Woman with trowel: The dog-besieged garden


Helleborus “Pink Frost”, with Campanula and Acorus in the background. Image credit: Meredith Brehaut

I garden the boulevard strip between our front fence and the city sidewalk. Doing so presents challenges. Dogs are involved. Taller plant selections attract p-mail communications; smaller ones endure trampling. After a few years of trial and error, here’s the situation out there:

I restrict myself to plants under two feet as I use the space to frame my front garden rather than for privacy. Plants with three or four seasons of interest minimize bare ground during the winter months. The strip faces north, gets part sun and is given supplemental summer water.

Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ and Hebe ‘Red Edge’. Image credit: Meredith Brehaut

Sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’) has proven useful – it’s colorful and tidy all year round and has held up to the odd paw mauling. My Heucheras are taking a beating although I continue to try because of the range of colors available. I recently planted Helleborus ‘Pink Frost’ and Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’. Hopefully they will flourish. I bought them at The Natural Gardener Garden Store. Owner Bob Tuckey has a great nursery in the back.

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ with Heuchera in the background. Image credit: Meredith Brehaut

Campanula poscharskyana ‘E.H. Frost’ works well – it expands and blooms prolifically then can be cut back for a more subdued but resilient presence. Orange-brown Carex testacea adds sparkle but some die over the winter and its height attracts the attention of male dogs.

I have three valiant red tipped hebes, but they’re really too rigid not to be damaged by the four footed visits. I leave them there but would not plant more. I find wooly thyme works well; it’s tough as long as it’s not completely uprooted.

I love the boulevard strip – it gives me more space to garden and gives passersby something to have a good look at. I have faith that I will eventually find a combination that works for the long term.

Any suggestions for dog hardy plants? Share by commenting below.

The Natural Gardener Garden Store, 4376 West 10th Ave., 604.224.2207, Thenatural-gardener.com

Last modified: March 29, 2012

One Response to " Woman with trowel: The dog-besieged garden "

  1. Dafna Kohen says:

    Meredith, the photos!!! I love them! Came across your blog as I am thinking about landscaping ideas. Hope you are well. More photos please.