Friday, May 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

It's been a LONG time since I've participated in Bloom Day! It's good to be back. Thank you Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting!

A "borrowed" bloom, my neighbor's New Dawn that graces our border.

Ground Orchids (belitilla striata) with climber "Zephirine Drouhin"

Another of my neighbor's plants along the border, a huge Snowball Bush (viburnum opulus)

My one and only blooming bearded iris.  

The last of the amsonia flowers.

The pass along peony from my mother.  It's fragrance is just unbelievable.

The last fading bloom of the baptisia.

Clemetis, unknown.

A rose that I dug up from a neighbor's yard (with permission!).

Zephirine Drouhin

Belitilla Striata

Siberian Iris

I love May!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dog Paths in the Garden

So.  Dogs and gardens.  I really have more problems than solutions.  Luna is, ahem, shall we say, a bit uptight (aggressive) when it comes to defending the property.  Since many of the dog owners in the neighborhood walk their canine companions through the alley, Luna spends much of her backyard time charging the gate and barking.  

I have studied Cesar and the wonderful monks but, more than likely due to some terrible character flaw, I am unable to modify Luna's behavior.  So I am left to modify the garden.

Most of the time she charges the gate, but frequently she will veer off and head for the southeast corner of the back fence - trampling the shade garden mercilessly.  My ferns and hostas are having a tough time.

In the early spring I use cheap, ugly wire fencing to keep her out of the beds when the plants are young and fragile.  It works surprisingly well considering how low it is.  This is because when I first bought the fencing, I put Luna on the leash and walked her around the perimeter of the fence.  Whenever she got too near the fence, I sprayed bitter apple spray on the fence and in her mouth.  A bit harsh, but she now respects the fence.  

Alas, I am currently unable to upgrade to some snazzy fencing that you might see in those clever garden books that address dog-friendly gardens.  So after about 3 weeks (during which time the garden is just butt-ugly since the grass is still brown and dormant), I roll up the white, wire nastiness up and dump it behind the shed.  

So then, what are my options for dealing with Luna's bad behavior in the garden?  I will continue to remind her to stay out of the garden, however, I am not going to expect too much from her.  Instead I have identified her chosen path (dogs are creatures of habit) and I will respect it.  Which means, I am going to plant hardy, durable plants along this path - moving the ferns, cimicifuga, and hostas.  I may even put down some pine tag mulch for her to run along.

I don't want to indulge her aggressive behavior, but I do want to be realistic about my chances of curing her of this habit.   A garden path that is dog-friendly will help me relax when we are out back together.  And maybe, possibly, one day, she will mellow and greet the neighborhood dogs with a friendly bark from the patio.