Lush hillside garden delights bloggers at Fling

Filled with a seemingly endless array of textures, colors, and forms, Barbara Katz’s garden provided a cool oasis on a hot summer day at the Garden Bloggers Fling in DC and Norther Virginia.

The back yard, filled with plants, stone and a babbling brook, evoked a Zen-like peacefulness.

The koi added a pop of color to the pond.

Japanese maples, decorative stone and conifers create a blend of beautiful textures.

This combo of bold colors is echoed in many different kinds of plants with similar hues.

The containers highlighted the same vibrant contrasts she wove into her garden.


Bloggers flocked up the steps into the upper lever of the garden.

At the top of the garden, a bench is tucked away waiting to provide a place to enjoy a contemplative moment.

This realistic iguana required a second look as we strolled through the garden.

Lush paths lead around the side of the house.

Bloggers spread out around the front yard, looking for the best shot of this cottage-style garden.

This unique and beautifully designed garden – cottage in the front and  Zen in the back, was delightful.

Dramatic Danger Garden makes a point to welcome visitors from Portland Garden Bloggers Fling

The Portland Garden Bloggers Fling this summer delivered on every level.  I love visiting gardens all around the country and getting to know so many of the garden bloggers that I follow online. 

Learning about new plants from different zones is sometimes a double-edged sword. After falling  love with them, I realize they are not appropriate for my garden, and I’m forced to walk away from them at local nurseries because they don’t make the survivability cut for my suitcase. 

But not so in Danger Garden‘s amazing landscape.  Filled with agaves and yuccas and cacti that will not only grow but thrive in my Central Texas garden, it was dangerous indeed.  The danger – that I will come home inspired to search for many of the fascinating plants in her garden.

Garden bloggers prepare for the big tour – cameras at the ready!

Succulents like these like plenty of drainage — pea gravel and decomposed granite make excellent growing mediums for them.

We were welcomed to the garden with refreshing cold drinks and snacks.  A blistering hot day (for Portland and an outdoor garden tour) seemed appropriate as we ooohed and aaahed over Danger Garden’s heat-loving plants.

With space at a premium in this garden, container vegetables lined the driveway.

Pavers and bricks and patio stones created unique design angles to lead visitors through the garden and provide contrast to neighboring plants.

Leaving no area empty, trendy and perky hanging planters were scattered throughout the garden.

A riot of color and form, many non-succulent plants provided a softer foil to the more dangerous elements in the garden.

A small square of grass provides a place for the eye to rest while feasting on all the delightful plant specimens that surround it.

Agaves, yuccas and … hostas?  Yep – these water and shade-loving plants work side-by-side in this garden.

So many unique succulents to see.

Tucked in the back is a Zen-like covered patio area for relaxing.

These shiny metal planters give height and interest to the sea of succulents.

And pots — pots everywhere.  Each and every one different.

With clean lines and a contemporary feel, the patio offers a peaceful respite from the sun.

No empty spaces, here, either…

A unique horizontal fence is flanked in the back corner of the garden by tall plants of every conceivable kind.

Even within a bed, containers showcase specimen plants.

Little pops of color make me smile.

This bed looks like a miniature forest of tiny succulents.

The biggest danger in this garden?  Falling in love with the wonderful plants and the delightful design.

Hot art and design spice up Portland De Sousa Fling garden

Full to the brim with ideas and a mile-long wish list of plants that I know I can’t grow here, I’m reacclimating to Austin and my own garden after 6 glorious days in Portland, OR.

My seventh Garden Bloggers Fling beckoned last weekend – with an agenda full of great friends, gardens, nurseries, and gift shops. 

The whirlwind started early and ended late and wowed me all day long every day.  Because there were so many gardens in every imaginable style – I just closed my eyes today and blindly picked one to begin my posting.

The JJ De Sousa garden was one of my favorites.  Hot colors created a riot of interest in the garden – plants and art and seating everywhere shouting “look at me, look at me.”  The rich and sophisticated hues of tropical colors were designed to brighten the shady spots of this garden and to celebrate the hot, sunny spaces.

 This whimsical gate welcomes visitors.

 The colors of the tropics permeate everything in the garden, plants, pottery and decor.

 The plants looked happy and healthy everywhere I turned.  Ah, the benefits of some rain in the garden.

 Pots and gazing balls coordinate and contrast.

 The side garden ends with a fabulous wooden gate — which leads to another pocket of paradise.

 Come on in, the party’s in here!

 More whimsical art sets the mood for this garden.

 Every little nook and cranny was filled with some sweet something designed to delight the senses.

 This precious little statue is squirreling away succulents instead of seeds.

 This regal Egyptian dog statue comes down to earth with clematis and nasturtiums trailing all around.

 These tall, elegant vases, capped with aeonium, added a little note of sophistication.

 One of many seating areas that welcomed visitors to sit a spell.

Color joined texture in this garden — smooth ceramic pots, gritty gray concrete and the sleek look of the corrugated tin made a cool combo.

 Ahhh – I could sit here for hours!

 And, a little humor.  Chicken nesting boxes now home to hens and chicks … ha ha.

And just past the shrimp plant in this bed, a colorful stock tank water feature with a metal shrimp  sculpture and glass globes.  Look up whimsy in the dictionary — this is the photo you’ll find.

The same burst of colors that enriched the shady front garden, with a drier, sunnier twist.

 More whimsy around the corner.

 This Buddha statue, hidden among the trees, looked just like a giant gummi bear.

 There were little vignettes like this everywhere.

More color, radiating everywhere.

And back through the gate again.

This was one of many Portland gardens on the tour to feature trendy tropical-style colors and decor.  But beyond the design, this hot garden would brighten any cloudy day.  It certainly brightened mine.

Cottage garden entwined with beautiful edibles highlight of Houston trip

We saw lots of interesting, beautiful and creative gardens when my friend, Pam, of Digging, and I visited Houston for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Day Tour two weeks ago.

My very favorite — a cacophony of color, texture and layers so entwined that taking it all in was a project in and of itself.  But a delightful one, not to be missed.

It wasn’t on the tour; it was recommended by Pam’s sister.  We had high expectations for the house at 605 Peddie Street, and we weren’t disappointed.  The owner, landscape consultant, Terry Gordon Smith, was hand watering the garden with a hose when he found us oohing and ahhing over  his creation.  He was very welcoming and proud of his garden and we enjoyed learning about the garden’s evolution and the weather and conditions in his Houston garden.

No lawn in sight, this garden is filled with evergreens, perennials, annuals, fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The bottle brush trees were pruned very high, making a dramatic statement towering over all the other plants.

Up close and personal – I almost can’t count how many plants are encapsulated in this close-up photo.

With so many plants filling the garden, the view from every angle is unique.

The delphiniums were gorgeous.  I love blue in the garden and there just aren’t that many good choices for us to incorporate it into our gardens.  I’ve had delphiniums, but the deer thought they were tasty!

Even the edibles make beautiful examples of perfect color combinations.

Tight shots like this make the veggies look like abstract art.

 Pam’s working on some of those close ups, too.

 Love the color combo of the delphiniums against the brightly colored house.
This was a delightful garden and, like the garden at 1514 Banks that I posted about, helped to give us a broader perspective of Houston gardens than just those one the tour.  Our weekend was totally garden-licious.  More to come soon about another cool destination nursery and restaurant combo.

How to use color, texture and movement to add depth to your landscape…

Our beautiful fall weather makes it the perfect time to visit your local independent garden centers and do some fall planting.

This Sunday, October 27 at 2:00 p.m., I hope you’ll join me for my upcoming appearance at It’s About Thyme Garden Center 11726 Manchaca Rd. (512) 282-1192, for my presentation on:

Jazzing Up The Garden with Color, Texture and Movement

I’ll be talking about using fundamental elements of design to unify your landscape.  Learn how the addition of color, contrast, texture and repetition can add interest and harmony to your garden.  

With just a few strategic additions, you can enhance your landscape with depth and dimension.  Learn how to brighten up a shady garden or how to add texture to show off your prized plants.

If you’re interested in taking your garden to the next level, or if you’ve been reading my Austin American Statesman gardening columns, I hope you’ll come join me in person on Sunday.

Hope to see you there!

Heat-loving octopus agave creates garden focal point

It’s hard to plant when it’s 100 degrees.  And it’s not time to buy seeds yet.  And if I order bulbs they won’t come for months.

But this pot spoke to me when I walked by it Friday at Barton Springs Nursery.

It said, “wouldn’t I make a beautiful focal point for the black sheep bed at the end of the driveway?  Wouldn’t I make the other bed across the driveway jealous?  I know you want to take me home.”

I ignored the pot’s pleading and walked on down to the agaves. 

That’s when this octopus agave whispered to me, “wouldn’t I look stunning in a cobalt blue glazed pot?  I know where you can find one.”

Now,  I’m used to talking to myself, and I’m used to answering myself.  But when pots and plants start to talk back, it’s time to listen.

So, into the car they went.  And this morning I grunted and groaned as I raised up the pot, planted the agave with no spiky injuries and stood back, saying to myself,

“Isn’t this a beautiful focal point for the black sheep bed at the end of the driveway?  And isn’t that agave stunning in the cobalt blue glazed pot?”

To which I replied, “yes, it is.”

By | 2016-04-14T02:39:34+00:00 September 1st, 2012|Agave, Blog, color, octopus agave, pots, Sharing Nature's Garden|0 Comments