Pond Romance

And so, Texas weird weather continues! Cloudy days signaled asters to bloom, right alongside eyelash salvia (Salvia blepharophylla).
asters eyelash salvia Central Texas Gardener
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.
driveway garden salvia asters Central Texas Gardener
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.
oak leaf blister Central Texas Gardener
Sage can get downright annoyed with weather like this. Trisha’s got sage advice about her favorite varieties and how to plant them.
best sages to grow Central Texas Gardener
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.
New Ya'ar sage flowers web
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!
faux bois bird bath fountain Central Texas Gardener
With a little more space, stock tanks make inexpensive ponds.
stock pond deck Central Texas Gardener
Moving up the water food chain, many of us dive into ponds and streams.
front yard pond and stream Central Texas Gardener
beautiful pond design Central Texas Gardener
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.
Tom Spencer, Bj Jenkins, Ted Paone Austin Pond Society Central Texas Gardener
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.
David and Barbara Hale Central Texas Gardener
First, David built a deck. Later, a friend built his workshop as a wedding present.
patio furniture deck to cute shed Central Texas Gardener
lighted patio deck under trees Central Texas Gardener
Then, David dug a pond, since he loved the tiny one in his bachelor home.
Gorgeous backyard pond Central Texas Gardener
pond to shed Central Texas Gardener
patio to pond Central Texas Gardener
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!
cedar bridge lattice work Central Texas Gardener
At the other end, he built another bridge with salvaged cedar that he peeled, sanded, and varnished.
Backyard pond and cedar bridge Central Texas Gardener
Patio, bridge, backyard pond Central Texas Gardener
handmade cedar bridge Central Texas Gardener
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.
impatiens in driftwood pond plant Central Texas Gardener
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!
backyard palapa over pond Central Texsa Gardener
tiki hut palapa and  pond Central Texas Gardener
All it needed was a waterfall. They went bold with an eight-foot cascade built with rocks from a friend’s yard.
DIY backyard rock waterfall Central Texas Gardener
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.
pergola entrance shingle footing Central Texas Gardener
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.
no lawn patio and sculptural fountain Central Texas Gardener
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.
cedar over plastic storage bin DIY Central Texas Gardener
After all that work, it’s refreshing to clean up under an outdoor shower, fancied up with more hand cut bamboo.
outdoor shower Central Texas Gardener
In their “spare time,” Barbara and David mosaic. Neighbors contributed old mirrors to style up their concrete “married hands” front lawn chairs.
mirror mosaic concrete hands chairs Central Texas Gardener
And David’s crafty recycled toilet fountain.
mosaic mirror toilet pond Central Texas Gardener
I’m so impressed with their mosaic front walkway: what a personal way to style up a standard concrete entry.
mosaic sidewalk Central Texas Gardener
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!
fountain from blue ceramic containers Central Texas Gardener
David even personalized the carport with flagstones embedded with marbles.
flagstone marble carport floor Central Texas Gardener
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.
Little Free Library Central Texas Gardener
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