by Connie Oswald Stofko
Shiloh, not quite two years old, is still a puppy. She’s well behaved, but she has one puppy behavior that could be maddening to a gardener. She likes to dig holes and bury bones– in the garden!
Her owner, Justine Tutuska, came up with a creative way to keep her garden beds intact. She made simple fences by tying together bamboo sticks. She sets these across the garden beds to keep Shiloh out.
You can see Tutuska’s gardens during South Buffalo Alive from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, July 20. The hospitality booth will be located at Tim Russert’s Children’s Garden, 2002 South Park Ave., Buffalo. A donation of $2 is requested for the map.
Shiloh will be at a relative’s house for the day, so Tutuska will take the fences down and you can see the flowers in all their splendor. If you want to see the fences, just ask her and she’ll bring one out.
Another problem Tutuska has is the burned spots on the lawn where the dog urinates. When we had a dog, we had the same problem. She liked to use the same spot repeatedly, so in the spring, I’d dig up the soil and set down a piece of fresh sod from elsewhere in the lawn. It looked good for a few days, but that was all.
Readers, if you have any tricks on how to keep pets out of the garden or how to deal with those brown spots, please leave a comment below.
Tutuska moved nine years ago into the South Buffalo home that had belonged to her grandparents. It was a typical South Buffalo property with no yard to speak of. Most of the space was taken up by the long driveway and the garage, which was situated at the back of the lot.
“I tore out the garage to have a garden,” Tutuska said. “Besides, who’s gonna park all the way back there when it snows? I park as close as I can to the end of the driveway.
“I just love having an outdoor space. We only have a few months when we can enjoy our gardens.”
She grows organic vegetables in raised beds.
“I’m concerned about what I’m eating.” she said.
She has kale, Swiss chard, beets, peppers, beans, basil, onions, tomatillos and cilantro. Tip: Tutuska said cilantro needs a little sand mixed into the soil.
Her grandmother’s raspberry bushes are also still going strong.
“I love July,” she said as she ate berries off the bush.
Tutuska would like to grow more herbs because she is interested in herbal remedies. When she lived in California, she made bath and body products that she sold through farmers markets.
She is now chair of the Health Care Studies Department at Daemen College and teaches health promotion, global health and complementary and alternative health care.
As a licensed massage therapist, she uses essential oils. She is also on the Board of Infant Massage and is in the process of becoming an international trainer.
Her work has taken her in the last couple years to Uganda and the Dominican Republic.
“Even having a busy profession, I find an hour here or there to garden,” she said. “I don’t have four hours a day, but I’ve been able to do it even with a busy career. You don’t need to be retired to have a nice garden.”
She encourages people not to be intimidated by gardening.
“You don’t need a big house,” she said. “Even if you have a small yard in the city, there’s a lot you can do.”
Gardens from South Buffalo Alive featured in previous years
Upcoming garden walks
Ken-Ton Garden Tour daytime walk from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, July 19 & 20 and night lights tour from 8:30-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday, July 18 & 19
Lancaster Garden Walk night lights from 8:45 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 18 and daytime walk 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20
Williamsville Garden Walk 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 19
West Seneca Tour of Gardens 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20
South Buffalo Alive 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, July 20
Garden Walk Buffalo 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27
Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, August 2 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for the daytime walk and 8-10 p.m. for the Starry Night Garden Tour