The Dirt

Announcing the Winners: Pets in the Garden 2010

What is it about pets that sends people scurrying for their cameras? The January 2010 Pets in the Garden Contest inspired 112 people to send photos of not only cats and dogs, but also a hedgehog, a squirrel, a parrot, a tree frog, and even a moose. All, of course, were impossibly cute, and the judging was difficult. In the end, we selected two cats and two dogs. Each of the winners will receive “The Incredible, Edible Garden in a Box” and a one-year subscription to Fine Gardening, Congratulations to the winners, and a big thank-you to all who entered.

We asked our winners to tell us about themselves, and here’s what they had to say:

Flora Saperstein

Ziggy and the Butterfly. Photo/Illustration: Flora Saperstein

Ziggy is a sweet and sensitive cat, with a personality that assures he will always stop and smell the flowers on his way.

When I shot this photograph, I had just finished gardening for the day. I had built a new flower bed and was proudly taking a few pictures of my new blooms.

While playing with the camera, a butterfly swung by and settled on one of the Agapanthus. The bright yellow Monarch instantly caught my eye, and Ziggy’s too!

Ziggy carefully approached the scene and began his brief acquaintance. I am very thankful I was there to capture this moment.

Carol Doersum

Oliver the Potted Prince. Photo/Illustration: Carol Doersum

Cats and gardening are two of my passions. I celebrate them at

Gardening became a hobby after I moved to Texas. The growing season here is long and the selection of plants that thrive is huge. Watering is a challenge, though, so I rarely plant anything now that needs a lot of moisture. I’ve greatly reduced the amount of lawn in our little in-town lot, gradually replacing it with beds that I’m filling with natives and drought tolerant perennials. I don’t plan much–chance, impulse and serendipity play a large part in my garden.

I’ve always had indoor cats. Since moving into our current home several years ago, my husband and I have been adopted by 5 stray kitties who have become our garden cats. Oliver is the most recent arrival. Cat naps are hard on a plant; I’ve had to replace what’s in this large urn more than once!

Helene Erickson

Puppy Smelling Tithonia. Photo/Illustration: Helene Erickson

Following right behind my kids, my two passions are plants and puppies.  I love spending time in my garden, whether in the flower areas, or the fruit and vegetable areas.  I like my garden to give back to me either in the form of wonderful, fresh produce, or beautiful flowers to pick or enjoy on nature’s flower arrangements.

One thing I have learned over the years is how little I know and how much more there is to learn.  I am currently active with the Lafayette Garden Club, and the Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County.  I have also taken several propagation classes at DVC, the local community college.  Kathy, my wonderful instructor, always tells the class that learning to propagate plants is addictive….and I agree wholeheartedly.  What better fun is there than to get a cutting from a friend and start a new plant.  My kids sometimes wonder when my cutting and seed trays spill out from the greenhouse and come into the house—but I love keeping a close watch on my “little babies”.

Speaking of little babies, I also have 3 golden retrievers (Shine, Heather and Kili).  The puppy in the picture (Hanalei) is from a litter of Heather’s, and Kili is due with her first litter in about 1 week, so we will soon have more little pups to take into the garden for pictures.  Since I live in northern California (Bay Area), the spring flowers should be blooming nicely for our puppy pictures before the pups go to their new homes.

Kathleen Knull

Tarragon Boy. Photo/Illustration: Kathleen Knull

Dillon and I are thrilled to be among the winners. After trying to garden on a slope covered in extremely sandy soil for thirty years my serious gardening years are all ahead of me as we just built a home on 5 acres of forested land in the Pacific Northwest. The herb garden was first to be planted last summer while we built a serious vegetable garden with 20 raised beds enclosing  1,000 sq feet of garden soil and completed surrounded by deer fencing. We got some great late summer and winter vegetables and are expecting a good spring and summer crop this year. I just barely got started on the perennial beds last fall, starting with small trees and shrubs for the transition into the remaining forested property. I’ve got tons to learn about what works out here and am thrilled to have basically a blank slate and unlimited room to garden.

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