If you have ever been to my store, or my home, it’s easy to figure out that I am a dog in a person suit, and my Cardigan Welsh Corgis are little people in dog suits. The little people have the run of both of my places.
I call my garden Corgi Run-presiding over it is a very fine weathervane-English made of course. It was a birthday present from Rob, whose feelings about dogs are no different than mine.�
Milo, my dark brindle Corgi, has an unexpectedly big and disarmingly compelling personality. He persuades customers to pitch his beloved balls for him. He is a dog with a lot to say-vocal, is putting it mildly. I am convinced he understands English. He is as relaxed with visitors as he is in front of a camera; I should have named him Hambone. Rob thinks I should buy him a flock of sheep for his birthday this year.
My red brindle corgi Howard, is a dog’s dog. Bred like Milo, for herding cattle and sheep, he herds everyone who comes in until he is sure they are friendly. He is always working. Letting me know when someone comes, patrolling the property. Extremely reserved, even shy, he will let out a blood-curdling howl when startled. I think he is as handsome as Cary Grant, although he abhors having his picture taken.
The pair of them welcome every visitor with their version of a Las Vegas style welcome- a lot of horn and hoopla. They can be a lot of horn and hoopla in a garden, too.
A reader with corgis wrote me recently to ask what I recommended planting in a garden with dogs. I do not think what you plant is nearly as important as where you plant, and at what level. My dogs are creatures of habit-they have their routes. I designed my garden not only to hide their routes, but accommodate them.
My boxwood hedges have “corgi doors” cut into them, at their level. They love going in one door, and out the other.
My asparagus is companion planted with roses; they avoid that area altogether. My row of snakeroot has a barked corgi route immediately adjacent. My fountain has a frame of herniaria surrounding it, which acts like a doormat for all the grass clippings and other debris corgis carry around on their feet. They are too short to be any problem to my pots-I feel for gardeners with tall dogs. The many changes of level in my yard are like a obstacle course they never tire of; those stairs also slow them down. They sit under my life size moss cow when it’s raining. I make sure they have room on the deck to observe what’s doing in the neighborhood. Any low groundcover is bound to show Corgi-wear, but after all, it is their garden too. It’s a good look, a garden that looks like someone lives there.
I do not have any kids, except the aforementioned kids. I would never want a garden so precious it had no room for dogs and kids. The small garden space which was all mine as a child no doubt played a part in why I do what I do now.