Spring has well and truly arrived and with the warm weather we’ve been experiencing of late there’s a sense that summer is just round the corner. Time then to get out in the garden and start enjoying long afternoons sipping on Pimms or dog beer! For many of us dog owners though the reality is nothing like the dream, our fluffy canine partners start digging here or munching on a flower head there and before you know it you’re both left stressed out. Not only can this cause a bit of conflict but for our pooches nibbling on some poisonous plants can be fatal and others can cause a nasty upset stomach or skin rash. There is a fairly comprehensive list by the Kennel Club here of poisonous and toxic plants but some of the most dangerous are Sweet Pea, Yew, and Lily of the Valley which it would be wise to avoid altogether.
So I’ve made a huge decision, I’m going to totally redesign our garden and make it a safe, dog friendly space for Maya to enjoy. The decision to make big changes was a great excuse for a trip to a garden centre and I was delighted to find that a couple near me allowed dogs in their premises. We went to Coleta &Tyson Garden Centre which is local to us and it was incredibly dog friendly.. Maya just loves attention and she got quite a bit here from customers and staff alike. There was a big pet department too, so of course treats were duly purchased.- who could say no to that little face. The range of pots, and planters was amazing. in fact it was so vast that I only bought a couple of terracotta pots that day as I need to mull it over before I decide on the styles I want. I think growing flowers in pots will also save the blooms from the over exuberant zoomies that Maya likes to indulge in as well. No more trampled flowers for me!.I bought loads of seeds at the garden centre for my borders, sun flowers, geraniums and nasturtiums are all really easy and safe to grow with canines around. Really hope that those of you who follow me on Instagram will see some spectacular floral backdrops in my images of Maya, (don’t hold your breath though!!)
The great thing about visiting a garden centre is that the staff are nearly always passionate about horticulture and love to give you information, at Coletta there is even a little shed where you can go and get advice about which plants would be best suited to your garden conditions etc.and how to grow them. We really enjoyed visiting with Maya and will definitely take her again.
It’s not just the planting of toxic flowers and shrubs you have to think about to make your garden safe for dogs, slug pellets can be fatal, some mulch can contain cocoa shells and lots of fertilizers contain bone, fish, feather meal etc that your dog might not be able to resist munching on. It’s a no brainer for me that in my small garden, organic is the way to go. I am also hoping to create some natural shade for Maya by making up lots of hanging baskets (and asking Rod, my partner, to hang them very securely!) I think I will plant out my alpine strawberries, blueberries and salad leaves in them – as last year Maya was always making a beeline for them to grab a snack! Whilst waiting for my hanging baskets to flourish though Maya can still get shade by laying in the kitchen porch where I also always put an extra bowl of water – pawticulture is thirsty work for dogs you know. Gardening equipment etc can also be hazardous for our canine friends so be extra vigilant in shutting away lawnmowers, strimmers etc and the petrol that goes in them – if you are that sort of person this information could be used as leverage to get a new shed. Enough said!!!
Looking round this massive garden centre was thirsty work, there was just so much to see so I was really happy to reach the “Doggy Diner” this is a couple of tables in a really pleasant area behind the Oasis Cafe. There are a couple of bowls filled with fresh water for your pooches to quench their thirst in this area too. We only had a drink from the cafe on this occasion but loved the menu with it’s East Yorkshire produce and Italian influences and next time will definitely eat too. For now though I can’t wait to go out and sit on my patio with a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine and watch the sun go down while Maya tackles her kong.
Enjoy your gardens with your dogs this spring and summer friends but please stay safe, I love your feedback and comments and would welcome dog friendly gardening tips if you have any too.
Sal & Maya xxx
All the images in this post were taken at Coletta Garden Centre