The first is the heritage garden of Carolyn and Michael Williams.
Carolyn and Michael garden on the thin rocky soils of west Austin. Carolyn learnt the art of gardening from her grandparents and keeps their memory alive with items that once were in their garden. The bird houses and many of the statues around the garden belonged to her mother.
They constructed a Native American medicine wheel using recycled bricks and which they have planted as an herb garden. At 1pm on the day of the tour Melia Sanchez will give a talk on the history and meaning of the Native American Medicine Wheel.
When entering the garden the eye is drawn almost immediately to the beautiful garden shed. Below is how the shed looked as Michael set to work to create a new potting shed for Carolyn.
He used recycled material including many materials from the Habitat for Humanity Re-store.
The interior is spacious enough for Carolyn to pot up her plants as well as spend time in here on a rainy day with a good gardening book.
The second garden I visited was the garden of Jennifer and David Phillips who garden on similar terrain to the Williams.
The original plan was to remodel the existing house but when they realized this was not to be they designed and built a new house which has been awarded a 5✶ rating by the Austin Energy Green Building Program. During construction the original native plantings were left to fend for themselves and are now complemented by the addition of more native and adapted plants.
The branches on the large oak trees make a perfect home for ferns.
Jennifer told me that they were not really bothered by deer probably the result of the presence of their three large dogs which share space with the large water collection tank. A solar PV system powers the pump which delivers water to the garden by means of drip irrigation.
Vegetables are grown in horse troughs and other areas of the garden have been heavily amended with compost and expanded shale.
A personal thanks to the homeowners who were kind enough to open their gardens for a preview day.
You can get more information on the upcoming tour here. Master Gardeners' Garden Tour, October 20th 2012.