Lucinda’s Dia de los Muertos garden


My friend Lucinda Hutson celebrates Dia de los Muertos like no one else I know. Her colorful, Mexican-inspired home and garden in the Rosedale neighborhood of central Austin grows even more vibrant for Day of the Dead, and inside she stages elaborate table displays and beautiful altars around mementos and photos of her departed loved ones.


Lucinda invited me over for a visit on Saturday morning, as she was finishing up her decorating. She’s adorned her purple casita, as she calls it, with Day of the Dead grocery bags from HEB — clever!


In a ginkgo tree, colorful papel picado banners with skull imagery flutter in the breeze.


Fluttering throughout her garden, monarchs are fueling up for the last leg of their winter migration to Mexico.


They love the orange and yellow cosmos standing tall on leggy stems. To keep it from flopping, Lucinda has tied bunches of stems together and staked them upright.


A bed of yellow chrysanthemums makes a good lounging spot for four skeletons.


Purple mums fill round pots on her new brick patio, which replaced a small front lawn that was struggling.


Along the gravel driveway, potted vegetables on limestone blocks make a pretty border.


Chard and other edibles are easy to harvest here.


A long raised bed contains more vegetables. In the background, a butterfly skeleton hangs under an arbor of sky vine, with scattered blossoms arrayed by Mother Nature at her feet.


Lucinda found the dress, wings, and other costume elements in thrift shops and put it all together with the help of her longtime garden assistant Ernesto.


The wings catch the morning light.


On the old driveway in the back garden, a raised vegetable bed is edged with colorful salad plates.


Our Lady of the Bathtub is a permanent fixture in the garden.


As is the handmade gate that reads El Jardin Encantador: the enchanting garden.


Peeking in the back door…


…you see what Lucinda calls her “stairway to heaven” — a mosaic tiled back stair.


Along the purple wall of her detached garage, she stacks low tables dressed with Mexican oilcloth for a pretty succulent display space.


Her tiny front porch is all decked out too.


A Day of the Dead skeleton head greets visitors at the door.


Inside, the first thing you see is Lucinda’s Dia de los Muertos altar in her sherbet-colored living room, adorned with decades’-old (but amazingly fresh looking) sugar skulls, candles, family photos, and little mementos of things her loved ones enjoyed.


Lucinda lost her mom recently, and she pointed out old photos and items that remind her of her mother: queens on playing cards, a bottle of Dewar’s.


On her dining table, which she was setting up for a small party later on that evening, Lucinda had arranged a Day of the Dead display of skull plates and bowls, candles, wine bottles, sugar skulls, and skeletons.


Sugar skull and sugar caskets


So many fun details wherever you look!


A quick peek in Lucinda’s kitchen reveals strings of chili lights and and Dia de los Muertos cards with lights.


Another altar is set up on the dining room buffet.


More photos of her beautiful mom along with sugar skulls and lustrous silver containers and spoons.


Tiny skeleton musicians with spring necks, legs, and arms dangle from the chandelier.


Lucinda’s festive home and garden — and her own festive spirit — could brighten any dull day. My thanks to her for sharing her beautiful garden with me again!

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

I’ll be speaking at the Antique Rose Emporium Fall Festival 2016 in Brenham, Texas, on Saturday, November 5th, 1:30-2:30 pm. Come on out to the Antique Rose Emporium’s beautiful gardens for a day of speakers and fun! My talk, with plenty of eye-candy photos, is called “Hold the Hose! How to Design a Water-Saving Garden that Wows.” Meet me afterward at the book-signing table!

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Boo!


Hope your day is spooky and fun, gardening friends!

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

I’ll be speaking at the Antique Rose Emporium Fall Festival 2016 in Brenham, Texas, on Saturday, November 5th, 1:30-2:30 pm. Come on out to the Antique Rose Emporium’s beautiful gardens for a day of speakers and fun! My talk, with plenty of eye-candy photos, is called “Hold the Hose! How to Design a Water-Saving Garden that Wows.” Meet me afterward at the book-signing table!

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

posted in Holidays

Dia de los Muertos parade brightens Austin once again


Every autumn I look forward to the season of the dead. I enjoy both Halloween for its macabre playfulness and the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, which superficially resembles Halloween in its skeleton imagery but is actually a non-scary, celebratory event. Dia de los Muertos, as it’s known in Spanish, falls on November 1 and 2, and it’s a time of joyful remembrance of departed loved ones.


Over the past decade or so, Dia de los Muertos has grown more and more popular north of the border, and Austin has readily adopted it. I’d never heard of the holiday before I moved here in 1994. But now the annual Viva la Vida parade, hosted by the Mexic-Arte Museum, is one of my favorite local events.


I love seeing the elaborate costumes of those in the parade, and spectators often paint their faces as skeletons and dress up too. Usually I watch the parade near the end of the downtown route, but this year I decided to catch it at the start, in East Austin.


It’s much easier to find a spot to watch at the parade’s start, but I missed seeing the crowd of festive spectators who congregate at the end. Still, I had a great time seeing the new additions, like these butterfly bikes. I don’t remember these from last year, but they’re marvelous.


This pre-Columbian dragon may be new too.


At noon the parade got moving, with marchers costumed as pre-Columbian peoples leading the way.


This papier-mâché horse and rider is a regular at the parade.


I especially enjoy the Aztec dancers’ costumes and dance moves.


They wear extravagantly feathered headdresses.


The men paint not only their faces but their bodies too, with colorful designs.


Check out this jaguar headdress!


Here come the butterfly bikes…


…and little princesses in the backs of pickups.


A shy smile


A giant puppet of Pancho Villa bobbed down the street…


…followed by Frida Kahlo and heroes of the Mexican Revolution.


Masked and straw-hatted marchers wearing serapes and carrying walking sticks passed next…


…followed by a big-headed skeleton with a posse of festively dressed skeleton women and men.


Folk costumes include full skirts, ruffled blouses, and flowery patterns and adornments.


This woman balances a liquor bottle (empty) on her head.


Skulls held aloft on poles


A giant Austin bat — the Aztec bat god Camazotz! — is the creation of artist Dennis McNett.


…accompanied by a larger-than-life skeleton


This car-sized skull, an old favorite, appears each year.


Another tall puppet


A flower-bedecked woman holding a bouquet of marigolds


And a solemn Catrina — an elegant, upper-class woman who symbolizes death, but who also is a reminder that even the wealthy cannot escape death.


This joyous turbaned woman is part of the Austin Samba group of dancers, and she sashayed down the street with a big smile…


…followed by white-costumed samba dancers…


…dancing nonstop to a rat-a-tatting samba beat.


Blogger Lee of The Grackle, in the blue sombrero, leads the drummers.


They were followed by colorfully painted lowriders.


The jacked-up cars bounced up and down as they cruised by.


Happy Dia de los Muertos! If you’d like to see additional posts I’ve written about Austin’s Day of the Dead parade, click these links:
Flower-adorned skeletons at Dia de los Muertos parade, 2015
Skeletons on parade: Day of the Dead 2010
Dia de los Muertos in Austin, 2008

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

I’ll be speaking at the Antique Rose Emporium Fall Festival 2016 in Brenham, Texas, on Saturday, November 5th, 1:30-2:30 pm. Come on out to the Antique Rose Emporium’s beautiful gardens for a day of speakers and fun! My talk, with plenty of eye-candy photos, is called “Hold the Hose! How to Design a Water-Saving Garden that Wows.” Meet me afterward at the book-signing table!

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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