seating

The spring garden…pots, pots and more pots!

Spring is usually pretty warm here in Central Texas, and this year is no exception.  A few spring bloomers actually had a shorter lifespan because it got hot pretty quickly, but it’s been delightful to see Jerusalem sage, salvias and black foot daisies in bloom.

I’ve spent the last week or so working on clean-up chores and some planting.  We had company for dinner outside last night and so Friday and Saturday were spent planting the pots on the back patio and scrubbing the oak pollen and blowing leaves. (It’s all back this morning – with a vengeance – but it’s a rite of passage and I know it won’t last forever.)

I had a great idea as I was trying to be efficient in crafting combinations for the outside pots — take a picture of each pot so I could see what was missing or what was already in a pot nearby so I could coordinate colors, textures, forms, etc.  Wow.  What a smart idea.  And then I forgot to do it and  I still found myself at the nursery buying annuals trying to remember and guess and buy enough.  I always think of it like Thanksgiving dinner – you have to finish with that perfect combo of food on your last forkful, or you need more potatoes, or gravy…  I need another filler, or another spiller…  If you’re addicted to pots like I am, you get it.

And, yes, every year — EVERY year — I say …less pots, less pots…and then plants just jump into my nursery cart.

They’re all so pretty and bright.

I love all the hot, tropical color combinations.

Of course the dogs have to help!

It looks so inviting.  I wanted to sit down, I really did, but there was pollen to blow!

This is my favorite spot.  I’ll get to sit there soon — maybe tomorrow morning with a quick cup of tea before the week hits in full force.

Design, plant collections and spectacular, larger-than-life sculptures dominate fabulous Fling garden

It’s always interesting to poll Garden Bloggers Fling attendees about their favorite gardens. Some like gardens that showcase collections, some like gardens that highlight design. Personally, I had several favorite gardens at last week’s Fling in Minneapolis. But this one stood out above the rest, filled with beautiful plant selections, gorgeous design and the heart and soul of the artist and gardener who calls this stunning collection home.

Just across the border into the luscious, rolling hills of Wisconsin farmland, Wouterina De Raad’s Concrete Mosaic Sculpture Garden brought it all to the game. Chicken-lover, gardener, artist, and sculptor extraordinaire, De Raad, a self-taught artist, began creating life-size concrete and mosaic sculptures 27 years ago.

Of Dutch heritage, De Raad grew up on her family’s coffee and rubber plantation in Indonesia. She brings life to her sculpture garden by drawing on her upbringing in the Indonesian jungle. Her collection includes statues of jaguars, pythons, and other exotic and mythical creatures. Leading the tour through garden, she regaled us with the folk tales of her childhood, and the stories from her own life that inspired her unique creations.

Welcome to the garden — come on in!

Her love of the garden and all its inhabitants is evident in this oversized Monarch caterpillar bench, complete with the jungle-inspired monkey on its back. And, don’t miss the exotic bird on the monkey’s head.

The intriguing sculpture vignettes of the garden are bound together by pretty pathways and endless beds filled with beautiful blooms, stitched together like a life-sized garden quilt.

The perfect dog breed for the serious gardener. This one won’t dig up bulbs, eat tomatoes or chase chickens! You’d better watch out, Fletcher and Dakota, you could be replaced!

On one end of the charming clothesline, Momma and her young-un try coaxing a chicken off of the pole.

On the other end, Mr. America holds everything in line.

The garden also sports a seemingly endless array of little cottages, sheds, workshops and other quaint buildings, each its own palette for yet another display of De Raad’s artistic talent.

She wove a spell-binding tale about the jaguars in Indonesia as we passed by this building, closely guarded by her sculptural tribute to the fierce cats.

Sadly, my iPhone notes simply read, “jaguar story,” and I can’t remember the details.

I marveled at every turn at her innate ability to transform the most meaningful impressions of her life’s experiences into beauty and art.

The charming chicken coop, complete with its own namesake statues, was full of reused and recycled decor and several beautiful chickens.

I couldn’t really get any good pics of the chicks, and after all, the garden was calling…

But even the quaint bed in front of the chicken run was an art display. I can’ resist – De Raad left no stone unturned in bringing character into this part of the garden. Each of the border stones were given unique expressions, most of them smiling up at garden visitors.

And then, the chicken chair. Who wouldn’t feel like the queen of poultry sitting atop this perch?

With so much to see in this 3-acre garden, visitors can stop and rest at many lovely seating areas. This perennial border dotted with lilies frames the man and dog sculpture in the background. I didn’t catch the story of the body-less head the man is holding, but I’m sure it’s a doozy!

This seating vignette transports me to Alice in Wonderland…

Most of the sculptures in the garden are also lighted. I would have loved to seen this magical place in the evening, with all of De Raad’s concrete family members shining beacons across the garden.

After hours of editing and prepping, this post only skirts the beginning of this amazing garden. So, stay tuned, another post is yet to come!

Garden art, water features & sweet seating vignettes in this garden on Inside Austin Gardens tour

Be sure to put the popular Inside Austin Gardens Tour on your calendar – it’s a garden event you don’t want to miss.  Saturday’s tour provides a rare look inside six private gardens and one public experimental garden.  The gardens demonstrate the practical beauty, variety and stamina of native and well-adapted plants in Central Texas gardens.

I was invited to a preview tour with other local garden bloggers, and that means you get a sneak peek at the wonderful gardens that will be on the tour.  
Cottage garden in Crestview
1315 Cullen Ave 78757
This garden was a delightful, free-form space, full of garden art, seating areas and eclectic touches around every corner.  Multiple paths wind through plants and interesting features and focal points. 

If you’re looking for creative inspiration for gardening, water features or found garden art, don’t miss this garden.

Flashy natives garden can handle the heat on Inside Austin Gardens tour

Here is another one of the wonderful gardens that will be on the popular  Master Gardeners Inside Austin Gardens Tour 2015 on Saturday, October 17.  The tour provides a rare look inside six private gardens and a public experimental garden. 

The gardens demonstrate 7 unique styles.  This is my preview of the Flashy Natives Garden.  Enjoy this sneak peek and then see it in person on the tour next weekend.

401 Cloudview Dr Austin, TX 78745

This garden is very much a collector’s garden, with many different varieties of plants to create wonderful combinations of texture and color and form.



 This garden is a very Southwestern cottage style, incorporating yuccas and grasses one might not see in a cooler climate traditional cottage garden.


 Patio pots offer more focal points around the seating areas.

And no cottage garden would be complete without a little picket fence.

 Tickets for all 7 gardens are $19 in advance or $20 at any garden location on the day of the tour. Single garden tickets for $5 can also be purchased at each garden.  Purchase advance tickets here.

Inside Austin Gardens Tour – Breathtaking garden with Lake Austin backdrop

Last week I got a preview of the wonderful gardens that will be on the popular  Master Gardeners Inside Austin Gardens Tour 2015 on Saturday, October 17.  The tour provides a rare look inside six private gardens and a public experimental garden. With the theme of For Gardeners, By Gardenersthe tour showcases 7 gardens with distinctly different garden styles.  Tickets for all 7 gardens are $19 in advance or $20 at any garden location on the day of the tour. Single garden tickets for $5 can also be purchased at each garden.  Purchase advance tickets here.

Sunbathing Natives1012 N Weston Lane 78733

The relationship between stone and plants creates an intricately woven tapestry as you enter this garden.  Beautiful yet unassuming in its simplicity, this garden entry and driveway area is lined with deer resistant, drought tolerant and heat-loving natives.  And they are all doing much more than holding their own.

This imposing lion stands guard at the front of the house.

And behind the glass these two imposing figures make up the secondary security team!

Step through a shade-lined rock path and the rest of the garden comes at you with an intensity that is palpable.  First, there is color.  A lot of color.  And plants.  Bright,  hot, tropical colors and plants.

And then there is this.


And suddenly, your eye isn’t quite sure what to look at.  The explosion of plant colors, the water right here, the water wayyyyyy down there…there is just so much to see.

The hot tub was crafted to replicate the water feature just inside the entrance to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

We had a special treat and were invited in to see the view from the owner’s wife’s painting studio upstairs.  I’m not sure I could ever take my eyes off of that view!

Not only was this a beautiful garden set on an amazing piece of property, but the garden design was wonderful, enhancing the space and adding to the wow factor with the composition of plants and stone.  You don’t want to miss this one!  Get your tickets now and get there early for some great photographs.

Inside Austin Gardens tour features delightful deer resistant garden…

Last week I got a preview of the wonderful gardens that will be on the popular  Master Gardeners Inside Austin Gardens Tour 2015 on Saturday, October 17.  The tour provides a rare look inside six private gardens and a public experimental garden. 

With the theme of For Gardeners, By Gardenersthe tour showcases 7 gardens with distinctly different garden styles.  Each garden focuses on practical beauty, plant variety, and native or well-adapted plants.

Tickets for all 7 gardens are $19 in advance or $20 at any garden location on the day of the tour. Single garden tickets for $5 can also be purchased at each garden.  Purchase advance tickets here.

This is my sneak peek into the Oh Deer! – deer-resistant, not deer-proof garden at:
4503 Mountain Path Dr 78759

This is a garden I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many times.  It belongs to my good friend, Pam Penick, author of the garden blog, Digging, and the book, Lawn Gone. I’ve watched her transform this deer-resistant garden from a pedestrian suburban space when she and her husband bought this house, to the magical creation it is today.  She’s taken advantage of each of the garden’s unique spaces, adding interesting elements, a wonderful plant palette and a unique blend of styles.  Her recent addition of brightly colored stucco walls makes a dramatic impact in her garden.  Water features, eclectic art and a wonderful array of  plants await you at this delightful garden.  And the entire front garden frustrates Bambi and her family with its deer resistant variety of plants.  You don’t want to miss it.