Collection Notes

Animals in the Garden

We have a lot to learn from the animals in the garden. It’s just a matter of paying attention.

Dear Gardener,

Usually, the animals in the garden are deer, rabbits, skunks, or other critters intent on eating our strawberries, cucumbers, and herbs. At least, those are the ones I often think of as I reimagine ways to keep them out of my precious vegetables. But there are other animals in the garden – helpful animals like birds and pollinators like bees. And other animals?

Some of the animals in the garden are just living their life. When we humans are lucky enough, one of those animals might adopt us. That’s what happened to Mary McComsey when a frog welcomed her to sit with him on a pond-side bench. For an entire summer, the two sat side by side every afternoon, Mary sharing stories with the frog about Henry David Thoreau, and the frog listening quietly. But this wasn’t just any frog. Mary and the frog had a special relationship. Read about it in “Pondering with Walden.”

While some animals, like frogs, may teach us to slow down and enjoy the scenery, others place choices in our path. As Katie Kulla worked to cut back the overgrown Himalayan blackberry on her farm, five newborn baby mice, helpless and crying, compelled her to make a decision. With mama mouse and her babies nesting in the “thorny, impenetrable, monstrous mass of vegetation,” Katie needed to determine whether they were pests or farm neighbors. What ultimately happened led Katie to reevaluate what it means to live amongst garden sheds, holly trees, and blackberries. Learn what happened in, “Mama vs. the Blackberries.”

Take a look at the stories in the Animals in the Garden Collection and you’ll find tortoises, grasshoppers, crows, ravens, rabbits, goats, cats, deer, bats, and beetles. In all, there are more than a dozen stories here that highlight the rich world around us. I hope you enjoy it.

Bill Dugan signature

Bill Dugan
Editor & Publisher


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