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Garden Gone to the Dogs

by Cat Skoor (TheGardenFriend)

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The Destructive Duo: Chloe and Tillie.
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When fanatical gardeners fall in love with a breed of huge, rambunctious dogs, the gardening challenge gets serious! We are still negotiating a way to exist together, but we're getting there! Beautiful gardens and large dogs can co-exist.

It took my huband and me ten years to change our quarter acre plot of moss and Douglas firs into a beautiful oasis full of ferns, hostas, native perennials, and colorful flowers. It took our dogs less than one year to destroy it. We love gardening and we love our dogs, so we set about on a plan to make it work for all of us.

Not an easy task, but we've learned many important things, such as dogs are going to run around the perimeter of the yard (along the fence) no matter what you plant, so best to account for that when planning. Also, it's important to know what could be harmful to your pets. The ASPCA has an exhaustive list to help. Mud, and tracking it into the house, can be a big problem when the dogs love gardening too, so make sure everything is covered. Mulch beds, pave or cover paths, and in our case because we live near Seattle in a shady garden, we replaced our lawn with pavers and strips of grass. 

Our goal is to fill every inch of "unused" soil with something like it used to be. We'll use scotch moss, baby tears, ferns, hostas, elfin thyme, bell flowers, whatever it takes. That will take time - and patience. And perhaps a dog behaviorist.

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marcydiané commented on 06/01/12
You have a beautiful back yard and beautiful shepherds too!
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MRS.D commented on 03/17/12

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