One Bed at A Time!

pale orange and white patio stones umbrella table plant border and shed beyond
Nancy Hall knew her priorities on moving day in 1985. “The first thing I wanted to do was to get out in the yard and start digging in the dirt. I love the feel of dirt in my hand,” she told us on our early November visit.
garden beds along fence, small natural stone pond in middle of lawn
Although a late October dive into the 40s nipped a few plants, most still bloomed robustly. Nancy admits to a lot of mistakes since she started with a blank lawn and chain link fence, but along the way, she figured out how to match plants with Texas weather and her Blackland Prairie clay soil.
pale orange and white stone pathway near house tree with plants underneath, camera crew analyzing next shot
One of her first projects was to build a walkway along the house and to the shed. CTG crew Doug LaValliere and director Ed Fuentes layered up on this morning that logged 46°.
pale orange white stone path next to house, bordered by tree and plants
I totally connected with Nancy’s incentive for a stone path, especially with dogs and rainy days! “There was a path and it was mud. It was a mess,” she said.
pale orange/white stone path next to house and tree with plants underneath, diverges to patio beyond
Recently, she added a patio, again with lovely Arizona sandstone.
pale orange/white stone patio umbrella table, walkway to blue and white shed
Motivation this time was to relax and savor each changing season. Knowing gardeners, though, I suspect it’s more of a project launching pad.
pale orange/white stone path, blue and white shed, curving flower bed on one side
For 35 years, Nancy worked as a librarian at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. So, it was weekends and a few helpers along the way to carve out and plant gently curving beds.
cattle panel fence with green and silvery plants
She replaced the chain link fence with cattle panel. “I tried to kind of put the taller plants at the back and the lower plants, of course, at the front. But I didn’t really have any plan. I just kind of planted stuff,” she said.
small green shrub with orange flowers, silver plant
Although she’s improved tilth with compost, she sticks to native or adapted plants that can handle her Blackland Prairie clay soil. Here, we’ve got blue porterweed, artemisia, native flame acanthus (beloved by hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies) and a yaupon holly.

She may try a plant in three spots before finding what it likes, or she flat out accepts defeat. “Lavender. I have tried and tried to grow lavender. I’ve made special beds, I’ve done the whole thing, can’t grow lavender,” she said.

granite stone small pond
Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies stop by for food and drink. “My pond is very popular with the squirrels and the birds and all kinds of animals I see in that pond. They love the water,” she said. And you can meet Nancy in her garden on the Austin Pond Society Tour June 1 & 2!
small limestone carved fish on ledge of pond
She learned a few lessons with the pond, too. Courting frogs stop by, but there aren’t any fish since she got fed up with raccoon poaching. Sculptor Cat Quintanilla’s lovely limestone fish stands in by proxy.
blue and white shed, garden bed, small metallic-looking dark gray sculpture
“I guess the main thing is that I love to intersperse artwork into my garden. I think that’s an important component,” she said. “I guess I’ve always been into art because my father was really big into art museums. Wherever we went, we would go to the art museum.”
dark gray metallic-looking sculpture young girl holding a plant
A replica of Sylvia Shaw Judson’s “The Little Gardener” presides over the shed. The original is displayed in The Jacqueline Kennedy White House Sculpture Garden.
pale blue and aqua design with woman in pale golden gown mural
Rebecca Barbour styled up the shed with an enchanting mural.
concrete mushroom with blue glass mosaic top
Chris Smartt from Solstice Outdoors populates the garden with mushrooms.
variety of concrete and painted mushrooms next to house window
I hope you’ve met his mom, Irene, who runs the nursery in Dripping Springs!
colorful mosaic on bench top featuring a gnome, owl , small bird, and mushrooms
Bertram artist Jean Porra of Mosaic Garden Treasures crafted several mosaic pieces.
garden art gnome and little door figurine inserted into tree cavity
No nook goes overlooked in Nancy’s garden.
glass figurine mobiles sparkling in silhouette
“It’s not just plants, it’s plants and artwork,” she said.
plants and garden art figurines under a tree in island bed outside den window
Her colorful patio island brightens the indoor view, even on a chilly morning.
Momma and baby bear limestone sculptures
Cat Quintanilla’s bear sculptures frolic even when tender plants fade in freeze.
garden art post painted There are Places I'll Remember
Of course, Nancy’s not finished yet. So many plants, so many ideas, so many local artists. As they say, a gardener’s work is never done!

Watch now!

Thanks for stopping by!