Saturday, November 18, 2017

Golden hour in The Briscoe Western Art Museum garden

We were invited to an evening reception in the McNutt Sculpture Garden at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.  The event was sponsored by San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) and we made a point of arriving early to take advantage of the light.

The courtyard incorporates an ancient access pathway to the San Antonio River so it's open free to the public during museum hours but is usually closed in the evening and early morning making this quite a treat to catch native Lindheimer muhly grasses grazed with the sun's last rays of the day.

The "golden hour" for photos as one of our SAWS hosts put it when she welcomed our early arrival.

The Rainmaker

Lake|Flato architecture designed the Jack Guenther Pavilion event space in 2013 as an addition to the 1930 Art Deco gallery building.  Austin-based Christy Ten Eyck landscaped the courtyard.

Another excellent Lake|Flato and Ten Eyck collaboration in San Antonio and it's been on my must-see list for a while.

These two firms are so prolific it's a challenge to keep up with them.

Riverfront hotels form a backdrop to this small urban space.

El Caporal
Live Oak trees screen nearby buildings.

Or at least screen as much as possible.  Someday those oaks will meet and the parking garage across the street should disappear.

Dance of the Eagle

Golden Wings

Cow's tongue opuntia native to Comal County just north of San Antonio and Hesperaloe set the stage.

The century old original waterworks for San Antonio forms one side of the courtyard.  It's small because our underground aquifer water source is so clean it's simply piped out of the ground and into our homes with only a spritz of chlorine to keep bacteria at bay.  

The Eyes of Texas
Lindheimer's Muhly in a slight evening breeze.

Sculptural Live Oaks, like the one at the end of the walk, fit right into this garden repeating the curvy form of those longhorns.

Horses on these large panels which also function as gates.

The 'Partners in Conservation' event celebrated a milestone of a trillion gallons of water saved through conservation over twenty years.  Another milestone, a new desalination plant is up and running.  We're about 150 miles from the beach so what gives with that?  We have a major source of brackish, but otherwise clean, water in the Wilcox aquifer south of town which now provides 12 million gallons of drinking water a day.  More importantly, the Wilcox aquifer is not subject to drought restrictions.

Strength of the Maker
Variegated ginger adds a bright highlight.

More of those sunlit grasses.

The event got underway just as the sun set.  During regular hours you will find tables and chairs to enjoy lunch or a break from a day of walking in the city.

On the right is a group learning about the first artesian well in San Antonio depicted in a tile mural.

The gusher just right of the Alamo marks the waterworks and museum location.

The museum's river portal has a spectacular waterfall.

A look down at live oaks from the upper level of the pavilion with the San Antonio River just visible through the trees.

Bird Woman

What a beautiful place to spend an evening!

I'll be sure to detour through the Briscoe sculpture garden during future trips downtown.

The Briscoe is open until 5pm most days and until 9pm on "Downtown Tuesdays" which is a popular night for locals to visit.  Parking is free on Tuesday night plus many restaurants and other venues feature specials enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day 2017: A rare license plate

With so many veterans living in San Antonio, known as Military City USA, license plates indicating the driver is a veteran are a common sight.  This veteran's license plate stands out above the rest.  A Congressional Medal of Honor plate is very rare since most receive the medal posthumously.

There are quite a few Medal of Honor recipients who have proudly called San Antonio home throughout our history and we are proud to have them as residents.

Happy Veteran's Day to all our veterans and especially my favorite veteran who will be treated to a nice home cooked dinner.  It's something that happens almost every day at our house and that fact never gets old.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Exploring Lori Daul's Foliage-filled Garden

While I was in Austin over the weekend to tour gardens as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Days Austin tour I spent some time Lori Daul's garden.  Lori's garden wasn't on tour that day but I jumped at the chance to get a peek at it while waiting for Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden who is also one of the organizers of the upcoming Garden Blogger's Fling 2018 in Austin.  Diana had generously offered to drive us on the tour route Saturday which I so appreciated since getting up early and driving to Austin is challenge enough.

I'd toured Lori's garden three years ago in the spring so I knew it would be fun to see the changes both time and fall weather bring.

While I enjoy garden tours, I especially enjoy touring fellow blogger's gardens.  Lori blogs (occasionally) at The Gardener of Good and Evil.  We'll start in the back by admiring the new tank pond which adds a great focal point just off the back patio.  Lori's artistry stands out right away with the placement of a lavender chair on the left repeating the color of the swing against the blue fence.

Lori's blog subtitle is "Lush Landscapes for Tough Climates" and the arrangement of pond plants which works beautifully here  is just one example of her skill.

A mesmerizing touch of fall color in Central Texas as Mexican Buckeye foliage contrasts against the deep blue fence with Crape Myrtle trunks for structure.  Lori painted the fence blue so it would fade into the background and it makes a great backdrop for foliage.

A bowl water feature which once sat here has been replaced with a bright blue jar and Lori has plans to add a copper spout.  The original clay bowl water feature lives on in many a shared photo but it had begun to deteriorate and had to be replaced.  Pink Flamingos originally in the front garden now echo pink flowers in the back garden.

Lori has a number of matching face pots in different sizes which she changes around.

One face pot is currently elevated with dreadlocks and curly bangs in the form of Foxtail fern and Manfreda 'Chocolate Chips" with a tradescantia crown.  Another idea to take away.

We all loved this bottle branch idea and I stole it for my own garden. Some of her bottles fell off during Hurricane Harvey but it still looks great.   Once I polish off a few more bottles during the holidays I'll share my version.

More of that fall color which seems so elusive to Texas gardens.  The Crape Myrtle trunks are perfect here.

Beautiful combination of Turk's Cap, Purple Heart and a ground cover with blooms similar to Baby's Breath.  I hadn't appreciated the fall color on Turk's Cap until now.  How did I miss this in my own garden?

Blue mistflower or Chromolaena odorata against the back of the house is a gigantic Monarch butterfly magnet.

Right on cue a Monarch shows up.

That's me in the mirror leaning in for a photo of another great container arrangement.  I don't remember the exact variety of lime green sedge there but was surprised to learn it will grow in our climate.  Thanks to Lori I'll give it a try next year.

Lori says maintenance on this impressive espalier is a lot of work.  I thought about doing this with a pomegranate several years ago but the plant has now grown into an unruly shrub.

Foliage vignette in the front courtyard garden.

Lori in the round mirror watching me enjoy her garden.

Want a garden this amazing?  Lori is a garden designer in Austin and you can contact her through her blog The Gardener of Good and Evil.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Haunting Magnolia Pearl

The look of it always draws me in.  Magnolia Pearl, a shop just east of Fredericksburg, looks so cool from the highway that I must stop.  Every time.

Appears almost as a haunted house tucked among the oaks with its fanciful styling though it is newly constructed from old wood and vintage building materials.

The well-lit interior with large windows and glass doors quickly dispels the haunted house notion.

Every single thing here is just so cool.  Great accessories on the porch and ideas to take away.

Chicken coop on an old pickup truck.

No chickens today.

The incredible containers and succulent displays are literally mesmerizing.

I could spend a lot of time just taking in all the details.

An iron bed frame dangling by ropes and pulleys is a fascinating take on the day bed.

White painted faux bois graces the porch.

A few unpainted faux bois pieces for good measure.

There's even a tree through the porch roof

It turns out the merchandise is the most haunting part.

Inside you'll find an imaginative line of clothing designed by the owner.  Vintage fabrics and art are her primary inspiration though she draws from many sources.  The current collection is a tribute to Frida Kahlo rendered in surprisingly muted tones.  I didn't take any photos inside but their website shows the interior.  The style is a bit unusual for walking around the Texas Hill Country so most of their customers live elsewhere and they ship all over the world.

It's especially fun to go back through their gallery of past collections like this one from Winter 2016 which was on display when I first visited last fall.

Interesting to peruse but $95 for a tattered Lone Star Beer Tee Shirt?  $400 jackets with moth holes and patches?  Not for my closet but I do appreciate the artistry.

Enjoy haunting Magnolia Pearl as much as I do.