Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Inside Austin Gardens Tour Preview

Each year the Travis County Master Gardeners hold their Inside Austin Gardens Tour alternating between spring and fall.  This year's tour will be held Saturday, October 17th from 9am to 4pm.   I was so excited to be invited along for a blogger preview day and they even offered to make my friend Melody an honorary blogger for the day so she could join us.  It's a nice idea to invite local garden bloggers to help publicize the tour.

The tour's theme is "By gardeners. For gardeners" and each garden is chock-full of great plants and good ideas for your garden.  It was a full day of touring so I'll preview the gardens in several posts this week.

The first garden we visited is "Shady Natives" and there's nice description on the link to the website.  The first thing we noticed is how much more lush and green this garden is compared to most gardens in San Antonio.  I think Austin has had more rain.  Even the yucca look lush against the wooded background in this streetside view.  The Mullein in the foreground will be quite striking when it blooms.

More lush green down the sedge-lined drive

Across the drive a dry creek cuts through the wooded area to channel rain from occasional deluges.

Melody visited this garden on tour several years ago and remembered the owner had given her a plant.  It turns out the original plant has since died and Melody plans to return with a cutting.  In the wonderful way of gardeners we call that "plant insurance".  The more you share, the better chance you have of replacing a lost plant.

A huge palm with a twinkly bottle tree at its base presides over the pool

Charming garden art and plants ring the pool

Comfy seating and more lush plants in containers on the deck.  Love those foxtail ferns.

A vine covered arbor shades the walk.

The Passionvine blooms were still open that morning.

The second garden is Cottage Natives.  Nicely updated colors with a modern walk of Lueders Limestone add a contemporary vibe to the front of this older home.

Texas rustic style is evident all around in the garden.  Fellow blogger Ally at Garden Ally did a great job capturing this section of the garden.

Lori, the Gardener of Good and Evil and our tour guide for the day, getting a closeup.  An old glider turned into a swing.

Several rainwater collection tanks were in use around the garden.

Purple is a universal color for recycled nonpotable water and the purple hoses indicated they are used for rainwater only.

I liked the pipe holders.  Good use of recycled materials.

What a gate!

Many of the plants will be tagged for the tour and Travis County Master Gardeners will be available to answer your questions.

I recently attended a lecture on the Hugelkultur technique of  building soil by layering wood trimmings and compost with topsoil.  The technique reverses the typical campfire building style with the larger pieces going in first.  It's a great idea for our area where rocky clay soil requires bringing in soil or making your own.  This bed is more true to the technique while I am trying a modified version in my own garden.

The owner's name is Martha.

This iron wheel was mounted so it rotates.  I've seen these at flea markets and wondered what I could do besides leaning it against a tree.   "Wheel of Fortune" style is a fun idea and it defines the seating area.

An interesting mechanism detail using pipes and fittings similar to the hose holder.

Lots of fruit trees and raised beds for vegetables and herbs.  A large rain collection tank is at the back of the garden.

This older neighborhood has a deep space between the street and sidewalk allowing for a sunny streetside garden full of native plants that beautifully buffers traffic.

Loved the silvery Gregg's Dalea draping over the curb.

A pivoting gate between the house and an addition provides needed privacy from the busy street yet allows convenient passage between parts of the garden on a daily basis.

The border looks like springtime to me.  Native plants which have been dormant for months in my garden, Texas Primrose, Wright's Skullcap, and Gaillardia are still blooming away in Austin just 70 miles north.

Wish my Zexmenia looked so good.

Those are just two of the six gardens we visited on our preview tour.  Special thanks to Lori, The Gardener of Good and Evil, for including me in the tour.  It's not that far to Austin so if you're looking for good ideas for your garden this fall it's well worth a day in Austin to enjoy the tour.

You can find all the tour details here.

To see more previews visit:

Rock Rose
Sharing Nature's Garden
Garden Ally
The Shovel Ready Garden
The Gardener of Good and Evil

Check out Central Texas Gardener for more on the tour.


  1. Oh, I'm so glad you got to come for the preview and it's super duper of you to promote this fabulous tour with your wonderful perspections! I look forward to the rest of your vist and maybe I'll see you on the SA tour on Oct. 24!

  2. I'm so glad that you and Melody could make it up here! It was great to see you, and I'm really enjoying reading everyone's tour preview posts. It's so interesting to see what different things grab everybody's interest.

  3. Two cool gardens! Sounds like you had a great time on the preview.

  4. Nice vignettes, and I'm liking the theme which promises a plant centric selection of gardens.

  5. It was fun to see you and Melody on the blogger's preview tour this year. Glad you could make it!

  6. Interesting tour Shirley, we do not have gardens like this over here, but our climates are so different. I was intrigued by your soil layering, I hope that produces some good results.

  7. Shirley, thanks for including me in the MG Garden Tour! A good day is always visiting gardens with gardeners! Plus sneaking in 2 visits to Austin nurseries just before closing was icing on the cake!

  8. Thank you for this preview - it's so interesting to see such different gardens. I'm so pleased that Melody will be able to return with a plant for that owner in the age-old tradition.

  9. What a lovely garden you photographed, Shirley. You are tempting me again with the lovely shady sedges. I always admire what you achieve in your San Antonio dry deserty garden, I guess Austin is considerably moister. The wildflower curbside garden is attractive, and I like the bed frame hose rack, such a cute idea!


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