Let’s take a walk around the garden

Live oak leaf and pollen season is finally over, and the patios are clean again, hallelujah! This calls for a spring garden stroll, so let’s go.

I’ve been playing with a squid theme on one wall of the upper patio. A couple of tentacle pots from Tentacle Arts contain squid-like Tillandsia xerographica, accompanied by a few metal squids and a ceramic succulent that looks like an anemone. I recently moved a table over here to display some potted plants.

In Moby’s old spot, a new whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia) is getting established. Grow, agave, grow! Behind it, the succulent wall has had a spring refresh and is looking good again.

A barbed-wire star gives a Texas twist to one of my new pie-pan succulent planters. A faded star outline on the fence shows where I used to have a different piece of garden art. Apparently I have a fondness for stars as well as squids.

I’ve also refreshed or tidied up the winter-weary pots on the porch steps.

Walking around back by the pool, you can see the soap aloes (A. maculata) in bloom.

I adore these showy, candelabra-like flowers, and so do the bees and hummingbirds.

The pond garden, with winter-bleached bamboo muhly (Muhlenberia dumosa) starting to green up again behind a curved line of ‘Color Guard’ yuccas. ‘Winter Gem’ boxwood balls anchor the “doorways.”

Opposite the yuccas, a curved line of blue-green heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata) plays off the shed colors.

In a few more weeks, it’ll start blooming.

We gave the deck a refresh this spring, which included redoing the stairs. Once narrow, rickety, and squeezed onto the left side of the deck, we had them extended from the outer edge and widened to a generous 8 feet for better access to the garden. To make room for the new stairs, I had to dig up and move a few plants, but I like the simpler look. We also replaced the deck rail’s old, jail-like, vertical balusters with galvanized welded wire and the old lattice skirting with horizontal boards. Let’s walk up…

…and view the pond from the deck. The Louisiana iris is still blooming in the pond, adding a spot of rich color amid all the greens.

Walking up the side-yard path, you pass the Yucca rostrata, one of my favorite plants that’s really grown over the past couple of years. The pomegranate is blooming beside it. Beyond is ‘Blue Ice’ Arizona cypress, which I’ve had to limb up for walking under it.

Up the path and looking back, here’s the opposite view. The upright vertical shrub on the right is ‘Will Fleming’ yaupon holly, and the little tree on the left, just past the blue pot, is weeping redbud ‘Traveller’.

Outside the gate, in the front yard, a Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) holds court by a bench. The golden shrub just visible in front is ‘Eureka Gold’ dwarf yaupon.

It colors up beautifully in spring but then goes green summer through winter.

Moving around to the front garden, the Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa) lawn is greening up with warmer weather. It doesn’t exactly turn brown in winter, but it definitely takes on a tawnier hue during the cooler months. On the edge, Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa) is blooming. Wouldn’t that ‘Eureka Gold’ yaupon look pretty beside it? I’ll have to give that some thought. Paleleaf yucca (Y. pallida) looks good with it too.

The ‘Green Goblet’ agave near the driveway is recovering from antlering damage from the deer last fall, and putting on new growth.

And along the front of the house, in the shade of live oaks and a Japanese maple, native river ferns (Thelypteris kunthii) create a cool, lush look along a dry stream.

Thanks for coming along with me on this garden stroll! Are you changing up anything for spring in your garden?

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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Mark your calendar for the Inside Austin Gardens Tour on May 6, sponsored by Travis County Master Gardeners. This fun garden tour occurs every 18 months and features a mix of homegrown gardens “for gardeners, by gardeners,” as their tagline says.

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31 Responses

  1. Steve Blackwell says:

    Yours is a garden I would love to mimic… if I lived in a similar climate. Beautiful!

  2. deb says:

    So beautiful. Are your succulents in full sun?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      No, I don’t have any full sun in this garden. And even if I did, the little succulents in pots prefer filtered or morning sun in Austin’s hot summer climate. Of course, most of the bigger succulents like agaves thrive on full sun, although they also do very well in part sun or dappled sun in hot climates. —Pam

  3. Maggie says:

    It all looks beautiful, Pam! I love the refresh you gave to your deck. I’m considering something similar with my own aging deck. Would you recommend the company that did the work for you?

  4. Shirley says:

    The new deck looks great! We just stained ours gray and will replace what’s left of the lattice with horizontal boards too.

    Love that Eureka gold dwarf yaupon. I have Duranta ‘Cuban Gold’ in a dark corner but it dies back in winter when I’d most like to have color. This would be a good replacement.

  5. Looking so lovely Pam! Your deck-refresh must have been a little painful in the process but will hopefully pay off big for more garden enjoyment.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      It already is, Loree. We never spent much time on the deck before because it gets so hot up there in the summer. But we’re adding shade sails soon, and the new, wider stairs make a much more inviting connection to the lower garden, where we spend most of our time. —Pam

  6. Shirley Campbell says:

    How much shade can color guard yuccas take in Zone 8A?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      A half day or so, Shirley. The more sun the better, but mine get by with either morning or afternoon sun here in Austin. The cooler and wetter the climate, probably the more sun they need, and excellent drainage. —Pam

  7. Kris P says:

    Your garden looks great, Pam! The new deck is very inviting and I love your squid-oriented display. My main focus in the garden at the moment is on clean-up. Deliberations on what to do with the steep back slope continue. I’d like to add an arbor over the back patio but I haven’t sprung that proposal on my husband yet and there are many projects in his queue already.

  8. The first thing that popped to mind was “oasis.” Your gardens are so inviting.

  9. Diana Studer says:

    the sunray paving around the pond gives a wonderful pause to enjoy.

  10. Robin says:

    I sure enjoyed our little walk through your garden! Blogs tend to have short distance views, so it’s a real change to see all of it!

  11. Beth says:

    I love the purple oxalis in the aqua colored pot! I so some today, may have to go back and get some. But I don’t have a pot that pretty.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      That combo is the one that always catches people’s eyes. I love purple oxalis, and it grows well in the ground too. Maybe put a piece of turquoise-painted garden art or a gazing ball next to it! —Pam

  12. Your garden looks so lush. I enjoy seeing it from a different perspective. It must be the new steps that inspired this look around. The new steps are so inviting. I really like your collection of octopus-like planters. They are unique. A great start to the new gardening season.

  13. Margaret says:

    Your garden is looking amazing, Pam! I was especially drawn to the succulent wall – I’m hoping to incorporate many more in my garden and, in fact, have a couple sitting in my kitchen that I’m just itching to get into the garden.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      The succulent wall is a fun project, Margaret, and it always draws a lot of comments. Enjoy potting up your own succulent garden this year! They make wonderful, long-lasting annuals. —Pam

  14. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your garden is looking marvelous! Love how your projects turned out! Stars and Squids Forever!

  15. Laura Munoz says:

    Your garden, besides being quite lovely, has a very calm feel. I think the barbed wire star sort of echoes Moby’s shape, and that’s pretty cool. I’m happy to see your Jerusalem sage is blooming. I planted one that gets very light shade with about 2 hours of full sun per day. Seeing yours do well gives me hope.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I hadn’t noticed that star-shaped echo of Moby2’s shape, but you’re right, Laura. Cool! And yes, my Jerusalem shade doesn’t get any direct sun. It’s growing in dry soil under the oaks in dappled shade. —Pam

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