Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gardens on Tour, 2nd Stop - Contemporary Meets Cottage

Not the same as contemporary cottage, our 2nd stop on the garden tour combined elements of contemporary gardens with it's roots on the southern, sub-humid prairies and woodlands of central TX. You can read more under Garden #3, 2001 Westridge Drive - here

A friend's future garden has me thinking of something restrained and patterned, overlaying loose. Here, I think it's loose and wild, overlaying strong and spare patterns.

Make sense? I didn't think so, but it's how I roll, to make sense of something more abstract. Everything makes sense if we seek.
Sowing delight and harmony

See what's missing in most flower-centered cottage gardens, that's not missing here?

Modern restrains mixing.

When I showed my hundreds of photos from this day touring to someone having a great design eye, it appeared there was too much Silver Ponyfoot growing over the expensive, hipsteresque steel retaining...again, I had to agree with that.

But that aside, how about all that soft and sharp? A riot of native cacti forms among everything

A native plant is much more than a plant that's native somewhere...

Riot of a good kind, on the level(s)

Detail of paving modules, filers, spillers, and industrial garden lighting...all thrillers to me

If you like prairie, this is Austin prairie applied well

Water's sounds and sights, and the level changes beyond = interest

Imagine cooking out here for your friends. Texas BBQ, of course, mixed with generous amounts of hospitality and an easy-going vibe, that renders Type-A's like me and even some New Yorkers into a blissful, Austinesque stupor.

I''m glad I drove here and included this tour in my plans...May is often a rainless month in Abq, June is worse since it gets hot there and stays dry. Abq doesn't see green like this there until the monsoon season in late summer, and that still requires some irrigation. Here, not usually.

Also, check out the different takes my tour compadres (comadres?) had on this garden - CatPam, and Shirley.


  1. David, if I may be so vulgar, I'd say there's nothing wrong with the planting, which is subtle and appropriate, but there's something wrong with the house, which sits out like a sore thumb, all white and heavy.

    1. Thanks for visiting, and I'm especially interested in your takes on architecture being better integrated into it's overall context. Perhaps that's where New Mexico and earth-toned stucco has something to say?

  2. Love the details you captured and I had been thinking the same thing about the Silver Ponyfoot, mainly just because I would kill for nice big metal edges like that and what to show them off.

    1. You and my friend here do cause me to pay more attention to details than be such a generalist! Glad you enjoyed...this was the spikiest garden on the tour...almost!

  3. "See what's missing in most flower-centered cottage gardens, that's not missing here?" - evergreen elements - evergreen sumac (or mtn laurel) and texas sage. Did I get it right teach?

    I am working on this - you know how I am with trees...they are such a big commitment and I want to get them in the right place...I WANT THEM AND NEED THEM ....but I over-think and over-think...and then I have that garden with so many missing things!!!! urgh!

    Is that bermuda grass creeping over the corten steel in your lighting and paving module pic? Yikes - I hope they get that before it takes over.

    This garden is so incredible ...I love ehow they mixed so many elements. It is so pleasing to look at. Except the scary re-bar.

    1. Good catch on their evergreen plants, and I was also thinking it's the nice hardscape - wall, gate - plus the limestone ledge, where the perennials are growing out of. You can always add elements like low seat walls, etc. over time, plus you may not wish to add too much to keep it from becoming too busy.

      That's native buffalograss, though it is tough. Rebar - hmmm!

  4. David,
    As ever, your post are informative, instructive, and a delight to see and read. You should write a book on designing gardens for arid landscapes. Mother Nature is very lenient when you get twenty or thirty inches of rain in a year; but when your annual rainfall won't fill up a water glass, she is unforgiving of any mistake. Creating a dry garden is no easy task, and we would all benefit from some permanent form of your wisdom and experience captured in a book.

    1. Thanks...this series was from that very 20-30" (actually 32") avg annual rainfall belt. Your encouragement might be in line, as capturing the nuances and necessary ingredients to dryland landscapes might be in order. I've been refining a climate zone system a bit at a time to better reflect ecoregions, and a big part are the high deserts and high plains. Could be fun - thanks again!


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