The gate and long gravel driveway says "way out in the country" but Melody lives about two miles closer to San Antonio than I do.
"Welcome to 3-D Farm" Melody called out as I emerged from the car on my first visit a few months ago. Deer, Ducks, and Dung. Yep, the stuff they leave behind. (See Melody's comment on this. She actually said "Dogs" but it is funny so I've left it)
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks or Whistling Tree Ducks often join the deer in the yard. You can hear the sounds at this link to "All About Birds". Choose the recording option titled "calls from flock" for the best representation of a whole flock whistling in unison.
True to their name they roost in the trees....
...and along the roof line whistling all the while.
In the early evening you'll find the wildlife residents waiting for the automated feeder to drop their dinner.
Lucy injured her mouth and has trouble eating so Melody gives her a special ration each day. The tub is kept filled with water for all the wildlife visitors.
This buck might be after Lucy's dinner....
Having this many deer in the yard means it's best to leave things very natural.
Agaves and small trees must be fenced off to prevent antlering
And then there are the bunnies which are not as easy to contain
Plants in the front beds are protected from deer by electric wire.
I love her front porch with plenty of room for a swing.
Her use of vines throughout the gardens is one idea I took away from my visits. This Sky Vine growing over the fence and the side of the house is quite dramatic.
Behind the high fence is the beautiful and relaxing back garden with a bordered lawn. More vines on the trees and arbors add so much to the garden.
Pool with spa and water feature
Plenty of colorful plants
Plenty of spots to enjoy the garden
Melody uses a lot of vines in the garden like Passionflower growing up the columns
Red Passionflower with its caged seed pod
Melody loves to propagate plants; one of her work tables is near the back porch
Old garden table with ferns
Chinese Hat flower and Hyacinth Bean Vine.
Across the lawn is a shade garden. Melody was inspired by cedar arbors and benches at The Antique Rose Emporium gardens and hired Tom, who built the arbors at ARE, to build the cedar structures in her garden.
Pathways under the oaks
Bench with birdhouse is a signature piece we all loved at the ARE gardens.
Roses are a favorite and mix with perennials throughout the sunnier spots in the garden.
A snail vine on the fence produces delicate flowers which curl in a snail shape.
At the end of the driveway is a stone barn with coral vine growing over the wall. The vine is grown on cattle panel wire fencing attached to the eaves. When the vine dies back in winter the panel is removed.
The old corral behind the barn will be a new sunny garden area. Raised beds are key to gardening on our rocky soil. Plastic was down all summer to solarize weeds and Bermuda grass which had taken over. The shade garden is behind the far fence.
What a gorgeous setting for a garden!
It's cold outside right now so it's wonderful to go back and remember my visits to Melody's garden. I haven't seen the new garden for a few weeks and I hear it's changed a lot. Most of the beds were planted before the cold weather set in.
I can't wait to see the new garden growing next spring. There are so many beautiful plants to share here and I plan to keep you posted on the progress of Melody's new garden as well.