Sunday, October 5, 2008


Yesterday we took the day off from working in our own garden to tour seven Austin gardens featured on the Garden Conservancy Tour. The mission of the Garden Conservancy is to preserve exceptional American gardens, which might otherwise be lost to the vagaries of time, for public enjoyment and education. Besides being a fund raiser the tour introduces the public to the works of landscape architects, garden designers and homeowner gardeners. Yesterday's tour had a little of everything.

There is always something new to see at the James David and Gary Peese garden. This is my 6th visit to the garden and there are always new places to explore, new features to see. This spring when I toured the garden with the garden bloggers James made special mention of the fact that his garden was a fall garden rather than a spring one. Was he apologizing because he didn't think his garden was looking the best? Then he is no different from  gardeners everywhere. Their spring garden was wonderful and their fall garden exceptional. At every turn there is something to inspire. Their ideas for planting pots are some of my favorites. This little trough garden with its creeping ficus and small agaves is a delight.

Even among his rustic paving there is something to catch the eye.

I can't tell you the number of times I have driven down 12th St and never noticed the exuberant planting of agaves and native plants in the strip of land betwixt sidewalk and road. In future my attention will be drawn to those front gates and what lies beyond. At Stone Palms we began our tour in the back garden and I have to say we lingered there for quite some time.

I think we half expected someone to pop out with a tray of margaritas. Never mind, we enjoyed the sound of trickling water as it passed over the maidenhair ferns in the grotto and cast our gaze over all the wonderful shell creations by the artist homeowner. Reluctantly we moved on but only as far as the small front garden where we once again took advantage of a garden seat in front of this trickling fountain. Who would imagine that it was 90 degrees out there in the real world.

At this point in time we decided it would be a good idea to stop in at Whole Foods for a quick lunch break. We shared a wonderful crab cake salad and a glass of wine at the seafood bar. What a way to spend the day.
Lunch over we moved on to our last garden of the day Fatal Flower Garden. I knew we were in for a treat as we walked up to the house. There was an awe inspiring  selection of agaves outside an even more impressive collection inside.

A small water feature using a stock tank really caught our eye. Always looking for new projects to keep David busy!

We enjoyed all the gardens but I have to say these were our favorites. These were also the gardens where we were allowed to use our cameras. I'm really not sure why the other gardens don't allow the use of cameras. If you are going to open up your garden to hundreds of people why not let them take away something other than memories. We all like to look back through our photos and remind ourselves of a wonderful day. It certainly was for us.


  1. You pegged our three favorite gardens, too. (After the wonderful Master Gardener's tour earlier this year, and the pond society tour, this tour was a bit of a let-down.)

    However, it was my husband (who is always drawn to water features) who made a beeline for that lovely sunken stock tank pond and said, "Hey, I could make something like this for our garden."

    I can only hope so!

  2. Jenny, It was good to see you at the Modern garden. As you know now, I have plenty of projects for your husband as well.-)

    I also have one of those stock tank ponds on my list, but I'm not sure I will sink it.

  3. It was nice to meet you too Vertie, and so many other master gardeners helping out. OK whose going to be the first with the stock tank water feature? I'm afraid we would have to take out our current feature to accommodate it.

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  5. Hi Jenny,

    Thanks for the great photos and your impressions of the gardens on tour. We spent a long time at Stone Palms, too - but had to tear ourselves away since it was only our first garden with six more ahead.

    It's been interesting reading all the posts by the Austin garden bloggers - we're somehow sharing the experience even if we missed bumping into each other. But that Vertie got to meet everyone, didn't she!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. I really enjoyed your virtual tour. Thank you! It's been fun reading all the bloggers' experiences of the tour.

  7. Thanks for the virtual tour! I dragged a few friends to see the James David garden, and alas, that was all we had time for. I'm especially enjoying Stone Palms and the Fatal Flower Garden through everyone's posts. :)

  8. Hi Jenny,

    So glad you have your own blog. I was one of the garden bloggers you escorted around the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower garden in the spring. Nice to see you again.

    Great tour details.~~Dee

  9. I enjoyed your tour post, Jenny. I only wish Annie and I had run into you guys along the way.

  10. My neighbour visited the same tour as I recognized some of her pictures in yours. Lucky you, I'll have to make sure to attend next year. Boy, there are so many things one can do there will never be an end to the gardening. I am just starting on the basics and hope to expand with water wise and native gardening.. great pics..
    where abouts in Austin are you ? I am in the SouthWest so I tend to frequent the Natural Gardener although the Barton Springs nursery seems to have more of an eclectic selection of plants (down on Beecaves)..