Gardens on Tour 2013: Placid Place Garden


The homeowner-designed Placid Place Garden, located in north-central Austin’s Highland Village neighborhood, was the third we visited on the Wildflower Center-sponsored Gardens on Tour last Saturday. While the overall design was too unstructured for my taste, I did admire several features, including this double-arbor entry gate into the back yard. The scale is perfect and lifts your eyes up to the wavy tree branch above it. I also admired the Dutch-door effect of the gate itself: the lower half is solid, while the top half is an airy wire screen. The overall effect, with a narrow flagstone path meandering through the shade garden toward the gate, is quite enticing.


In a narrow, sunny space alongside the driveway, the owner creatively expanded her growing space for edibles by planting them on a tiered structure — a smart use of space.


Out front, the view from the street suggests a woodland-edge, naturalistic garden. While this type of garden — dense with leafy foliage unbroken by open space or architectural plants — is hard to photograph (for me, anyway), it has value in attracting wildlife and adding seasonal interest to what was once likely a swath of boring St. Augustine. My eye was drawn to the tufts of sedge in the foreground — Texas native Webberville sedge (Carex perdentata).

Next up: My favorite garden on the tour, a homeowner-designed oasis at Highland Terrace West. For a look back at the contemporary Westridge Drive Garden, click here.

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

7 Responses

  1. Gail says:

    Pam, I thought it was just me~My woodland garden is nearly impossible to photograph! I’ve been adding more architectural plants but, it is still a lot of green once the spring wildflowers fade.

    Gail, I find that using the lines of paths, benches, garden art, strong lines of tree branches, and any other “structure” helps when shooting gardens like these. You do a great job of that already! —Pam

  2. Shirley says:

    Even in a garden with less structure, or one that doesn’t necessarily suit our eye, there are elements to take away like the fence and gate, the compact veggie garden, and the sedge which I don’t think I’ve seen before but will look for.

    You are so right, Shirley. No matter what style of garden, there is always inspiration and good ideas to learn from. That’s the beauty of going on garden tours! —Pam

  3. Laura says:

    I like the garden even if it doesn’t photograph well. I love woodsy natural areas and the rustic arbor fits. Thanks, Pam!

    That arbor was perfect for this garden — it was my favorite feature. The overall fence design, which incorporated wire panels, was attractive too, but I didn’t get any good pictures of it. Check out Shirley’s post at Rock-Oak-Deer for more. —Pam

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Yep, looks like my kind of place. I am not so structured either. My garden isn’t either. tee hee…

    Unstructured, enveloping gardens can be marvelous to experience in person — just hard to photograph. I always enjoy seeing your lush, leafy garden, Lisa. —Pam

  5. Sally says:

    I like woodsy gardens and would certainly have liked to see more of this garden–even if you did not like it. Surely you could have found something else to photograph.
    I have enjoyed your photos of other gardens and am disappointed in your treatment of this one.

    Hi, Sally. I appreciate your honest assessment of my post and am sorry you found it lacking. But I must remind you that I blog about what I like. I photograph what moves me. I’m not an official tour guide with an obligation to cover every detail of every garden I visit. I blogged about the aspects of this garden that I particularly liked and wanted to share with my readers.

    As you know, I toured with several other bloggers (their URLs are listed in my first tour post about the Kathy Cove Garden). If you visit their blogs, you may gain additional perspectives — which is, after all, the fun of reading personal blogs. —Pam

  6. Cynthia says:

    I had the same reaction to this garden. I just now picked up the plant list, and wondered where all those plants were! I guess with the profusion, it was a little difficult to notice individual plants. I do salute her for bucking the trend of urban garden styles. We, too, admired the gate, and also liked the lean-to potting shed.

    I wonder if any of the other bloggers got a picture of the lean-to potting shed. I don’t remember it but would love to see it now that you mention it. —Pam

  7. Looks so fresh and green….cool and calming!

    All that shade will be especially welcome in summer, won’t it? —Pam

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