Monday, March 23, 2015

Invisible Dog Fence…

mccall and ally (1)When I first began to get serious about gardening ~ we owned a yellow lab named McCall.  To be honest, she was an unwelcomed pal of mine when it came go gardening…she would get right up in whatever I was doing and would destroy the area as soon as I would move on to the next section.  That would mean digging up what I had just planted or rolling on an area I had just weeded ~ all endearing memories now, but at the time I would get so frustrated!  Being a home owner, you learn that there are products out there that can simplify our lives and easily alleviate stressors like what I am talking about.  A product called “Invisible Fence” – not only can you do this outside in your gardens but inside as well.  To keep dogs like McCall from jumping up and eating a wedding cake you had spent all day baking…um, yes – that really happened.
062Although, McCall passed away four years ago, at the age of 14, We now have three shih tzu’s, Charlie, Sophie (pictured) and Millie, who cannot be trusted neither in the garden or having 0f free roaming rights of the house.  We have found that the less area they have of the house, the better at housetrained pooches that they are.  And like McCall if they are allowed to follow me into the garden beds, they too would be little helpers terrors in my landscape! IMG_2728I was recently contacted by Dog Fence DIY to share the benefits of using a invisible dog fence for your home.  I was also excited about the opportunity because of the peace of mind that having an invisible fence has given our family.  No more worrying about them running out of the yard and getting lost, having them confined to areas of the house and garden that are appropriate and enjoyable and stress free for not only me, but for our dogs too!

Using an Invisible Fence to Deter Your Digging Dogs Do your digging dogs wreak havoc inside your garden? How can you stop them from uprooting your plants and causing damage? An underground dog fence is one way to protect your garden. While it doesn’t stop other animals from entering your garden, an electric dog fence is a very reliable method for containing your dogs to the area of your choice. Read on for more information about using this system in your gardens or flower beds. Why Dogs Dig Many breeds of dogs have a natural desire to dig. Terriers, for example, were bred to hunt small prey, so they’re inclined to burrow to find animals like gophers. Larger hunting breeds like bloodhounds, vizslas, and weinheimers also tend to dig. Huskies, chow chows, and other large dogs will dig into the ground to stay cool. Dogs who are not neutered may be more prone to digging, too. In fact, any dog can develop a love for digging if they’re bored enough, or if they’re determined to get to something in the ground or on the other side of the fence. A wired dog fence combined with a physical fence can help you manage a digging dog. Enclosing Your Garden Digging dogs love gardens, because the soil is excellent for digging. If you have a compost pile in your garden, they may also be attracted to it because of the food scraps. In order to keep your dogs out of your garden, you’ll need more than a traditional fence, because they’ll easily dig underneath it. An electronic dog fence will stop your dogs from digging up your garden and keep them safe from the compost pile. A DIY underground dog fence or wireless dog fence will warn your dogs when they’re approaching the garden perimeter with a mild, annoying static shock from their e-collars. They’ll be unable to get close enough to dig underneath the wire. Additional Benefits A DIY electric dog fence is a reliable solution to the problem of keeping your diggers out of the garden or flower beds, and it has some additional benefits. An electric dog fence will not block the view of your garden the way a traditional fence would, so all your hard work and prized plants will still be on display. You also won’t have to worry about opening and remembering to close the gate every time you enter or exit your garden. When you’re carrying garden tools, not having to fuss with a locked gate is definitely a plus. Also, the total invisible fence cost is up to 80% less than a traditional fence. Reinforcing a Traditional Fence If you already have a fence in place around your garden or yard, an electronic fence can still be used to add an extra layer of protection. Because digging dogs tend to be stubborn, they won’t stop attempting to dig underneath the traditional fence, especially once they’ve done so successfully. Escaping from your yard will put your dogs’ lives in danger, and possibly open you up to liability if they get into trouble during their adventure. Reinforcing a traditional fence with an electric fence will ensure your dogs are safe and your garden is protected no matter what. Remote Training Containing your dogs to one area of the yard will protect them and your garden, but it won’t stop them from digging as long as there’s ground underneath their paws. Remote training with an e-collar can help stop their digging anywhere. In essence, you’ll train your dogs by using a remote to send an annoying vibration to their e-collars anytime you catch them digging. This will reinforce that digging isn’t allowed, and before long they should stop altogether. Some invisible fences also have remote training capabilities. The Innotek dog fence review, for example, will tell you that the e-collar can be used to both reinforce set boundaries and as a remote trainer. If you decide to install your own invisible fence, there are plenty of online resources to help you choose the best system for you, your dogs, and your garden. The PetSafe YardMax is a popular electric dog fence, and there are plenty of reviews and instructions to help you out. Anyone can successfully install an electric dog fence over the weekend. Consistent, thorough training of your dogs will then take 15-30 minutes per day for two weeks. After that, you can rest your mind at ease that your dogs and your garden are safe from harm. Published in partnership with We encourage you to share your experiences with a variety of dog containment systems in the comments section.

Commenters and those who share the post in social media qualify for a drawing of a $50 Amazon gift card! Winner announced Friday 3/27/15.

xoxo, tracie

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fishtail Cottage Garden 3/16/15

Just like decorating a house, taking one section of the garden at a time and only focusing on that specific area until you complete it is what I have found to be the most successful (for me). Even though the garden is always evolving and changing, a thought process of what you eventually want should always be in the forefront of you’re your mind. Sure you can always take plants out, move them around, add new ones and unfortunately you will have some that die or are not quite as happy as you had originally thought.  Keeping an open mind is essential too!

This past week, I’ve been focusing on the front of the house.  I think I’ve visited 8 nurseries sometimes twice in one day and still came home with nothing.  Why you ask? Because – just like decorating a house, sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it!

I didn’t take any photo’s of before I started, but here is the after. I know you can’t see the full picture of what will be in this area, because the garden has just started to emerge.  But believe me it takes a lot of preparation for summer.  In these areas, you won’t be able to see the dirt in another couple months. But to get ready for that stage, having some color and plants while waiting is important to me. 


On the left side of the walkway, closest to house you can see that the leaves hydrangeas are started to bud out. Years ago I started to layer this area with smaller plants in the front (heuchra, hosta, lungwort). Then astilbe, hellebore, bleeding heart, columbine, solomon seal…intermixed with tulips, daffodils, crocus, fritillaria and other various bulbs for spring color.


The right side is mirrored to the left although there is a few more plants that I’ve planted on the far edge  because the afternoon sunshine in this area (such as a camellia, poppy, roses)


IMG_8811 I had some landscape help last fall and have seen several of my favorite plants that had been in my original ‘vision’ did not return this spring, how they removed those plants thinking they were a weed or a dead plant is beyond me ~ but I had to replace a few essential must haves like this specific hellebore “Ivory Prince” that went missing (5 out of six)! I love it because this particular area is a little dark and the lighter color helps brighten the walkway. Hellebore is one of my very favorite plants in the garden as it isn’t needy.  The only thing I have to do is cut off last years growth in early spring. 



IMG_8812I was happy to see this Fritillaria Meleagris return this year.  I purchased several at the end of their bloom season last year from a local grocery store.  I’m not shy about buying plants at throw away prices for next years garden.  They can always be tucked in just where you want them.  Just yesterday I brought home a whole flat of hyacinth for .75c from Home Depot.  planted and I know they will come back next year!  The great thing about doing this is they are just where they should be instead of guessing what their placement will look like next year had I planted them in the fall.

IMG_8815Another grocery store clearance plant that I just planted is this variety of Fritillaria Una Pulvis ~ I couldn’t find information on it (tag said sun and well drained soil), but because my “Fritillaria Meleagris” said wet feet and shade, I divided it and planted it in several areas of my garden(shade, sun, wet and dry soil)…I’ll decide for myself what conditions it prefers.  Although the wild (and fat) bunny that visited our garden the other day thoroughly enjoyed himself as he helped himself to several of these blooms.  I’ll have to wait till next year to see where this plant comes back.

The front two pots I decided to plant a Fairy Blush Camellia. I recently saw it at the Seattle Home and Garden Show and fell in love with it’s delicate blooms and smaller and more petite leaf.  Although, once I had set my mind on finding it, everywhere I called or visited said this plant comes into stock in fall. Which didn’t set well with me… I did find a tiny little nursery that had four in stock when I called.  So I rushed over to grab two of them and was sad when I found our how absolutely horrible they looked.  The base had cracks had a lot of the leaves had cold damage and the flowers had already come on gone.  The store owner offered them for 75% off and a fourteen month guarantee so with high hopes that I could nurture and revitalize what could be a beautiful plant in the garden I brought them home with me. Time will only tell what happens with them. The worst part of planting these was the fact that I tried adjusting these cement planters and the one on the left fell over and broke my rain chain and the plate on the french drain and I myself had to lift it three or four times to get it back on the pedestal…probably not the best idea because I can certainly feel it in my back and arms today!

   IMG_8803 (2)

Also in bloom this week are my row of Bradford Pear Trees on the street side of our fence~ so beautiful to see in bloom (photo’s just don’t do it justice) and hoping for more privacy this year from our neighbors!


Hope you are finding yourself enjoying your gardens this week?  xoxo, tracie

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Still re-decorating the Great Room!

You may have saw my post last week that I have been trying to figure out what to put over the faux fireplace in our great room – if you missed it and want to take a peek at the changes I made to the room, click here.  After several ideas from my blog readers and playing here on my own, I’m kinda in love with what I came up with. My daughter wants to make a collage on her wall of canvas prints of she and her friends which gave me the idea to take the vintage gold frames that I had displayed in my daughters room and layer them on top of the mantle.





I think it brought the right feel of eclectic/vintage to our space.  However, I need to live with it for while before I add or make changes to it.  What do you think?

xoxo, tracie