How safe is your garden for dogs? | New

For dog lovers, their dog(s) is part of the family. We protect them as we protect our children. Children and dogs are curious and want to explore the world around them. Dogs wonder if it’s a new or old plant, does it smell good, does it taste good? They don’t think it will harm them or they might harm the plant.

For every garden of harmful plants (from stomachaches to fatals), there is an equally beautiful and harmless alternative plant.

Some safe plants can survive being stepped on, eaten or otherwise abused.

Catnip (Nepeta species) is easy to grow, blooms again and its aromatic scent will be sent to the garden in the slightest breeze attracting dogs and us but not deer. It bounces back after a visit from an exuberant dog.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida), five-time All-America Selection. Its pale yellow to earthy red flowers open from top to bottom from mid-July to August. If given space, it will spread.

Summer blooming astilbe brightens up shady areas with its fluffy plumes of white, pink, peach, red and lavender blooms accented by dark green fern-like foliage.

Creeping phlox and thyme are ideal ground covers. The semi-evergreen, sun-loving phlox blankets the ground and crawls over rock gardens with its tiny, star-shaped flowers in spring. Turned down, it will bloom again in the fall. It and thyme are meant to be trampled on.

Creeping time grows best in sunny, well-drained, slightly alkaline poor soil like most grasses. It will tolerate some shade.

Among the most toxic are: milkweed, castor bean, azalea and rhododendron. Reactions to baby’s breath, begonia, chrysanthemum, English ivy and gladioli are moderate to severe.

Include roses and spirea members of the rose family. Varieties vary in height from 3 to 10′.

Also avoid vegetables and fruits: grapes and raisins, unripe tomatoes, green potatoes, pits and large seeds, nuts, rhubarb leaves.

For more information: “Pet-Friendly Gardening, Creating a Safe Haven for You and Your Dog,” by Karen Bush. Email me for a copy of 27 Safe Plants for Dogs.

The summer dog days will begin on July 3 and will last 1-2 months. Keep plants watered and carry water when working in the yard. Try to garden in the shade as much as possible and drink water every 15-20 minutes. Set your phone’s timer to remind you.

Garden – Bring a container of water to the garden when cutting flowers, re-cut stems under water in the house. Add a preservative to extend the useful life of the flower. Cut off flowers just before they reach maturity and are just opening to give a variety of flower sizes. Remove all foliage that will be underwater in design a. Replace the water after three days and re-cut the stems enough to expose new pores.

Hollyhocks bloom from the bottom up. Removing terminal buds decreases the eventual number of flowers.

Trim browning daylily foliage along with that of other “tired” perennials. Most will send up new foliage now or in the fall.

Houseplant – Take cuttings of African violets and place them in a north or northeast window. Make a schedule for monthly watering houseplants, noting which ones need to dry out before rewatering, moisture seekers, and moisture seekers. Your finger is the best guide to how dry the soil is.

Vegetables – Allow some plants to bolt. They will attract pollinators and beneficial insects that like carrot and mint flowers.

July 5-9 McCracken Co. Fair at Carson Park (postponed due to heat), 300 Joe Clifton Drive, Paducah. Opening hours from 5:15 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $3. July 5-6 Fair Flower Show-Horticulture Division, July 7-9 Design Division.

Memphis Botanical Gardens, Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, Nashville Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, 2731 West 2nd St, Owensboro. Enter through the front door of the 1840 house, WeatherBerry.

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