Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.


Spring unleashes the inner puppy in gardeners. With boundless joy, we can’t wait to get down on all fours and dig in the dirt as soon as the ground thaws. Thanks to a new German Shepherd pup in my house, our first signs of Spring this year were muddy paw prints on the living room carpet.

Apollo is all ears when I tell him Spring has arrived.

Apollo is all ears when I tell him Spring has arrived.

With house-training little Apollo as my main motivator, I spent a lot of time outdoors this past month examining every square foot of our property, several times each day. Nose to the ground, Apollo follows scent trails of rabbits and deer while I inspect the tree and shrub damage those hungry critters have caused.

Yesterday, I discovered a pair of cheerful yellow winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) blooming in my woodland garden. Nearby, a clump of jonquil (Narcissus hybrids) sprouts were muscling their way through the leaf litter. Fortunately, the rabbits and deer find these tender morsels distasteful.

Before too long, I’ll be digging in the garden. I hope Apollo doesn’t get any ideas.

Winter aconite is one of the earliest flowers to bloom in spring.

Winter aconite is one of Spring's earliest blooms.

Fingerlike narcissus sprouts punch through a fallen oak leaf.

Finger-like narcissus sprouts break through a fallen oak leaf.

pup1Finding time to putter in the garden is tougher than I thought with a new puppy. My new Jack Russell, Finch, is a stout and sturdy soul, and at 14 weeks already weighs in at a hefty eleven pounds. He’s sort of long and low, and his fat belly grazes the ground as he scours the front yard garden for crickets and earthworms. We started puppy classes three weeks ago and have not yet mastered the life-saving essentials of stay and come. So fall chores in the garden have taken on an added level of difficulty: Just try raking oak leaves into something resembling a pile with a full-throttle terrier pup on the loose. Sure, my good dog Scout, almost nine years old and steadfast, keeps him in check. But when it came time last weekend to start digging out the Joe Pye weed in my front yard and planting the hundreds of bulbs that were piling up on my front porch, I knew I had to stash the puppy in the house. After all, there’s a fine line between general weekend multitasking and gardening while under the influence of a minor canine.

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