Sunday, April 30, 2017

Inside Austin Gardens Tour Preview

Last week I joined a group of Austin gardens bloggers for a preview of the Inside Austin Gardens Tour which will be held Saturday May 6th.  Sponsored by Travis County Master Gardeners the tour occurs every 18 months alternating spring and fall.  This year's tour is especially convenient for San Antonio garden tour fans since two of the gardens are just up the road in Spicewood which makes for an easy and beautiful drive.  I made it home to North Central San Antonio in under 90 minutes.  "By gardeners, for gardeners" is the theme of the tour and since one of my favorite things besides touring gardens is learning gardener's stories, this tour is right up my alley.

We'll begin our preview in Shari Bauer's garden overlooking the Pedernales River (Perd-n-alice for non-Texans) near Spicewood.  Titled "A Journey Through Fairyland" on the tour website our journey reveals a treasure trove of colorful and artfully arranged found objects.  Shari's garden was featured on Central Texas Gardener in April.  We began in the shed filled with pretty vignettes.

And then there's that view from the porch.

A porch just right for sitting with friends and family.

In the garden this Willys Jeep from the 1940s makes a cool fountain.  The headlights turn on at night along with many lights throughout the garden.  Friends drop off garden fairies for Shari's "fairy rescue" project.

Multiple outdoor seating and dining areas give Shari and her husband places to enjoy different areas of the garden each day.

Natural Spanish moss is a dull gray so Shari dyes it to add bright color to her arrangements.

Don't miss the succulent draped and fringed piano.

We also loved this beautifully detailed succulent dress form.

Along the way you'll find doors to secret gardens to enjoy.

Next up is Dorothy Thering's Wildlife Restoration and Preservation garden just a few minutes away in Spicewood.

They've embraced timeless Texas Hill Country style.

A huge raised-bed vegetable garden is just one of the destination spots on this large property.

A solar powered fountain makes sense in this full-sun spot down the hill from the house.

We stopped to feed sweet and friendly Miniature Nubian goats named Lucy and Ethel.

Dorothy's turquoise-accented shed draws attention on the other side of the drive.

Festive style inside and out

The shaded shed side garden invites on a hot day.

This view reminds me so much of summers in the hill country.  Before they built their house Dorothy, battling breast cancer at the time, would find respite in the beauty of this place.

"Sun and Shade" is our next stop on the tour.  I looked forward to meeting Velia Sanchez-Ruiz having remembered her garden from Central Texas Gardener in 2015.  She was away at another garden event but I'm sure she'll be there on tour day.  Check out the video, so much to learn from her love of gardening.

As a member of the Austin Daylily Society, Velia has quite a collection which are all carefully labeled.

Velias style shows throughout her garden.

The shady back garden features Jasmine on the trellis and lots of passalong plants to peruse in the garden.

Shrimp plant is one of those passalongs we rarely need to purchase in Texas.  A recirculating ceramic fountain completes a shady corner vignette complete with hanging mirror.

Daphne Jeffers' "Birds, Butterflies, and Zen" garden is a study in contrasts with its colorful sunny front beds.

That exuberance is cooled by a quiet Japanese garden in the back.

The screened building holds bird feeders.  The screening is large enough for small birds to get through while keeping doves and squirrels at bay.

Bamboo fencing adds authenticity to the garden.

If you're gardening on a slope Peggy Hart's Earth-Kind garden shows how to make it work while saving water and energy.  Her minimal lawn front yard features native and adapted plants.

A great example of how to landscape a shady side yard.

Peggy tamed her steep backyard with steps and terraces

More goats!  This time they're pretend goats and this steep slope is a good place for them.

Bevo too!

Peggy has added a keyhole garden for veggies and herbs.  She has a deer problem necessitating the netting and wire cages.  You will also see Ollas at work to efficiently water her raised beds.

A huge rain collection system gives access to plenty of water.

The relaxing deck....

...features Texas-style touches.

Stop and enjoy the view.

This preview post is just a taste of  each garden to encourage you to head up to Austin to see these gardens in person and I'll post more detail in the next few weeks.

The Inside Austin Gardens Tour is this Saturday, May 6th, from 9am to 4pm.  You can find more information at the link.


  1. Nice pics on a tricky, bright-sun day, Shirley!

    1. Thank you Pam, it was sunny bright that day. So fun to spend the day with you and the other bloggers.

  2. Oh Gosh! I never saw that armadillo with the bottle! Always fun to see the gardens through another's eyes.

    1. I'm sure you saw details I missed, that's why it's so much better in a group.

  3. Your preview makes me wish I could hop on a plane (NOT United).

    1. We do have some cool gardens on tour around here. You should plan to attend the Blogger's Fling in Austin next year.

  4. These tours are always so much fun. It's great to be able to see how gardens reflect the varied personalities of their makers. I especially admire the whimsical flourishes in Shari's garden. Oh, that Jeep waterfall. Not everyone could pull that off so effectively.


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