Monday, May 19, 2014

Gardens on Tour 2014: Tait Moring's Garden

A week or so ago on Saturday I headed up to Austin with Heather of Xericstyle along with my friend and garden designer Linda Higby to meet up with the Austin bloggers for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Gardens on Tour event.  Our first stop was Landscape Architect Tait Moring's south Austin garden.  Pam Penick had arranged early entry so we could get our photos ahead of the crowds and before the death star turned on full blast.  So thank Pam for the good light in these photos.

This was a great way to start off our tour.  I remembered this garden from Pam's previous posts and reread them in advance, yet I was still surprised by how wonderful it was to visit this garden.  The property is 22 acres along a busy road which fades away at first sight of garden spaces like this circular lawn visible from the driveway and bounded by bamboo to screen the traffic.

The Habiturf lawn of native grasses planted to one side of the house.  Habiturf was developed by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as a way to save on water in the summer.

Wildflowers border the edges and we get a glimpse of the view behind the house.

The house and porch with matching peaked hedge.

A water feature near the front door blends just right with the architecture of the house.

Yellow hesperaloe blooming in structural pots set against side of the house.  Very architectural.  At this point it becomes clear that Tait Moring is a plantsman.

Tait's office is attached to the house so he has a large decomposed granite parking area out front which blends beautifully with the gardens.  Potted yucca on stone plinth marks one corner and gives a hint of the fantastic stonework throughout the gardens.

The gateway reveals the circle lawn set with a single pot.  Simple and serene.

A mosaic of collected pavers and bricks.

A blue wash on the back side of the gate frames our view out to the drive.

Across the drive an artful metal gate sections off the storage area for his business.

An arched gate beckons.

The nicho set with found objects invites closer inspection.  The metal nameplate belonged to the previous owners of the property.

Inside the gate a mix of Asian style pots against a stone wall featuring rocks Tait has been collecting since childhood.

A perfect spot for Hydrangea which can be tricky to grow in hot Central Texas.

Ivy covered columns set with a few more objects.

Beyond the rustic arch is a large lawn set with agave-topped columns.  They almost appear to be torches on fire.

The pool comes into view at the base of a beautiful rock wall

So natural set into the lawn this way it evokes the feeling of a spring-fed pool.

Tropical plants along the edge with bromeliads set into the wall.  I love the grass-topped tiki head.

This metalwork gate is similar to the one across the drive which is just to the left over the fence.

Pebbles between the stones.  So many ideas to capture.

A clever and artistic way to display squid agave.  Doesn't that opuntia look like a coral reef?  

Ivy covered stone bench with silvery blue gopher plant.

Around the corner a purple sphere afloat in a bed of silvery dichondra.

The deck on the back of the house overlooks a canyon.  Lots of great container plants on display here too.

An alligator lurks among the pebbles on the other side.

Old roofing tiles make a planting ring.

Heather stalking wildflowers in the meadow just below the deck.

A look through the fence and back up the driveway.  I noted that Tait left the juniper fence posts tall just as we did.  You can always cut more off but you can't add!

A veggie garden with the beds surrounded by rock walls.  The designs in the wall are abstract but Heather pointed out this looks like a woman and we agreed.  On further review she is pouring an old man cup of coffee.  Is that a recycling bin on the right?  What do you see?

The watering can picks up the red of the poppies in the meadow.

A caterpillar enjoying a snack.

A spot of bright blue at the end of the garden.

Artichokes are so pretty, and pick up the shapes of agaves in the garden.

Down into the meadow of wildflowers below the house.

Indian Blankets, Bee Balm, Larkspur.

Traversing the hill on a natural rock bed.

Native Yucca and wildflowers along the steps to a wooded pathway.

A hammock placed in the shade to enjoy a nap.

Nearby is a seating area with blooming prickly pear over the ledge.

Following where the path leads past a stand of beargrass. 

We are rewarded with a view of the canyon.

A special pause to admire the Madrone tree with its terracotta colors and peeling bark.

Distinctly smooth curving branches.

A firepit and council ring for those cool evenings.

Native twist-leaf yucca growing nearby.

Back up the hill to the house and a pond also ringed by the great rockwork featured throughout the gardens.

Another view of the canyon alongside a big fig tree.

Looking back down the hill, you can just see the hammock over the pond.

Tait (L) talking with Heather (C) and Linda (R) about his gardens.

Exiting the lawn I paused to take in a few more details.

A peek through the office area shows he has a great view of the canyon while working.

A look back up the drive at the giant coyote fence marking the entrance.  Coyote fences are common in Central Texas but this one is enormous!

 Designed to be serene and relaxing, the personal touches also make this garden so enjoyable to visit.  Tait's garden is a special place not only because it is well-designed but more so because it is also at the same time a welcoming space.

To see Pam's tour with links to her previous posts on Tait's gardens go here.
Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden joined us and posted her tour here.


  1. Oh my, what a wonderful garden, view, house, everything! The rock work is amazing and I especially liked the little collections of things in some areas. Beautiful! Thanks for the great tour!

    1. It was wonderful to see such a personal expression in the garden of a pro.

  2. I very much enjoyed your take on this garden. I saw both Pam's and Diana's posts, but it's great how you all focus on different things. You found some nice touches that weren't in either of the other posts. The rockwork in this garden is just amazing. I definitely can see the woman pouring a cup of coffee.

    1. It does take more than one view to get the sense of such a wonderful place. I'm glad we could cover it at the same time.

  3. I agree--so many ideas to capture there! The thing I like about it is the creativity in a natural setting. The way the touches of the gardener blend so perfectly with the surroundings. I'll go back and review this post for sure. I especially liked the stone walls, the metal work, and the paths.

    1. It seems so simple, yet it requires vision and a fair amount of skill to pull off so beautifully.

  4. I like your observations that the agaves on the columns look like torches, and the swimming pool has the serenity and naturalness of a spring-fed pool. This is the beauty of seeing a garden one is familiar with through another person's eyes!

    1. The stone wall with the pool at its feet immediately reminded me of the Hill Country pools we used to play in. The other elements of tropical plantings and tiki torches/heads takes it away to special memories of travel. It was all just wonderful.

      It is fun to compare notes and see different views of the same garden.

  5. This chance to get three different takes on the same garden has been almost as inspirational as the garden itself. Each of you sees the garden through different eyes and each of you has offered your personalized reactions to the beauty and practicality working in tandem there. Thanks for sharing both the garden and your way of seeing it!

    1. I totally enjoyed this adventure in blogging and the garden will continue to inspire as I work on my own gardens.

  6. It's a wonderful garden. I noticed the woman in the stone wall before I read your description, although I didn't take note of the man until I saw your mention of him. I wonder if those stones were placed deliberately to create a scene? The colored stones in other walls, the decorative metal fences, and the water feature are also great touches.

    1. We asked about the stones and they were meant to be abstract. Tait expressed surprise that we saw figures in them.

  7. Pam expressed exactly what I was thinking about your way of coaxing us to see things through your eyes. Fabulous post covering a fabulous garden. Surrounded by such beauty, how does that guy get any work done?

    1. I wondered that myself ricki. I so appreciate your comment because it means I did get the sense of this garden across in my post.

  8. I love this garden! It is fun to see it thru different bloggers perspectives : )

    1. There are some gardens that just draw you in and this was a very special place.

  9. 22 acres? Wow. You really have shared this garden in a way that makes me feel as thought I've been there in person, thank you!

    1. I loved this comment Loree! It's not always easy to get the published post to express the garden as I saw it but with your comment and the others it worked this time.

  10. This garden took my breath away...and so did seeing my first Madrone tree ever! I can't decide if I enjoyed the tour, or hanging out with y'all more! I even enjoyed the car ride with you and Linda!!!!

    Cheers! Thanks for the invite, Shirley! lets do it again soon!

  11. Looks like ya'll had a fun time on the tour! I really like the use of container plantings as sculptural elements. I didn't get to attend the tour this year, so thanks for making me feel like I was there.


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