water features

Take a step back in time at Hillwood Gardens…

It felt as if we stepped back in time when we toured the lovely grounds of Hillwood Gardens at the 2017 Garden Bloggers Fling in the Northern Virginia/D.C. area.  The grounds of the estate offered something for everyone.  From the formal areas to the cutting garden, Japanese garden and the pet cemetery, the patchwork of styles was delightful.

Filled with traditional and eclectic statuary, the grounds were dotted with whimsical touches.  This pair of sphinxes, half woman, half lion, drew many stares from visitors.

Across the lush lawn from the mansion, a flagstone patio marks the edge of a balcony overlooking the hilly lawn below.

I did not venture down the hill; my dog took me down on the street in our neighborhool 9 weeks before the Fling and I spent the entire trip hobbling around with a broken foot in a boot!

It was very manageable almost everywhere.  There were only 3 hilly gardens that I either couldn’t or chose not to navigate.  And I brought baggies to make ice packs for my foot every night.  The kindness of my fellow bloggers was astounding.  I believe that every single person asked me at least once or twice about how I was doing and asked if there was anything they could do for me.  It really touched me how kind and generous every one was.  Thank you all for your help and support.

In the midst of many formal garden elements, I found this border dotted with tropical plants and bold color contrasts a delightful surprise.

The Japanese garden lies down the path to the right of the patio.  The hillside garden winds through rocks and holds an extensive collection of Japanese style statuary. The stunning color combinations almost take your breath away and the varying textures and forms create fabulous contrasts.

What Japanese garden would be complete without a water feature, a pagoda and an arched wooden bridge.

The water feature brought an element of calm and cool to the garden, in spite of the heat of the day.

Down the path to the left of the patio a pet cemetery honors the furry family members of Marjorie Merriweather Post.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch and then I found my way to the cutting garden.  Filled with beautiful blooms of every size and color, the flowers were also given a helping hand with stakes and a a full length grid.  About a foot high, the grid allowed the flowers to grow straight up through it from early on, ensuring nice, straight stalks.

One of my favorite plants for its exotic look and structural shape, there was a big patch of Eryngium.

And, a few more whimsical statues to close out this blog tour.

Back to the work at hand, we shoot each other at the same time!

Another wonderful garden experience on our Capital Region Fling.

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.

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.


Stunning L.A. garden’s lovely vignettes delight at every turn…

We discovered a rustic paradise among the gardens we visited in L.A. last weekend (you can see the other garden I’ve already blogged about here).  We drove around and around to the top of a steep hill with spectacular views of the mountains, where our generous hosts, Joy and Roland, welcomed us.

A large, sleek kitchen, entertaining and living area became part of the outdoor experience, with huge floor-to-ceiling glass doors that opened entirely. As the inside intermingled with the outdoors, multiple seating and viewing vignettes were scattered around the fully cleared top of the hill.

After some wine and appetizers, we headed to the path to make our way down the hill.

 Sumptuous succulents filled containers, nooks, and crannies at every turn.

 A whole host of focal points shine at strategic places winding down the hill.

 These succulents spill off of the hill as you approach the house from the driveway.

The Joy and Roland have added layers and pathways over many years, creating mini beds and spots to sit and appreciate the view different vantage points.

 This is a collector’s garden – filled with a wide variety of succulents and other plants, adding interesting contrast, color and texure.

Carefully crafted stonework with unique designs defines the slope — a artful masterpiece in itself.

The attention to detail is so striking.

 More nooks and crannies flank the entrance to the spectacular wine cellar.

 Cut into the side of the earth, the cellar was mercifully cool on a 100+ degree day.  I felt as if I had stepped back in time – with cool stone and rows of bottles inside – offering just enough room for an intimate wine party.  A long hallway will soon be connected via tunnel to just outside the house, the next major project already planned and waiting to be implemented.

This would be my favorite seat in the garden.  Close up and far away, both views equally enchanting.

 Empty on the way down, but by the time we came by again, someone had taken up residence in my spot.

Fully content and unfazed by visitors to his garden, the dog, Domino,  thinks this is a great spot, too.

In front of the bench, a delightful pond filled with koi provides entertainment as the Koi dart around under the shade of beautiful plants.

A statuesque heron stands guard over the koi, who also have many deep areas to hide for predators, just in case the heron falls asleep on the job!

Don’t forget to look up.

I could sit for hours and watch the fish and the view; electronic devices have nothing on this.

Another outdoor room awaits.

More vertical gardening — these mid-century modern hanging planters from Potted bring color and contrast to this magical hot tub oasis.  (More posts to come, as we visited both Potted and the home of the store’s owner on this fabulous trip.)

Rustic and natural, this hideaway brings outdoor living to a new dimension.

 I also saw these planters in the garden of a fellow blogger in Seattle who blogs at Danger Garden.

The echo of a subtle orange glow on the tips of these succulents is an artful planting design touch.

Another view up the hill, filled with interesting plants, containers and found garden art that Joy has collected over the years, like this sweet deer statue.

The mostly mild California climate yields big, beautiful plants like these aloes.

 The repetition of these gorgeous anemones creates a dramatic ridge along the hillside.

I’ve tried to grow these in Austin with no success.  But I’ve see them used as stunning elements in LA, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle gardens.

Nestled ear the top of the hill, this greenhouse is home to garden tools and pots now, and awaits more delicate plants as the weather cools.

By the end of our visit, Domino tired of us and went back to his own bed to take a break from the sweltering heat.

A huge thanks to Joy and Roland, for your hospitality and for opening your home and garden to us. The garden is magical, and masterfully crafted and I loved spending time in it and I’m pleased to be able to share a small part of it with others through this blog post.

Hues of green evoke serenity in Austin garden on Open Days tour

The Yvonne Tocquigny and Tom Fornoff garden, featured on this weekend’s Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Tour,  evokes a sense of serenity as you stroll through its simple combinations of grasses, vines and water features.

Simple yet strategic views draw you into the garden with a series of gates, paths and courtyards.

The beautiful gray-green hues of Dichondra, Silver Ponyfoot, create a gentle contrast for the other lime and grass-greens of the garden.

The entry courtyard includes this simple, Zen-like water feature, surrounded by strappy crinum leaves and fine gravel.

The garden was full of berkley sedge – providing a caress of beautiful texture throughout the vignettes.

 More contrasts with the berkley sedge – younger, smaller plants, and the silver ponyfoot.

The garden is also full of a variety of trellises – like this metal and wood one, set out 8-10 inches from the wall.  It supports the rosebush, but it’s also an artistic focal point on its own.

 Beautiful lanterns were mounted right onto the wood and metal trellis.

 More contrasts surround this inviting bench — both in textures and in hues of green, and a Japanese Maple thrown in for a pop of color.

 The water feature in the back courtyard has an old-world charm, and is surrounded by simple plantings of t=ferns and irises and papyrus.  Ferns also dot the decomposed granite pathway, growing up out of the ground at our feet.

Another trellis creates a wall of plant art to add to the sculpture of the courtyard.

Peering into the fountain through the fronds of the papyrus creates another combination of contrasting hues of green.
This was a beautiful and intentional garden – complex, even in its simplicity – a peaceful place to while away the hours.