Tuesday, July 27, 2010
By Tamara L. Waters
Do you love gardening and pets? Creating a garden in your yard is a great way to add organic and natural elements, and if you are an animal lover, a fun garden idea is to create a critter garden – or a garden with an animal theme. There are a number of plants that have animal names, and this is a good project to get the kids on board with. The end result can be whimsical and will delight visitors.
Choose Animal Plants
Plants that feature animal names are the plants of choice for an animal theme garden. There are a number of plants that include the words “cat” or “dog” as well as plants that have other animal words in the name. You can choose to create a garden that is focused on a specific animal (either dog or cat), several animals, or go with a theme of specific types of animals (ocean animals, farm animals, zoo animals, mythical animals and more).
Specialty Animal Garden Plants
Check with local garden centers and nurseries for suggestions of plants that will work in your area. Search online for seed and plant catalog retailers for availability of plants.
A zoo animal garden could feature Zebra Grass, Zebra Plant, Zebra Vine, Cowardly Lion Begonia, Tiger Brocade Begonia, Tiger Cub Begonia, Bengal Tiger Canna, Panda Bear, Elephant Ear and other plants.
Other potential garden themes would be a flying creatures garden (Butterfly Weed, Batface Heather, Bird of Paradise, Parrot Flower, Partridge-breast, Crowsfoot, Batwing, Japanese Birdsnest Fern and Cardinal Flower, to name a few); a forest animal garden (Pet Me Porcupine, Foxtail Fern, White Rabbit Foot) or a farm animal garden (Donkey Ears, Chicken Gizzard Plant, Goatsbeard, Horsetail, Cowstail).
Dog and Cat Garden
For pet lovers, creating a garden that features dog or cat themed plants is fun and offers a beautiful variety of plants and flowers. You can create a garden that shows your love of canine or feline friends – or both.
For dog plants, you can choose Wet Dog Plant (Illicium floridanum), Dog Rose (Rosa canina), Dog Violets, Dog Grass, Dogbane, Dogtail Cactus, Golden Red Twig Dogwood, Snoopy Begonia and Marmaduke Begonia for starters.
A cat and dog garden isn't complete without feline friends. Mixing plants with cat names along with dog name plants creates a fun landscape feature. For cat plants, try a few of these: Cat's Whiskers (Orthosiphon), Scaredy Cat (Coleus Caninus), Cat's Claw Vine, Cattails and Catmint.
Accessories and Decorations
Creating an animal theme garden means adding more than just plants. Accessories and garden decorations help complete the effect. Check with your local dollar stores and garden centers for decorations and resin or ceramic statues of animals that can be strategically placed in the garden area.
Adding statues and decorative items of all sizes can turn your animal garden into a delight for young and old as they meander through the area looking for hidden treasures. Choose some small decorations that can be placed in out of the way places which require visitors to search to see them. Kids will find this to be an especially fun aspect of your garden. Continue adding items so that each time a visitor drops by, the garden will be different and full of new surprises.
Be sure to verify the toxicity of the plants you choose if your pets will have access to the garden area. For more information about toxic plants, read Grass, Weeds and Plants Pet Should Not Eat and Plants That Can Poison Your Pet.
Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters