‘Otter’ keeps a watch on garden

Published 10:27 pm Monday, December 3, 2018

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Kristi Hendricks

‘Tis the rapid approach to the season for giving thanks. The full throes of blessed autumn are upon us for which I am ever so grateful. This date also thankfully marks the publication of my 100th VCE/WTMG column through which I share my floriculture passion with you readers. To boot, I’m equally appreciative of my loyal gardening partner.

My first gardening article, published in 2014, was dedicated to “Gardening with an Otter.” Otter is just a nickname given to him because of his appearance resembling one of those river otters found in abundance along our Southside waterways. But this endearment fits this 12-pounder, black-and-white tuxedo kitty to a ‘T.’

Since that original column, there’s been somewhat of a change to Otter’s approach to his CATiculture pursuits. Over the summer, he lost a rear leg to surgery following a full-bore chase after a raccoon. During this adventure, he further damaged an already lame leg. Otter was once a rescue kitty patrolling the mean streets of Williamsburg as a wild cat. But he become a beloved member of our family soon after his first birthday.

Otter continues to garden up a storm, loving to dance with the colorful, swirling leaves. Now, with only three legs, he fits even better in a medium tubtrug with head poking out watching intensely which direction we’re heading to in the lawn.

Otter brings sheer joy to landscape activities. I can barely get leaves into the yard debris bag once he has taken up shop in there to sort leaves from twigs and seedy weeds from vegetation that will be used for erosion control. While he patiently prowls for moles, voles, shrews and mice, I’m on the lookout for praying mantis, lady bugs, honey bees and lacewings.

Otter continues to wage serious battle over who gets to kneel, or sprawl, on the frog-green gardening pad. Yet the biggest contest comes later as we break to browse our tattered gardening catalogs. Otter wants to keep turning the pages to the next kitty treat ad.

Having a gardening partner takes the drudgery out of the weeding, mulching and raking that is all consuming this time of year. Whether your partner is a devoted kitty or simply the parade of birds that visit your habitat providing melodious song and dance, companions add pleasure to the pastime and alert when passersby are approaching to view your flower beds and vegetable patches.


KRISTI HENDRICKS is a member of the Western Tidewater Master Gardeners. Contact her at GardenontheJames@yahoo.com.