Thursday, March 31, 2011

Urban Nature Gardening With Kids - April 2nd

I'm a big fan of Alison Gillespie, both for her writing and for her dedication to helping to preserve the beauty of the landscape around us.

This Saturday, April 2, 2011, Alison will be presenting a talk on how to turn even tiny spaces into places where children can experience the wonders of nature.

The program, presented by the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS), will be from 10:00am - 12:00pm at the AWS Office, 4302 Baltimore Avenue, Bladensburg, MD 20710

About the program:

When you dreamt of being a parent, you imagined chasing butterflies through meadows and counting acorns in the woods with your kids. Now, in present day reality, you find yourself living on a city lot the size of a postage stamp and worry that your child with grow up with "nature deficit disorder." Local gardener, writer and parent Alison Gillespie will share ideas for meeting these challenges, as well as a practical list of ideas and plants that can turn even a tiny space into an arena for experiencing the wonder of nature. Inexperienced gardeners are welcome and encouraged to attend! 

RSVP: Please e-mail or click here to RSVP so we can plan accordingly!

To get a sample of some of the "wonder" that Alison has to impart, read this post that she shared with us back in February, or visit her blog:

Where You Are Planted

For more information about the Anacostia Watershed Society, click their logo below.

And be sure to visit our Calendar page for more upcoming events sponsored by the Anacostia Watershed Society and other great local groups.

More dog safety in the garden

I've written a couple of posts about pets in our gardens, primarilly about how the chemicals we use in our landscapes can harm our pets. In fact, according to WebMD, poisoning is one of the Top Ten Dog and Cat Injuries.

But my friend and fellow blogger Susan McCullough, author of the popular Northern Virginia Dog Blog, pointed something out to me that many gardeners don't think about: there are many other things in our gardens that can hurt our pets, including poisonous plants, mulch and what we put in our compost piles.

Many dog owners know that certain foods are unhealthy for dogs and keep them out of Fido's reach in the kitchen. But these same foods may end up in the compost pile where curious canines are sure to sniff them out.

Here are some excerpts from the great article Susan sent me entitled: ASPCA Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) experts field tens of thousands of calls each year involving animal companions who’ve had potentially hazardous contact with insecticides, weed killers and pet-toxic plants. 

"Keeping animals safe from accidental poisonings should not end once you've stepped outside," says Dana Farbman, APCC pet poison prevention expert. "Protecting your pet from potential hazards in your yard is just as critical." 

While gardens and yards are lovely for relaxing, they can also prove dangerous for our animal companions.

Poisonous Plants 
When designing and planting your green space, it's a good idea to keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants—including rhododendron and azalea—are toxic to cats and dogs. Please visit our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your garden. 

Pet parents, take care—the fertilizer that keeps our plants healthy and green can wreak havoc on the digestive tracts of our furry friends. 

Cocoa Mulch 
Popular for its attractive odor and color, cocoa mulch also attracts dogs with its sweet smell, and like chocolate, it can pose problems for our canine companions. 

The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poisons. Always store pesticides in inaccessible areas—and read the manufacturer's label carefully for proper usage and storage. 

You're doing the right thing for your garden and Mother Earth—you're composting! Food and garden waste make excellent additions to garden soil, but depending on what you're tossing in the compost bin, they can also pose problems for our pets. Coffee, moldy food and certain types of fruit and vegetables are toxic to dogs and cats, so read up on people foods to avoid feeding your pet

Garden Tools 
Unattended garden tools may seem like no big deal, but rakes, tillers, hoes and trowels can be hazardous to pets and cause trauma to paws, noses or other parts of a curious pet's body. Rusty, sharp tools caked in dirt may also pose a risk for tetanus if they puncture skin. 

Allergy-Causing Flora 
Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets have allergies to foods, dust and even plants. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can even cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock if the reaction is severe. If you do suspect your pet has an allergy, please don't give him any medication that isn't prescribed by a veterinarian. It's also smart to keep your pet out of other people's yards, especially if you're unsure of what kinds of plants or flowers lurk there. Keeping your pet off the lawn of others will make for healthy pets and happy neighbors.

Be sure and read the whole article from the ASPCA, as it contains much more great information for pets. And now that you know about the Northern Virginia Dog Blog, head on over there when you are out there sniffing around for something new to dig into.

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