Documents: Special Interest: Garden Musings:

Puppies In The Garden
by Crystal Trojek
by Crystal Trojek

I am an award winning floral artist in competitive design, and my seasonal displays have been featured in magazines and local businesses. I use words as my art form when it is too cold to garden in Ontario, or too wet, or too hot. I’ve written a number of articles for local newspapers, newsletters, and Master Gardener publications. I am an educator of the topics of seasonal decorating and container gardening, newly self employed. ! !

I admit that lately I have spent a lot of inventive time thinking of creative ways to get rid of my new laptop even though my son assures me I can never have the old computer back. I loathe electronics with as much passion as I write. A completely vile subject: computers and their horrible little offspring, cell phones. Fortunately for me, the overwhelming tide of my imagination in the world of gardening is a giant that subdues and conjugates the words as they stream onto the keyboard. I can take my mind to significantly better places, like spring. It is a gift to see what others do not, it is a responsibility to share it with others. !

September 13, 2015

1pt.gif (86 bytes)The most memorable and remarkable things you discover about life come from the most unlikely sources. An event that took place this spring at our rural home has become one of life's best lessons on living in and with your garden.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)The great gardening discovery became abundantly clear in the space of about one month: puppies are born gardeners. Their uncanny natural ability for good gardening practices (times six) staggered the imagination. A pack of puppies is the greatest example of how to thoroughly enjoy your work and really appreciate all those wonderful botanical treasures in your care.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Large dogs like country living, and purebred German Shepherds enjoy having lots of room to run and play games. Our dogs, Sonja and Dante managed parenthood on June 3. The miracle of birth will always be a wonder, whether it is the greatest gift of human life, or down the animal hierarchy to kittens and puppies. This spring, people were shocked to learn about a family that had five cats and eight dogs.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)On warm sunny days, when the puppies first ventured out across the lawn on their way to the garden, they flowed like a black river around your ankles or rippled toward their mother with excited grunts and occasional tumbles along the way. They seemed momentarily stumped at what they should do next when they discovered that Dante didn't have much to offer in the way of food. He was completely dismayed at all their attention, gingerly attempting to step away from eager little furry attackers coming from six different directions.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)The puppies soon became active horticulturalists, insect and disease identifiers, and landscape designers extra ordinaire. They began in the garden by examining every plant, shrub, tree, everything in the garden thoroughly.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Here's their philosophy: if the plant isn't properly situated or has some problem, remove it immediately. Don't worry if it is going to make it because you accidently chopped off too many roots, you moved it on a hot, sunny day or the wrong time of the year. Just move or annihilate it when you feel like it, and don't sweat the results. There are too many other interesting things to do in the garden without wasting profitable time worrying about consequences.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)After choosing a spot to dig a hole, work enthusiastically and joyfully. A group effort is even better because you can take turns and collectively make the biggest hole imaginable in a short period of time. Be creative and practical about garden excavation; if you make a mistake about the location, dream up a satisfactory solution to utilize the space. You can, for example, always cool off in another small pond, or sleep in the hole on a warm summer day.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)When you become tired, stop working. Nobody on earth ever made a great garden in a day, or a season for that matter. Stretch out for a few minutes on that nice shady porch, and take a rest or a nap. Puppies take frequent naps, gratefully nodding off in a furry pile with loved ones close by or occasionally all alone. Always nap at a vantage point that will enable one to supervise and security check any unexpected arrivals to the garden, especially people carrying food and drink. Have a little snack and you'll then be refreshed and ready to attack your work again with great gardening zeal.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)When you get thirsty, get a drink. Dogs are not as particular about their source of water as humans are. For puppies, a couple of low containers of water are good for a drink, a place to play in, or even sit in to cool off. When you are a bigger dog like Mom and Dad, you can get a drink from the birdbath or any water feature instead of wasting time going all the way around to your own water bowl. Time management in the garden is important.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Fragrance is also important in a garden. There can't be too much of a favorite scent. If you are a dog, roll all over that loveable plant with the intriguing fragrance. Dog owners will love you even more when you remind them of the best fragrances in their garden instead of the compost pile, chicken coop or the latest road kill "catch of the day". A poor selection of a dog's rural cologne for the day can land a dog in the solitary confinement of the dog run while everyone else is involved in some serious gardening elsewhere.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)The clothes that you wear when you work in the garden aren't really all that important. Puppies welcomed every human visitor with frenzied affection, not particularly caring if theywere dressed in their tackiest, ill fitting old clothes, dirty, sweaty and tired.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)One of the basic rules of garden design is to make the best use of what is already available. Puppies like to play with "gardening clothes" and tools: they wouldn't be lying around if they were really important.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Puppies can tunnel through overgrown areas and thin out plants that are too close together, or they can prune a shrub. They have the courage and sense of adventure to taste the rose petals. Puppies can enjoy the garden playing puppy tag or sitting quietly thinking amongst the darker recesses.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)In the space of about one month, those puppies demonstrated all about working, playing, planning, resting, and pretty much all the essential knowledge that's needed to garden effectively. Puppies "plan their work and work their plan". They don't come up against brick walls: they merely follow the bends in the road of gardening life. Keeping their ultimate objective in mind, they work steadily and effectively toward making their gardening dreams come true.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Occasionally, our family sat on the thick, spring grass and played with them. (They are a wonder, you know.) Kissing each puppy goodbye and swallowing public and private tears when each left, I wonder if they've changed their career paths, away from their obvious horticultural talents.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)This fall or next spring a little moving around is in order. Those puppies were right; the hostas under the hydro meter can't get enough moisture back in that corner to grow really well, and it is better used as a shady place for a dog to sleep on a hot summer afternoon.


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