As we gear up for a busy spring in the gardens, I hear lots of people wondering about Lyme Disease protection, and how to best repel ticks, naturally or otherwise.

Ticks are out and biting now. This handsome fella had two ticks just on his head a couple days ago. In the duration of time I’ve worked as a landscape designer in Saratoga and the Capital region, I’ve been bitten upwards of thirty times. Lyme disease has affected every human in my household.

20130416-130942.jpgThat’s 100% of us.

20130416-131035.jpg This is about half of our daily supplement regimen.
Fortunately, I been successful in keeping ticks off myself the past two summers of garden design work. The photo at the top of the page is my personal arsenal; essential oils of Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Cedarwood and Geranium make me invisible to ticks it seems. (A funny side effect is people tell me frequently how nice I smell. Not that it matters, repelling ticks naturally is what I care about.) Alternatively, many colleagues treat their clothing with permrethrin and speak highly of the effectiveness of this, “botanically sourced insecticide.” Apparently permrethrin can be applied to clothing and remains an active insect repellent through six wash cycles.
Prevention of problems is much easier than solutions to problems. This is true in garden design and health issues, of course. Debbie Roberts, garden writer with Nativeplantwildlifegarden.com, has some thoughtful and provocative insights into our complicity of the current Lyme epidemic, and some accessible backyard natural solutions from the ground up.