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Welcome Elizabeth Bublitz: Animal-Friendly Gardening Expert

Posted by at 5:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)


ebublitz-photoI am thrilled to be joining the team here at PETA Prime! I love gardening and I love animals, so I have a feeling that I will fit right in here.

I used to think that I was a genetic freak, since my parents never liked gardening. Our landscape only had sod and evergreens because they are very low maintenance. However, my parents loved and respected animals. We were the “weird” family who had numerous cats, dogs, rabbits, gerbils, and fish. Whoever roamed into our neighborhood as a stray found a home with us. I think there was a sign somewhere that told strays how to find our house. I have stayed in touch with some of my childhood neighbors, who confess now that they were embarrassed to have us living on their block.

Despite my innate love for animals, I rebelled and became fascinated with plants. My first rebellious experience was in preschool when we planted a seed in a cup. I was in awe when I saw how we watered a little pile of dirt and something beautiful sprouted. I took it home and started filling cups with dirt and seeds and placing them in our living room window. Just what my parents needed, more dirty dishes. My mom thought it was a phase–I think she still does!

My passion never stopped. My first “real” garden was when I was in the first grade and used the area where the tetherball used to be. Something happened to it (things got destroyed or ruined in our house very easily), so I sprinkled a packet of zinnia seeds in the sandy soil and watered like crazy. They must be very hardy because they grew and actually bloomed–and I was hooked. When I was in college at the University of Colorado in Boulder, I’d stay with my parents in the summer and create gardens.

After completing the Master Garden program, I worked at various landscape design firms and implemented a design center at a local garden center. As time went on, I realized that nobody knew how to consider dogs’ innate habits in their yard–after all, they often use the yard more than any other family member. So, I started my own landscape firm that catered to dogs. My only resource was my childhood veterinarian, so I’d call her about behavior issues–deterring dogs from digging, escaping, etc.–and she gave me numerous tips. I knew landscape material, she knew animal behavior, and I used both … and ta da! Now I spend my days creating yards and gardens for animals and people.

I’m blessed to have a job that I love, which combines my love for animals and gardening. I can reflect and say that I’m glad I grew up in the “weird family on the block,” since I’m unique in my industry. It gave me a lot of strength to be different. Also, my parents’ aversion to gardening became an asset, since I am able to create gardens that are low maintenance. I was groomed for that my entire life.

My life is great. I just released my first book to celebrate my 10th anniversary in business, which was co-written with my childhood veterinarian, Dr. Spurling. Even though I’ve been an oddity, the green industry has started to embrace animal-friendly landscapes, and now I am advising them on new products that are safe for animal companions, such as edging. The best part of my job is when someone tells me that they were able to keep their dog because of my techniques. If I can prevent a dog from being relinquished, the rest is gravy!

I am excited to be sharing my animal-friendly gardening and landscaping tips here at PETA Prime and look forward to your own tips and questions. Here’s to happy dogs and beautiful gardens!

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    Greeny says...

    November 24th, 2008, 12:03 pm

    I am happy that you are addressing this issue. My site has touched on being cautious with plant selection. Some plants effect primarily cats while others cause more problems for dogs, and there are some which can make your beloved pet die while others may simply make them sick. So know what you’re growing in your home. http://gardenfingers.com/gardening-topics-2/pets-and-gardens/plants-which-are-poisonous-to-pets/

    kerry says...

    November 25th, 2008, 1:35 pm

    Our dogs love to dig potatoes so we fence in some of the potatoes and leave some for the doggies. When we are done with potato harvest, we remove the fence and let the dogs dig in the potato patch. They find so many that we missed, and they are so proud of themselves.

    Elizabeth says...

    December 2nd, 2008, 12:16 am

    Hi Greeny: Thank you so much for the link – it was so informative! I love getting the word out about toxic plants (among other harmful elements) in pet’s backyards. I’m always eager to read new websites and blogs that are dedicated to pets and yards. Thanks again! Have fun and get dirty!!! :D

    Elizabeth says...

    December 2nd, 2008, 12:24 am

    Hi Kerry: Aren’t dogs more fun to watch than anything on cable? And what great owners you are since you let them play in a “forbidden” garden with lots of new smells and “toys.” And I might add, what a great, nutritious “toy” they get when they find potatoes. One word of caution though, the green parts of potatoes are toxic to dogs but it sounds like the green parts on your potatoes are spent since they’ve been harvested. So let them continue to have fun and thanks for sharing a great story! – Elizabeth :D

    JT says...

    December 4th, 2008, 8:02 pm

    Hi, fellow CU Boulder alumna! I graduated in ’83, and still miss that beautiful paradise.

    I hope you’ll include other animals in your work. Gardens can be such a haven for wildlife by planting appropriate native plants for your region, using no pesticides and herbicides, and providing a water source. Your garden can be certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Habitat Garden, and you can get a lovely sign to hang on the fence. All you need are food and water sources, places to raise young, and shelter. Brush piles, letting some plants go to seed, nesting boxes…there are many things you can do to be wildlife friendly. Thanks!

    Elizabeth says...

    December 10th, 2008, 3:11 pm

    Hi JT: What a small world – do you still live in Colorado? Boulder really is one of the most beautiful places in the world, isn’t it?! Anyway, what a great suggestion – I’ve seen parks use portions that are certified by the National Wildlife Federation – they’re amazing! I’d love to have one in my backyard – I love that suggestion!

    Thanks again – I’ll keep you posted if I create a new area. Take care, happy holidays ! – Elizabeth :D

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