Dogs in the Garden

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

In honor of the Westminister Kennel Club dog show Feb. 14-15 at Madison Square Garden, it’s appropriate to show a few dogs in the garden.  The above photo captures a sweet moment between artist Cathy Carey and one of her golden retrievers.

Susan Miller’s yellow lab is on the job 24-7, bringing her things and providing a strong back to lean on when she moves from wheelchair to sofa.

It must have been hot that day, several years ago, in Patrick Anderson’s garden.


At Cactus Jungle nursery in Berkeley, CA, Benjamin and Jason, two elegant whippets, observe the goings-on. When it’s chilly, owners Hap and Peter bundle them up.


An older dog who roams the rural neighborhood where this San Diego garden is located drops in daily for a pat on the head and a snooze on the sun-warm driveway.


My terrier, Lily, tries to hypnotize me into letting her go outside. She lives to hunt small critters, like lizards. I’m doing a post on her, and the role she plays in my work as a garden writer/author/photojournalist, in the near future.

Spot’s and Rover’s hides are impervious to the cactus that surrounds them. Only in LA? Not quite: nearby Riverside.


And last but not least, at a Denver garden center, a Pot Dog.

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra and husband Jeff live in the foothills north of San Diego. She grew up in Southern California on an avocado ranch, speaks conversational Spanish, and at age 18 graduated magna cum laude from USIU with a degree in English Literature. Her hobbies include thrifting, birding and watercolor painting. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
13 comments… add one

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Linda February 14, 2011, 5:19 am

Great photos…beautiful dogs! As a dog owner and a gardener, I can relate!

I really do think a dog enhances the gardening experience (once you’ve trained them not to dig or dive under the fence). — Debra

Gatsbys Gardens February 14, 2011, 7:09 am

I have a Westie, Reggie, and he loves being out in the garden. Rabbits and squirrels are his favorite challenge!


Lily loves to hunt, yet has never caught anything. It’s a joke between my husband and me that she’s always looking in the wrong direction. But it’s just as well—what would she do with a rabbit if she caught one? — Debra

sillydoggarden February 14, 2011, 11:18 am

My German shepherd is a constant companion in the garden. He’s really good about staying on the paths and out of the beds — unless he sees a rabbit!

Well, I hope he catches them. — Debra

Byddi Lee - We didn't come here for the grass... February 14, 2011, 12:37 pm

I just love Lily – Such a cutie! I used to have a Westie and she was the best dog I ever had. I still miss her now – years later.

Thank you! Lily is my second Westie. The first had a more docile, giving nature. She was a rescue dog, after her first owner passed away from a long illness. She had the amazing ability to comfort people, so she and I made weekly visits to nursing homes (she even had her own cape and photo ID, provided by the organization). She would do anything for a carrot, so I’d give them to the patients, and she’d do tricks for them, including a hilarious growl-mumble. I love Lily, but her predecessor was the dog of a lifetime. — Debra

Lisa at Greenbow February 14, 2011, 5:29 pm

I had rabbit trouble before I got my present dog. She keeps them out of the back garden. She rarely tears up anything. A mole might get her into trouble. She is considered a large breed (German Shepherd) but she is a good garden companion.

The shepherds I’ve known have been docile and extremely intelligent (at least, compared to my terrier). Big, though. No doubt she intimidates rabbits! — Debra

Dawn February 14, 2011, 7:24 pm

I have a papillon/pom mix who likes to hunt the lizards. He looks like a little fox and is very intelligent. Over the years we have taught him to drop the lizards when he catches them, but last year he did get a baby bunny and it made me feel so SAD, cause I did not get there in time 🙁
He makes this strange growl-grumbly-mummbly which sounds like “leave me alone” when we disturb him eating a bone.

So your first Westie liked to eat carrots?!

Yes, she’d materialize next to the refrigerator whenever she heard the veg drawer open. We kept a bag of little carrots in there for her. If you haven’t given your dog a raw carrot, you may be surprised at how much he likes them. — Debra

franniesorin February 15, 2011, 12:53 am


For all of us dog owners and lovers, what a fantastic post. You’ve captured the essence of the landscape in a dog’s life. After all, our dogs need to be surrounded by beauty. Since you’re the proud owner of a beautiful Westie, I’ll chime in that I’m a fan (OK….I’m obsessed with) of terriers; I have 3 Aussies!

Hi, Fran — I didn’t know there was such a breed until I Googled “Australian terrier.” They’re cute yet have a no-nonsense look about them, too. I like their black-and-tan coloring. — Debra

Rose February 15, 2011, 9:45 am

Loved this post! As a proud owner of a Golden much like Cathy’s, I can say that gardening has become even more enjoyable with my Sophie around. She’s just as anxious for spring and time to get into the garden as I am!

Dogs do love to be outdoors, don’t they? Lily will jump up from a sound asleep if she hears the door open. — Debra

Mr. McGregor's Daughter February 15, 2011, 11:16 am

I loved the dog photos. It always struck me how much better my garden photos looked when my Borzoi was in them. Sadly, she’s gone now, and I still miss her. I’m looking forward to your post about Lily. She’s a cutey.

A dog adds life to a garden, both in person and in photos. — Debra

Cathy Carey February 15, 2011, 11:26 am

Lovely post of the bond we have with our dogs, and the special times we share with them in the garden. Lily looks like she is trying her Darth Vader mind control on you like in the commercial 🙂

It works, too! — Debra

Gladys February 15, 2011, 5:49 pm

would love to have instructions on how to make Dog Pots

Hi, Gladys — I suspect a glue gun was involved. ;+) — Debra

Olivia February 15, 2011, 9:43 pm

My dog enjoys the garden even more than we get to, but he has eliminated so many plants with his energy. Now I try to design with him in mind. I need a reference on dog-resistant plants! Thanks for the great pics.

I know, dogs can turn a garden into a moonscape. Mine don’t go outdoors unless someone is with them, and they know what “getOUTTAthere” means. Basically, if they stray off a path or hardscape, I get after them. — Debra

cameron (Defining Your Home) February 16, 2011, 7:01 pm

Wonderful dog photos!

Unfortunately, I lost my “Gardening Greyhound” in September. I finally got back out in the garden yesterday. I lost all interest without Charm there with me, but now I’m getting my interest back again by a week of warm weather here.

I’m so sorry! I hope you’ll find a worthy successor. — Debra

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