Sunday, May 9, 2010


What could possibly be through the cattle gate, down the rough dusty limestone driveway of 5711 State Highway 45 South? A secret world.
Parking was several hundred yards from the house and the walk took us past fields of gaillardia, coreopsis and other wildflowers, to the Queen Circle. So named for the butterfly visitors. Mariposa Gardens, the designers, provided us with a very helpful booklet with plans of the property including identification of the plantings in all the areas.

Through the gates into the entry courtyard.

A quiet place to sit by the fountain. The cushions on the seats echo the color of the Mexican flame vine growing up the trellis. I wish I could grow this vine. Maybe last year was not the year to try.

Through the gates into the kitchen garden. I'm beginning to realize that what I find most interesting in gardens is the structure that binds the planting together. Flowers, plants and trees are fine by themselves but those garden features are what really make it for me. It might be as simple as a few pots judiciously placed by the door or in a corner of the wall, a water feature, unusual paving, a bird bath or vine on a trellis. This water feature tops any I have seen. Beautiful stonework complemented by some well chosen pots.

I was particularly taken by this flowering succulent.

Identified as violet cistanthe, Cistanthe spectabilis, with a flower similar to a wine cup.

From the kitchen garden a pathway leads, past the wetland garden and bird sanctuary, round the back of the house to the vegetable garden. What a showpiece.

More places to sit and enjoy wildlife and flowers in the meadows.

On the west side of the property are two buildings. The retreat and the casita. The homeowners hope one day to invite groups to withdraw into this quiet secluded place where they can commune with nature.

Two love birds carved from what looks like a coconut swing on the porch of the casita.

Water collection from the roof of the retreat. I spent much longer walking the grounds of the Yates' ranch than I had intended and suddenly found myself with only a short time to visit the last of the gardens on tour.

The garden on Reynosa Drive backs on to undeveloped land. Along the side of the pathway which leads to the back garden is a coyote fence made from unpeeled cedar. I once read that one way to keep foxes out of the chicken coup is to build a fence of varying heights. The same principle seems to apply to a coyote fence. I'm not sure if this fence keeps the coyotes out but it certainly acts as a great screening for anything you would like to keep out of view. The owners do have a small dog and also have installed a rattlesnake fence.

The garden is filled with native plants including this airy mimosa with its pink fluffy balls. Granite pathways lead around the planted areas. There was a good deal of discussion about one of the plants which the homeowner identified as snakeherb Dischoriste linearis. A low growing plant which I just might be adding to my garden next year. I wonder if it repels or attracts snakes?
5 o'clock and time for home. Back to my own garden taking with me some new ideas for structure and planting.
A big thank you to all who opened their gardens that we might enjoy their special places.


  1. What a beautiful place. The art pieces and stonework are fantastic.

  2. Wonderful tour. As you say, the stonework is astounding. And the veg garden! The elegant rainwater runoff system -- so much to absorb. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for the tour! I agree with you about that water feature - stunning! And that water collection system puts my new rain barrel to shame!

  4. I'm with you on rock work. I know you have plenty and I've got plenty. I couldn't imagine a garden with out it.

  5. Hi RR.
    What a great account of the tour!
    And what great photography...I did not make it to the tour, but I feel I did. Lots of great ideas and water conscious ideas in here to digest. The retreat and the casita planter shot was stunning...I wonder if that planter was from the Big Red Sun? It looked like their style. Love it!
    That secluded place to sit by the fountain looked like something from Rivendell! The elves would be in their element!

    Thanks for the virtual tour...really enjoyed it.

  6. All the trellises, gates and pots have the same colour -- is it rust-brown, or a bit darker? Your photos are beautifully illustrative and inspiring!

  7. What an awesome yard!!! I am jealous! You also take great pics.