Otis, dearest of dogs, darling slobbery galumphing beast. There are a few things that are incompatible with gardening, I think: laziness, August afternoons in Maryland, and boxers.
When we got Otis, and he promptly romped through my strawberry bed and trashed the peonies, I bought a book about melding dog and garden. I read it desperately, and found the main message was: make peace with dog paths, wire fences, and scooping poo. And so it has been with with Otis and the garden. What are some of my grudging concessions to my slobbering beast?
The white wire fence behind Otis in the photo is not my style – but it keeps Otis out of the sedum and nicotiana.
Down at the bottom of the garden, underneath a holly tree, is a broken chimenea, sunk deep into the ground, where we toss Otis’ double daily offering to the compost gods.
The vegetable garden is surrounded by low lattice fence, with chicken wire gates, and I occasionally must scoop poop out of my vegetable plants, after Otis has made a comando raid into the forbidden zone.
Grass. Ah, the grass! We live with whatever low green stuff will grow in our back yard with the treatment it receives from the dog, the child, the indifferent mowing, and lack of fertilizer. I blame the whole condition of the lawn on Otis, though, because it is convenient.
All of this said…there are moments when dog and garden are in perfect harmony, like the other day when I found Otis rolling in the mint, his legs in the air, flews hanging open exposing his fangs, snorting. The mint didn’t care and Otis was blissful.