This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We take the following from an exchange, but it would be worth while enquiring how far away the snakes are driven ? We have certainly seen the garter snake within fifty feet of a Geranium bed:
" We lately read an account of a mining locality in Calaveras county being infested with snakes. In this connection we may observe that the report is that every species of snake may be permanently driven away from an infested place, by planting Geraniums. In South Africa the Caffir people thus rid their premises of snakes. A missionary of South Africa had his parsonage surrounded by a narrow belt of Geraniums, which effectually protected the residence from any kind of snake. A few yards away from this Geranium belt a snake would occasionally be found. It is well known that the whole Geranium genus is highly redolent of volatile oils - lemon-scented, musk-scented, and peppermint-scented. What, therefore, is a very pleasant nose-gay for man is repugnant to the serpent tribe".
It is hardly safe to take newspaper reports for pure science. How often, for instance, have we been told that the honey-bee in California never stores honey, and there have been no end to pretty theories " to account for the fact," built on this report; yet we find the following quiet paragraph in a recent California paper:
" Immense stores of honey were recently found in the fissures of the rocks in the mountain regions in California, by the workmen engaged in blasting a roadway for the Southern Pacific Railroad".
And we see by it that the story that bees do not stow away honey in California is all fudge.