Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Growing Pains

Once upon a time in the far off land of Maryland, I had a beautiful garden.
 Besides trees I had flowers and flowering shrubs and each season had color.
 There was a small fish pond with three Koi and many frogs and there were bird feeders, kept full.
Then a small black puppy, Bentley came to live with us and the gardens were never the same. Bentley was my first Portie and like all Porties, he wanted to do whatever I did, which included gardening. The first time he helped was when I was planting a row of flowering plants. As I went down the row plopping the little plants into their holes, Bentley followed behind me, digging them out of their holes. He was very pleased with himself.
 Then there was the evening when we had another couple over for dinner and we were all sitting on the deck. The other couple admired the tulips which had recently bloomed in shades of pink and purple. Then to my dismay, Bentley started zooming around the yard, biting off the heads of the tulips as he ran by them. Soon there were nothing but leaves and stalks.
One year I planted flower boxes on the deck. Some were filled with jalapeno peppers and some were filled with nasturtiums. The Cardinals ate all the pepper plants. I guess they like spicy food. The nasturtiums came up and flowered. I told Rob that they were edible and picked a flower for him to try. He said they were peppery, so I tried one and since Bentley was standing there, I handed him one.

The next morning I sent the three  dogs outside before their breakfast. When I went to the deck to call them, I saw Bentley with his head in the planter of nasturtiums, plucking off the flowers and eating them. The rest of the summer he checked the box each morning to eat any new flowers that had opened. I planted nasturtiums each year after that for Bentley to snack on.
 Fast forward to life here in Portieland. When we first moved here with the three dogs, I tried gardening again. I had a shady rock garden with some flowering plants. I had a full sun butterfly garden and here and there around the yard we planted shrubs and flowering plants.

Then came the Portie invasion. Suddenly we had two adult and eight pint sized Porties wanting to explore and try gardening on their own. They dug and they ate plants and they had many good games of chase over and thru the gardens. Now we have a mostly bare rock garden, though the hardy wild violets have invaded it and add some color. Last year we said goodbye to the last butterfly bush. The butterfly garden is totally gone. Many of the flowering shrubs are gone after being used for back scratchers or a source of chewing sticks.

But, all is not barren in Portieland. Now I just plant outside the fence or in containers on the deck. On Mother's Day I decided it was time to plant some nasturtiums in Bentley's memory. I planted two pots of them and if I can keep the squirrels from digging in the soil, we should have some blooms soon.
Last week Rob picked up some of the helicopter seeds from the maple in the side yard and planted them. Looks like he'll have a nice crop of tiny maples to transplant. Don't you love the tiny little maple leaves?
I made a batch of hummingbird food and we hung the feeders. Within ten minutes we had our first visitor of the year. So far we've seen three birds at the feeders.
We had plenty of rain last year and a very mild winter, so the areas outside the fence look pretty good so far.
 The oak trees close to the house are putting out record pollen this year which accounts for my sore throat and scratchy eyes. All this has fallen off one tree in just a couple days. The dogs come in with this all over them, especially on their feet.
 So, even with all my canine helpers ready to pitch in and assist, we've managed to keep some colorful areas. It just takes a little more effort and planning.


Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

Your garden is beautiful. I wish gardening was something I enjoyed.

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

SHE remembers when the side garden had grass. Well, we think your crop of Porties (and others) is a fantastic garden. Just enjoy the neighbours' flowers.

Nichole Burke said...

Great post... and great flash-back pics! :)

Casey said...

For some reason, Momma plants all her pretty stuff in the front yard. I don't get it!

Sammy Sam said...

We think that the porties are very cool guys. My brother Owen pees on everything in the yard. So whatever he doesn't kill, lives and becomes stronger.

kathy b said...

and they are worth it right?

Marjie said...

On the day of Shannon's wedding, Tank decided to make a terrific hole right in the middle of our walled garden, which I'd spent all summer and $3000 making level and perfect. I started to bellow HBO words in proliferation, but then realized that it was too wet to hold the wedding outside anyway, and told Jeff he had better fill in and reseed the hole the next day or I'd go find a 2-by-4 to beat him with. Dogs dig; it's what they do, and you've done a great job learning to keep the flowers safe from digging and eating.