Continuing with our preview of gardens for the Watersaver Landscape Tour to be held on October 24th. When friend and fellow blogger Heather Ginsburg of Xericstyle, who also works as a conservation consultant for San Antonio Water System (SAWS), contacted me about previewing gardens for the tour I jumped at the chance to visit these very special gardens. Pam Penick of Digging joined me from Austin for a day of garden tours, so after seeing Pat Mozersky's lush foliage garden we drove just a few blocks to tour an entirely different landscape style: a modern xeric garden.
CorTen steel terraces, edges softened by Ruby Crystals grass front the street. CorTen requires special installation techniques to keep the welds hidden so the weathering effect is consistent. A horizontal wall sculpture created from excess steel cuttings adds dimension.
Limestone block planters mix up the textures.
Red-spined barrel cactus echo surrounding tones
Agave 'Kissho Kan' are symmetrical scene stealers along the front limestone walk.
Susan Bhatia and her husband recently built this sleek modern home, totally changing their style from their former traditional Tuscan home. The Bhatias knew the look they wanted and worked closely with landscape architect Warren Pape of Texas Landscape Nursery to see their vision realized. Susan is a fun and enthusiastic tour guide supplying a story or background on each plant in the garden. It's a new garden, installed less than a year so we'll see plenty of room left for growth along the way.
The front entry bridge allows a view right under the house. We'll see this again from the back on our tour.
In the steel planter just below the front steps is a garden of tiny cacti and succulent specimens.
To the right another sculpture, this one more angular, from excess steel pieces. A mix of different size gravel directs rain runoff through the landscape.
Golden barrel triplets line the front walk. Smaller gravel mulches the planters.
Yucca Rostrata add their own sculptural presence to the front wall. Cow's tongue agave (l) and variegated Agave Americana Medio-picta 'Alba' break up the mass of gravel.
Russellia in the bed along the wall attracted numerous hummingbirds during our visit. Golden sedum adds another shot of color.
Variegated Flax repeats the corner line of the house while softening the gravel along a side street.
Large Cor-ten planters anchor the corner. Under the top tier is a catchment for air conditioner condensate to be used for garden irrigation. The tall plant on the right is Nolina, possibly N. Nelsonii.
Variegated Agave Americana as sculpture.
A closer view of the hummingbird magnet Rusellia.
Ocotillo in steel boxes lining the side yard.
The newly planted Horsetail Reed near the drive will be sheared off for a contemporary effect.
CorTen planters in the side yard off the kitchen. This area is behind the ocotillo row.
Three planters with golden barrel cactus dress a stone wall on the opposite side yard.
Just a small area of lawn
And a spectacular pool in the courtyard.
The backside of the entryway bridge (which was visible in an earlier photo of the front) allows runoff to wash underneath and out to the front terraces.
More photos of the pool. So stunning, couldn't help it.
Artificial turf alongside the pool for low maintenance.
A few favorite items from previous gardens. Susan has had the plant in the corner for more than 20 years.
Back out front we'll end with this scene of silvery dichondra and agave color echoes.
The Bhatia's garden will be open Saturday, October 24th from 9am to 4pm for the Watersaver Landscape Tour.
In addition to scouting gardens for SAWS (is that actually called work?), Heather also writes articles at the GardenStyleSA website. If you haven't signed up for the emails including Heather's excellent tips on watersaving gardening yet, I highly recommend it.