Classical beauty with a modern edge in Sprout’s Rollingwood Garden

I’ve been fortunate this spring to visit a number of new-to-me gardens. One of my favorites is this one, the creation of talented landscape architect Jackson Broussard of Sprout. Located in the Rollingwood neighborhood, the garden is a refresh of an existing garden that, according to Jackson, had plenty of cottage color but not much structure or interest once the flowers faded.

To provide structure and year-round appeal, Jackson carved out space for a dining patio in the heart of the garden. Low limestone walls define the space and offer extra seating as well as a place to display potted plants (see top picture). In the center, a farmhouse table and chairs invite relaxation and al fresco dining. The space is roofed with an arbor of four Bradford pears espaliered to a metal frame — reminiscent of Deborah Hornickel’s Bradford pear arbor. Jackson explained that the ornamental pear’s flexible limbs and fast growth make it well suited to espalier.

The double line of trees, walls, and long table lead the eye straight to an overscaled terracotta urn elevated on a circular plinth and framed by a striking cluster of powder-blue Yucca rostrata. It’s a stunning composition.

The structure and openness of the dining patio — amid a lushly planted garden — draws the eye wherever you stand. Here’s the view from the back gate, looking across a tapestry-style shade garden.

And a little closer, with roses in the foreground

Those yuccas, though! They’re like blue fireworks exploding above blooming aloes and poppies. The brick wall at the end of the path separates the garden from the pool patio behind the house. The seclusion creates a secret-garden mood.

Entering the garden from the gate by the house, the urn is the focal point.

Throughout the flowering perennials and annuals, evergreens like blue nolina (Nolina nelsonii) add structure and beauty that doesn’t fade away in winter.

More blue nolinas mingling with poppies, roses, and iris. Italian cypresses add vertical punctuation.

Poppies along the path

And looking the other direction

A metal raven holds a colored stone in its beak atop a round pedestal, with blue nolina leaves in the foreground.

Flowering roses add romance and spring color.

Curving along the back of the garden, the path is edged with pink phlox and false foxglove penstemon (I think) Chinese foxglove (Rehmannia elata). A clipped boxwood in a terracotta pot makes a classical accent.

A close-up of the false foxglove penstemon Chinese foxglove

The main path bisects the garden, with the shade tapestry and pear-arbor patio on the left and the sunny flower garden on the right.

The shade garden is spectacular, with a lushness usually reserved for more-temperate climates. Red amaryllis blazes in the foreground.

Shades of green, with a pop of red, and a killer focal point

Dwarf Japanese maple, persicaria, and leopard plant make up the tapestry of foliage in the shade garden, with amaryllis sprinkled throughout, some in bud and some in flower.

The back gate offers a sneak peek of the garden inside.

My thanks to the owners and to Jackson Broussard of Sprout for allowing me to visit and share this beautiful garden with you!

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

Twilight garden for Foliage Follow-Up

Last evening the garden was bathed in the soft glow of a spring twilight. After a day of planting, mulching, and general tidying, I was glad for a quiet moment to just stop and enjoy the garden. The new “monolith” wall has made a handy spot to display a ‘Color Guard’ yucca, I’ve found. I love those stripey, sunshine-yellow leaves.

In front of the wall, and behind the others, I’ve planted ‘Blonde Ambition’ grama grass in sun and Texas sedge in shade, accented with a couple of Indian mallows (Abutilon palmeri) that are tiny right now but will, I hope, put on a great summer show.

Looking the other way it was On Golden Pond, thanks to the low light. ‘Winter Gem’ boxwoods pair off at the path thresholds around the pond, with Texas sedge and lamb’s ear filling in beneath.

On the right, the blue-green leaves of heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata) crowd the path. Soon lavender bloom spikes will appear. Behind the skullcap, a trio of squid agaves in culvert-pipe planters arc around the curve.

For new readers, the shed is really a disguise for the pool pump. Those turquoise double doors? Faux. The real door is on the side. My husband built this beautiful structure to my design and did a terrific job.

I finally planted up this pretty, blue-glass hanging planter, a birthday gift from my friend Diana of Sharing Nature’s Garden. What did I choose? Blue-leaved succulents, of course. You might also notice a bunch of blue bottles in the background. I’ve been livening up the shady, dim lower garden with a liberal sprinkling of shiny, light-catching garden art. That’s a double row of bottles on rebar stakes — an honor guard for the stepping-stone path that runs between them.

Why? Because it’s fun.

Stepping back, here’s a wider view of the Mexican buckeye that the planter hangs from. I’ve had that enormous potted Texas nolina for years and brought it with me from my former garden, but now it’s in a new spot, on a ledge of rock between the pool patio and the lower garden. I moved it when I had an outdoor fan post installed by the patio, and now I wonder why I never thought to move it here earlier. I love it in this spot! It has room to spread out its weeping leaves and makes a lovely focal point for the lower garden. To its right is a row of dwarf Barbados cherries.

Now we’re in the lower garden, looking toward the new Yucca rostrata, framed by the wine-colored leaves of ‘Sizzling Pink’ loropetalum. One of these days I will get the weeds under control back here.

A front view, without the backlighting, but I’m still loving the rich coloring. In the purple pot are paleleaf yucca and ghost plant, and in the culvert pipe are squid agave and more ghost plant. The small green shrub with cream variegation is ‘Cream de Mint’ pittosporum, which stays tidy and small.

Another angle on the pond garden, with mass plantings of ‘Color Guard’ yucca, bamboo muhly, fall aster, and more — a tapestry of greens.

So what leafy love is going on in your April garden? Please join me for Foliage Follow-Up, giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I really appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it. I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

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

Drive-By Gardens: Formal, whimsical, and wildflower gardens in central Austin

Central Austin’s front-yard gardens, free of any homeowners’ association rules, vary wildly depending on the owners’ tastes, energy level, and budget. Here are three that caught my eye over the past week, starting with Deborah Hornickel’s subversive formal garden in the Bryker Woods neighborhood. Why subversive? It starts out all classical, very orderly with formal lines, matching pots on plinths, and clipped boxwood. (And how about that stunning, tree-pruned loropetalum at left?)

And then it breaks free of tradition on either side of the topiary-edged front walk with overscaled, dramatic plants mixed with sprinklings of seedy wildflowers. It’s a surprising dynamic.

Anyone know this pretty-in-pink flower next to the potted dyckia?

If you’d like to see more, I’ve posted about Deborah’s garden twice before, when it was on the Open Days tour in fall 2010 and Open Days fall 2006. Her back garden is formal-meets-contemporary.

In the tony Tarrytown neighborhood, I spotted this modern home with a surprisingly whimsical garden. Check out that undulating wooden fence. Somehow it reminds me of Hobbiton. There’s also a concrete spiral near the driveway. I’m not sure what the purpose is — maybe just for fun? And wow, look at that acacia in golden bloom.

Near the driveway, in a circular, mortared-stone planter that looks a bit homemade — not at all modern — sits a gorgeous variegated American agave. How I wish I had room for one of these.

My variegated agave lust was also tempted here, at a traditional Enfield home with a surprisingly wild gravel garden of California poppy, agave, bulbine, Mexican feathergrass, and blackfoot daisy.

Ka-pow! No way could I drive by that without stopping. What a beautiful, low-water garden for a hot, sun-blasted corner.

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