Archive for the ‘garden tours’ Category


Pathways have a way of showcasing the personality of the garden and it’s owner. The ones at this year’s Fling in DC/Virginia/Maryland were no exception.





Living dangerously!



Leisurely, as my friend Cat,  The Whimsical Gardener  demonstrated.

One of these days I’ll figure out how to add these to my own garden!

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I had the pleasure of attending my third Garden Bloggers Fling this year. We spent an incredible weekend touring the Washington DC area, including Northern Virginia and Maryland.

One thing that caught my eye was the plethora of concrete yard art. I noticed this more than in Texas, or any of the other Flings I’ve been to, maybe it’s the historical nature of the area.

One of our first stops, was Hillwood Estate, which had French-themed statues.

Throughout the garden, there was loose symmetry, which I love, and have implemented in my own garden.


Several different gardens displayed St. Francis. This is not only my favorite from the Fling, but my favorite depiction ever.


I think everyone on The Fling has this picture. The concrete columns of the monastery we visited were masterpieces.


Even this chipmunk was a fan. This is the first one I’ve ever seen, as we don’t have these little creatures in Texas.

Some concrete was the star of the show.

Some blended effortlessly into the background.

One of these is from the Fling and one is just outside my front door.



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Best of Portland Fling … Voted on by Me

Best Entrance



JJ De Sousa – Love the veggies and the color


Fuller and Ernst – Great use of old garden tools


Best Garden to Wait out a Rainstorm





We were “stuck” on the patio for a while, waiting out the rain. I can’t think of a more enjoyable place to be. The view while huddled on the sectional chair put my entire garden to shame.


Best View


Westwind Farm Studio


This hillside garden provided breathtaking views.


Best Yard Art


Bella Madrona





This was a tough one, but I’m partial to “junk” turned into treasure.

Runners Up




Floramagoria – So much whimsy





Fuller and Ernst – Beautiful glassware


Best Use of Grasses


Rhone St Garden


The grasses added so much height and dimension to this small yard.


Best Vegetable Garden


McMenamins Kennedy School


This was the only real vegetable garden, aside from a few beds at Floramagoria, but it was impressive. The flowers mixed in with all of the veggies attracted the bees and made the whole area feel very lush. For a vegetable gardener like myself, this was a welcome addition to the tour.


Best Garden Name


Danger Garden




I’m not sure how many of us came out with minor injuries, but we were warned!


Best Mascot


Rhone St Gardens – Mr Boots


Best Use of Vertical Space


Chickadee Gardens


What to do when you run out of space? Garden on the roof of course


Best Place to Forget where you are


Japanese Garden






This garden was so serene, felt like you were in the middle of nowhere.


Best English Garden Impersonation


Old Germantown Gardens





The walk around this garden finished with a walk out view from the deck.


Best Seating Areas


Fuller and Ernst









As you walked through the gardens, you came upon more impressive seating area, each with its own personality. They aren’t just for show, Linda sat down with us and talked glass for a while.


Best Rock Formations


Lan Su Chinese Garden




The rock in this garden reminded me of good old Texas limestone.

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Garden Tour


Follow me on a sneak peek of Inside Austin Gardens Tour. The tour takes place this Saturday, May 3rd.

First Stop – Dugie & David Graham’s Garden – 1817 Canonero Drive 78746

This garden stands out with it’s amazing views, and gorgeous pond.

This front bed was recently planted, and consists of low-water, deer-resistant plants. In fact Dugie told us that she strictly sticks to her once a week watering schedule.

Heading around the corner to the back. You’ll notice there are no fences surrounding the property.

The only fence surrounds this sunny vegetable garden.

I love this pieced together stone wall. Which leads to …

This stunning pond

Moving on …


Second Stop – Jerry Naiser’s Garden – 7103 Montana Norte, Austin TX 78731

This garden is focused on irrigation and outdoor living spaces.


You enter the back garden to this cool water feature. I have to say it was a little warm at 80+ degrees though.


I’ve never had hanging planters, due to the watering. Jerry has found a way to deal with the issue.


This outdoor seating area, nestled in the shade would provide an oasis even in the heat of Texas summer.

On we go …


Third Stop – Ken and Robin Howard Moore’s Garden – 3305 Big Bend Dr 78731

This garden included an impressive collection of yard art, and lush landscaping.

You are greeted with this lovely set of iron trellises.

Just what I need, another reason to drink gin.

Peggy Martin Rose in all it’s glory.



More Yard Art

Down the Road …


Fourth Stop – Austin Neal’s Garden – 1106 Northwestern Ave 78702

Stands out due to modern architecture and creative reuse.

Agaves against the reclaimed gate

The horsetail reed really pops against this colored wall.

The small veggie garden is watered with Ollas. I’ve recently been introduced to them and am curious if they will discuss them on the tour.

Rounding the Bend …


Fifth Stop – Lori Daul’s Garden – 3231 Oak Alley 78745

Lovely lush garden with an incredible mix of roses and agaves

You are greeted with this pair of Agaves. Not sure hold old they are, but wow!

Great use of stocktanks

The agaves just blend into the landscape.My husband told me once he hated agaves, just reminded him too much of a sparse Phoenix desert garden. Not so in Lori’s garden.

Not to be shown up by the agaves, this spineless prickly pear fits in beautifully as well.

That’s it for the homes. Make sure to stop by the Extension Office as well. This was my first visit and there was a raised-bed veggie garden and a good mix of sun and shade plants.




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This Saturday is my favorite of the Austin garden tours. This one is put on by the Travis County Master Gardeners and several of the gardens belong to master gardeners themselves. Unlike some of the other tours, these gardens feel attainable. They are still beautiful, but don’t feel out of reach for the rest of us. There are also master gardeners at each stop offering information, advice, and usually a few plants to purchase.

I had the opportunity to tour 4 of the gardens last week. The common themes I found throughout were vegetables integrated with the gardens (hence the name), bottle trees galore, mirrors, fun yard art, and various seating areas to enjoy the gardens from every angle.

Carolyn and Michael Williams Garden

The modern fountain and clean lines of the front yard are very deceptive. The average passerby would have no idea what awaits in the back garden.


Carolyn told us that the entry to the garden is known as an Insectary. This is meant to attract beneficial plants to the garden. It works on people too!

Native American Herb Wheel

I loved this herb wheel. I want to create one of these in my garden. With herbs, for the most part, being deer resistant this could go anywhere.

Vegetable Garden

There were a few vegetables here and there, but the majority were in these beds up next to the pool. It seemed to be the sunniest spot in the garden.

Garden Shed

This took 3 years to build, by Michael, on the weekends. It is really awesome.

Sink inside the Potting Shed. Seems too pretty to use.

I loved this little chicken and eggs nestled in the corner.

Bottle Tree

The first bottle tree on the tour was more of a bottle shrub. What a great idea to tuck a mirror in behind it.

Jennifer and David Phillips Garden

This garden greets you with some beautiful native landscape. I drive by this garden regularly (every time I go to the Natural Gardener) and always drive by slowly and admire the plants.

Entry Fence

This vine-covered fence welcomes you to the vegetable garden area, much more inviting than plain old wrought iron.

Desert Plants

Being from Phoenix, I love the desert look. This ocotillo and barrel cactus combo is lovely.

Sculpture 1

The owner clearly likes dogs. I didn’t get the story behind these interesting sculptures, maybe I can find out on the tour?

Sculpture 2

Vegetable Garden

Jennifer chose raised beds for her vegetables. These troughs gave a great modern look, that matched the house.

Bottle Tree

This bottle tree was made by putting large nails into a dead tree. It gives a great natural look.

Water Feature

This was  really well done, especially all of the native landscaping surrounding it.

Ann and Robin Matthews Garden

Concrete River

I loved this greeting to the next garden. Now we all know what to do with those unsightly cracks in our driveways.

Water Collection

You’d never know this water collection tank was here. Not only did they cover it with a great arbor and plants, but instead of the usual downspout, they just drilled holes in the gutter.

Hieroglyphic Path

Ann and Robin are big fans of hieroglyphics. They created these cool path stones to welcome you to the front door.

This is where the garden started 12 years ago. It was a small circle at first and grew from there. It also houses another bottle tree. They put christmas lights on this one so you can enjoy it day and night.

Garden Bench

Another mirror. This one fooled several of us as we walked in. It really does look like an extension of the garden.

Hieroglyphic Wall

This makes a great divider from the neighbor’s yard, and displays their love again. Ask Robin, he’ll be glad to tell you all about it.

Raised Vegetable Beds

They opted for the raised beds as well. This garden had the vegetables completely separated from the other landscape.

Homemade Bench

Bottle Stump

What to do with that old stump? How about a bottle tree?

Donnis Doyle Garden

Donnis lives right next to Ann and Robin, so you get a two for one. These neighbors have been friends for years and acknowledged how lucky they are to have each other.

Bottle Arch

This bottle arch is different than any I’ve seen. It also showcased what to do with all those extra coffee mugs.

Bottle Tree #2

Like the garden, this tree is full of color.

Back of House

I never would have thought to do something like this, but it makes a great backdrop for the garden.

Bottle Tree #3

This one sits in the front of the house.

I really enjoyed all of the houses on the tour and will be going for round 2 this Saturday. It will be interesting to see how many things I missed the first time around.

(I didn’t get a chance to preview the other 3 gardens. I’ve been to Renee’s garden and it’s awesome! She does a really good job of integrating veggies and flowers)

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Several of us had a chance to preview four of the homes that will be on the Master Gardeners Tour this weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed them. These are my kind of gardens. Not that the Wildflower Center sponsored tour isn’t beautiful, but I like to see gardens that were created by the homeowner, gardens that I can aspire to create. If the homeowner did the heavy lifting themselves, then it’s all the better. The tour will be this Saturday. More information can be found here. http://tcmastergardeners.org/what/gardentour.html

Each of the gardens we visited were amazing in their own ways. They were so very different and I was able to get so many ideas from each of them.
Rebecca Matthews Garden – 3712 Holt Drive
This garden was so whimsical and fun. One thing about this garden that I didn’t notice right away is the lack of grass. Often in a garden with no grass something feels a little off, but this one feels very welcoming. Rebecca said that when she moved in the back was covered with a bed of mostly-dead Bermuda. What a transformation, it gives the rest of us a little hope.
One thing that makes this garden so inviting is all of the archways. Here is the view as you first step into the backyard.

The one here leads you into a cozy little seating area framed out with a cool chandelier.

A lovely wrought iron bridge adds interest to another pathway. The free tumbled glass from the city makes up the river bed.

Here’s a few pictures of some fun garden art, placed throughout the garden. My favorite of which is this pond/fountain which uses the watering can for recirculation.
I loved the use of gates throughout the garden. Rather than just having them against a back fence they took center stage. I just bought a small gate this weekend when we were roaming around, and I’m about to go move it to center stage.

The entire garden was very bird-friendly, with cute little houses and feeders everywhere. The garden also had bee, bat, and owl houses.

What a cute little guy.

I loved the idea of making the bird bath into a little bed. It is so unexpected.
Wendy Brennan’s Garden – 3303 Doolin Drive

You can find this garden and and an interview with Link, the neighbor and creator on Central Texas Gardener.
This garden is formed around this modern-style path. Link used a concrete saw to separate the plain old concrete path into these blocks and then created this geometric pattern. He did inform us that it was quite a bit of work, and not as easy as they make it out to be on the home and garden shows. Still, it was clearly worth the effort.

The back seating area is framed out by these homemade screens. He used air-conditioner screens that he found on clearance at Target, with chain-link fence posts. Although they aren’t, they look extremely expensive, something you’d find in a high-end garden.

This old piece of ranch equipment provides a window into the river bed. The bed is framed out with a lovely assortment of well placed grasses and salvias. There are also a few small trees. Link said that Wendy really likes a sparse garden, which in this case provides a nice zen feel.

These rusted water heaters are such a cool idea. They really fit the space and could easily have ended up in a landfill somewhere.

We had a chance to view Link’s garden next door, which has some of the funkiest yard art I’ve ever seen. He seems to be a master and sifting through items on bulk collection day and coming out with treasures.

When I first saw these small machinery pieces, I thought they were some sort of succulent.

My first time seeing a lawn mower on a pole. It is definitely an attention getter. I love it.

This rust-colored dragon fly looks like yard art.
I’ll be posting on the other two gardens very soon.

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As usual, I’m last to post. I won’t go into too much detail, other than to thank everyone for a lovely time. I’m looking forward to our next outing.
Here’s my pics…

Cranberry Hibiscus. I admired a similar one at Eleanor’s garden

Awesome Barbados Cherry
Piney Woods Trail Pics

Japanese Garden Pics

Tropical Conservatory Pics

Cacti Conservatory Pics

Sugar Cane – I had never seen one before

Banana Tree – Oh man, is this what I’m in for. The tree in the backyard looks so small

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