The Gardener of Good and Evil makes my garden look good


Water visually cools Pam’s back garden. Photo by Lori Daul.

Although she claims both a halo and a pitchfork in her blog name, Lori Daul of The Gardener of Good and Evil is purely a force for good — or at least that’s what I believe after seeing how beautifully she photographed my garden.


The repetition of plants and paving draw the eye to Pam’s stock tank pond. Photo by Lori Daul.

Lori came over one recent morning to take promotional shots for the Inside Austin Gardens tour on October 17. She’s on the tour’s organizing committee, and, as I mentioned earlier this week, my garden will be one of the stops on the tour. See “Oh, Deer!” on the Inside Austin Gardens website.


A stone fish stays cool in the stock tank pond. Photo by Lori Daul.

Lori kindly gave me permission to repost her images, and I’m including her captions too. She captured the garden from quite a few new perspectives I haven’t exploited myself. Regular readers will notice there’s not one photo of Moby or a long shot of the garden shed or the steel-pipe planter out front — in other words, none of my own standby shots. Her photos help me to see my garden afresh!


Pam’s DIY stock tank pond anchors the back garden. Photo by Lori Daul.

I’ll let Lori’s images and captions speak for themselves, like a tour guide, with some follow-up comments from me. Like this: if you’re interested in making your own stock-tank pond, I’ve written a 3-part series to show you how it’s done.


A gazing ball gives a wider perspective of the back garden. Photo by Lori Daul.

This is an homage to East Side Patch garden, where I first saw a gazing ball cradled quirkily by a cedar stump.


An insect hotel adds a pop of bright color and a creative habitat to the front garden. Photo by Lori Daul.

The tuteur and “bee bungalow” are from TerraTrellis.


Some rustic texture in the front garden. Photo by Lori Daul.

The little metal wrens are from The Natural Gardener. I just screwed them onto my cedar bench. Other bird species are available too.


‘Margaritaville’ yuccas punctuate a sedge front lawn. Photo by Lori Daul.

The sedge is Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa). Here’s a post about planting the sedge lawn.


Color echoes in the front garden. Photo by Lori Daul.

That’s a ‘Green Goblet’ agave underplanted with woolly stemodia (Stemodia lanata).


Garlic chives begin to unfold in front of a ‘Vertigo’ fountain grass. Photo by Lori Daul.


Spiky and soft contrast in this pairing of bamboo muhly, dyckia, and pink skullcap. Photo by Lori Daul.

It’s actually white skullcap (the foliage is identical, and blooms were sparse). The dyckia are ‘Burgundy Ice’, a cold-tolerant cultivar.


An “octotillo” bottle tree contrasts with the bright orange of Mexican honeysuckle and orange pots. Photo by Lori Daul.

Here’s a post about the ocotillo bottle tree, which Bob Pool made for me.


Blues upon blues. Photo by Lori Daul.


A low-water grouping on the back porch. Photo by Lori Daul.


Fish swim through a potted Sticks-On-Fire cactus. Photo by Lori Daul.

I totally copied this from Debra Lee Baldwin, who posted a photo of her own wine-charm fish on Gardening Gone Wild.


Succulents spill from a DIY cinderblock planter wall. Photo by Lori Daul.

Want to make your own cinderblock wall planter?


A colorful pot echoes the shape of its cactus. Photo by Lori Daul.


A cheerful gnome keeps an eye on the back garden. Photo by Lori Daul.


Blue bottles contrast with the bold yellow ‘Color Guard’ yucca. Photo by Lori Daul.


A tiny potted surprise. Photo by Lori Daul.


Color and form echoes in the back garden. Photo by Lori Daul.


A fun surprise in a pot of feathergrass, chili pequin, and manfreda. Photo by Lori Daul.


Mexican honeysuckle contrasts with the deep purple of a ‘Vertigo’ fountain grass. Photo by Lori Daul.

The hanging Circle Pot is from Potted, one of my favorite out-of-town garden shops.


A feathery arm of Mexican weeping bamboo softens a planting of Mexican honeysuckle. Photo by Lori Daul.


An intriguing low-water combo of sedge and Purple Heart. Photo by Lori Daul.

This was not on purpose. I tried to eradicate the aggressive purple heart before planting the Texas sedge, but we all know how that goes. For now I’m trying to keep a happy balance, which means yanking out handfuls of the purple heart whenever I get a chance.


Twist-leaf yucca and ghost plant make a great low-water grouping in a shady corner of the garden. Photo by Lori Daul.


Native nolina pairs with native Barbados cherry in a semievergreen combo. Photo by Lori Daul.

This Texas nolina has lived in this pot for 12 years (click and scroll down to 5th photo for an early picture). I brought it with me from my former garden, and it’s slowly grown to beautiful proportions, its spaghetti-like leaves cascading to the ground. The Barbados cherry is the dwarf variety, Malpighia glabra ‘Nana’.


Yucca rostrata shimmers against a deep blue backdrop. Photo by Lori Daul.

My thanks to Lori for making my garden look so good, even in the dead of summer, and for allowing me to share her photos! Visit the tour website to check out the other gardens that will be on the tour. There’s a lot to see!

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Stained-glass leaves and Crazy Eyes snake


Even a dark-green, fibrous leaf, like that of cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior), glows like a stained-glass window when backlit by the setting sun. In the lowest, shadiest part of my garden, it fringes a native Mexican buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa), which is also aglow.


A tunnel of incandescent leaves. I caught the scene just before sunset and enjoyed the brief show.


The sun was already too low to shine through the new Yucca rostrata‘s leaves. The pale, crooked trunks behind it belong to a pair of Texas persimmons (Diospyros texana), which are loaded with fuzzy, green fruits right now.

Everyone who visits my garden asks about the limestone slabs back here. Yes, they are natural, and yes, they are cool. This part of the garden is basically floored with natural limestone.


Cosmo is standing on one of the large slabs of rock — it looks like a paved path, right? That’s a very slow-growing blue nolina (Nolina nelsonii) and a Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) in bloom just ahead of him.


Moby, my whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia), poses with blue bottles from the bottle tree.


That’s all for now. It’s the weekend, so enjoy!

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

The garden knows summer is slipping away


As yet another long, hot Austin summer drags on, with no real relief expected until early October, I start combing the garden for signs of a change in season. Late yesterday afternoon I found quite a few — hallelujah!


The dangling seedheads of inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) are changing from apple green to toasty brown.


Clusters of berries on American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) are ripening to a rich purple.


Papery chartreuse “butterflies” — the seedheads of butterfly vine (Mascagnia macroptera) — perch among the vine’s twining stems.


Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) has revved back up with a hot-orange rebloom that pops nicely against the nearly black ‘Vertigo’ pennisetum I’m trialing from Proven Winners.


Winter-white garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are beginning to flower…


…with more still in bud.


And more! The starry white blossoms will really shine against the purple-black of another ‘Vertigo’ grass.


The summer-sad autumn sage (Salvia greggii), which never really bloomed this spring (too much rain?), grew woody and thin this summer. About three weeks ago I’d had enough and whacked them back really hard. I trusted they would return, neatly compact and ready for fall flowering.


Finally I see they’re putting on new leaves. Thank goodness! I was tired of having to avert my eyes from this part of the garden.


Of course summer still holds sway for now, which in my garden means mostly grassy and spiky greens. The Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa) lawn (also visible in the background of the photo above) has filled in beautifully this year. I love the vertical element of the TerraTrellis blue tuteur in it, and I’m keeping an eye out for any mason bees making a home in the bug hotel on top.


Another view, with Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) in front.


The wide-leaf giant hesperaloe (Hesperaloe funifera ssp. chiangii) has also grown a lot this year, and a lone survivor white Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii ‘Alba’) is flowering beside it.


Bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) is always so pretty backlit by the setting sun. The visual weight and dark coloring of a trio of ‘Burgundy Ice’ dyckia in the steel-ring planter contrasts nicely.


While summer remains, this Death Star-averse gardener takes shelter where she can, either indoors…


…or submerged to the neck. That’s quite nice, I’ll admit, but…come on, fall!

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.