ok. so basil may help keep away flies. it may not. that really remained to be seen... but the japanese beetles really liked munching away on the basil. and the marigolds. stupid beetles. look at what they did...
so the basil was all chewed up and sad. it did have some very deep roots, but i put it out of its hole-y misery and have planted some lantana, as well as some torenia. they are lovely flowers and don't seem to be attracting so many beetles.
we also planted a couple of trees. maybe one day, in 20 years when we are no longer living here, there will be big shade trees in this yard. we planted a bald cypress and a red maple.