The truth is, it is very difficult to keep a good garden in a yard full of dogs. Yet, you want to have some flowers and pops of color to enjoy, right?
This week's blog circle theme is "blooms." I thought it might be helpful to write a bit about how we, as a seven (7) dog family, manage to grow relatively good, scenic gardens.
Rule of Thumb
Besides the proverbial "green" thumb, there is a rule of thumb to follow when gardening with dogs: KEEP TOXIC PLANTS OUT OF THE DOG YARD! What are considered toxic plants for dog purposes? THIS ARTICLE will give you a great rundown of plants you need to be concerned with that fall into the category of dog-toxic.
Because I love Larkspur, it is, instead, potted in a ceramic, terracotta planter on the deck of my studio.
I am, in fact, partial to terracotta and unique pots for just this reason: I plant stuff out of my main yard (frequented by our dogs), but within visual range of the places we use to lounge in.
Does that mean there are no plants in the dog yard?
There are in fact quite a number of flowering plants within the confines of the dog yard.
They are all planted in pots.
However, there is another hard and fast rule that I have learned over years of gardening with dogs, that never fails, and doesn't require we buy enormous amounts of temporary fencing, or construct DIY contraptions to keep our dogs away from the blooms.
All of the potted plants in our yard are placed on tables or plant stands.
I try to find fun iron or metal tables at yard sales or gardening outlets to use in the dog yard.
I also purchase cheap, dollar store solar lights, and use torch stands to hold them in various places in the yard, or place them directly into the pots with the plants. This way, I have solar lighting for summer evenings, and the dogs can't get at them for a chew fest.
A key ingredient to success in using these methods, is to train your dog(s) early to leave the plants and containers alone.
We use the "leave it" command with our crew. This is taught relatively early in their dog life here, and most of them will immediately abandon any ideas they might have had on making flowers chew toys.
Even though our dog, Talley, is deaf, we have "leave it" and "drop it" hand signals for her, and she knows exactly what they mean.
Plan Ahead for Special Circumstances
Two years ago we became an official Monarch Butterfly Waystation through Monarch Watch. As such, we grow common milkweed as part of our non-dog yard garden, but along the fence that surrounds that portion of our property. Because the leaves can grown through the chain link, we had to come up with a way to keep the plants on their side ONLY, so our dogs could not get to the leaves. There can be a toxicity build up from milkweed, with the least symptoms involving severe stomach and digestive distress.
Where it does, we have installed black netting that blends in with the fence and is hardly noticeable. The netting keeps the leaves on their own side, as well as the daylilies, so we have no problems with ingestion by dogs.
Our setters are butterfly fanatics (butterflies are FASTER than setters, and can always get away), and we get to see the monarchs spend time laying their eggs among the plants.
Flowery Places Make Good Photograph Spaces
My studio is directly adjacent to, but outside of, our fenced yard. There are plenty of distressed outdoor furniture spots, which make great places to house some blooms (like these balloon flowers below), as well as snap a photo or two.
When the flower bud first appears, it looks like an inflatable balloon, then pops into this lovely, star-like plant.
Look in the pot. Can you see where I have hidden the solar light?
Talley is also a big fan of the fire pit bench in front of the bee garden.
I took a different slant with this week's theme, and I hope it might help you to think or rethink your flower gardens. I do take quite a number of client pet photos in and among the flowers at various locations here in the Endless Mountains, as well as in my own backyard and studio gardens.
I think you are going to see a lot of lovely photos of pets among the blooms in this week's circle of professional pet photographers. Take a peek, starting with BARKography by Kim Hollis photographing dogs in beautiful sunflowers fields near Charlotte NC.
Enjoy this beautiful summer weekend however you can! I cut some fresh blooms to brighten our table!