CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- My dogs are as much a part of the landscape as the shrubs and trees. I was planning to fence off a bed last week after they created a path right through the middle of it. Then I looked out the window and saw my sweet Lucy sound asleep under a shady weigela bush, right in the middle of that bed. No fences for now - she looked so comfortable.
I think the answer to their path is to go with it - that's what I've noticed many public gardens do. When they see that walkers are creating a shortcut, they will make it into a sidewalk. Pavers through my garden bed just might be the answer.
Writing last week about foxgloves made me remember to check my recent garden additions to see if there's anything toxic to my girls.
There are many plants and other garden substances that may be poisonous to pets. According to DIY Network, some plants can even cause heart failure if ingested by pets. Oleander is one common ornamental that contains cardiotoxins. A single mouthful of its leaves could kill an average-size dog. Other common garden varieties that contain cardiotoxins include foxglove, lily of the valley, yew and kalanchoe.
I just read that rhubarb leaves and shamrock can cause kidney failure, and I've got both of those. My shamrock's a houseplant and the dogs don't bother it, but I just bought a rhubarb plant. It will be planted in a garden where the dogs don't roam.
Certain species of lilies, including Easter lilies and daylilies, are dangerous to cats - though not particularly harmful to dogs. Autumn crocus may cause hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, renal and liver damage and bone marrow suppression. Rhododendron, azalea and rosebay contain toxins and can cause serious gastrointestinal upset.
Some mushroom species can cause liver failure. Heavy rains can lead to increased mushroom growth and have been linked to increases in reported poisonings in dogs. Get them out of your yard when you see them.
Pesticides and your pet
One of the most-dangerous types of pesticides is old-fashioned snail and slug bait containing Metaldehyde. Often appealing to dogs, Metaldehyde ingestion can cause increased heart rate, breathing complications and seizures, leading to liver complications and death. Newer slug products, such as Sluggo and Escar-Go, found at local garden centers, are less toxic.