Clever Ideas

Gardeners are such innovative engineers, each in their own way. I love even brief glimpses into their imagination, as I did recently in Toronto at the Garden Bloggers Fling.
native habitat color paths Toronto Central Texas Gardener
One garden on a narrow street—where neighbors are fingertip close—embraces serenity along with enclosure. From my greenhouse vantage point, I spied Su Reid St-John from Bonnie’s Plants.
serene enclosed garden Toronto Central Texas Gardener
And isn’t this just the cutest greenhouse? Note the built-in cold frames—so clever! I know I’ve seen a cold frame in person somewhere or other, but you don’t really need them in Central Texas.
cute greenhouse with cold frames Toronto Central Texas Gardener
South Carolina’s Julie Hill wrote a remarkable story about the repetitive design shapes in this garden to create unity in your own. I didn’t catch it, so I truly admire her good designer eye.
beautiful privacy garden Toronto Central Texas Gardener
When Julie lived in Austin, we taped her a few times when she owned Wild-Connections butterfly farm. She continues to educate us all in her new digs!

At the Toronto Botanical Garden, here’s an idea to separate spaces with a sneak peek into each other.
window in wall Toronto Botanical Garden Central Texas Gardener
Their tripod bee hotel was booked solid!
tripod bee hotel Toronto Botanical Garden Central Texas Gardener
Now, a question I often get is how to deter cats and (other) wild critters from digging up a garden. Here, a woman who treasures a good scavenge used these scraps (pavers, maybe?) to protect her crops. And like CTG’s Trisha Shirey, she buries plastic plant pots to slowly water and fertilize.
mesh pavers deter cats and wildlife Central Texas Gardener
To trellis climbing crops, she anchors them to an old railing she found. On the far left, note the scraps of green deer netting to protect seeds from little claws.
recycle trellis deer net deter animals Central Texas Gardener
We all end up with a few dead trees now and then, sad to say. Rather than chipping up this one, she gave it a second life to set off the rich, textural tones of her wildlife habitat enclosure.
dead tree painted yard art Central Texas Gardener
She took advantage of this crook to view a treasured stone.
stone in crook of tree yard art Central Texas Gardener
Even in a small rain barrel, she scavenges free water. What I like here is how she sparked up an oft-neglected side yard. I met her for only a few minutes, but I’d like to be her neighbor!
art work sets off rain barrel Central Texas Gardener
In front, her dry creek bed employs rainfall to sift gently into habitat perennials, rather than watering the street, a design that sure hits home in Texas rain bombs.
dry creek bed Toronto Central Texas Gardener
On a larger conservation scale, Evergreen Brick Works combines urban environmental education with historical perspective in this former brick-making factory.
Evergreen Brickworks Central Texas Gardener
rain collection Evergreen Brick Works Toronto Central Texas Gardener
This family destination includes something for everyone—Farmers’ Market, child activity areas, ponds, nature trails, and tours of the old brick factory. Demonstration gardens illustrate wise garden ideas to try at home, like rain gardens.
rain garden Evergreen Brick Works Toronto Central Texas Gardener
I don’t know what kind of iris this is, but my Louisiana iris look similar and are perfect for rain/drought rain gardens.
iris in rain garden Toronto Central Texas Gardener
A round of native grasses promotes their deep-rooted water retention and soil aeration along with food for birds and other seed-eaters.
Brickworks native grass garden Central Texas Gardener
And absolutely, the best idea ever: we’re never too old to draw on a sidewalk with chalk. I’m getting chalks this weekend!
sidewalk chalk fun for adults Central Texas Gardener

Thank you to Ontario organizers, Helen Battersby, Sarah Battersby, Lorraine Flanigan and Veronica Silva for widening my garden horizons and friendships!

Thanks for stopping by! Linda