Sunday, November 21, 2010


Change comes to the garden, whether it be the garden plants, preparing for the coming season change as this crepe myrtle, or the gardener making plans to improve some area of the garden.

This was the area slated for change; the side entry to the garden. This photograph was taken in 2009 when the senna tree, seen on the left, was looking at its best. But things don't stay the same and the frigid winter of last year coupled with a dry summer brought the tree into a decline. It was time to move on.

I enlisted the help of our Garden Bloggers' Garden a Go Go group for suggestions. We mulled over all the designs they left. We toyed with the idea of putting in a Texas tank but in the end decided that it would be more in keeping with the design if we were to have a rectangular planter made from metal. I was hoping Bob at Draco Welding might be able to do the job but he was booked up until February. More phone calls and emails. Getting in touch with Austin companies who do this kind of work. Not a one returned any of our phone messages or emails. What goes on here? Do they have so much work that they don't even care about my job? In the end we had to abandon that idea and move forward on our own. We decided that we could achieve a similar look by building a wooden planter. When stained it would match the deck.

This area has seen some changes since we moved in.

To begin with we used the area as a work area while David was making the pavers for our vegetable garden.

My job; imprinting the pavers with a rock to give them some texture. Usually a late evening job.

In 2004 work began on the area and the first job was to find a better way of coming down from the upper level. We had used a ramp of limestone rubble for three years. I wanted something more than a few narrow steps. We scoured the landscaping and deck building books and came up with the following plan, which David implemented in short order. He is so good at getting on with and finishing a job.

Later we stained the deck to match the trim on the house. The mound of rubble was moved over to the corner and some rocks added. Nothing more was done for a couple for years and during that time a senna and vitex tree seeded there. They grew quickly and made a nice planting. Nothing more was done until a few weeks ago.

David got busy removing the tree, the rocks, the mound of soil.

He built, stained and filled the new planter. Now it is my job to fill the planter. I need to go back and look at the GoGo plans for ideas. I think we need some kind of tree at the back of the planter to soften the walls. Low maintenance is the key, so I am thinking of agaves and yuccas. I'm open to any suggestions.


  1. My congratulations ... the deck is a great work!!
    Always it's exciting to begin a new project!
    Maybe,a suggestion to soften the walls can be Euonymus alatus, preciously in autumn!

  2. As I recall, seems like the area was fairly shady? For a tree, how about Evergreen Sumac - it could be trimmed to produce a structural look. Will agaves & yuccas handle the limited light (perhaps the soft-leaved yucca)? What about some flavor of Mahonia?

  3. RBell- It is a difficult area because it just receives sun at high noon. I know it is going to be a challenge. I do like the evergreen sumac. Must look for them at the nursery. I think agaves and yuccas will do well there. I have a Weber's agave which I could move. It is quite big and would be an instant fill up for the space. Thanks for your suggestion.