friendly gardening with a pet in your household can be a
difficult pastime if your yard isn’t set up to handle
the wear and tear from a four-footed animal who doesn’t
know the difference between your prized petunias and the
Hampton, Va., gardener Wendy Iles preaches the dos and
don’ts of gardening with pets.
love to dig, so giving them a place to do that may save
them from digging in your garden," says Iles,
founder of the nonprofit community gardening effort,
Hampton Grows in southeastern Virginia. Her husband
manages the area’s newest pet shelter, where she’s
planting pet-friendly demonstration gardens and giving
workshops on the topic.
can also lay down chicken wire to make digging less
inviting. A low fence — not picket or chain link —
may deter dogs from disturbing your vegetable garden.
Netting plants can deter cats."
dog-friendly plants, Iles suggests perennials such as
alyssum, pincushion flowers, bachelor buttons,
nasturtiums, marigolds, calendula and celosia. Daylilies
are good, too, and pampas grass can be used as a
cats, safe herbs include basil, chamomile, chervil,
catmint, catnip, dill, lavender, lemon balm, lemon
verbena, mint, oregano, parsley and thyme (all good for
a member of the mint family, can be used to stuff cat
toys, easily grown from seed and will self-seed,"
‘cat grass,’ consider young grass species of oat,
barley, flax, wheat and others, a favorite for kitties
to snack on. It grows well in containers, too," she
continues. "Tall, ornamental grasses, sunflowers
and bean tee-pees provides shade and privacy, as well as
visual interest from birds and insects. I have never had
the cat try to attack the birds on my sunflowers.
tomatoes are fine, but any green part of a tomato plant
is toxic," she adds.
Richmond, Va., Grace Chapman gardens with a
16-month-old, 55-pound female boxer named Timber.
learned quickly that my boxer loves to chew and swallow
plastic, so I have to be very careful to store plastic
nursery pots in a shed or enclosure that she can’t
access," says Chapman, director of horticulture at
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, also in Richmond.
is very important. Puppies have natural tendencies to
chew and dig, so you might want to wait to plant new
seedlings until the puppy grows out of those
habits," she says. "I’m a beekeeper, so I
had the added challenge of keeping my puppy’s nose out
of the beehives. I had to build a fence around my
backyard apiary to keep her away from harm.
have a six-foot wooden privacy fence around my yard, so
I installed a ‘pet peek’ window to allow Timber to
see what is going on in the alley. She loves watching
the garbage truck, people taking walks and the dogs in
the neighboring yards. We call her the neighborhood
sheriff because she is always on top of what is going
are some tips from the Hampton Clean City Commission in
southeastern Virginia and other sources on making your
pet, your yard and your environment all work together,
according to Debbie Blanton, clean city commission
a designated toilet area for your dog and train her to
use it. The ASPCA has information about how to train
escape isn’t an issue but digging up your petunias is,
create a designated area. Use a sandbox idea, making a
nice digging spot for Pooch, and encourage him to use it
by burying a bone or a toy in it and then showing him it’s
OK to dig it out of that spot.
generally aren’t inclined to stay in a fenced area,
and once they get out, they are subject to lots of
potential dangers, including cars, other cats, dogs and
wild animals. They also are deadly to birds and our
diminishing populations of amphibians, whether in back
yards or beyond. Some cat people have devised wire
"breezeways" for their cats that allow them
onto a deck while remaining safe and enclosed. Others
keep them inside. Some train their cats to walk on
don’t let your cat roam freely, though, for the good
of the cat and its prey," Blanton says.