Monday, June 20, 2016

Garden visits: Cliff's Garden

While browsing through NextDoor, a neighborhood website, I spotted a familiar name sharing photos of his beautiful garden.  Cliff volunteers at Warrior and Family Support Center gardens and Gardening Volunteers of South Texas (GVST), so I see him both places.  Of course, I asked to visit and was off to see his garden about 10 minutes away.  As usual, find the street and look for the best garden from the curb.   I knew this was the right place with their very own street sign.

About that curb appeal.

Beautifully spilling out over the sidewalk.

Intense sunlight was already streaming down and the air heating up quickly, but I enjoyed spending time in Cliff's garden.  Originally from Wisconsin, he's been gardening here since 1990 when he and wife Mary decided to stay in San Antonio after retirement from the Air Force.  He told me they drove a couple thousand miles around town looking for the right house only to find it just a few doors down from where they were renting at the time.  That magnificent live oak is about all I would need to see!

Beautiful -- better than a sculpture.

Yes, a great centerpiece for any garden.

An adjacent natural area isn't his property but it works great for extra plants from his garden.  Datura is native to our area so it grows well in this spot.

Deer are a problem just like most of north San Antonio.

Pigeonberry grows well under a tree and looks great compared to my smaller patch.

The birds will soon be after these berries.

Lorence Creek, the same creek that runs behind my house, is just past that wall.  It's called a "seasonal creek" which means dry most of the time and a torrent of water in a rain.  Cliff built the stone wall to help keep floods at bay and added a row or two of stone after water went over the wall in 1998.

More of those old oaks, stone walls, and a look across at his gardening neighbor's place,

With the intense sunlight washing out some of my photos I borrowed a few photos (like the one below) from Cliff.  He has posted many more at OneDrive here.  His composting operation uses leaves collected from nearby neighborhoods, including mine.  I'm always disappointed to see leaves set at the curb for collection and good to know someone else is putting them to good use.

Photo by Cliff Bingham
Cliff formed this great birdbath from concrete and attached it to a redbud tree stump with a piece of rebar imbedded in the bottom.

Pretty yellow iris.  Some of his iris are repeat bloomers, can't remember if this is one.

Photo by Cliff Bingham
Tomatoes!  If you knew how challenging it is to grow tomatoes in our climate, you'd be impressed too.

Photo by Cliff Bingham
Amarcrinum, I'd heard about this hybrid of Amaryllis and Crinum recently and enjoyed seeing the blooms.

Photo by Cliff Bingham
My favorite plant in Cliff's garden was the Peroskia.

Peroskia is a member of the cactus family and hardy in our climate.  I returned home with a cutting from one of his plants and look forward to seeing these amazing arching stems over my garden in a few years.

You can see why Cliff is so much in demand as a volunteer for worthy gardening causes around San Antonio.  Thanks again for the tour, Cliff!


  1. Nice. I'd never heard of Peroskia before--what an amazing plant!

  2. Great Job Shirley! Always enjoy your view on the gardens.

  3. What a lovely garden, it looks very lush and green for a Texas garden and I absolutely love that oak! If I have to cut down my plumtree (which is a possibility) I will borrow that idea with the birdbath – looking fantastic :-)

  4. I liked Cliff's garden as well Shirley. The old oat is better than a sculpture,you're right. I've never heard about Amarcrinum, it's new one for my list to know.

  5. What a cool garden! I'm impressed by the great oak!!! I love Texas garden:) Yellow iris suites the sunlight!
    And thank you for your advice about 'Rose Finder'from the ANTIQUE ROSE! It's very useful and easy to find the roses!!! I enjoy finding the new one!


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