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Category Archives: Garden Design

Garden Bloggers Fling Day 1 and Stop 1

A rainy view of the entrance to Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center.”My special cause, the one that alerts my interest and quickens the pace of my life, is to preserve the wildflowers and native plants that define the regions of our land — to encourage and promote their use in appropriate areas, and thus help pass on to generations in waiting the quiet joys and satisfactions I have known since my childhood.”

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was our first stop on Friday. As we gathered for the group picture, they mentioned that rain was headed our way.  Being a native Texan, I should have heeded the warning when I heard “squall line”, but I was intent on seeing the treasures that awaited us.

Even in the rain, the cholla in the demonstration garden beckoned. It’s magenta blooms caught my eye through the stone window.

Cholla cactus blooms

  It began to sprinkle -colorful ponchos dotted the gardens and then it started to rain, then it began to go sideways, so we scurried to find shelter. It didn’t take long to realize that the elements were winning, but so was the garden – the much needed rain was a welcome sight, even though it came torrentially.

A caterpillar sighting lured some of us out of the stone alcove, but the elements were getting the upper hand –everything was soaked-our pictures were blurred , cameras were malfunctioning…

We retreated to the main entrance where we sought refuge under the eaves and ultimately in the gift shop. A beautiful bouquet of wildflowers brightened our dampened spirits (pun intended) in the restroom.

As we left, the sound of the stone cistern filling up was music to the ears. Even though it was a wash in some ways, it wasn’t all for naught.  It’s not often you get to see Lady Bird Wildflower Center through the rain.

Starla Willis

Garden Bloggers Tour Austin Gardens

Garden bloggers from all over the United States, Canada and England gathered in Austin in early May to tour the finest and best gardens.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center, the Zilker Botanical gardens and fourteen private gardens were viewed over three days. The first night’s event started at the Austin Central Library where we enjoyed their rooftop sustainable garden with a view of Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake. This eco-friendly building and its landscape were a perfect start for the Garden Blogger’s Fling.

Rooftop Garden of Austin Central Library

We saw many garden styles from large estates to cottage plots. All of them shared a fondness for yucca and agave (I have never seen so many different kinds), deer resistant plants, water-conserving methods, and phenomenal hardscaping (usually using rocks from their own property.)

Yucca baccata in front of sun-baked limestone wall

What we didn’t see in Austin is a story in itself: no bedding plants and hardly any bushes because of deer pressure and no weeds because of the true grit of the owners themselves or in some cases, staff.

I am awed by my fellow Texas gardeners.  We say gardening in Dallas is tough but Austin gardeners may be tougher!  Less water, rocky soil and more critter problems (deer bedding down in the garden, eating the garden and rutting in the garden.) In the truest sense, they turned problems into brilliant design.

Starla and I want to share pictures from the Garden Bloggers Fling 2018 over the next few weeks. We think you will be inspired, learn and renew your commitment to good gardening.

Ann Lamb

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