Sunday, November 04, 2012

Gardens + BBQ

I'm on another "interesting" trip to Austin, this time to see gardens on the Garden Conservancy's Open Days tour. This area has a load of well-designed landscapes, in between the usual. It helps to have a horticultural culture, to just keep having tours of different gardens worth visiting!

The weather was unseasonably warm for November 3, but it happens this close to the Gulf.

Part 1 of my Saturday.
Stop #1 - the Ten Eyck / Deaver Garden. This is part of the Christy Ten Eyck's personal home garden. I think she's the maestro of soft and sharp (just don't forget who gave you that phrase, in your awe of her design savvy)

The stone disk punctuated by that agave, surrounded by the Bamboo Muhley and other plants, plus the gravel path, are all so pleasing to the eye designed together. (and look, no tacky stepping stones or edges to cue people where to walk)

Her home lot is deep in front, offering some secluded sitting areas. The back and side areas offer more opportunities to engage with the land, without any gestures to what has no place in their sub-humid ecoregion. Refreshing. And the walk to the front door from the curb must be exciting for visitors; I wonder if there's landscape lighting carefully tucked in?

Not everywhere shuns spending time in a garden when it's not between 77F and 82F, thank goodness.

Curb appeal - dueling Century Plant and live oaks as the understory for bones, with limestone ledges from on-site, and softened by a mix of flowering white Blackfoot Daisy and golden Damianita. One can't have a tapestry without furniture! 
Stop #2 - the Tocquigny / Fornhoff Garden. Just down the street from my first stop, this place is much about axis. Especially nice when an annoying person feeling the need to engage in deep, private conversation with another right in the doorway. I use my camera along with being male, to cause people in the way to get uncomfortable and then move, so I can get the killer shot; with those two women, it took 5 minutes-plus!

Looking out from the front door. Specimen-sized, multi-trunk trees - adapted or native to the region - and a water feature. I'm glad the first elements were available. Being in an area less prone to supplier stranglehold is not to be taken for granted, when designing a real garden.
Stone block for sitting among the ground plane of soft grasses and low plants, a crushed DG path.
And look - no contrived [tacky] edging! Texture, form, and no dependence on fleeting florals.

So easy on the eyes, all year. But what's that sitting space facing?

A simple water feature, and the arching of the plants nicely mimic the splashing of the water.

I definitely favor a simple, contemporary water feature over something that looks contrived that the
owner / builder thinks is natural. Intentional-contrived trumps unintended-contrived every time.
















































































Well, a guy has to eat seeing all these pretty gardens, doesn't he? More on the rest of the tour, and more detailed looks at various gardens in the future.

For now, lunch time! Before I left in the morning, I called in my order to J. Mueller BBQ, so I didn't have to wait in the hour-long line.
"Just got paid today, got me a pocket full of change..." - ZZ Top. I bet this guy knows their entire library of music; he looks like he knows BBQ, too. Very cool beard!
At least the beef brisket was tender and moist beyond belief, to keep it positive. And that's all on my lunch.
And one teaser on the remaining 4 gardens after lunch! Those had equally-good attributes,
comparing favorably with both gardens I saw in the morning!

Stay tuned!



31 comments:

  1. Nice shot you captured of the fountain with the arching leaves. In some gardens it was tough to get clear shots with so many folks sitting and standing in the axis.

    What a surprise to see you at the garden tour and great to finally meet you in person.

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    1. Thanks - that was a nice scene. I'm amazed how few garden visitors don't bother to see why furnishings were placed where! Same here - great meeting the person behind the insightful words.

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  2. We had planned to make a couple of these gardens. But, didn't make it...again.

    Looking forward to everybody's tour pix.

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    1. It's always tough to do such things when you live nearby...always more to do! As many times as Pam got in the way of my pics (ha ha), I think there will be many, many pics...in fact, I almost didn't come, figuring her pics would suffice. Glad I fought that instinct...worth every minute.

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  3. This garden was one of the top reasons I really, really wanted to make it to Austin this weekend. Austin is such a great example of how extreme climates can produce powerful, stripped-down design. Thanks for the quick report!

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    1. I wish extremes consistently brought out "powerful, stripped-down [design]", but they often don't. There also needs to be a culture turned onto the last word! (i.e. extreme-everything-weather Denver...you'd never know "xeriscape" was coined there, or Abq for extreme arid...design even shunned there by the HOG) But Austin seems to have extreme with design, as do Tucson, Portland, and some others. Even Las Vegas NV if you know where to go.

      Stay tuned...much more!

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  4. Loving every garden photo (sorry but the lunch kind of gives me the hebejebes, and no I'm not a vegetarian, glad you enjoyed it though). Damn I can't wait to make it Austin someday!

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    1. Lunch - actually, it was not very good, only the qualities I mentioned. Way more coming up...the last photo, that garden had Danger G. written all over it. Perhaps someday, Austin will have as many garden tours as live music festivals...you must visit!

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  5. Those gardens are so lovely! I'm inspired to create something as inviting when I remove my lawn (no trees, no perenials and one 60+ year old lilac that looks nearly dead) at my new house. A double lot with only lawn, amazing isn't it? The Cheyenne WY climate is so darn challenging!

    Envious of those garden tour opportunities!

    CheyDesignGuy

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    1. cheyenne...I'm sure you've been to the Cheyenne Botanical Gardens. I was there this summer.

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    2. Austin is a bit far, so will probably not come down here for a long time; at least Phoenix or Tucson are 6 hours, so less than Denver; Abq tours...very hit and miss. But I'm glad I made this one, though I was not sure I wanted to go...worth it in the end in a big way!

      Glad you are getting inspired...the keys to every successful garden I show on a tour or otherwise is abstracting down the power of place (or ecoregion). From growing up in Denver, high plains where it meets the Rockies, that's a powerful place with mostly untapped potential. (hint - it's not Monet cottage gardens or alpine rock layouts)

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  6. Curious...how many people are usually there on one site?

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    1. those look like Yaupon Holly in stop two.

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    2. On this tour, maybe between 15 visitors to over 50 visitors were at one garden at one time; some tours I've been on go over that. When my home was on 3 tours in 1 year, once we had way over 200 people in a day; for an hour, 40 or 50 people were there at once...but I have the hardscape to handle it even though my lot is tiny - and nothing was damaged. Repeat visitors can happen somewhat on a few gardens...I hit the Ten Eyck garden 3X!

      Yaupon Holly in #2 - yes, the tree-form ones. I also saw numerous hedges of the dwarf Yaupon on the tour gardens and in town ('Stokes'?).

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  7. Thanks for the tour of Christy Ten Eyck's personal home garden. The view from the street is amazing. A nice thing about great gardens--they are almost located in interesting places with excellent restaurants! Looking forward to the next group of gardens.

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    1. You're welcome, and there will be more from Ten Eyck's home garden. Downtown Austin isn't far, and great food abounds...good point!

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  8. I love what you noticed in these gardens in regards to edging in particular - I totally see what you mean (wish I had "got this" a year ago - doh). How beautiful...the flow. Hey David, what kind of grass was that on the path to the place you sat across from the water feature? It is so green - I love it! I always love and appreciate your perspective on the bones....the foundation of gardens and the forms. Thank you! I missed y'all! Maybe next time :(

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    1. We're always learning, all of us! On that grass, I'll need to ask, as it looked unfamiliar to me. Not sure when I'll be back down, as it will probably be a while...and am garden toured out...time to stay hunkered down in the desert for a long while!

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  9. Hunkering down for winter like a grizzly, eh? ;) well I do hope to catch you next time!!!! Thanks David :)

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    1. At least the desert version of a grizzly! Shirley has informed me that for every trip to Austin, I need to make a SA trip, so maybe catch the places I never did last Sept...

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    2. SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN STAN!
      please let me know :)

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  10. I am so in love with these photos and these gardens that I keep coming to your blog, re-reading/drooling over the epicness, trying to put into words how great this is, getting frustrated because no words can describe my love, and then deciding to try again later. So in one word ... LOVE! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks...I hear you, and wait until you see some of the other pics! Thanks for stopping by...Texas loaded with interesting landscape accents.

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  11. I know how annoying it can be when you have that perfect picture lined up but people insist on getting in the way! Get yourself photoshop and learn to use the healing tool and the clone tool. Amazing what can be removed - people, traffic cones, caterpillar holes in leaves - its a miracle worker for pics that are almost perfect but spoilt but something small.

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    1. Yes, Photoshop and Illustrator both - thanks for the suggestion! Oh well, it was a great garden tour and worth every mile I drove to get there and back.

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  12. Hey! If I was in your photos it's because you were following me to get the same shot. ;-) Glad you enjoyed the tour too. I thought it was one of the best I'd been on. Re: that grass across from the Tocquigny fountain -- I think it's Berkeley sedge, Carex divulsa.

    And regarding edging, maybe, just maybe, there IS edging there but the plants have spilled over it. I don't have the same hatred for edging as you do. If you install a garden over time, bed by bed, as I do and most of my DIY clients do, typically you have garden beds abutting lawn grass, and I think edging is essential to keep out the runners in that case. Later when you "garden up" everything, sure, you could take out the edging between path and garden bed, but by then it might be hidden anyway under a layer of foliage. Just something to think about -- probably not the case with any of these installed-all-at-once gardens, of course.

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    1. That's ri-ii-ght! Too bad I didn't copy your angles enough...

      Thanks for the sedge ID.

      Edging - now, now! Edging is a great element if it is designed well and has a real purpose, and isn't ugly like many in the US, or what some clients have done that helps little but detracts 100% from their space. I just used some on a path at a small valley residence, which I recently posted on. Where Ten Eyck did use edging, it is properly designed so it takes a 2nd or 3rd seat to the overall space, hardscape and plantings (like irrigation should do). You could be right on how it could be there w/ plants now spilling over it, though again, that's good design for the plants to ultimately rule.

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  13. Hey , man, I have lots of hobbies, but BBQ is what I do for a living. :) No kidding!

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    1. Sounds like I need to make a BBQ Garden trip to TX, next time!

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  14. Love all of this, esp the 'soft and sharp' Ten Eyck garden.

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    1. Thanks; I look forward to posting more of the Ten Eyck garden, plus a few other images from that tour.

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