Roses are safe and with over 100 species, you have lots of choices. Just remember to stick with those in the family Rosacea. There are many plants with the word "rose" in their name which aren't really roses and which aren't safe for our pets. Sunflowers and gerbera daisies are beautiful to grow and then bring the cut flowers indoors. Zinnias are in the daisy family and safe for dogs and cats. I love all the colors of snapdragons and the pretty purple flowers on the sweet potato vine. If you plant marigolds you will not only get to enjoy their vibrant oranges and yellows, but you'll incur insect repelling benefits as well. Marigolds are great for repelling both mosquitoes and aphids, so planting around your roses will help control a pest that you so often find there.
Herb gardens are awesome as you can clip and snip for your own meals, but if your pets get into them, they are safe. Dill, basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, cilantro, oregano, and lemon balm are just a few to think about. Parsley CAN be safe; if you have a puppy, however, I'd stay away from parsley as the frilly leaves can be super attractive and high doses of parsley can cause liver and kidney problems. Planting basil will have the added benefit of repelling mosquitoes and flies, while rosemary will repel fleas and ticks. Cat mint is a safe plant that also repels insects, in particular those dreaded mosquitoes destined to be bad this year, thanks to all the rain.
There are also herbs and plants that can be used medicinally for you and your pets! Echinacea has beautiful, daisy-like flowers and immune boosting properties. Burdock herb helps with allergies and digestive issues. Milk thistle can help with liver disorders and peppermint can help with indigestion and nausea, as well as repel spiders, mosquitoes and ants in your garden. Chamomile can be dried for tea and has the cutest, white daisy-like flowers. And my favorite, lavender, repels moths, fleas, flies, and mosquitoes, and both leaves and flowers can be dried and eaten. If you have a puppy, however, I would avoid lavender if you think the flowers will be too much of a draw for them. In large quantities, lavender can be stomach upsetting for animals.
Finally, if you just can't give up your gardenias, hydrangeas, begonias, or bulbs, why not plant dog's bane (and put up a deterring fence while you are at!) around those toxic plants? Dog's bane is an herb in the mint family with a strong odor that works as a natural deterrent for cats and dogs.
Hope you are now as inspired as I am to get out there and clean up your winter garden and prepare for the hot summer weather ahead. Be sure and let me know what you're growing in your pet safe garden!
As always, if you have questions about your pets, you know where to find me.
Good thing my neighbors have poppies growing in front of their house and dogs in the back yard since poppies can be toxic! These gorgeous roses though could be anywhere as they are safe for all animals...except for those thorns!