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Gardening with Dogs – Diggers vs Invaders

May 31, 2013

A large number of my clients get in touch specifically for their gardening with dogs challenges. Seattle’s a city well-known for having more canines than children. And, we’re also known for being avid gardeners. Fortunately, dogs and gardens are two of my biggest passions, and I very much believe (and have proven) that you and your pup can happily co-exist in a gorgeous garden. It just takes a little work.

Dog in Garden

Would you tolerant your dog trampling invasive perennials or not?

Consider today’s new client challenge: Her big mutt is a talented excavator, and it’s clear he loves to nap on some well-chilled and moist perennials to keep cool. His mom — that would be his human “mom” — doesn’t mind his antics.

Would you?

Consider the rest of the story first.

Everyone has a tolerance level, right?

Seeing him smashing this bed really brought the idea of tolerance to mind. Not just because Fido had made much of this bed into his freshly-dug cemetery for well-chewed bones, but also because of the plant he was actually crushing.

Which is worse?

A dog that digs up and tramples a plant?


A plant that takes over a garden bed, choking out other nearby lovelies, and is near impossible to eradicate?

If you don’t recognize it, the plant Mr. Barksalot is lounging upon is awfully invasive Alstromeria. It’s a pretty early summer bloomer in Seattle, but it spreads via crispy roots that are hard to dig out and by way of seeds that it spits in all directions at the end of the growing season.

Alstromeria in Bloom

Pretty blooms of perennial invader Alstromeria

Frankly, this is a tough one even for me. If Poochie-moochie could dig out and eradicate this plant, I’d probably reward him with a new bone to bury. But, that’s not likely to happen. Instead, he’ll probably dig up the roots and scatter them to new beds in the process. He’ll smash the succulent spring growth so the plants don’t even flower. And, perhaps the greatest “reward” of all — Man’s Best Friend tracking all sorts of muck and moisture into the house after his self-indulgent afternoon of excavation, bone planting, and serious post-work napping.

What’s the solution?

Right now her tolerance level and priority list are such that her canine bud gets to keep right on digging and trampling. Later, we’ll make a few adjustments to keep things in balance — and hopefully quite a bit less muddy along the way.

Have you got a gardening with dogs challenge you’d like us to take on and help you solve? Chime in!


1 Comment

  1. […] our garden it is a welcome addition that holds its own against other aggressive bed spreaders like alstromeria and […]

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