I can't imagine gardening without the company of a dog, although we downsized from German Shepherds to terriers over the past twenty years to avoid the devastation large dogs wreak on a garden. Of which I was reminded yesterday when I got this email from container designer Tina Dixon:
"My latest garden challenge is that I've been raising a new puppy (and you thought I was going to say the weather). Benny (a golden retriever now five months old) came to live with us right before the first snow "event". I figured this was good timing because he could do the least amount of damage to a garden when it was under 14 inches of snow. However, he continues to ignore "off" and "leave it" about half the time. I do have faith that enough plants will be able to "out run" his ravages and the garden will be, once again, glorious."
Benny is Tina's 6th golden, and as you can see from this photo, one of the most adorable puppies ever. She writes "I have many tricks for living with dogs in the garden. They all seemed so brilliant (and worked) until Benny, the first puppy here since the garden was completed, came along. I am humbled and think sedation (for me, not Benny) may be the best answer."
I was nearly as despairing last spring when our Wheaten Terrier Bridget was about the same age. She LOVES the garden - this dog is a little sensualist - who wants to sniff, taste, roll around in and enjoy every plant. I could hear the crack of bulbs and lilies breaking as she burrowed through the borders, and there was nothing she adored more than jumping up into the raised beds to take a bite of berry or...whatever she could find. But take heart Tina....a year later, with Bridget fully grown yet still puppy-like, she is enjoying the garden just as much, but at a slower, less destructive pace. I'm still trying to move plants out of her regular routes, and planting extra ornamental grass because I know she's going to lie on it, but she's not wreaking anywhere near the same havoc she did last spring. Here are a couple of photos from our gardening yesterday, where Bridge is "helping" clean up old lily stalks, and just relaxing in the alley grass, soaking up the nearly-warm sunshine.