Canyon-side garden of Tait Moring: Austin Open Days Tour 2017


The final garden from the Austin Open Days Tour earlier this month is landscape architect Tait Moring‘s personal garden, which perches on a canyon’s rim just off Bee Caves Road. His entry garden is an appealing mix of formality (boxwood hedging, geometric raised pond, fig ivy neatly trimmed on the wall) and rustic informality (loosely planted Mexican feathergrass, colorful pots zigzagging on the steps, a country-style gravel driveway).


Color blocking with fig ivy and white limestone coping


Tait said a branch fell into the pond, and he decided to leave it for the goldfish to enjoy.


Waterfall detail, with ceramic turtle


A chunky pillar and low wall display oversized pots, one with grasses and salvia, the others with hesperaloe.


Across the driveway, a cactus dish sits on a limestone boulder amid grasses and goldeneye daisy.


A decomposed-granite trail leads back toward the property’s entrance. The busy highway just beyond is completely obscured by trees and bamboo along the property line. Gigantic stone spheres rest along the trail, leading you to a free-standing and inviting wooden gate.


Architectural relics lie alongside the stone spheres. These spheres once accented the planting beds in the Rollingwood Randall’s shopping center. When that shopping center redid its landscaping, Tait was lucky enough to acquire the spheres and brought them home to his own garden.


The wooden gate with unique fasteners and a hand knocker opens to a lawn circle anchored by a glossy black pot.


A wall of bamboo encircles the lawn. An opening with a stepping-stone path leads out of the garden to the highway shoulder just beyond.


The view from the bamboo doorway


Heading back through the wooden gate, I managed to photobomb Lori’s picture.


A round pot on a stone plinth echoes the sphere’s shape.


Another pot contains the sword-like foliage of a tall yucca.


Tait’s home doubles as his design studio, and his garden has storage space for plants for installations. A greenhouse, collection of white planters, and chandelier hanging from a tree give structure and interest to his plant-storage space.


An Indonesian-style turquoise post stands alongside a cedar fence post and echoes the blue of coiled hoses.


Painted post detail


A flora-themed wrought-iron gate divides the driveway between visitor parking and work equipment parking.


Fence detail


A rubble wall with gothic-arch niche and cedar gate marks the entry to Tait’s back garden.


The niche makes a fun display space for a trio of skull planters.


The detail of the wall itself is amazing, studded with geodes, turquoise glass, and fossils amid the rocks.


Let’s go through the gate to see the rest. I love the curved cedar trunk arching above the gate, and notice the skull and prickly pear tucked in the fig ivy atop the stone gatepost.


Straight ahead — a canyon view, with newly built houses cropping up on the ridge line. A cantera stone pillar topped with an agave dish and a round pond draw the eye across the lawn.


A closer view


Looking back through the gate


A planter pocket built into this side of the wall contains grama grass. Just beyond…


…a ‘Green Goblet’ agave (I think) in a blue pot


The rubble wall deserves a close inspection on this side as well.


Altar niche with hanging lantern


Fossils, green glass, and is that an amethyst geode?


It all fits together so beautifully.


Another carved cantera column supports a potted agave on this side of the lawn as well.


With a vine creeping up the column, a jungly mood is created.


On a perpendicular axis to the canyon view, the lawn stretches out beneath a large cedar (juniper) tree and leads to a swimming pool.


Hanging above Turk’s cap and inland sea oats, as if over an indoor dining table, a capiz-shell chandelier is a surprising sight as it tinkles in the breeze.


A lushly planted strip behind the pool runs alongside a stacked-limestone wall topped with a cedar fence.


The long view


Another cantera stone column stands here. It used to have a tiki-style stone head atop it, which I miss.


From shade into sun, the view back toward the house


Tait’s garden largely consists of water-conserving native plants and wildscape in the upper canyon. This swath by the pool is the only lawn Tait has, and he doesn’t baby it with excess water.


Heading into the canyon via a woodsy trail, you pass intimate seating areas, like this motel-chair grouping…


…and a contemplative stone bench.


The payoff comes along the canyon’s rim, below the house, where Tait built a beautifully crafted, semicircular bench around a stone fire pit.


Imagine sitting here and watching the sun set over the hills, and then roasting marshmallows around a cozy campfire.


Tait also nurtures — and by nurtures I mean he carefully leaves alone — a native Texas madrone. These white-trunked trees are notoriously picky about growing conditions and don’t appreciate well-intentioned “improvements” like removing cedar trees around them. Tait has wisely left his tree in its native condition.


A large Texas nolina sprawls nearby, like green spaghetti or a shaggy head of hair.


A rustic deck off the back of the house displays a collection of potted plants.


A patchwork path of stone and brick leftover from other projects leads from the deck…


…past native swaths of goldeneye daisy…


…to Tait’s vegetable garden, a potager of rectangular stone beds.


And here’s Tait, the tamer of the canyon’s edge and protector of its wildness. Thanks for sharing your garden, Tait!

This concludes my recap of the 2017 Austin Open Days Tour. For a look back at the water-saving garden on Ridgewood Road, click here.

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 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.

Creek Show 2017 lights up Waller Creek, ends tonight


I’m into public art and especially enjoy the annual Waller Creek Conservancy-sponsored Creek Show, a 9-night run of light installations along a scruffy downtown waterway that’s being redeveloped into a chain of urban parks. This is Creek Show’s 4th year, and it ends tonight (November 18), so if you’d like to see it, go between sundown and 10 pm.

This blue-light gateway near always-popular Easy Tiger Beer Garden is Fotan Fable. Words from a modern fairy tale zigzag up and down the beams, starting down along the creek, going vertical over the bridge, and then back down.


I found it intriguing but impossible to read in the crush of people last night.


I liked Submerge better, with ripple-like rings of light blinking overhead and reflecting in the creek below.


I also liked Blind Spot, a video installation with mirrored posts along the creek, but it was too crowded to get a photo. Moving on, then, into one of the Waller Creek tunnels…


…this is Ephemeral Suspension, stalactite-like dripping lights suspended from the tunnel ceiling. It was a pretty effect but mostly resembled a Christmas light display.


Night Garden was the most popular installation, based on the number of selfies being taken here. Hillocks of 80,000 fluorescent pink survey flags massed together, with audio of crickets chirping, makes for a surreal landscape. The artists call it “an inhabitable reverie.”


But my fave was No Lifeguard on Duty, a poolside-evoking set-up along the creek with depth-marking paint, pool stairs, fluorescent-painted potted plants and deck chairs, pool floats in the water, and a cursive neon sign (which I’d love to have in my home or garden) that reads “No Lifeguard on Duty.”


The irony is that Waller Creek is particularly unsuitable for swimming, being shallow, trash-strewn, rubbly, and in every other way not like Barton Springs, our city’s beloved spring-fed swimming hole near downtown.


No diving! The depth is marked as 7 inches, appearing alongside Creek Show’s mascot monster-fish.


In addition to the art installations, the people-watching is quite good, so go if you can. And stop by the Creek Show Lounge at 700 E. Sixth Street to see the eventual parks in virtual reality and perhaps join Waller Creek Conservancy to help make those parks a reality.

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.

Garden of Sprout-owner Jackson Broussard: Austin Open Days Tour 2017


For landscape architect Jackson Broussard of Sprout, you really can go home again. He was raised in this modest ranch house in east-central Austin, and after he took ownership he freshened up the house and leased it out and built himself a detached, two-story addition in the back yard. The front garden is enjoyed by his tenants, with a formal but quirky front walk and a semi-screened patio up by the house.

Jackson has an eye for cast-off materials that make interesting architectural accents or can be used in mosaic stonework in the garden. He uses old bricks and pieces of stone and metal to cloak board-formed concrete towers or pedestals, like the square blocks lining the front walk. An arbor of 4 Bradford pears is being trained on metal rebar into an arched tunnel over the path, à la Deborah Hornickel’s garden.


Mosaic stonework (with metal plates and bricks) on one of the pedestal blocks along the path. Notice the two metal toy cars embedded in this one.


Here’s the view from the gravel driveway, with the airy lavender blooms of Russian sage in the foreground. A curved boxwood hedge is one of those quirky details that disrupts the linearity of the front walk.


Within the curved hedge, a perfect mirror of water cradled by a chunk of basalt reflects the sky. It’s unusual to see basalt here in Texas, although it’s common in gardens in the Pacific Northwest. I believe Jackson told me he acquired this and other pieces in California via China.


From the driveway looking toward the front porch and patio, with exquisite details like the lavender-filled terracotta pot sitting atop a circular limestone pedestal on a steel table. Dusty mauve ghost plant faintly echoes the lavender’s purple, and a terracotta tile with star design echoes the lavender’s pot. The pastel paint on the patio’s wood-slat chairs picks up the soft colors.


Such a sweet little spot to hang out, with extra seating provided by a low concrete wall.


A steel porch post is etched with the house number. A collection of potted plants disguises the gas meter.


A woven steel gate around the side of the house offers access.


For added privacy, and presumably to reduce the view of neighboring cars, a cattle panel trellis supports an evergreen vine — star jasmine, I think — along the property line.


A gigantic block of wood makes a rustic yet modern bench.


Access to Jackson’s house in the backyard is through an open-sided carport, which he’s turned into a hangout space with a buffet table, a large mirror to reflect light, and a long seating table (not visible). Interesting scrap metal and architectural remnants adorn the buffet.


Mosaic wall detail along the driveway


As you enter the back garden, you see two board-formed concrete columns that Jackson is gradually finishing with a mosaic of stone and brick. A low wall in front displays succulents in terracotta pots.


There’s a narrow path through here to Jackson’s back door. Or maybe it’s the front door.


A low boxwood hedge leads the eye along the path…


…to a pretty cluster of potted plants. Notice how he elevates some of them on plinths, plus there’s a second, smaller basalt water vessel.


Architectural and frog details and a single bulb in a square pot


Looking back, there are more potted succulents on this side of the wall.


Potted agave with stones and turtle


Speaking of turtles, check out this spigot handle!


At right of the low wall…


…a sliding steel-and-rebar gate offers entry to the back garden, with an olive tree standing sentry.


A tall curving hedge separates the main house (and its windows) from Jackson’s personal space out back. A tiny pot of succulents is the finial on a pedestal, and an iron rooster struts atop a round steel plinth in front of the hedge.


The rear garden is laid out along a diagonal, which makes the small space feel larger as it draws your eye along the longest possible axis. A deck runs along the house to a gravel patio with a fire pit, and a newly sodded lawn offers access to a swinging bench under a shade tree.


A steel arbor marks the doorway into the back patio, where a custom BBQ grill stands ready for cookouts.


An old bell on top of the arbor can be rung by pulling on a chain. Dinnertime!


A coyote fence of cut cedar posts (native juniper, actually, but we call it cedar around here) gives privacy from neighboring yards and adds a natural rusticity.


In a swath of mondo grass, a cylinder of steel mesh makes an architectural accent alongside a Japanese maple and strappy-leaved potted plant (crinum? amaryllis?).


The elevated deck is angled not only along the long edge but at the end too, where it accesses the fire-pit patio. A skinny picnic table echoes these diagonal lines with a triangle of faded red paint on top. A board-formed concrete pond sits half on and half off the deck, cattycorner to the house.


Water pours into the pond from an old fire-hose nozzle. A small block in front gives a boost to Jackson’s young niece when she wants to visit the goldfish. Planted directly in the gravel patio is a young sycamore tree (Mexican sycamore?). A teddy-bear-like potted pine sits next to it. If you’re wondering about all of Jackson’s wonderful terracotta pots, he imports them from Italy and sells them once or twice a year in a flash sale.


Motel chairs painted a dusty seafoam green surround a fire pit made from a steel pipe remnant. A concrete BBQ grill holds firewood in its base.


Another beautiful steel gate offers access to a small field or park space behind Jackson’s house.


An old container with a handle holds water for a tiny bog pond.


A closer look at the pond, which was a magnet for everyone who visited. It makes a nice spot to sit too.


Industrial-style steel pipe fountain with fire-hose nozzle


A two-story airy screened porch contains a hammock for lounging sans mosquitoes and a small table and chairs.


No space goes unused in Jackson’s garden, including the narrow strip behind the screened porch. A persimmon laden with orange fruit leads the eye to a steel post with a birdhouse on top. Along the porch foundation, a huge chain adds another industrial touch.


Persimmons


Perfectly timed for the tour


Birdhouse post (notice the two little birds at the base), with a giant hesperaloe tucked in the corner


And around the corner, even the working space and firewood storage is beautiful. A clean-lined outdoor shower in the foreground has wood-slat siding spaced for privacy at the bottom, with wider spacing above (you can tell it’s built for a man — ha!). A steel window looks out at the garden.


I’m sure the scrolled ironwork of the gate that leads to the shower has a history.


Ferns sprout from the mosaic paving inside the shower.


A quick peek at Jackson’s potting bench and work area


And a last look at that teddy-bear pine (this is my name for it, mind you; I didn’t get the ID) and fire-pit patio. One more thought about the gravel patio, deck, and mondo grass groundcover: they allow Jackson to shrink the lawn to just the size he needs it to be, which saves water and effort. (I talk more about this concept in my book Lawn Gone!)


A couple of my touring companions, Cat and Diana, looking pretty blissed out at our first stop of the Open Days tour, sponsored by The Garden Conservancy.


Terracotta flowers holding down Jackson’s business cards and brochures — so many thoughtful details in this garden!


And here’s Jackson himself, looking cool as a cucumber and not at all like he sweated his butt off getting his garden perfect for the tour. Surely it doesn’t look this perfect all the time…does it?? No, it probably does. :)


Thanks for sharing it with us, Jackson!

Up next: The Cloverleaf Drive Garden with a green-roof shed designed by Casey Boyter.

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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