Thursday, May 12, 2011

Inside Austin Garden Tour - A Tour of the Tour

Inside Austin Gardens Tour
Water-Wise Gardening
Saturday, May 14, 2011
9am - 4pm

Y'all need to go to this tour.  It's sponsored by the Travis County Master Gardeners Association - "a service organization of certified master gardeners - trained volunteers who give their time in the community to help others garden well and joyfully in Central Texas."   The theme this year is water-wise gardening and what could be more timely than that (as I watch my 50-year-old oaks withering before my very eyes)?

I got to be part of a swankalicious pre-tour tour and boy, was it fun! We toured four gardens, got treated to breakfast and lunch, hooped and hollered and had an all-around good time. 

Here's some preview love for you...Enjoy, my pretties!

Tour Numero Uno:
The garden of Rebecca Matthews
SO much whimsy and joy and delight.  This garden felt just magical and reminded me of my own yard (just give me another 10 years).  There were so many hidden (and not-so-hidden) treasures in this yard that I got very few pictures of actual plants.  But, plants there were!  Rebecca has tons of plants to entice any gardener and everything looked so healthy and happy. It really is a beautiful garden and touring it was a wonderful way to start the day.  Rebecca is just darling and so easy to visit with. She's put in tons of hours here and it really shows. I know this garden will get a great response on (the real) tour day.

Tour Numero Dos
The garden of Wendy Brennan.  
Designed and installed by Link Davidson.
Oh yea, baby.  I'm talking south Austin cool-o-rama thing happening here.  Master Gardener Link Davidson busted a move (and a back, I'm sure) putting in this minimal Zen space that is also bursting with personality.  Link and Wendy are both into reuse and recycle and the redo was heavy on that.  Link chopped up the old, loooooong and boring cement walkway into modern mis-matched pieces for that uber hip look that I love so much.  Check out those "Grecian urns" against the stone wall.  Urns me arse!  Those are the copper innerds of hot water heaters found on the roadside during bulk trash pick-up day.  Good boy.  Good, good boy. Link is a wonderful storyteller and that made this tour all the more fun.  (Not to mention that we got an extra tour at his house next door. Drool.) PS I am now officially looking for a buoy. PPS I really kinda wanna live next door to Link too.

Tour Numero Tres
The garden of Sue Nazar
Um, BIG wow factor here.  Lush.  Cool.  Green.  Peaceful. Swanky.  Pool.  Need I say more? I was too busy pretending that I lived here to get many pictures, but this is a gardeners garden, dearies.  Sue is clearly a pro as her garden is so crazy good that you feel like you're in a rain forest that has always been right there.  Sue talks casually of miles of mulch, seaweed food this and compost tea that.  My head was spinning cuz my yard is lucky to get watered most of the time.  This west Austin property slopes way down in the back, taking you from the incredible display of plants in the super-sunny hell strip out front, to the other-worldly peace of her backyard.  Some day when I grow up I'm gonna have a big girl house like this too.   Did I say swimming pool? Sigh.

Tour Numero Quatro
The garden of Sheryl Williams
Don't be fooled when you drive up to this modest home with the "weird" looking front lawn.  Sheryl is an amazing gardener and a real farmer of food.   (I am fascinated by people who can really feed themselves from their yards and figure out drainage and all that technical stuff.)  Shery's motto is that if you're going to plant something, why not be able to eat it?   She's only be here for two years (Oregon transplant) and her mini-farm is just downright crazy impressive.  She put in berms and trenches and giant rainwater collection tanks to handle runoff and capture the liquid gold.  I ate green beans and sugar snap peas right off the vine as well as being treated to a magnificent lunch that mostly came straight from the backyard.  I wish I'd gotten a picture of her looked like it could have been in a garden center. J.e.a.l.o.u.s.  Be sure to pick her brain on this front yard situation.  Foregoing grass, but not wanting to freak out her HOA, Sheryl put in a lawn of Texas sedge that is going to be really impressive when it all fills in.  This got me plotting and planning about an area of my yard that might be perfect for this.   Sheryl is delightful and a plethora of information.  Plan to stay here awhile and learn a lot!

Thanks to all the gardeners who opened their homes and gardens to us.  It was such a wonderful way to spend the day and I am so grateful to all of them for their hard work and hospitality.  A BIG thanks to the TC Master Gardeners Association as well for puttin' on the Ritz for us. What a fine, fine organization that is.
Garden on, Wayne!
PS Thanks to the ever-fabulous Jackdaddy for "reluctantly" taking the day off of work to boy-sit the little boy so that I could go play gardener lady. 


  1. Michele, your post out of all the preview post is the one that makes me want to go see these gardens! Great job.

  2. Can I just say that I never knew I needed a knitted rock, but I! Great post - wish I could go on the tour!

  3. It was fun playing gardener lady with you that day, Michele, and seeing all the cool stuff other Austin gardeners are doing.

  4. Curse you, Jack Dalton!!! Now I want my yard to become one (all)of those shown. Except the swimming pool. I am too old to cope with that but Pow! Bang! Zap!!
    Mucho magnificio!!!
    Thanks for sharing your day with us and bless you, Jackdaddy for "letting" Michele go.

  5. Thanks for coming out for the tour! It was really fun to talk "yard" with someone passionate about gardening. There are so many different ways to incorporate native plants and food crops into the landscape, hopefully I will inspire a few people to try it!

  6. I'm so glad you posted the shots of the bunnies in the blue ceramic pot and the crocheted rock cover (!) at Rebecca's, and that last shot of Wendy's garden - fabulous! It was great to see you on the preview.


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