Recently I was invited to write a guest post on the local dog lover’s resource website, Saratogadoglovers.com. The post was titled, “Dog Lover’s Introduction to Safe Landscaping Practices”, and can be read in full by clicking the link. Our pets, our children, area wildlife and human neighbors are really at the mercy of our good or bad decisions about chemical applications in our yards. Organic landscaping becomes effortless when we make better plant choices, plants indigenous to this region adapted to the conditions here and can withstand the natural pressures doled out by our weather patterns, local herbivorous insects and endemic diseases. Therefore the question, “Is your landscaping designed to be safe for pets?” can be easily assessed by how much of your plant material: shrubs, trees, herbacious plants and ferns, are native to this region, because it’s easy to equate from there whether you find the need to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides or not. Landscaping and gardens that consist of native plant species easily thrive with no chemical inputs, making these systems safe for pets and everyone else. The Saratoga Springs region has some stunning native plants that just shine with natural beauty in landscaping systems. Native plant installations even lay the groundwork for habitat restoration in the surrounding properties as birds allow native plant germination through berry and seed dispersal.

Native plants can be difficult to track down, and a trip to the local native plant nursery will most likely be in order. Traditional big box stores and garden centers are ill equiped for habitat restoration, they depend on our repeat business for chemical fertilizers and pesticides: it’s not in their best fiscal interest to empower us with sustainable landscaping information or materials. A specialty nursery that grows native plants has a very different business model: empowering you to grow a sustainable garden is exactly what they do. Picking up a handful of native plants to add to the landscape this spring will make inroads to quitting the chemical landscaping addiction- and begin the cycle of a creating a safe space for your pets and other loved ones.