Thursday, November 15, 2012

Open Days Garden Tour Austin: Jeff Pavlat and Ray Clayton Garden

The final garden on the Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour is the garden of Jeff Pavlat and Ray Clayton. A very special finale it was.  Jeff is an avid collector of cactus and succulents and currently Vice President - Education for the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society where he has also served as president.

The impressive garden terraces designed and built by Jeff and Ray are the first feature to greet visitors, and lead down the hillside from the street to the house.

This is a collectors garden, and very well done one at that.  I have seen this garden profiled several times on Digging and was very much looking forward to seeing it in person.  An exceptional collection of aloe, hesperaloe, yucca, palms, cactus and more in a beautifully designed setting.

Beautiful plant arrangements with aloes and agaves in the terrace planters along the driveway.

Looking back up toward the street

Nice blend of textures

Jeff makes extensive use of containers for his collection, and this blue one is used as an accent among the cycads and palms in this bed.

A view of cactus and yucca above the fence-lined driveway.

Along the deeper sections, the terraces really stack up.

Aloe variegata

Golden Barrels abound.  Most of the areas are covered in bark mulch.

A few areas are mulched with dark gravel.

Golden barrel cactus at street level peeking over the terrace wall at aloe in bloom.

Beautifully arranged selections

Terracotta planters on concrete pedestals which I have no plans to borrow for my own garden--Not!  I'm definitely going to steal this idea and copy it in my own garden.

Closeups of the planter arrangements.

Another design idea is this stone fountain and gravel layout on one of the terraces just down from the street.

Nice vignette in the corner of the fountain terrace.

View of the greenhouse from the terrace

The greenhouse contains Jeff's collection of non-hardy cactus from around the world.

Over by the front of the house is a large Koi pond, one of the first elements completed in the garden.

The front walk--we were there just after Halloween.  I smiled thinking of the effort it takes for Trick or Treaters to collect their candy here.

I listened in on some of Jeff's discussion with visitors.  He does cover many of these plants and moves the containers in the greenhouse when a freeze is predicted.  Like most of us, his collection suffered losses in the deep freeze of 2011 when we experienced 70 hours below freezing.

A few more details from the garden

An incredible collector's garden to experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Garden Conservancy's Open Days tour in Austin with the Austin garden bloggers and these beautiful gardens.  Our group included Pam of Digging  (check there for more details and the local Austin scoop on many of these gardens, Jean of Dig, Grow, Compost, Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden, and Catherine of The Whimsical Gardener.  I very much enjoyed meeting them for the first time and spending the day touring six special gardens in Austin.  


  1. Gorgeous design! I love the Aloe variegata. What a cool plant. Wish I had their greenhouse;) Thanks for the tour.

    1. The greenhouse is a special place, I'd love to have room for that too.

  2. Every time Pam has posted pictures of this garden I want to get on a plane and go there, asap! Seeing yours I have the same reaction. Thank you so much!

    1. I'm pretty sure you would find this garden and a number of other places like our Botanical Gardens here in San Antonio worth the trip.

      Jeff enjoys showing his garden to visitors and I'll bet Pam could talk him into a visit.

  3. Thanks for another great garden tour. The plants, fountain terrace, greenhouse, koi pond o.k. everything in this garden is very appealing to me. Do you mind if I steal oops I mean borrow that terracota pots on concrete pedestals idea too?

    1. It's all awesome with lots of good ideas including that empty blue glazed pot. Go ahead with borrowing that idea, I won't tell where you got it.

  4. I must congratulate you on being a most discerning I may follow suit. Great tour of a fabulous garden.

    1. Just a great idea and not too difficult to pull off since I already make concrete planters.

  5. You really captured this garden well - I had to leave too soon, to make the last 2 gardens on my list.I especially the salvia in bloom under the oak, flanked by the squid agaves. The terra cotta pedestals / planters are right up my alley. Everything looks fresh, unlike the same out here in the desert.

    I suspect that *when* Danger visits, she'll get in trouble if she hits Austin without a SA visit.....

    1. Those three visits to the Ten Eyck garden might also have taken up some of your day!

      I see you caught on to my not to subtle hint for DG and of course you would since you never quite have the time on your Texas trips.

    2. Ha ha - only at Ten Eyck's to say adios and set up a lunch those last 2 times! Me thinks the next trip down, I just might not have time to fit in anything Austin...

  6. I`ve enjoyed all the tours and I really like the cactus and other succulents.I have 6 diffrent sub types of Opuntia growing up here and am always on the lookout for more!

  7. I've wanted to visit this garden, ever since Pam's first post about it.

    But...every time it's open to the public, I can't work it in. I'm still hoping to get that visit.

    In the mean time, I'll enjoy visiting through your lens. Thanks for the tour.

  8. I enjoyed your views of the garden, Shirley. Always nice to see a familiar garden through another's lens.


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