May 19, 2016
And so, Texas weird weather continues! Cloudy days signaled asters to bloom, right alongside eyelash salvia (Salvia blepharophylla).
My 2-year-old front yard bed has finally filled in. Bees and butterflies found paradise in this fall- meets-spring explosion. Self-seeded rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) chimes in with winecups, Salvia greggii, snake herb (Dyschoriste linearis), larkspur, mountain pea, and oxalis.
Cool, cloudy, and humid weather is also the perfect recipe for fungal disease. In case you missed it, we repeat Daphne’s explanation of oak leaf blister this week. Find out why there’s no reason to worry.
Sage can get downright annoyed with weather like this. Trisha’s got sage advice about her favorite varieties and how to plant them.
One is Nazareth or Newe Ya’ar sage, a tall version that pairs silvery leaves and lavender flowers in spring. Get Trisha’s culinary sage list and growing tips in Resources/How To.
In recent years, there’s nary a garden we visit that doesn’t include water for wildlife, in part thanks to Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery. Even a birdbath or fountain attracts bees, beneficial wasps, and yes, birds!
With a little more space, stock tanks make inexpensive ponds.
Moving up the water food chain, many of us dive into ponds and streams.
Now, I’m not sure that CTG was at the first Austin Pond Society tour 22 years ago, but I was (I think). I know that I drove an elderly, leaking everywhere car to one of the first. At one location, the owners brought out more water for my pathetic radiator!
Over the years, we’ve met so many incredible innovators, who brought ponding into our vocabulary. This week, Tom joins Bj Jenkins and Ted Paone from the Austin Pond Society to preview this year’s tour, June 4 & 5.
As always, this is a great chance to get startup advice from DIYs and professionals. Get tour details here.
One couple you’ll meet on the tour is Barbara and David Hale, who created a paradise retreat in a typical backyard.
First, David built a deck. Later, a friend built his workshop as a wedding present.
Then, David dug a pond, since he loved the tiny one in his bachelor home.
Over the excavated dirt pile, David built a bridge of bent cedar (ashe juniper) with limbs gathered from a friend’s property. It took him four years to install its lattice insert!
At the other end, he built another bridge with salvaged cedar that he peeled, sanded, and varnished.
Since it’s too shady to grow lilies, Barbara colors up the edges. Here, she inserted impatiens into rock-lined driftwood where they explode over the summer months.
When David dug a deep pond, they built a charming palapa atop the mounds of soil. He framed the ceiling with bamboo cut from the creek and a thankful gardener’s yard!
All it needed was a waterfall. They went bold with an eight-foot cascade built with rocks from a friend’s yard.
Until their trees grew up, they constructed a wisteria-covered pergola to soften summer’s heat. An idea they gathered from their travels: cut up shingles to reduce a slippery walk in moist conditions.
To remove remaining grass, Barbara piled her car with a few flagstones at a time and puzzle-pieced them in to make a patio. They lucked into the perfect sculptural fountain to set it all off.
David jokes: “And thank goodness for good neighbors. It weighs at least four hundred pounds in the center and the top ball is a hundred pounds of concrete. Now my friends have learned to not answer their phone when they see my number on it.”
Now here’s another great idea! They got one of those durable, but ugly plastic containers to store
Barbara’s handmade cushions. With more cedar and 300 short screws, David gave it official furniture status.
After all that work, it’s refreshing to clean up under an outdoor shower, fancied up with more hand cut bamboo.
In their “spare time,” Barbara and David mosaic. Neighbors contributed old mirrors to style up their concrete “married hands” front lawn chairs.
And David’s crafty recycled toilet fountain.
I’m so impressed with their mosaic front walkway: what a personal way to style up a standard concrete entry.
And wouldn’t you love to step out of the car after Austin’s crazy traffic to a fountain? They crafted this one with pots!
David even personalized the carport with flagstones embedded with marbles.
Neighbors flock to the garden to hang out, but Barbara’s made it even more enticing with her Little Free Library, designed to match their house.
What remarkable people! See the whole story now. And visit in person on the Austin Pond Society tour because you just gotta meet them!
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda