In a previous post, I told you a little about the people I met at Spring Fling, the first national meet-up of garden bloggers, held in Austin, Texas on April 5th. Here are photos of some of the places we visited, along with my thoughts and observations. (Click on any photo for a larger version.)
Bluebonnets are not as tall as I imagined. I knew they were in the same genus as the lupines I’ve grown in my garden, and I just assumed, without reason, that they would be the same height. They’re shorter. As a matter of fact, when I look at them out of the corner of my eye, they “read” as grape hyacinths. Now, they’re bigger than grape hyacinths; I just mean they give a similar impression.
Yes, larkspur is a spring annual in Texas. I saw it everywhere as we were driving around. It is used in public places (median strips in gas stations, etc.) a lot more than it is up north, where it blooms in the summer. I was wondering why, and the best hypothesis I could come up with is in the North there’s too many perennials blooming at the same time, competing for the same planting spots. And you don’t have to replant daylilies and ornamental grasses every year, so that’s what Northerners plant for their low maintenance median strips.
The Natural Gardener Nursery
These are the same poppies whose seeds are sold on eBay. It wouldn’t surprise me if Natural Gardener harvested seed to sell from these big patches.
And here’s a selection of birdbaths. I decided I have a thing for birdbaths. Garden art that serves a purpose beyond just looking pretty. I took several photos at Natural Gardener, because they had a good selection.
James David’s Garden
On to James David’s (pronounced “dah-VEED”) garden. Okay, so I am never going to have the moolah to install a stone stairway such as this: But, you know, I don’t think I’d ever want to. The garden at the front of the house was intimate, on a human scale, but the spaces in the back garden were too big. They felt institutional, public–meant for crowds. And the stairway led down to this:One thing this whole area taught me, was that in addition to feeling uncomfortable with heights, I don’t like edges, especially unguarded edges. If you follow the staircase on the left, it leads to the swimming pool. The only way to get to the other end of the swimming pool is to walk on the “edge” of it. I put edge in quotation marks because it is a paved walkway probably four feet wide, but there is nothing but water on the one side and a drop off on the other. (There is a good photo at Suburban Wildlife Garden, it’s the sixth one of the James David photos.) The drop is short enough that if my young, flexible kids deliberately jumped down, they wouldn’t get hurt. Their middle-aged, not so flexible mother might sprain an ankle, but almost certainly wouldn’t kill herself.
Still, walking down the length of that four foot wide pavement bothered me. I didn’t panic, but I sure didn’t feel comfortable, either. I tried very deliberately to keep panic at bay, breathing slowly and deeply, and telling myself, “I can do this, there is plenty of room on this walkway” as I made my way down the length of the pool to rejoin the path at the other end. I’m sure glad I didn’t have to attempt it in high heels under the influence of a cocktail or two. (It does seem like the place to throw a fancy cocktail party. But I’m just guessing that, since I’ve never been to a fancy cocktail party myself.)
On the other hand, I really like this dining area. It’s secluded, yet not too far from the house. I don’t think you can see them very well, but there are strings of small lights overhead, that would add a festive atmosphere for dining at night. And I imagine that in the Austin summertime, night is the best time to be outside. In the winter, the stone would yield the warmth from the sun and offer protection from the wind. I’ll bet this particular area is used almost year round.
This isn’t really all of it
I’ve shown you my pictures from Spring Fling, but there’s more. Along with a few others, I stayed an extra day and got to tour Lucinda Hutson’s garden. If I kept to my original resolution, I’d now continue with my visit to her garden. But this post is long enough, and her garden is worth a post of its own.
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to visit the compilation of blog posts about this event. You’ll see more and better photos, and encounter different perspectives about the sites and sights that were part of this meet-up.