Sweet Cicely Attacked by Squirrels; Sweet Cicely Oil
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Eloy Jerome
Posted on: November 27, 2003

My name is Eloy Jerome, and I live in Lancaster Pennsylvania. I ordered some Sweet Cicely plants from you a while back. One is still growing. I’m fighting the squirrels here from digging them up. Anyhow, I have two questions.

One, and first, do you know of anything to keep the squirrels from digging up my plants? I have the plants in a pot on the balcony. I like both squirrels and plants, but the squirrels are making me upset with them, because I really want my Sweet Cicely to grow – they killed all of them except this one. I was thinking of maybe using garlic powder or something, i don’t know. I don’t think a sign saying "Private Property" or "No Tresspassing" will work because they think they can do whatever they want.

According to George Ware, in his "Complete Guide to Pest Control", squirrels can be repelled with moth balls or moth flakes (paradichlorobenzene or napthalene). Or you can try to trap them using walnuts or other nuts as a bait.

The second question I have – and I really hope you can help me with it -- I’ve been searching everywhere for some Sweet Cicely essential oil, and I can’t find it. Anise seed is commonly sold, but it’s not the same as Sweet Cicely. I can find the seeds, the plants, and the roots to buy – but no essential oil. Are you able to help me with this? If no company makes it, can you get it for me special, or tell me how I can make some myself? I think you boil the herbs and roots, and collect the steam drops off the lid, or a cloth used to catch them -- I don’t know. If you can help me I would really really appreciate it.

I have never heard of anyone producing sweet cicely oil, but in principle there is no reason why it couldn’t be done. If somebody is making it we probably can get it. We will investigate and get back to you.

Distilling your own essential oil is possible to do at home, but you need a lot of fresh herb to get useful amounts of oil. For home gardeners the small yields just don’t warrant the effort and expense. In this case however it may be your only option if there are no suppliers.

By the way, thank you so very much for the Sweet Cicely plants -- there’s only one left surviving from these troubling squirrels messing with them. Thank you.

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