Houston has one of the earliest Garden Conservancy-sponsored Open Days tours in the country. This year it was held on March 29, after a cold, drawn-out winter (by Texas standards) that saw two 20-degree dips even in subtropical Houston. I wondered how Houston would pull off a garden tour so early, when gardens in Austin were still looking sleepy. But my friend and fellow blogger Diana and I hit the road anyway, 2.5 hours southeast to Houston, eager to kick off spring with a tour.
Six private gardens were on tour, and as on Houston’s 2012 Open Days tour they were mostly estate-style, lawn-and-azalea gardens that would be particularly appealing to landscape architecture students because of their restrained plant palettes and emphasis on space and a seamless connection between house and garden. They were not gardeners’ gardens.
They were of course lovely spaces, with expansive terracing, tastefully planted borders, beautiful swimming pools, and expensive sculpture. While I enjoyed them, I still long to see more variety on a tour, though I appreciate the difficulty any organizer has in finding homeowner-gardeners willing to open their personal spaces to the ogling public. For that reason, I always applaud tour organizers — volunteers usually — for all their hard work and thank those willing to share their gardens.
I plan to show four of the tour gardens this week, starting with this classic space in the posh Museum District.
The boxwood and lawn of the entry court segues into a pool patio with a narrow border of potted boxwood and colorful annuals and perennials.
The flat, metal-sided building visible just over the fig ivy-covered wall is the Contemporary Arts Museum. What a location for art lovers!
Clipped boxwood in terracotta pots are underplanted with annuals.
The border is planted with golden-hued sedum and ‘Kaleidoscope’ abelia (I think), offset by silvery ‘Powis Castle’ artemisia.
Up next: The strikingly contemporary West Lane Garden.
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