Thursday, April 9, 2015

A #Cat Friendly #Garden by Karen Rose Smith

There are many lists online about plants that are non-toxic to cats. One thing to remember is that if you buy plants rather than grow your own, they could have absorbed pesticides from garden stores spraying for insects. As often as possible, I try to grow plants from seed.

Here are a few of my standbys that keep our garden safe for strays who visit us as well as add fragrance and color to our yard.


I love roses and we have about a dozen bushes--Chrysler Imperial, McCartney, Queen Elizabeth, California Dreamin', Double Delight, Blue Girl, Voluptuous, World War II Memorial and some disease-resistant knock-out varieties. Their vivid colors and delightful scents are a joy to behold each June when they're at their height in Pennsylvania.


Depending on the warmth of our spring, I sow zinnia seeds around Memorial Day. They are so easy to grow...unless the bunnies eat them. I rake up the ground a bit, drop the seeds and in six weeks have wonderful color gracing our gardens. My favorite colors are Pink Luminosa, and Purple Prince. There are varieties from the large heirloom blooms to pincushion and miniatures. They can stand up and thrive in humidity and high summer heat.


Petunias will brighten up any planter or garden. If you want color, there are so many to choose from. Wave petunias are good at borders and traditional varieties are hardy and bushy.


Last season dwarf snapdragons lined our gardens' borders while taller traditional varieties grew to 15 inches or higher. At one time, I could only find assortments of snapdragons. Last season, however, I could purchase flats in solo colors. Snapdragons are making a comeback.


I especially appreciate coneflowers because they attract hummingbirds. In pink, purple and white, they make a sturdy as well as colorful addition to our gardens. We have them planted near one of our feral shelters.


Phlox also attract hummingbirds. They come in various colors from pink to purple to white and blue. I grew one last year that was red and white striped. They can add height to your gardens, growing from two to three feet.

I also use herbs for greenery. Some like lavender flower. Oregano, chamomile, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley are a few cat-friendly varieties.  Cat mint is wonderful in gardens. It flowers and the strays love to lay in it!

Happy gardening!

Links to explore with non toxic and toxic plant lists:



USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 87th novel will be released in 2015.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.
Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 


©2015 Karen Rose Smith

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