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Gardening for pet owners

source: Janet Wright
Guardian, Weekend June 16 2001 p71

Gardeners and pets can live in harmony, but gardeners need to think of ways in which they can create gardens that suit both them and their pets, according to garden designer UK’s Judy Fenyvesi. Terriers may benefit from having sandpits for digging, for example, and this may help keep them away from flower beds.

Richard Barrett wrote ‘The Pet Friendly Garden’, which provides practical advice for pet owners. He suggests that owners crawl round their gardens to too it as their pets do.

Pets need water and shade, and they can enjoy their gardens more if they have play equipment. Cats like to be able to stalk through plants with differing heights. Bamboo is a good choice due to its flexibility when struck by charging pets. Fenyvesi has discovered seed mixes that are cat-friendly, allowing cats to eat safely. White vinegar is a way of deterring cats from eating treasured plants.

Plants that are poisonous for dogs include clematis, crocus, lily of the valley, laburnum, hyacinths, geraniums, foxgloves, bluebells, buttercups, and chrysanthemums, according to the National Canine Defence League. Pets can also be poisoned by slug pellets, so it is better to grow plants that slugs prefer not to eat, like oriental poppies and fuschias. Organic gardening is safer.

Cats can be protected from cars and other dangers outside gardens by high fences made from wire mesh, with sufficient wobbliness to preent the cats from climbing.

Pets also need an outside toilet. They can be trained to use a tray, and may choose their toilet location themselves.