Drive-By Gardens: South Congress Avenue in Austin


This drive-by is really a walk-by. I was on South Congress Avenue on Sunday afternoon, the center of the funky-hip Austin universe, enjoying a blue-sky, 80-degree day with my family. Fall, winter, and spring days like this are what sustain me through Austin’s broiling summers.


When my face was not tipped up to the mellow sunshine, I was simply trying to take in all the action on the street, which included picture-perfect views of the state capitol, a string band playing on the street corner, throngs of people strolling along the street, unique shops with doors flung open…


…and even a couple guys riding horses down the busy street. Where in the world did they ride in from? They tied up their horses at Doc’s and went in for a drink and later rode back up the street.


Lots of businesses along the street have containers full of agaves and other architectural plants, but some have enough space for actual gardens, like this eye-catching combo outside TOMS, a shoe store/coffee shop. A silver agave holds court with full-skirted Berkeley sedge cascading down the slope around it. Turk’s cap and a silver-white cenizo add height along the top of the slope. I don’t recognize the plant on the right, but is that basil at the bottom?


Across the street, at the minimalist-Zen Hotel San Jose, a hip boutique hotel…


…the surrounding gardens wow, especially as they are tucked into slivers of planting space along the sidewalk and parking area. Here giant hesperaloe’s sword-like leaves create drama above a waterfall of silver ponyfoot.


Streetside, mottled crepe myrtle trunks rise from grassy beds of Aztec grass and rain lily in bloom after Saturday’s downpour. I saw so much more on S. Congress and wish I’d taken more pictures…


…but I want to jump to nearby South Lamar for a moment and show you a new outdoor garden area at Mockingbird Domestics. Mockingbird has always carried a few pots and succulents, but now they’ve dedicated an outdoor patio to the garden, with furniture, mod steel chimineas, steel planters (tempting!), concrete pots…


…and a metal jackalope, which I fell in love with a little bit. This garden patio could be really awesome if they spruce it up and do the same enticing merchandising that they do inside. Maybe they’ll take some inspiration from my favorite L.A. garden shop, Potted, but with a Texas twist.


Back to South Congress, and this eye-catching mural on the side of TOMS’s shop. I want to give thanks to you, dear reader, for being here — for reading and commenting and making up this virtual gardening club that I’m so happy to be a part of. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Summer never ends thanks to flower and hummingbird sculpture


At a recent garden blogger get-together, metal craftsman Bob Pool of Gardening at Draco (who made my ocotillo bottle tree) brought this lovely flower-and-hummingbird piece he’d made as a random giveaway for our group. And I won it!

Thanks, Bob, for the generous gift! It looks right at home in my garden and will beckon the hummers in when they return from Mexico.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Coyotes, succulents, and squids


Can you ever have too much color, too much art, or too many succulents, even painted ones? No way! This corner of my living room perks me up every time I see it: a Cathy Carey painting called Coyote Wonderland, a couple of fun candle holders, and a tabletop squid planter from Digs Inside & Out.

Yep, that’s a plastic echeveria in the squid. No shame; my house is dark. Lamps, faux succulents, and bold color are my friends.

How about you? Does your taste in art tend toward botanicals and landscapes too?

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.