Garden Spark talk with Tom Spencer on Feb. 8 is sold out

People in the Austin area are hungry for garden design talks! I’m glad, because I’ve been hungry for such talks too. In fact, that’s why I launched Garden Spark last year.

Last week I blogged here about the 2018 series and an upcoming Garden Spark talk with speaker Tom Spencer. That talk promptly sold out in under 5 hours. Since then I’ve had a few people email me to ask how they can get a spot at other talks this year. Here’s how: join the Garden Spark email list. I announce ticket sales to those on my email list first (i.e., privately), and if any tickets remain after a few days, I announce it here on my blog. For the last two talks, no tickets have remained for a public announcement.

When I started Garden Spark in early 2017, I was sure there was an unmet need in Austin for engaging and thought-provoking talks about garden design. The response has been greater than I hoped. My thanks to all who have attended a talk so far. Your participation is helping to broaden the conversation about garden design in our community!

***THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. If you’d like to hear about future Garden Spark talks and want access to early ticket sales, please join the mailing list. Simply send me an email and let me know you’d like to be added.***

February 8: Tom Spencer presents “The Tao of Texas Gardening: Finding Balance in a Changing Climate”

Description: Gardening in Texas is tough enough, but throw climate change into the picture and things are likely to get downright ugly — unless we adapt. In this talk Tom Spencer, host of KLRU’s Central Texas Gardener, suggests a strategy for creating a beautiful garden that is sustainable (in multiple senses of the word) and welcoming. Inspired by ideas from ancient Eastern philosophy, Tom advocates for appropriate balance in our soils, plant palettes, and designs. This talk will help you find a new “Way” of gardening.

Bio: Best known as host of KLRU’s Emmy-winning garden program Central Texas Gardener, Tom Spencer also hosts a long-running gardening program for KLBJ-AM called The Wildflower Hour. A garden blogging pioneer, from 1999 to 2009 Tom inspired readers with his beautiful photographs and thoughtful musings on his award-winning blog Soul of the Garden, which chronicled the creation of his garden and explored the intersections of spirituality, culture, and gardening.

With a long public service career spanning 36 years, Tom is currently serving as director for the Texas Living Waters Project for the National Wildlife Federation, which works to protect freshwater resources in Texas.

***THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. If you’d like to hear about future Garden Spark talks and want access to early ticket sales, please join the mailing list. Simply send me an email and let me know you’d like to be added.***

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

Calling all garden bloggers! You’re invited to register for the annual Garden Bloggers Fling tour and meetup, which will be held in Austin this May 3rd-6th! Click this link for information about registering, and you can see our itinerary here. Space is limited, so don’t delay. The 2018 Fling will be the event’s 10th anniversary, which started in Austin in 2008.

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks! Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by inspiring designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2018 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Announcing 2018 Garden Spark speaker lineup

I’m delighted to announce an exciting speaker lineup for this year’s Garden Spark, a series of garden talks by top-notch design speakers hosted at my home.

February 8: Tom Spencer presents “The Tao of Texas Gardening: Finding Balance in a Changing Climate”

Description: Gardening in Texas is tough enough, but throw climate change into the picture and things are likely to get downright ugly — unless we adapt. In this talk Tom Spencer, host of KLRU’s Central Texas Gardener, suggests a strategy for creating a beautiful garden that is sustainable (in multiple senses of the word) and welcoming. Inspired by ideas from ancient Eastern philosophy, Tom advocates for appropriate balance in our soils, plant palettes, and designs. This talk will help you find a new “Way” of gardening.

Bio: Tom Spencer is best known as the host of KLRU’s Emmy-winning garden program Central Texas Gardener. He also hosts a long-running gardening program for KLBJ-AM called The Wildflower Hour. For ten years until 2009, Tom published his award-winning blog Soul of the Garden, which chronicled the creation of a new garden and explored the intersections of spirituality, culture, and gardening. He is currently serving as director of the Texas Living Waters Project for the National Wildlife Federation, which works to protect Texas’ freshwater resources.

March 22: Lauren Springer Ogden presents “Inspired by the Wild: Designing Naturalistic Plantings for Beauty, Adaptability, and Creatures”

Description: In an ever more crowded and unnatural world, we gardeners find refuge and comfort among the plants we grow, the beauty we create, and the wildlife our gardens shelter and support. Most of us are also drawn to natural places, inspired by their endlessly fascinating plants, land forms, and wildlife. For 3 decades, designer, plantswoman, and author Lauren Springer Ogden has created and tended nature-inspired gardens in the harsh and stunning Mountain West and Texas, attempting to capture in microcosm the transcendent serenity she finds in that vast and varied region. In this talk, she shares the process of designing, making, and tending gardens inspired by natural plant communities such as desert/steppe, chaparral/brush, woodland/savannah, and prairie/meadow.

Bio: Lauren Springer Ogden has designed public gardens at Denver Botanic Gardens, Rollingwood City Hall, and the Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she is on staff. She’s written 5 books, including Plant-Driven Design (co-authored with her husband, Scott Ogden) and The Undaunted Garden. A pioneer in waterwise gardening, she also seeks to create beauty that serves wildlife. She believes that neither a gorgeous garden full of exotic plants but without wildlife value, nor a haphazard mishmash of native wildlife plants, are going to satisfy people or creatures, and all should be happy.

October 18: Susan Morrison presents “The Less Is More Garden: Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard”

Description: Attention, space-challenged gardeners! This talk is for you. Whether you currently garden in a small yard or plan to downsize someday, designer and author Susan Morrison’s talk will help you maximize your garden’s potential. Drawing from her latest book, The Less Is More Garden, she’ll share strategies for creating spaciousness, help you determine the best ways to invest your budget, and suggest high-performing, problem-solving plants. You’ll learn how less space and effort can result in more beauty and enjoyment.

Bio: Author of the forthcoming The Less is More Garden: Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard, California landscape designer Susan Morrison is a nationally recognized authority on small-sized outdoor spaces. Her designs have been featured in various publications including Fine Gardening magazine, where she also contributes articles on design and plant selection.

How to Attend

Garden Spark talks are held in Austin and are for anyone with an interest in gardening, garden design, and learning from design experts. Join the Garden Spark email list to get advance notice when talks go on sale; just ask to be added. I’ll never share or sell your email address.

I hope you’ll make plans now to attend one or more talks this year. Remember, each talk is open to only 30 attendees, so act fast when ticket announcements are made via email. Tickets for Tom Spencer’s talk on February 8 will go on sale this week.

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

Calling all garden bloggers! You’re invited to register for the annual Garden Bloggers Fling tour and meetup, which will be held in Austin this May 3rd-6th! Click this link for information about registering, and you can see our itinerary here. Space is limited, so don’t delay. The 2018 Fling will be the event’s 10th anniversary, which started in Austin in 2008.

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks! Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by inspiring designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2018 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Hill Country style in Sitio-designed garden of architect Duke Garwood


A month ago I visited a Rollingwood garden designed by landscape architect Curt Arnette of Sitio Design. It’s owned by the architect of the contemporary Hill Country-style home, Duke Garwood, whom I also had the pleasure of meeting.

Let’s start in back, where a limestone patio bordered with shaggy zoysia turf flows out to a resort-worthy swimming pool. A palm- and Yucca rostrata-studded garden steps up around the pool and creates an enticing view from inside.


In the foreground, a circular stone fire pit filled with fire-safe blue glass stands ready to warm chilly evenings. I love the meadowy (unmown), ‘Emerald’ zoysia grass edging the patio.


Fan-like giant hesperaloe grows along the foundation, underplanted with cascading silver ponyfoot.


The pool’s edge is beautifully constructed of cut limestone, while limestone boulders hold the slope behind the pool and form the naturalistic waterfall, as well as a diving rock at right.


Gorgeous stonework


Beyond the pool, massive boulders terrace the slope and create planting beds for palms, yuccas, firebush, golden thryallis, and coral bean, which combine to create a tropicalesque look.


Yucca rostrata in the foreground, with pomegranate and coral bean


Natural stone supports the curved and notched waterfall wall, and extends underwater like limestone at natural springs all around Austin.


One last wide shot


Now let’s tour the front garden. Water figures prominently here too, leading visitors along the front walk via a rill that traverses a series of limestone walls. To the right of the limestone walk, whale’s tongue agaves and tufts of Berkeley sedge fill in gaps among flat-topped boulders.


The walls also create a safety rail of sorts, blocking a steep drop-off behind them, and the tops function as planters.


Red yucca and silver ponyfoot thrive up top.


Pipes jut from the golden limestone upper walls and spill water into the pale limestone troughs below. The water flows along the rill…


…and into a galvanized-steel sluice, which pours into a cylindrical pond that evokes an old stone cistern. Bristly heads of Yucca rostrata peek up from the slope behind the rill and pond.


I believe that’s bigfoot water clover (Marsilea macropoda) encircling one side of the pond.


Along the front walk, ‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass…


…and orange narrowleaf zinnia thrive in hot, sunny conditions.


The cut-limestone paving of the front walk is fitted around natural boulders.


Just past the circular pool, a stair leads down to a landing, and from there down to the garage. Another stair off that landing leads up to Duke’s home office (at left).


The limestone stair with natural boulders holding a planting bed of palmetto and Berkeley sedge. Contained by the paving (and maybe a sunken barrier too?), horsetail reed grows vertically against the house at the top of the steps.


Texas palmetto and firebush


Steel sluice fountain, as seen from the steps


The garage and driveway sit at the bottom of the slope, with a row of bamboo muhly at left. To orient yourself, the limestone wall-fountain runs along the front walk behind the yuccas at top-right.


It’s woodsy and more natural looking here. Morning glory twines charmingly up a native juniper. Nandina grows below. (Although beautiful and tough, nandina is an invasive plant in our greenbelts and toxic to birds, and so it’s one of the few plants I recommend eradicating.)


I believe Curt told me that Duke designed this cool contemporary steel fence and gate. That’ll never rot!


It’s always a pleasure to see a beautiful house and garden so well integrated. My thanks to Duke for giving me a tour of his home too!

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

Calling all garden bloggers! You’re invited to register for the annual Garden Bloggers Fling tour and meetup, which will be held in Austin next May 3-6, 2018! Click this link for information about registering, and you can see our itinerary here. Space is limited, so don’t delay. The 2018 Fling will be the event’s 10th anniversary, which started in Austin in 2008.

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks! Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by inspiring designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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