Artistic Flair

man with camera and dog looking at him
Gardening is a lot more than plants: it’s an irresistible invitation to flex our creativity physically and mentally. This week on our fall premiere, explore artistic flair with three families.
Raised vegetable beds salvaged windmill garden art Julie Nelson Kay Angermann
First, Travis County Master Gardeners Julie Nelson and Kay Angermann brought creative collaboration, muscle-wielding grit, and passion for plants and animals to their new homestead dubbed Katie Bird Farm, named for Kay’s gardening/farming grandmother.
Kay Angermann Julie Nelson Travis County Master Gardeners Central Texas Gardener
This dynamic duo’s turned rough land into wonderland since 2013 when they bought its almost three acres, then a jungle of overcrowded mountain cedars brushing live oaks.
Lindheimer muhly and native perennials under mountain cedars and oak trees Julie Nelson and Kay Angermann property
On move-in week in October 2013, floods washed out the driveway. Quickly, they rallied with a backhoe to scoop up wayward soil and mound it into berms to deflect future gully washers. Since then, they’ve built more berms and populated them with plants that like good drainage. They pair grasses, like native Lindheimer muhly, with native and adapted perennials.
Pool to screening berm charming patio garden design Julie Nelson Kay Angermann
“Everything was done in such an organic way. Julie and I never wrote, drew a plan out, or had a plant list that we wanted,” Kay said.
Raised vegetable beds recycled materials vintage garden art Julie Nelson Kay Angermann
Rather than pound into rocky substrate, Julie built raised beds to grow vegetables and herbs.
greenhouse under cedar trees mountain junipers Julie Nelson Kay Angermann garden
They charm up every spot with unique and personable vintage finds that Kay unearths through her business, Hipbilly Kay.
El Federico Our Lady of Guadalupe mural on chicken coop Julie Nelson Kay Angermann
In their hobby farm (which includes a gregarious rescued donkey duo), happy hens are watched over by Our Lady of Guadalupe, rendered by graffiti stencil and mural artist El Federico.
Robert Moorhead and Howdy dog Julie Nelson Kay Angermann garden Central Texas Gardener
Julie and Kay have made a lot of changes and faced a few losses since our visit in fall 2019. The saddest was saying goodbye to sweet old dog Howdy, one of their many rescues. We so loved meeting him. He sure did greet us with a “Howdy!”
camera operator with monitor man sitting in chair in garden
Next, head to Doug and Ingrid Green’s home west of Lago Vista where they nurture all kinds of wildlife on 28 acres. When we visited in October 2019, I’d never seen so many butterflies and bees in a family garden. Doug reports that this year’s drought took its toll on the wildlife population, but they’re counting more arrivals daily.
Gregg's mistflower native perennial for butterfly gardens Doug Green Central Texas Gardener
Since deer populate the land, too, he dedicated an enclosed sanctuary for flowering plants that deer would graze before pollinators got a meal. On our visit, frothy pale blue Gregg’s mistflower was simply a whirl of wings!
pentagonal pond Doug Green butterfly habitat Central Texas Gardener
Doug designed it as a 2700 square foot pentagon formed from drill stem pipe. Off duty firefighter Ryan Stark drove posts four feet into the ground with an air hammer, securing them without concrete.

The cattle panel sides support many kinds of vines, including flowering crossvine, grapevines for birds, and summertime annual purple hyacinth bean, its lavender blossoms nestling countless bees.
Doug Green deer proof habitat pentagonal pond for Paul Green Central Texas Gardener
He provides water and butterfly puddling stations around the property, but inside the sanctuary, he built a pentagon-shaped pond. An original member of the Austin Pond Society, he designed it to accommodate different-sized birds, along with bees, lizards and other small creatures. The gravel fill double duties as a butterfly puddling station.
pentagon pond birdbath and water source for pollinators Doug Green
The garden’s dedicated to his dad Paul Green, a long-term joyful garden mentor as a member of what’s now the The Garden Club of Austin. His barbershop on Red River Street was a favorite for many generations, where his smile always welcomed every garden question.
pentagonal pond birdbath and pollinator water source Doug Green
Doug’s a hobbyist metal worker, too, who designs and welds mild steel into furniture, containers, and garden art. He builds some containers out of cedar while others he modifies from purchased or scavenged vessels.
woman and man sitting at patio table
Finally, we land in Leander where Ana and Julio Lopez mapped out their downsized dream garden in 2018 before the house was even built.
peach tree and flowers against fence in long narrow bed
Their history tagged along to this new garden via the many plants that have grown up alongside their children.
roses in ground and one on wire panel
Each one contains a story that gets passed along to friends and neighbors through cuttings, divisions, and seeds.
cedar grape arbor Lady of Guadalupe panel on gate
Even pruned branches left by the wayside find their way into Ana and Julio’s creative hearts. To support a generously-fruiting grapevine, Julio framed the back gate with mountain cedar trimmings.
grapes against colorful Our Lady of Guadalupe wooden panel
Knowing their love of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of their sons commissioned an El Federico painting that transformed an ordinary gate into a soulful destination.
blue antique gate lawn red coral bean flowers
When Ana hankered for a rose arbor at the front, Julio again enlisted castoff trimmings to anchor a Peggy Martin rose. A native coralbean extends red-blossomed invitations to hummingbirds passing by.
antique blue gate cedar tree arbor
The arbor deserved a special gate, so when Ana and Julio found an old, weathered candidate, they renewed it with elbow grease and love. “We always know about the secret garden and I was dreaming about the gate. . .The neighbors love it and they just pass and say, ‘Oh, I love your gate. It looks like a secret garden. Can I go in?’ And yes, of course, everybody is welcome,” Ana always tells them.

Watch all these inspiring stories!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda