How I Created a Pet Friendly Garden
I’m one of those folks that lets my pets run wild in the garden. I have cats, chickens and a dog all playing around and destroying my garden. Here are the top five things I do to maintain a pet friendly garden while staying sane.
Today’s models are Mickey (the cat) and Welly (the dog).
1. I give my pets lots of walkways and running paths throughout the garden. They won’t always use the paths but chances are they’ll use them more than not. Welly is demonstrating the proper way to walk through the strawberry patch (taken last month). Oh, and it helps if you have a small dog.
2. I give my pets cover and a place to hide from prey. My pets love hiding in the full perennial gardens and grasses. They even take the opportunity to attack me on occasion. Did I mention that they LOVE the grasses.
3. I make sure my outdoor furniture is pet friendly. Chances are they’re going to get their dirty paws all over it. Mine love sleeping outside in the summer months. I bet they use the furniture more than we do. Don’t worry, it’s all washable.
4. I don’t get angry when my pets find another purpose for items in the garden. To you and me, this looks like a bunch of potted herbs. To Welly, this is cover necessary to ambush the enemy (aka Mickey).
5. I provide a source of water. I have three water dishes in my garden plus water in the house and in the chicken coop. They all share the dishes and drink from them often. I also recently replaced all my garden hoses with drinkable hoses.
BONUS: Protect fragile plants and seedlings. In the background of the picture above, you may notice the little black scallop edging. I have these strategically placed around my onions to keep ALL my pets from digging them up. Pesky buggers. I also have a motion sprinkler I occasionally use to keep my pets out of the veggie garden.
Above everything I mentioned above, I also try to understand the toxicity of all the plants in my garden. I’m far from an expert and do have very toxic plants in my garden. Some plants on my watch list: rhododendron, hops, rhubarb, goat’s beard and digitalis/fox gloves.