Originally published September 2011.
I begin this article with a chuckle as I think of the photo I snapped above of my elderly blind and deaf dog, Buzz, who happened to be dragging several rather dry plugs of St. Augustine grass behind him. A couple of weekends ago I mistakenly thought I could take the excess St. Augustine grass growing in my liriope and salvage it by “plugging” it into the sparse, shadier areas of my back yard. Apparently Buzz decided to trudge through every planting I created and collect the new rootings on his hind legs. They may not have “taken” anyway as hot and dry as it has been lately, but Buzz certainly assured their failure. Gardening with dogs can be tricky, I must say! Although Buzz can be annoying, I love him very much. He’s treated like a king in my house! I’ve fed him the best dog food on the market since he was a puppy and he’s got a huge comfy bed in the kitchen. He certainly lives the high life!
This topic got me to thinking about a few other laws about gardening with dogs, some of which I discovered the hard way:
- Dogs believe any fresh dirt you bring into the yard is being placed there as a cool spot for them to lie in.
- Dogs believe if you can dig in the landscape, they can too.
- Dogs do not observe flower bed borders or vegetable garden barricades.
- Dogs are inclined to “mark” any new item in the yard – including newly sprouted seedlings.
- Fish emulsion and organic fertilizer are heaven to a dog’s palate.
- Left out garden tools, rubber clogs and gloves are perfect “teethers” for puppies. Garages are perfect places to put your overflowing tools, you don’t have to leave them out to get munched on, getting a big enough storage space means you get to keep your dogs teeth away from those tools.
- Dogs believe any furry or feathery creature that ventures into your yard as a result of your garden is considered fair game.
- While not all dogs will eat their vegetable-fortified dog food, most will happily eat any of the ball-shaped vegetables they find growing on the vine in your garden.
Please don’t get me wrong, even though I’ve experienced all of the above trials I wouldn’t trade my Buzz in for anything, especially for a perfect garden. Sometimes you have to sacrifice for that which you care about, and I choose to sacrifice garden perfection in order to enjoy the companionship and unconditional love of a dog.
If you have a garden and a dog or two, I am sure you have a few lessons you’ve learned the hard way too.
Until next time,