Friday, November 2, 2018

A Daily Fiesta at La Casita Moradita

It's not a "tiny house," it's real!  I'm standing in front of Lucinda Hutson's purple cottage on a bright Sunday morning on the last day of our Austin Garden Blogger's Fling earlier this year.   I've been a fan since reading Pam Penick's posts on Lucinda's garden in Digging.  Lucinda is also a blogger and wrote The Herb Garden Cookbook and Viva Tequila!  According to Lucinda's blog, Día de los Muertos is a favorite event at the little purple cottage, which is why I am featuring it now.  Posting about her garden is the best way I could think of to celebrate this event which runs from Halloween until November 2nd this year.

I'm out by the street to take this photo so you can see it's small but filled with colorful plants like purple Salvia Amistad and an abundance of pink flowers.  I'm reminded of writer Sandra Cisneros' former San Antonio home which garnered national attention when she painted it "periwinkle purple" and created controversy over the meaning of "historic" colors.

No such controversy in the Rosedale neighborhood of Austin where the neighbors also chose bright paint for their cottages.  Lucinda, dressed to match her house and garden, was there to greet us.  Even the hand-outs were printed on purple paper.  That's Jean McWeeney of Dig, Grow, Compost on the right.

I was thrilled to learn the house interior was open and available to tour but first we'll explore the garden.  Looking back to the street from the side garden.  Lucinda describes her gardens on her website if you would like to follow along.

Lucinda's cat Sancho posing in his sharp tuxedo on the herb garden wall built across the former driveway.  Her sense of humor is already showing and I'm still in the front garden.  Sancho is Spanish slang for "lover" and Lucinda enjoys calling "Sancho" much to the amusement of her neighbors.

Lucinda gardens right up to the house next door.

Looking back toward the street.  I feel like I know this garden so well from all the blog posts I've read.

Details like the purple hose to match the house make the garden special and personal.  A gardener always has a few plants in waiting.

Several of us commented that broken pot mulch looked like something we could pull off.

And now to follow the crowd of about 40 bloggers through the gate to the perpetual Fiesta that is Lucinda's garden.  Austinites Jenny Stocker and Fling organizer Diana Kirby pause for a chat with Lucinda.

My favorite gardens are always those which reflect the personality of the owner and Lucinda's garden is filled with personal details and vignettes.  According to her blog, Lucinda's father liked to fish and often spoke of catching a mermaid which inspired her mermaid garden.  Art in the garden was mostly created by friends of Lucinda.

Fish chairs for the sea-themed mermaid garden.  So many details to take in like the mosaic on the face of the step.  

Hand me a Raspa and Elote!  Back home in San Antonio my city is celebrating 300 years and we had just finished our Fiesta season which takes up most of April.

Even though we are definitely in Austin, the phrase "Puro San Antonio" comes to mind for "Our Lady of La Tina," a play on "tina" the Spanish word for bathtub.  Karst rocks evoke European catacombs and the grotto at Mission Concepción in San Antonio.  The heart-shaped rock is a perfect keystone. 

More herbs and flowers in a raised bed.  Mosaic stepping stones in the courtyard.  There are so many ideas in this garden I'll look back at my photos many times.

With all the details to take in, I did my best to keep track of fun ideas like this iron doll bed turned into a planter for marigolds.  

It is interesting how few patterned Talavera pots are in Lucinda's garden.  Most are bright, solid colors with patterned plates used as edging.  Every pot filled with colorful flowers and herbs.

The Enchanted Garden is open and ready to explore.

First, let's admire the artful Stairway to Heaven mosaic which leads to the kitchen.

A view through the window to her extensive and colorful folk art collections displayed on the porch with palapa style awning.  Another idea I would love to try somewhere in my own garden.

Loved the porch door with its Texas star.

A fun vignette with Mexican child's chairs on the wall.

Like a trip to Mexico without the travel.  The dining deck where many a fun dinner or party has been set.

Around the corner to La Lucinda Cantina.

Tequila bottle tree of course from the author of ¡Viva Tequila!"Mexico in a bottle" as she likes to call it.

Republic Tequila in Texas-shaped bottles is a must for local Tequila tastings.  Apparently wine is also popular at Lucinda's parties with plenty of corks for mulch at the base of the bottle tree.

The mermaid lounge with Salty Lady Beer cans.  So much thought goes into everything.

Lucinda's office at the back of her garden is outfitted with more subdued colors and filled with mementos and books.

Around to the front, we'll head inside for a tour.  The garden and the house flow together and I will happily admit to wanting to see the house almost as much as the garden.

Día de los Muertos celebrations are in full swing as I write this at the beginning of November so it's fun to post now.  (As bright as it was outside, the interior was dark so I had to use flash.)

Lucinda turns her tabletops into altars for Día de los Muertos.  She has written about her love for this celebration on her blog.

More mermaids inside.

Every room was open--brave lady!

The colors of Mexico throughout.

Painted chairs work together though each is different.

Lucinda, author of The Herb Garden Cookbook, actually cooks in a tiny kitchen.  Her friend stepped in to help out directing traffic and answer questions with so many visitors at once.

The real deal Tequila bar with not a "mixto" in sight.

I have a fascination with kitchen sink views so I had to catch this shot.  "La Sirena" means mermaid in Spanish.

Agave chandelier is a must for the author who wrote the book on Tequila.

Lucinda poses with her house.  I can't begin to describe how much fun it was to finally see her garden and home in person.

A big Thank You to Lucinda Hutson for opening her garden to the bloggers!


  1. It was great to see Lucinda's house and garden again. Thanks Shirley! I hope you enjoyed a happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.

    1. It's a fun week here in San Antonio! Kris, as I was putting this together I remembered how much fun we had sitting together on the bus that day.

  2. Another great post, Shirley. It seems to me that the more interesting gardens are always the most personal gardens. Lucinda’s garden indicates she is a fun loving and generous soul. I would love to have her for a neighbor, should she ever decide to move to Fredericksburg. Thanks for the tour.

    1. You've described her quite well Paula and I do think she would be an awesome neighbor.

  3. Even the catflap has been given the treatment - made positive instead of merely functional.

    1. The detail in Lucinda's garden was impressive and probably didn't come close to capturing it all.

  4. Lucinda's garden is delightful, as is she. Thanks for sharing your tour, Shirley!

    1. Thank you and the team for setting up that amazing weekend!

  5. Oh yes, that was a very fun garden to tour! You got some great people and people-less photos. ;-) I really enjoyed Lucinda's style, whimsy, and charm. Also, the tiles, pots, and other little touches everywhere were so special.

    1. It was an inspiration. No idea how I got so many clear shots. There were people all around but I did circle back just before we headed to the bus.

  6. Wow, I love both the garden and the house!


Thank you for stopping by. To comment simply open the Name/URL option, put in your name or initials and skip the URL.