Thursday, April 24, 2014

Inside Austin Gardens Tour Preview - Garden 3

Garden 3 - Austin Neal, 1106 Northwestern Ave, 78702

Inside Austin Gardens Tour
Saturday, May 3, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets are available at each garden 
$15 for all gardens or $5 per individual garden
The demo garden and children under 16 are free

Austin and I were in the same Master Gardener class, so when I saw his garden was going to be on the tour, I volunteered to work the morning at his place. I'll be strolling Austin's garden from 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon, so stop by and say "hi".

I found so many great ideas to inspire me in Austin's garden and my visit reaffirmed my notion that I have to learn how to weld. Austin knows his way around metal and his work is so creative and interesting.

While you're in his garden you'll be surrounded by this marvelous fence made of welded panels fitted with recycled wood.

The street facing portion of the fence is covered with vines like this passion vine.

The inside of the fence has a very contemporary feel, which perfectly matches his modern style home.

Recycled roof tiles are re-purposed as planters. Love this!!!

Austin's garden is still new and evolving, but many of his plantings have matured quickly like this ice plant and salvia.

Ice Plant

Salvia Fruticosa
Everything in Austin's garden has style and flare right down to his veggie garden beds. 

Thanks for sharing your garden with us Austin. I can't wait to see it again on May 3rd.

Inside Austin Gardens Tour Preview - Garden 2

Garden 2 - Dugie and David Graham, 1817 Canonero Drive, 78746

Inside Austin Gardens Tour
Saturday, May 3, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets are available at each garden 
$15 for all gardens or $5 per individual garden
The demo garden and children under 16 are free
If you love to see beautiful gardens that have it all, then you have to see this garden. Set against the backdrop of a lovely limestone home with gorgeous views, this garden has rain water collection, a pond, a vegetable garden, fruit trees, plenty of flowers, and lots of fun yard art.

The peaches will soon be ripe, and 

the veggies will be ready for harvest. Let's eat! 

Is that a capital "G" for great or 

maybe it's "G" for gorgeous rock work. I hope Lori doesn't mind me snapping this photo. I couldn't resist. Lori is a fellow blogger who writes the blog, The Gardener of Good and Evil. Coincidentally, her garden is also Garden 1 on the tour.

The gorgeous rock work leads to a tranquil fish pond.

Notice the realistic looking snake in the upper right hand corner. It fooled me, so I'm pretty sure it will fool any fish eaters that might happen along.

If the snake doesn't work, perhaps these realistic fishing birds will do the trick. These decoys say, "This pond is occupado. Go find your own".

The Graham garden has large curving planting beds. Grass is not a priority for Dugie, who prefers blooming flowers. I'm with you Dugie.

Yellow Sedum

Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis fruiticosa

Desert Bluebell, Phacelia Campanularia
This large flowering crossvine has a little secret. The vine is hiding an AC unit. The AC is totally invisible from the street, but still has access for maintenance.

As usual, my camera gravitated to the yard art. The Graham's have some really fun pieces spread tastefully throughout the garden. I should have asked Dugie if she uses this bench or if it's just for display.  Either way, it's cute as can be.

Ants, armadillos and bunnies are all pests in my garden, but I could totally live with these adorable figurines.

Thanks for inviting us into your garden Dugie and David. You've created a very special retreat.

Garden number 3 is up next. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Inside Austin Gardens Tour Preview - Garden 1

One of the benefits of being a garden blogger is being invited to preview the gardens on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour. The tour is put together by the Travis County Master Gardeners and features 6 gardens that are built and maintained by gardeners like you and me. 

Many thanks to these wonderful gardeners for opening their gardens to us today and providing us with this wonderful sneak peak of each garden. I hope you'll enjoy this tiny taste of what these gardens have to offer and consider taking the tour yourself.

Inside Austin Gardens Tour
Saturday, May 3, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets are available at each garden 
$15 for all gardens or $5 per individual garden
The demo garden and children under 16 are free

Garden 1 - Lori Daul's Garden, 3231 Oak Alley, 78745

Lori's garden is one of the stars on the tour. I found so much to inspire me here. I just know you will too.

From the street you instantly know that a gardener lives here. Laura from Wills Family Acres gives me a wave from next to one of Lori's giant agaves. Taking photos with 20 or so other bloggers can be challenging. We always seem to accidentally pop into each others photos, but I think it's fun to have a few photos of friends to remember the day.

Lori has such a cool garden. I love her use of mirrors. She says the mirrors create light in the shadows and she's totally spot on. Mirrors sparkle in the sun and make spaces seems bigger too. Hint: Those aren't windows. They're mirrors!

Another thing mirrors do is trick people. Is that a porthole window in that fence panel? Nope, another mirror. Love it!

The most photogenic cat lives in Lori's garden. Apparently, this kitty loves to photo bomb people's pictures, but today I'm putting kitty center stage. No photo bombing needed kitty. This is your moment.

Lori knows how to create wonderful vignettes that add drama to the her garden.

Each curve of the bed line has a little something special to capture your attention.

This fountain will capture both your visual and auditory senses. It's Lori's unique creation. I doubt you'll see another like it anywhere.

Creating height in her layered border with galvanized containers is truly inspired. I'm definitely going to copy this cottage-cactus chic look.

Lori has plants a plenty. She's pared back her roses over the years, which you'll find surprising because she has so many.

This pink wood sorrel was looking great today. This plant really shines in the spring and Lori has a lovely stand of it in her back garden.

I have a tendency to take pictures of the things that interest me and this color combo definitely caught my attention. I usually like contrasting combinations, but something about this colorguard yucca and blackfoot daisy together was so soothing to my eyes. These plants are naturals together. I think I'll copy this too. Thanks for all the inspiration Lori. I had fun visiting your garden.

Stay tuned. There are 5 more gardens to go. I'll be loading them up as quickly as possible, so you can see them all before the tour day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bloom Day April 2014

This morning I risked frost bite to take my bloom day photos. Indeed, my shutter finger is still defrosting as I type. Thanks to a good cup of very hot tea, I'll be right as rain in no time.

Despite the frosty start to the day, the morning sun and clear blue skies lured me outside to see what was blooming. This tropical mandevilla vine was left outside in the cold to fend for itself while lows dipped into the 30's. I was expecting a sad little plant, but it looks okay to me.

Oxeye daisies always seem cheerful no matter the weather.

I've been getting an excellent return on my investment of this Gaillardia, 'Goblin'. I purchased one package of seed and have been rewarded with almost year round flowers. 

I live in a woodland setting and nothing seems more at home here than Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia Lyrata). This plant is a traveler that goes where it wants. I've tried to tame it, but I think it creates a better display if I let find it's own way.

Another woodland plant that seems right at home here is this dappled shade darling, Cedar Sage (Salvia Roemeriana). 

The bugleweed is blooming wonderfully this year. Even this variegated form Ajuga reptans 'Burdgundy Glow' is finally showing it's stuff.

I was surprised to see this meadow sage thriving. I purchased several of these, but this one is the lone survivor. This plant does not like our hot, dry summers, but apparently, a burst of cool spring time rain was just what the doctor ordered.

October flooding washed out my meadow and left the area a soggy mess. Some of the seed I planted washed away, but the display is still better than last year. My goal over time is to introduce more and more seeds and plants to the space while eliminating some of the more invasive weed species. This summer I plan to solarize a patch of bermuda grass I discovered while planting last fall.

The big bloomer in the garden today is roses. I've been training this Souvenir de la malmaison to grow up over the top of my fenced chicken run. When I say my chicken pen smells like roses, I won't be lying.

I always thought crepuscule was an odd name for a rose until I found out the word means twilight. Named for it's orange, pink, salmon and yellow petals, this rose can really vary in color. In the picture below the unopened bud looks more pinkish in the morning light.

Though they don't have the fragrance of the antique roses, the knockout roses make up for it by shear volume of flowers and no fuss attitude. This plant always seems to be blooming. It's really quite amazing. 

My pink knockout rose was such a great performer that last year I decided to purchase a white one. I can't say enough good things about this rose. It's a real survivor. 

I hope you've enjoyed my contribution to Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. Spring is flower time, so check out May Dreams Gardens for more blogs showing off their bloom day flowers!