Friday, June 22, 2018


On the Saturday and Sunday of this year's Austin Garden Bloggers' Fling I joined the group of 93 flingers to visit a broad selection of Austin gardens. Both days began with a cool sunny morning and progressed to hot sunny afternoons. Visitors were often seen taking advantage of the homeowners' swimming pools by dipping their toes. It seems it has become quite a tradition at the Fling to see this kind of happening.
I loved all the gardens we visited but have to say that there are some gardens which positively announce the vibrant personality of their creator. "Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are" the words written long ago by the English poet Alfred Austin.  This photograph of Lucinda Hutson outside her front door says it all.

In an area of Austin that was once a grove of pecan trees, on a pleasant leafy street with many pretty cottage homes, built in the 1930s and 40s, is one particularly charming house. I remember the first time I visited it was quite easy to pick out the 'purple house' of Lucinda Hutson.  Not quite so easy today as the ginkgo tree has grown taller and fuller casting some welcome shade, and a kumquat, which shades a delightful seating area in front of the house, soften the brightly colored purple walls of her house.

It truly was the most perfect morning for our visit.

A delightful seating area beneath the kumquat tree.
Her front garden is cottage style with an amazing variety of plants and herbs, the ginkgo tree casting just enough shade to make a comfortable place for them to grow well. I couldn't help but marvel at how Lucinda's selection of plants knitted together so well with not the least air of untidiness.

And the hell strip is similarly planted with native heart leaf skull cap, Scuttelaria ovata, hesperaloe and spineless opuntia. In the Mexican tradition the name of her precious cat has been carved on one of the cactus pads.

Hesperaloe flowers in the hell strip
I asked Lucinda if she had any schooling in art and was surprised to hear she had not. She certainly has an artists eye. Look at this pretty selection for her lavender pot.

Years ago there was a driveway alongside the house which led to a garage at the back. (That garage today is just used for overwintering tender plants). A gardening friend suggested Lucinda should build a wall across from the house to create a private area. They built it together.

And leading up to the archway to the side garden several Tuscan pots with, of course, Salvia 'Amistad' in her signature color.
I remember years ago there were iris growing here, which she shred with us. I think every gardener in our group now has that iris and we refer to it as Lucinda's iris. We may have to share it back as she now sh has only one small patch at the end of the driveway.

Through the gateway looking back outside is a reminder of times in Lucinda's youth which she spent in Southern California at her grandmother's.

 And now the story really begins and Lucinda is there to share, with bountiful joy, all the special areas of significance in her garden. She grew up in El Paso and with travels into Mexico with her father and subsequent travel on her own she came to love the Mexican culture and particularly their use of color.
Behind the wall lies the mermaid grotto and mermaids will feature not just in this part of the garden but also in her house.

Mermaid grotto
And the the shrine to Our Lady of La Tina was once a claw foot tub, now decorated and set in stone. La Tina is a play on words as la tina means bath in Mexico.

Look up, look down, with every glance something new. How many things did I miss? Plenty I am sure. And in so looking I ended up missing taking photographs for many things.

Haitian steel oil drum carvings
In her surprisingly spacious back garden there is room to sit, a colorful serving area and a log cabin work retreat.

No doubt she spent many hours in her 'creative cathedral' writing her books, The Herb Garden Cookbook and Viva Tequila!

And things didn't stop with a garden visit. The back door of the garden opened onto the 'stairway to heaven'. Notice Sancho's special doorway. He must walk theses stairs many times. But we were requested to enter the house by the front door.

I don't think I have been on many garden tours where a house tour was included, but Lucinda has an unusual and very special house. Her collection of Mexican folk handicrafts may rival that of any museum. It put me in mind of Charles Wade who bought Snowshill to house his incredible collection of exquisite handicrafts.

Every inch of her house is decorated with the utmost care and creativity.

And time in the kitchen being very close to my heart, a few photographs of where Lucinda perfected her many recipes.

And libations!

After all Lucinda is an expert on Tequila.

Thank you Lucinda for inviting 93 Flingers and their cameras into your garden and home. It was a special and memorable morning for us all.


  1. My god, even her pantry looks decorated! That's one part of her house I'd never seen. You do a wonderful job of conveying the exuberance of Lucinda's home and garden. Her personality is a perfect match, and I'm so grateful she shared her magical creation with all of us during the Fling.

  2. I think all of us could have spent hours more at Lucinda's house and still have not captured everything there was to see. I find something new in each post I've seen on her garden, yours included. For example, I remember being utterly charmed by her kitchen but I somehow missed that marvelous pantry.

  3. I love when I get to see photos of her house and garden. Always such a treat. Thanks for sharing!
    Malcolm W.
    Abilene, TX

  4. This garden was so overwhelming, in a great way! As you said, she has a true artist's eye. You captured it well!

  5. I've seen and enjoyed several posts on Lucinda's garden, but you managed to capture new images for us to marvel over. What a treat. I think my sweet dog Coco's name is going to be carved in a cactus pad soon! Thank you for sharing your take on a fun and truly unique garden and home.

  6. I hope there's another book coming about her life and travels and making this house and garden -- so many stories here!


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