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Flowers can accent any garden.  They add color and can attract bees to pollinate your entire garden.  But flowers can also help your garden in other ways.

Certain flowers can deter unwanted pests.  Must-haves in your garden are plants whose odors discourage unwanted insects from feasting on the succulent leaves and shoots of your favorite blooms. French marigolds (Tagetes patula), with strong odor in their leaves and flowers, confuse pests looking for their favorite plants. Marigolds also attract hoverflies which prey on aphids. The African species (T. erecta) releases a substance from its roots called thiopene which repels bad nematodes. The more of these attractive workhorses you can plant, the better.

Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) have long been used by gardeners and farmers to protect their plants. Ants will herd aphids onto the sunflowers and away from your more vulnerable plants. Sunflowers also produce plentiful seedheads, perfect for the birds.

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