Go see the flower garden on Peddie Street, my sister urged when I told her I’d be in Houston for a garden tour. It was the same advice I’d recently gotten from a Digging reader, who told me the garden on Peddie was not to be missed, should I return to Houston this spring.
And how could one miss it? Arriving in the Bayou City last Friday afternoon, my friend Diana and I cruised down Peddie in the historic Houston Heights neighborhood, looking for a colorful garden, assured that we’d know it when we saw it. When a blazing red cottage with moss-green and sky-blue trim appeared, surrounded by a kaleidoscopically colorful garden, we knew we’d found it.
Flowers spill into the street, with edibles like lettuces, chard, and herbs mixed in among flowering annuals. This is a garden that refuses to be contained or constrained.
Luminous, red-veined chard consorts with red-hot dianthus along the curb, electrifying the street-side view.
The tiny garden at 605 Peddie Street is completely “flowered up,” with no concession to negative space that a small lawn or front patio might provide. It reminded me of the colorful cottage gardens I saw on the Buffalo Fling in 2010 and also Lucinda Hutson’s garden in Austin.
The city sidewalk is set well back from the street and runs right through the middle of the garden, so Diana and I felt comfortable exploring and photographing from the public walk. As we were snapping away, the owner, wearing skinny pants as red as his house, strode out the open front door to move a hose. He was unfazed by the sight of us and our cameras, clearly inured to spontaneous garden visits from strangers.
As we exclaimed over his delphiniums (they liked the cold winter this year, he said), he kindly stopped to chat with us a few minutes and introduced himself as horticulturist and landscape consultant Terry Gordon Smith.
According to his website, he bought the 1912 cottage in 2004 and began ripping out the traditional lawn in order to “plant as many flowering plants as possible from my long list, without any regard for a structured garden design.”
It was, he says, a “singularly selfish” activity for his own pleasure, but it soon captured the attention of passersby, who began leaving him notes, visiting the garden on their lunch breaks, and bringing their friends and family to see it.
The power of flowers!
These bees are made happy by them too.
Dill in flower
Ornamental cabbage, oxalis, and dianthus
What a happy, charming garden and a delight to visit, especially since we were able to meet the gardener who created it. Our Houston garden-touring weekend was off to a fun start.
Coming soon: With a neighborly nod to flower power, the garden right across the street from this one was also awash in color, with native wildflowers thrown into the mix and clipped boxwoods added for year-round structure. Click for my Drive-By post about the second Peddie Street garden!
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