Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thank you, dogs, for behaving in the garden...

If you haven't heard, I am equally enamored with gardening as Australian Shepherds. It's a dicey fit, in the best of times. Besides training dogs NOT to play, run, dig, WALK -ok - don't EVEN look, already! through my flower beds... we walk a fine line in the gardening/dog lover scene.
Some of my strategies to ensure plant survival: a FENCED special garden area; using tough dog-resisitant plants; knowing not to even TRY to plant in a known dog trail, and lots of dog training and, ok, it's true, a heavy dog-police presence ;-). All our work pays off about this time every year.
So feast your eyes on this stunning Tall Bearded Iris - 'Smiling Gold' in the garden today:

All you savvy gardeners out there probably noticed the irony in my "dog-resistant plants" remark: Iris generally bloom just once a year on a tall, single stem that carries 1 to 7 blooms, and can snap off from a single badly placed blow (or dog foot). But Iris love the rocky, fast draining soil I have in my garden, and grow beautifully here. I have had up to 43 different varieties here. Many iris also have a softly enticing fragrance. Just so you know: this iris is NOT in a fenced area. So I'd like to publicly thank Maddie, Fern, JJ, and Turbo, as well as many former Ebbtide, for allowing it to flourish.

Cuddled up to the base of 'Viva Mexico' is this grouping I love: purple verbena, 'Worcester Gold' Caryopteris, white allysum and, almost everywhere in my garden in springtime, California poppies.

So what's so special in the fenced area? Mostly, I can fertilize with organic fertilizers (good for gardens) : bone meal, blood meal, alfalfa meal, etc - all things my dogs love to EAT! And since these fertilizers are gently worked into the soil around the dogs will UN-gently root around (and through) the plants to get every. last. piece. of. fertilizer. Not good for gardens. Hence the fence. So here's some pansies on a blood meal high. Pansies love blood meal.

So what are these so-called "dog-resistant plants"? Here's a trio of tough, low water, big impact plants: gray Artemisia 'Powis Castle', purple Erysimum "Bowles Mauve', and pink-spotted Cistus. Sadly, the bright sun washed out the color in this great combo. Maybe I'll get out there tomorrow, and get a better photo in better light. It's a beautiful group, and sturdy!

More photos to come!


#2 ... aka "Trish" said...

what well behaved pups!!!!! such good girls and boy :)

cloverann said...

Well, sometimes. I'm sorry to report that, in my absence, some digging and running-through-flowers has, sadly, ocurred. Digging (Fern??) did not produce plant casulaties. However (JJ, Maddie & Fern??)that game of chase thru 2 (!!yes 2!) flower beds has resulted in moderate plant injuries.... :-(

NLR said...

Hi Ann, just found your garden blog.. It is beautiful. I sure need some help on my 1 acre.. with four dogs, i do not have any color. Do you do consultations? HA! nice job,
Nancy Resetar
Chances'R Aussies