Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Gardening with our Dogs Part 2

Hello fellow readers,

Doggone diggers are only part of the challenge of gardening when you have canine kids. The risk of trampling while playing, noshing while bored, yellow lawn spots or leg lifting on branches are other doggie considerations. You may recall Ed’s teenage pup Dulcie who eats the blue fescue she digs up? Bill from Bangor suggested never let your dog watch you plant as she’ll think you’re burying something tasty and chances are will go back and dig up your plants. Great tip; become a closet gardener (smile).

I sympathize with dog caused plant devastation. My first couple of puppies, littermates Sara and Sadie, provided a jumpstart on doggie parenting which overcame my childhood fear of dogs. Our first spring together, I planted an ambitious perennial garden and took precautions to deter deer with an organic spray named Bobbex. Deer stayed away, pups rolled, perennials flattened, lesson learned. Pick a deer spray that doesn’t smell like a decaying animal. And choose plants that easily spring back from trampling or rolling especially on the edge of your garden.  Good bets are Coral bells /Heuchera, Catmint/ Nepeta, and Bugleweed/ Ajuga; ‘Catlin’s Giant’ is a 10” variety that’s performs as more than a groundcover.  There’s Bearberry/Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Creeping Thyme such as Thymus praecox, Stonecrop/ Sedum acre, Wormwood/ Artemisia and Tickseed/ Coreopsis – all tough plants also good in deer resistance.

Set large boulders to guard more tender plants or prized shrubs or trees. And save your delicate plants for pots that you can intersperse in your garden. Course gravel or river stone along the border of your garden may help as dogs prefer to walk on a smooth surface.

Designated potty spots are a matter of training but marking territory (leaving pee mail) is an instinct that is tough to control.  Create marking spots with large pieces of driftwood that can also serve as border guards at the edge of your garden.  Keeping your lawn 3-4″ high hides the yellow spots and is better for your lawn as the height helps deter weeds.

Does it sound as though I became a doggie expert? Truth is, we learn to adapt to our dogs and let go of perfection because unconditional love is well worth a few garden casualties.

Ellie waiting to garden (see her at the door)

Ellie waiting to garden
(see her at the door)

Garden dilemmas? askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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