Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Arizona Blanket Flower

Both of the flowers below were marked as "Arizona Blanket Flower." However, after doing some research, I think the top one is "Arizona Sun" while the bottom is "Tizzy" (a plant, I got from Jenny at RockRose).  Both are, of course, a variety of Blanket Flower.

Friday, July 26, 2013

NxNA Garden Tour - Dubois Garden

Next (keep in mind that this is the 13th garden AND there was only 30 minutes left until the tour closed down for the day), I headed to the Dubois garde.  The front garden bed has a giant shell-looking-thing in the center.

Purple heart in a giant mound behind the shell.

Prickly pear, Agave Americana Variegata, and red yucca on the side yard along the curb.

Looking back to the front yard (from the curb), there is a bunch of different sage plants.

The backyard is very small, and terraced for gardening.

Monday, July 22, 2013

NxNA Garden Tour - Lanier High School

Since I drove by Lanier High (one of the five non-residental gardens on the tour) on my way to the next garden, I figured I ought to stop in and see what they were up to.

They had a flock of chickens; with one turkey, Mr. Giblets.

They have a garden plot next to the chicken coop

And a small area for squash, melons, corn and flowers on the side of their Agriculture building.

A close up of one of the flowers

Friday, July 19, 2013

NxNA Garden Tour - Harris Garden

On to the Harris Garden -

In the front yard, a large sage bush and a Pride of Barbados dominate.

Though I did find a cute little Troll house next to the Bamboo Muhly.

Around the back, there is a limestone path which has rosemary spilling out onto it, rock rose and plumbago bloom alongside a fountain.

A closer photo of the blue plumbago on the left, bulbine on the right, and a black pearl pepper in the bottom right of the photo.

A statue of St. Francis nestled in the rosemary and bamboo mulhy.

The pomegranate tree looks to have a good harvest this year -

And coming around from the back side of the garage, another photo of the front yard.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NxNA - Milam Garden

At the Milam Garden, natives and adapted plants reign supreme:

Red yucca "Brakelights"

Red Yucca in the foreground, Jerusalem sage in the background.

A few back through the arbor - Dwarf Pomegranate blooming.

Heading around to the back, the side yard is choc-a-block full of plants.

In the front, under the big tree, there's a nice bench to sit on.  The white blooming plant is a much coveted white turk's cap.

Another photo of Bear's Britches.

The owner made a piece of art from a metal cage from a tree root ball and the red chili Christmas ornaments that a friend purchases every year for the owner.

Statuary with rock rose blooming behind

A dining area with a bottle tree in the background.

On my way out, I noticed that the milkweed was going to seed and I thought that the bruising looked like a little face.

Friday, July 12, 2013

NxNA - Beane Garden

After leaving the Baker Garden, I headed to the Beane Garden.

Ms. Beane has a HUGE water collection cistern:

She is also a fan of raised garden beds:

There is also a very large mosaic on the front of the house.

Heading around to the back yard...

There is a cute little metal peacock next to the grape vines

Obviously, cardboard is a good way to cut down on the weeds when starting a brand new garden, and the t-posts with 4" panelling makes for an easy trellis.

Along the back of the house, the shell ginger was blooming beautifully.

And a closer shot

When I turned around, I noticed both the cruiser bike against the fence and the tag for the grapes - a very cool idea, but I'm not sure how well it would hold up against the elements...of course, it may have just been there for the tour-goers' benefit.

Monday, July 8, 2013

NxNA Garden Tour - Baker Garden

The next stop on the tour was the Baker Garden.

Mr. Baker and his kids were welcoming folks to the garden when I arrived.  I like Mr. Baker - he was very forthright and so I asked him how it was that they decided to do a garden tour - like how were the houses selected?  He told me that there was a little snippet in the neighborhood letter asking people who had yards that used natives and either water collection systems, or low water requirements, and if they were willing to be on the tour to email a specific person with photos of their yard.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The front yard from the driveway

A close up of yucca, oxalis, fern and speckled plants that I don't recognize.
Mr. Baker was telling me that he thought the main reason for the garden tour was to showcase north Austin, as some parts of north Austin are considered unsavory (i.e. what's the first thing you think of when you hear Rundberg at IH35?).  Obviously, despite the reputation of certain areas, there is plenty of good things in the area.

A large water traditional water fountain dominates the front of the house, but instead of water, it has different drought tolerant plants spilling over the edges.  
Mr. Baker is one of those people who also does vegetable gardening and his veggie plants were interspersed with the ornamentals - you can make out the tomato cage and tomato plant on the right side of the photo above.  And a slightly different angle of the same area showing more of the squash and tomato plant below.  He had a great stand of tomatoes closer to the front door which you can see in the orange/purple photo a few photos down.

Pride of Barbados and Yellow Bells make for nice fiery combo (on the upper right of the photo).  While Ice Plant and a Fern plant replace water in the fountain.

As I continued around the bend, I looked back toward the house and took a photo:

On the edge of the property, there was a Rose of Sharon plant that was blooming:

Rose of Sharon

Back at the front of the walkway by the house, I noticed a flower combination that I would totally do - orange canna with purple Mexican petunia.  What can I say, we apparently have similar tastes in bright color combinations.

The photo below was taken from the street - that "Powis Castle" artemisia sure does pop.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

NxNA Garden Tour - Clark Garden

After getting back in the car, I realized 1) it was getting to be very hot, 2) I still had at least 7 gardens I wanted to get to, and 3) if I was going to get to all those gardens I really needed to get a move on.  No more lollygagging (and yet I still took a crap-load of photos).

I drove through (and around) the neighborhood to get to the Clark Garden - a very large lot shaded by large oaks.

I parked my car along the street, got out, and took this photo:

Talk about planning right?  A nice little parking spot in the shade with a path to the house.

As most of the other houses had owners and/or friends manning a greeting table in the driveway, I thought maybe I should head over to see if there was anything of interest I should know about for the garden.

A view from the top of the driveway.

About half-way down the driveway there's a little wood separator in the grass.  I'm not exactly sure why...maybe it's the line drawn in the sand to signify where the ivy will have to stop?  I honestly took the photo because I love the line.

Seeing that there wasn't anyone in the driveway, I snapped a shot of one of the 'islands' and then headed back up the driveway to wander down the original pathway.

A staked mallow plant, rockrose and some other plants in an island bed.

Getting back to my car, I started walking down the path toward the house, and thought that the curve of the path and the focal point of the birdbath was pretty awesome.

Until I got a little further down and realized that it was even MORE AWESOME.  Awesomer, if you will.

Like seriously, all I could think of while following the trail was "This is like a lesson from Saxon Holt!"

I got to the backyard and saw a rudbeckia reaching for the sky, and felt compelled to take a photo - I love photos of sunflowers (or sunflower-like flowers) reaching for the sky.  One of my favorite photos from our honeymoon was a field of sunflowers reaching for the sky backed by an old church.

Rudbeckia reaching for the sky.

Fellow garden tour folks

A wide angle of the back yard.

In all honesty, I was waiting for the other tour goers to leave the little brick plinth so I could get a closer look at the blue hydrangeas.  Hydrangeas are something that I always associated with grandmothers (even though mine never grew anything), and locations that weren't Colorado (I don't remember any one growing them in Colorado).  As true blue flowers are fairly rare, I became obsessed with Nikko Blue Hydrangeas when I moved down here.  I even went as far as to buy a plant, and different plant fertilizers to try to force one half pink and one half blue.  Unfortunately, the hydrangea died before I could even start my science experiment.

Blue hydrangeas

Continuing on around the yard, I noticed an old bench with a wren house on it.

It was about at this point that I was able to speak a little with the home owner.  She told me that the oak tree was estimated to be a couple hundred years old.  And as such, I felt that it deserved a picture.

On the opposite end of the yard, there was a giant lightbulb:

Okay, I honestly don't know what it actually is other than a pretty garden ornament, I just couldn't get over how lightbulb-esque it looks.

A view back at the brick plinth.  I'm not exactly sure what it's actually supposed to be - was it a fireplace?  is it supposed to have something on top?  In any case, the plants and statuary around it makes it a nice focal point.

On my way out on the driveway, I noticed a candy stripe rose - 

And then I noticed how cool the driveway looked - It's very 'southern' - basically any time I see a roadway (Old Spicewood Springs Road is good for this) or walk with trees arching over it, I always think, "how southern!" I'm not exactly sure why this is the case, but it is.  I've learned to just go with it.