Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Inside Austin Gardens Tour 2015: Death Defying and Flashy Natives.

We're previewing the Inside Austin Gardens Tour with a sneak peek at two more gardens.  The tour, sponsored by Travis County Master Gardeners, is held every 18 months alternating between spring and fall.  The tour theme is "By Gardeners. For Gardeners."  This garden called "Death Defying Natives" is one I can easily relate to.  Drought-tolerant plants requiring minimal water use are the focus on this corner lot.  A low stone wall dividing the large front yard gives a sense of separation from the street.

Charming vignette at the front door.

Potato vine in both purple and chartreuse with bright pink roses line the house.

Potato vine in bloom, mine have never bloomed so this was fun to see.

Bright red Oxblood or Schoolhouse lilies were in bloom.  A special treat since they bloom for only a short time after a rain in the autumn.

Along the curb a bed of native plants provide buffers.

Minimal care and minimal water use are good principles during our summer heat and drought.  The streetside bed continues around the corner.

Yellow Mexican Bird of Paradise combined with orange Pride of Barbados screen the garage and driveway.

The family dog eagerly waiting to greet us.  This porthole is such a great idea.

Inside the back fence we see masses of waterwise plants surrounding a seating area ready to gather family and friends on just a small circle of Zoysia lawn.

Italian Stone Pine is one of the few pines or conifers which will grow well west of I-35 in Central Texas.

The next and final garden we visited on our tour was "Flashy Natives" and a very apt title with its bright beds of flowers and grasses.  A large Ashe Juniper surrounded by planting beds with just enough lawn to walk through.  Beds are lined with smooth Baja stone in contrast to our typically sharp native limestone.  I've thought of placing a few of these in strategic spots in my own garden and seeing these reminds me to make a trip to the stone yard.

Everything looks so good despite the heat.

The key is heat-loving perennials.

Another large purple pennisetum.  After seeing this earlier on the tour in Pam Penick's garden as well, it's going on my list.

Shady seating area out front to enjoy the garden and neighbors in the evening.

Around back a set of rain barrels.

More of that pennisetum.  Love it!

Curved beds with bump-outs help reduce the overall footprint of the lawn.

Mexican Flame Vine blooms always a treat.

Sweet cat enjoying the garden

Nice raised bed garden set off with a picket fence.

Rusellia makes a nice fern-like container plant.

Great gardening socks!

These two gardens along with the other four gardens featured in my preview series will be open this Saturday, October 17th, during the Inside Austin Gardens Tour.  It's a short drive from San Antonio to Austin so if you're looking for good ideas for your garden this fall it's well worth a day in Austin to enjoy the tour.  You can see my preview of "Shady Natives", "Cottage Natives", "Oh! Deer!", and "Sunbathing Natives" by starting with this post.  In addition to the six gardens on tour, the Native Testing Grounds at the Travis County Extension Service will be open to visitors so you can explore possibilities for replacing that water-guzzling lawn and get good tips from the Master Gardeners.  Visiting the testing grounds is a good way to kick off Texas Native Plant week too.

To see more blogger previews of the tour visit:

Rock Rose
Sharing Nature's Garden
Garden Ally
The Shovel Ready Garden
The Gardener of Good and Evil

Be sure to check out Central Texas Gardener for more on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour.


  1. I love not only that you spotlight planting strategies overall but express your appreciation for the smaller touches and family pets accommodated in these spaces. It attests to your own engagement with animals as well as plants, and to me is a large part of what successful gardening attempts. Which is to create spaces for all members of the family, furry or otherwise. Thanks for the previews!

  2. You've provided further proof that Texas gardeners are adept at creating heat and drought tolerant gardens. I second Deb's comment about your inclusion of the little touches from the tour.

  3. I like the soft feather grass against the killer agave and I really love the porthole!! These gardens are so beautiful you'd never know they were designed to withstand heat and drought. :o)


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