Hill country garden charm in the heart of San Antonio…

The last stop on our visit to San Antonio gardens was another xeric garden, filled with drought-tolerant plants, both soft and sculptural. You can come along on the first two gardens of tour with me to see Melody’s and Heather’s gardens here.

Then we toured the garden of Shirley, who blogs at  Rock, Oak, Deer.  I ‘d seen Shirley’s garden through her camera lens many times, yet when we arrived, I was surprised to find that she wasn’t gardening in the country, but in a suburban neighborhood.  Her style and plant choices created an oasis that made the rest of the world seem far away.

Well-placed plants serve to let the grasses and yuccas and perennials all shine.

Shirley uses repetition in her garden to create a dramatic effect.

Definition draws the eye through the space.

In the back yard, the focus is on perennials and grasses.  Her rustic shed with its cedar posts and porch make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.  The arbor on the right is the entry for a deer-proof fence, protecting delicate plants and vegetables from the curious and hungry deer.

Leading to the shed, this circle garden is filled to the brim with flowing perennials and grasses.

Her unique rock garden design is home to a lovely collection of yuccas, cacti and agaves.

Rustic art and pots are scattered about to add interest throughout the garden.

The river rock path guides you around the plant-filled stock tank and circle garden to the shed.

Garden art on a rustic table is tucked away in the shade.

Whimsical elements make true garden art from a simple grapevine.

A collection of sweet somethings brighten up the front of the shed.

Because deer are frequent guests to the back yard, extra protection for new or special plants is a must. This rough cedar fence fits right into the landscape.

Up on the the large, shady deck, succulent planters adorn the windowsills.

All around the deck, pots and paraphernalia bring color to the shady spots.

Even the outdoor fireplace boasts a collection of perky little pots.

Since we’ve toured Austin gardens often with Shirley, it was a special treat to wander through her garden with her.  The entire garden was intentional and peaceful.  She’s clearly mastered the art of gardening with the rocks, oaks and deer that she writes about.  Special thanks to Shirley and her husband for hosting us in your garden.

A little garden trip down the road…

Last week I went on a jaunt to visit some of our blogging friends in San Antonio. They’ve come to Austin periodically, so it was time to venture south to see them. Our first stop was Melody’s beautiful and spacious garden. After a treat of delicious mini muffins and ginger cookies baked by her lovely daughter, we stepped into her sanctuary. The first view is a wonderful pool, surrounded by pots and plants that gave it a rustic, more natural look.

To deal with foraging deer, this fence guards Melody’s vegetables, herbs and some perennial favorites.

Garden art like this gazing ball catches your eye as you meander through the perennial garden.

Depending on which way you walk, this beautiful arbor marks the beginning or the end of a delightful path.

A shroud of vibrant green vines clothe the wooden structure.

This long view emphasizes the beautiful, though tough-to-photograph day with its bright light and deep shadows.

And then there were the gorgeous plants, like this salvia madrensis, one of my faves.

And then there were the gorgeous plants, like this salvia madrensis, one of my faves.  Clever uses of ordinary things added such a nice touch, like this cracked cement birdbath repurposed as a planter with a small figurine in the center.

Carrying on with the wooden theme, this vignette beckons deep in the path and offers a place to sit and ponder the garden.

Pots like this one, overflowing with bougainvillea, are scattered throughout the garden landscape.

Another striking salvia, Wendy’s wish stands out among lower layers of perennials.

From the distance, the arbor is quaint, but standing underneath, it’s quite grand.

I almost passed this dragonfly by as he was well camouflaged by backdrop of the fence and the surrounding plants.

Another long view across the landscape.

Across the yard, this rustic trellis serves as a home to a vine and a birdhouse.

Coral vine adorns this rustic limestone wall to the tool shed…though it’s really more like a tool house.

Inside the safety of the high fence, a collection of tasty hibiscus grow with impunity.

Sunlight streams in to light up this seating area.

More friendly and welcoming plants in the garden.

My tools don’t look like this!

While not a blogger, we tried to convince Melody to blog so we can keep up with her garden, but we didn’t succeed – yet!   Pam Pennick, of Digging, and our hostess, Melody, as we’re saying our goodbyes.

Thanks to Melody for graciously opening her home and garden to us for a wonderful morning.

Wildflower Center Gardens on Tour 2011 — A Hill Country Paradise

Armed with camera and my blogging buddies Pam of Digging and Robin of Getting Grounded, I ventured out Saturday to explore the gardens on the 2011 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Gardens on Tour.

Some as different as night and day, each garden offered a different perspective and radiated a unique feel to visitors who came to experience it.

This garden was off of Bee Cave Road and its owner, Tait Moring, is a landscape architect.

The property itself was stunning. 17 acres – mostly undeveloped, but on a Hill Country hillside with amazing views. Blooming just in time to put on a show for us, this Agave greeted us as we entered into this Texas-style paradise behind a very tall cedar fence.
You can see the scale of the fence and the entry as people come into the property.
There were several creative fences and gates leading into different areas of the garden – each with it’s own unique appeal.
Several large ceramic pots provided specimen plant focal points for the garden.

Rockwork throughout the landscape brought in a Hill Country rustic element. Behind the rock wall is a Pittosporum tree that fascinated us with its structural beauty.
Interesting artwork and statuary dotted the gardens with whimsy and focal points.
Just off the back deck, a tall cedar fence hides a great outdoor shower complete with local boulders to perch on as you cool of on a hot day.
Up the stairs you can see the back of the shower against the house.
The deck included a interesting array of xeric plants and attractive pots.

A collector, much of the rock work includes special items Tait has gathered over the years.
Wouldn’t you love to have a vegetable garden like this? These beautiful rock pottagers were new additions to the garden last winter.
Another lovely walkway combining native rock and rough cedar.
This simple little water feature was so beautiful and made a lovely little sound in the peace of the garden.

This was my favorite garden on the tour. I took dozens more photos, but can only post so many. It is a lovely hideaway that is a testament to an owner with an absolute love of gardening and an amazing talent.