Sedgey evergreen garden of Pat Mozersky for Foliage Follow-Up

Austin designer Mark Word (see my profile about him) designed this serene, green San Antonio garden that you can see on the upcoming Watersaver Landscape Tour on October 24. I got a preview last Friday thanks to Shirley of Rock-Oak-Deer.

The garden belongs to Pat Mozersky, the longtime, recently retired food writer for the San Antonio Express-News. Pat generously allowed us to photograph her garden one day before the Mark Word maintenance crew came for a late-summer clean-up and refresh. Thanks to the garden’s good bones and evergreen plant palette, it looked photo-ready anyway.

Simple, restrained hardscape and swaths of evergreen foliage are the key to year-round good looks. Pat and her husband built this home, downsizing from a larger property and reducing their home and garden maintenance in the process. The new house sits on a small lot, and in place of a traditional lawn, a meadowy swath of Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa) needs little care and stays green all year. Greening up the garden walls and providing additional privacy from nearby houses are understory viburnums, clethra, redbuds, and Texas persimmons. Live oaks shade nearly the entire garden.

The front yard is protected from deer by a handsome stacked-stone wall and gated entry.

This is the view from the front porch looking toward the gate and the street beyond. As you can see, it’s green and unfussy but has a naturalistic look.

Lueders limestone pavers spaced by ribbons of river rock make up a contemporary front walk and allow runoff to soak into the soil.

At the front porch, on each side of the steps, steel planters are filled with round-leaved ligularia, feathery foxtail fern, and abutilon for seasonal flowering.

Pat took us through her house and out the back door onto a covered back porch. A zinc-topped table and an old factory light from Germany blend well with the custom steel gate.

A few pots filled with low-maintenance succulents offer interesting foliage texture and colors.

Lueders pavers in random widths keep the eye from running straight to a separate patio. An oversized teak bench is the simple focal point. A built-in corner bench offers additional seating that doesn’t take up much space.

The view looking back toward the porch

In the back corner of the garden resides a nearly life-size metal bison, a gift from Pat to her husband and a smile-inducing sculpture in the otherwise serene garden.

Tufty sedges are planted around back of the house too, as pavers thread a narrow pathway through them.

Pat has two friendly cavalier King Charles spaniels, Layla and…I forget the other one’s name.

They appear to enjoy the garden, especially the bamboo muhly! My dog, Cosmo, also loves to nosh on bamboo muhly, so this didn’t surprise me. Luckily, it’s pretty tough and able to recover from dog browsing.

Near the driveway, outside the walled garden in a hot, sunny side yard, evergreen, glossy-leaved star jasmine climbs a wire-panel trellis to hide the A/C unit from view.

And here’s a last look from outside of the front garden wall, of native Texas persimmons standing ghostly amid Berkeley sedge — a tough and drought-tolerant combo.

My thanks to Pat for sharing her lovely garden with us! If you long for an easy-care, evergreen garden because of a busy schedule or physical difficulty in keeping up with maintenance, Pat’s foliage-based garden is an inspiring example.

This is my September post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is going on in your garden this month, or in one you’ve visited? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I really appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it. I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

Up next, also from my San Antonio visit last week: A modern garden that’s a cactus and succulent lover’s dream. For a look back at the gorgeous courtyard xeriscape garden of Linda Peterson, click here.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

32 Responses

  1. Anna K says:

    Beautiful garden that drives home the point that green is a fabulous color, so very well. Love all the green on green texture combos, and I’m committing that marvelous Carex divulsa to memory. This month, I’m sharing my WV with FF – both topic and timing are right! :)

  2. ‘Serene’ is the word.

  3. Lise Neely says:

    I love the sculptural quality of this garden. Flowers would seem extraneous in this peaceful setting.

  4. Shirley says:

    Blogger minds think alike! I’ve also posted Pat’s wonderful drought-tolerant foliage garden today. It was a fun visit and you’ve captured the garden and her style beautifully.

  5. Oooo, I like it! The pathways leading through the sedges are perfect. I’d really like to try this (at my next garden). ;-) The pooches are so cute. Thanks for hosting this meme, Pam. Here’s my link:

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Your euphorbia groundcover is so attractive, Beth, and the gazing globe sets off the color well. And is there anything the squirrels won’t make a mess of? They are frustrating (but cute) critters. Thanks for joining in! —Pam

  6. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A lovely and peaceful garden. Sometimes, like when I’m lugging large pots of tender plants inside or back out, cutting back plants, etc. I think that a lower maintenance garden might be swell.(Who am I kidding? I love playing with plants.) This is an especially nice example of how it can be done beautifully!
    My foliage follow-up post is here:

  7. Xericstyle says:

    Isn’t it lovely!? …and Pat and David sure are too. I knew y’all would love it, and of course I know you love Word’s work so much, I had to hook you and Shirley up with a tour.
    Thanks for the WaterSaver Landscape tour shout out.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Heather, I forgot to thank you for your part in getting us into these gardens! I apologize for that oversight. Thank you SO much! It was a total treat for me, especially because I’m likely to miss the tour next month, and I’ve been wanting to attend the Watersaver tour quite desperately. This will be an inspirational tour for those looking to cut back on water use while still having a beautiful garden in central Texas. —Pam

  8. Alison says:

    What a wonderful garden, so very calming to look at. And I love the metal bison. I left a small circle of lawn in my front when we redid it over a year ago, but I sometimes wish I’d done that circle in some kind of sedge. It looked like crap this year during our long, dry summer.

    I’m sharing a little Fall color in my garden for FF:

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Yours is the first blog I’ve seen this year showing leaves turning for fall. You win the prize! I love seeing beautiful fall foliage on other people’s blogs because we get so little of that here in Austin. Thanks for joining in, Alison. —Pam

  9. TexasDeb says:

    Soothing and serene. You’d think green on green might get monotonous but the carefully chosen variety of texture and tone planted here puts all such doubts to rest. This is every bit as entertaining to the eye as a garden filled with flowers, and a lot easier to sustain given our ever tightening water restrictions.

    I recall reading somewhere that as the temperatures climb and water levels fall, ALL the smart gardens in our part of the country will be shade gardens. If so, this one provides a lovely high bar to aspire towards. Thanks to you (and Heather, and Shirley and Pat!) for sharing!

  10. That’s a lovely very well designed garden. It just shows that you don’t have to cram everything in… a bit of restraint works wonders. I particularly like the stone walls and huge paving slabs as well as the planting of course.
    I’ve been looking at a Piet Oudolf garden at Scampston Hall in Yorkshire, England. He is well known for his meadow planting but just have a look at these grasses and hedges.Thanks very much for hosting Pam and here’s the link.

  11. If we’d moved to San Antonio almost 25 years ago — it didn’t happen — Mozersky’s is a garden I would want to have one like.

    Instead I’m still dealing with hot and humid elsewhere.

  12. Wonderful! It was interesting to first read Shirley’s post and then come over here and see your take on the garden. Those metal planters at the front of the house caught my eye right away, I love the plants she chose for them. Oh and it was also interesting to get a glimpse of a Texas Tetrapanax!

    I’m joining up today on the plant lust blog, posting about a new plant I purchased because of it’s unusual foliage.

  13. Kris P says:

    I love the green, relaxed feel of the Mozersky garden. And the dogs are adorable! Here’s my foliage follow-up post for September:

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I enjoyed your shout-out to the commonplace foliage plants that we so often overlook, Kris. They are hard-working companions in the garden and deserve a little love. I also like your blue Hover Pot filled with succulents. I have one too! —Pam

  14. I like the fluffy looking grass in this front garden. It seems very natural.

  15. Indie says:

    I just love the swaths of sedge – so simple but so beautiful! I love her stacked stone wall and gate as well. A distinctive and gorgeous garden!

  16. Evan says:

    I love simple, clean, elegant gardens like this one. It’s so tranquil, and really shows off the sculptural trunks of the live oaks and persimmons. Do I have the self-control to make this kind of garden? Absolutely not. Maybe when I’m 80. My Foliage Follow-up is mashed together this month with my bloom day post, and a Wednesday Vignette. After all, they’re all jumbled together in my garden in real life…and the 15th completely surprised me.

  17. Wendy Moore says:

    Ohhh, the Ligularia! I bought one of those as an experiment this Summer as soon as Plant Delights had them back in stock, and killed it inside of 2 weeks.

    These photos are so wonderful, Pam! The garden is so serene, but not at all boring. I would spend hours out there.

    What’s the plant by the bison – is that Oakleaf Hydrangea? There’s another finger-leaf looking plant in the shot right below it that looks tropical: is that the Tetrapanax another comment mentions? I’m have to talk myself out of those every time I see one.

    I love how this theme forces me to take a hard look at the things in my garden that deserve more attention! Thanks so much for hosting it!!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I believe it is oakleaf hydrangea by the bison, Wendy. Pat told us she really enjoyed their blooms, but there were done by the time we visited. And yes, Loree was admiring the tetrapanax, aka rice paper plant. —Pam

      • Nell says:

        Most gardeners here (east) leave the blooms on oakleaf hydrangeas, because they dry nicely, holding their shape, and add some winter interest — and don’t detract from the foliage as it turns deep burgundy and purple.

        But in a garden filled with handsome evergreen plants and a winter nowhere near as long and bare as ours, I can see why deadheading after bloom might be the way to go.

  18. Lori says:

    There’s so much I enjoy about this garden. I love those pavers, I love all of the sedge, and I love love love the idea of using a wall and a gate to create both a private courtyard and a “public face” to the property. I feel like front yards are painfully underused, and increasing privacy often opens up utility. Where’s the fun in having a front yard you only spend time in when you mow? I also enjoy that this garden has such a strong evergreen focus, which means it’ll look good all year.

  19. Layanee says:

    I do love this garden although it is so very different from everything I am used to seeing here in New England. It is serene. Thanks for sharing Pam.

  20. rickii says:

    Thanks for tipping us off that this garden had not been freshly groomed for your photos. One would never know…so I guess the claim of easy care can be believed.
    I have some new acquisitions to show you for FFU this time:

  21. Hannah says:

    Lovely garden, with so many intense greens! It looks so cool and shady, too. My link for Foliage Follow-Up is

  22. Thank you for sharing this beautiful green landscape. It is serene and inviting and so well designed that flowers aren’t even necessary. I love the hardscape elements as well. Here’s my foliage Follow Up for September:

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Lee, I always love seeing your hostas, forest grass, and ornamental grasses, but what I’m really digging in your post this month is your weeping spruce and purple heuchera combo. Beautiful! —Pam

  23. In ten years when Mark and I turn 80, it will be time to leave our garden. Pat’s is a perfect replacement. I started a Pinterest board for my “last garden” for when we downsize, hopefully to another house and garden for a while.