, seal and refrigerate for up to 8 months. To use, rub on exposed skin. (If your mosquitoes are especially ferocious, you can add other strong-smelling herbs, such as rosemary, pennyroyal, basil)
Recipe is from China Bayles Book of Days
Susan Wittig Albert