Saturday, February 15, 2020


I have met people who never look back. Maybe it is a function of age but I think mine was triggered by a box of photographs I inherited and by a sudden interest in genealogy. And, as a life-long gardener, I began to realize my younger self might have influenced my style of gardening.

From a very young age I loved wildflowers. You see me here with a bunch of straw at hay making time. At a similar age, on holiday in Devon, I wanted to pick the big white bindweed flowers growing along hedgerow. My father chastised me telling me I must leave them for others to enjoy! Bindweed? I ask you !! And there was the time my parents thought of taking over the lease on a pub in the countryside and I was thrilled to bits because the bank alongside the pub was full of primroses. It never happened... but I know I would have been thoroughly happy living where I could walk the country lanes. Making daisy chains, searching for four leaf clovers, marveling at the tiny flowers of scarlet pimpernel, the cowslips, buttercups, sucking the honey from the purple clover flowers, celandines and marsh marigolds growing in the brook and the seed heads of shepherd's purse. I have plenty of that on my septic field right now.  It was always about the native flowers growing around me.

Fast forward to arriving in Texas in early February1968, just in time for the wildflower season. This time no one telling me not to pick the flowers!

And I am still that lover of wild flowers today and it is reflected in my gardening style. It is a free-for-all cottage garden style.

The sunken garden May 2019
It's why I love the little puffball flowers of Barbara's buttons, Marshallia caespitosa.

April 2019
 The common corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas,  flowering in profusion.

Sunken graden 2019
 And weedy Love-in-a-Mist, Nigella sp.
And a summer flower of the English hedge row. Foxglove Digitalis purpurea,. I have tried growing them from seed with only modest success so I now buy them in 4" pots,early in the year, potting up as they grow larger until I can finally move them into their larger pots. I think they are going to bloom earlier this year as I see a flower spike starting. What color will they be? I have no idea although they say you can tell by looking at the underside of the leaf. If that is the case they will be all white.

February 2020
Front courtyard April 2019

And the delicate blooms of Blue Gilia Gilia rigidula

March 2019

And of course our state flower the Texas bluebonnet.

And it can all become a little unruly after a while and that is why this year some changes are in order.

Herb garden May 2019
 I must endeavor to keep the pathways clear of all but the smallest and tidiest of plants. And that means alyssum, narrow leaf zinnias and possibly the daisy fleabane. Possibly the odd tidy grass and if there is space enough to walk by, the Verbena bonariensis. And I might just allow a few coreopsis and blanket flowers. This is not going to be easy.
For the moment I am excited to look at photographs from last year's spring and to know what is soon to come.


  1. What a delight to see your gorgeous "free-for-all cottage garden style" garden and hear about your gardening roots.

  2. Garden styles are so personal! And how amazing is it that you got your garden full of wildflowers you can pick whenever you want?

  3. Jenny, I love your garden in all its iterations. It is a dream garden for me. I can only do part of that as I don't live in Texas, but daisy fleabane is a total favorite. I've also bought digitalis in pots. I can only grow them that way. It's a lot of fun. I replant them in my wettest area, and they bloom with abandon. A few years ago, I found a 35 MM of me running around at 4 years old with a camera. I do think our young selves tell us what we may become. Hugs. ~~Dee

  4. I love the color in you garden. What a display those bluebonnets provide! I've yet to get the California native versions to establish in my garden for some reason and recently resorted to buying the shrub version, Lupinus propinquus. Barbara's buttons are completely new to me.

  5. I love your signature style of such a profusion bursting from rock and gravel -- don't think there's anything else like it!

  6. Well, of course I loved your garden when we saw it during the Austin Fling--the garden "rooms," the wildflowers, the rocks--everything about it. So fun to see pictures of you as a child and a little later. :)

  7. Your garden's style is all the rage currently. Naturalistic, overflowing, abundant, beautiful. All the buzz words fit your garden very well.

  8. It’s fun to see your older photos and have you share your early garden memories!

  9. I love the picture of you as a little girl. I still see that happy face full of energy and zest for life. Thanks for sharing and making my day happier.


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