Sunday, October 16, 2016

Summer still hanging on in the garden...

It's hard to believe that it was 93 degrees here in Austin yesterday. While I am ready for the crisp edges of autumn, I have to admit that the lasting beauty of the summer garden is a daily delight.
The Lord Baltimore hibsicus, Pride of Barbados and variegated shell ginger are all perfectly happy with the hot weather.
The Tecoma stans, or Esperanza, are still blooming like crazy.
The path down the side of the house still has some blooms, though they are beginning to dwindle.  Except for the Salvia madrensis, or pineapple sage, which blooms very late in the summer (well, OUR summer, that is).  

These stunning spires are criss crossing with a single Salvia greggii bloom.
And at the end of the path, Artemis awaits.
Her hairdo, comprised of squid agave and creeping Jenny, adds a whimsical touch.
In the back, the fountain shade garden is lush with tropical flair, including Persian shield, Philodrendron, Coleus, sparkler sedge and Duranta 'golden showers.'
 The front bed is full or oranges and yellows at this time of year, with narrow leaf Zinnia, Calylophus, and Asclepia.
More yellow further up the bed with this Thryallis, the whale's tongue agave and a view of the deep orange Tecoma 'balls of fire.'  

Yes, the brisk breezes of fall sound very appealing, but I love enjoying these long-lasting Indian summer blooms.  The forecast calls for a drop this week -- 90 on Wednesday and then 80 for the high on Thursday, and 74 on Friday.

It's coming, it's just a little slow getting here!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Enchanting Lyndale and Como Park gardens at the 2016 Fling

As is always the case, there is much to see at a Garden Bloggers Fling, and our 2016 adventure kept us going at a fast pace.
I fell in love with the explosion of color where this beautiful beehive beckoned in the Lyndale Park Garden.  I waited quite a while to get a solo shot of this amazing sculpture in the garden, as all the other flingers were as enthralled with it as I was.  (You can see I didn't quite let the last person get out of the frame.  Tag yourself if that's your elbow!)
This garden was a creative combination of formal beds with this refreshing fountain, and some unique displays of a wide variety of pollinator plants.
I was smitten by this display of Verbena bonariensis as the focal point in the midst of this checkerboard of annuals.  I know this took a great deal of work to achieve, because my Verbena bonariensis is like a naughty child in the garden -- it never stays put where I've planted it!
It was interesting to see so many plants thriving here that we can grow back in our gardens in Zone 8b in Austin, Texas, like the catmint and lamb's ears and rudbeckia.
Blue can be elusive in the garden, so I was drawn to this monochromatic display filled with so many of the plants I love, like salvias.
This is the perfect example of how repetition in garden design packs a powerful punch.
And then I found the pink bed!  Between the hot sun bearing down on us and the profusion of pink and lime color contrasts in this display, it wasn't easy to get a great photo.  But the Zinnias, Hibiscus, Fountain grass, Cannas and Cleomes were begging to have their photos taken.  I had to oblige them!
Oh, and now I see that they were joined by Guara as well.
I grow cleome in my garden as well, although it gets a little weary of the heat about this time of year.

We also visited the Como Park Conservatory and gardens, where I have visited many times, as I lived in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area for four years, from 1988 to 1992.  Conservatories always capture my fancy.
I first visited the Conservatory's Sunken Gardens in the Spring of 1989, when snow still blanketed the grounds outside but bulbs brought spring indoors.  This picture of my son was taken when he was 5. 
He's 32 now, and that is still one of my favorite photos of him.  Visiting the park brought back many wonderful memories of our time there.
A pond of stunning water lilies greeted us as we approached the entrance.
The Sunken Gardens look so different at this visit.  Purples and lavenders and limes seem to dot every surface of the space.
To see other posts of fabulous Fling gardens, check out my overview of Wouterina De Raad's mosaic sculpture garden and the Eloise Butler Wildlife Garden and Bird Sanctuary.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Design, plant collections and spectacular, larger-than-life sculptures dominate fabulous Fling garden

It's always interesting to poll Garden Bloggers Fling attendees about their favorite gardens.  Some like gardens that showcase collections, some like gardens that highlight design.  Personally, I had several favorite gardens at last week's Fling in Minneapolis.  But this one stood out above the rest, filled with beautiful plant selections, gorgeous design and the heart and soul of the artist and gardener who calls this stunning collection home.
Just across the border into the luscious, rolling hills of Wisconsin farmland, Wouterina De Raad's Concrete Mosaic Sculpture Garden brought it all to the game.  Chicken-lover, gardener, artist, and sculptor extraordinaire, De Raad, a self-taught artist, began creating life-size concrete and mosaic sculptures 27 years ago.
Of Dutch heritage, De Raad grew up on her family's coffee and rubber plantation in Indonesia.  She brings life to her sculpture garden by drawing on her upbringing in the Indonesian jungle. Her collection includes statues of jaguars, pythons, and other exotic and mythical creatures.  Leading the tour through garden, she regaled us with the folk tales of her childhood, and the stories from her own life that inspired her unique creations.
Welcome to the garden -- come on in!
Her love of the garden and all its inhabitants is evident in this oversized Monarch caterpillar bench, complete with the jungle-inspired monkey on its back.  And, don't miss the exotic bird on the monkey's head.
The intriguing sculpture vignettes of the garden are bound together by pretty pathways and endless beds filled with beautiful blooms, stitched together like a life-sized garden quilt.

The perfect dog breed for the serious gardener.  This one won't dig up bulbs, eat tomatoes or chase chickens!  You'd better watch out, Fletcher and Dakota, you could be replaced!
On one end of the charming clothesline, Momma and her young-un try coaxing a chicken off of the pole.
 On the other end, Mr. America holds everything in line.
The garden also sports a seemingly endless array of little cottages, sheds, workshops and other quaint buildings, each its own palette for yet another display of De Raad's artistic talent.

She wove a spell-binding tale about the jaguars in Indonesia as we passed by this building, closely guarded by her sculptural tribute to the fierce cats.
 Sadly, my iPhone notes simply read, "jaguar story," and I can't remember the details.
I marveled at every turn at her innate ability to transform the most meaningful impressions of her life's experiences into beauty and art.
The charming chicken coop, complete with its own namesake statues, was full of reused and recycled decor and several beautiful chickens.
I couldn't really get any good pics of the chicks, and after all, the garden was calling...
But even the quaint bed in front of the chicken run was an art display.  I can' resist - De Raad left no stone unturned in bringing character into this part of the garden. Each of the border stones were given unique expressions, most of them smiling up at garden visitors.

And then, the chicken chair.  Who wouldn't feel like the queen of poultry sitting atop this perch?
With so much to see in this 3-acre garden, visitors can stop and rest at many lovely seating areas. This perennial border dotted with lilies frames the man and dog sculpture in the background.  I didn't catch the story of the body-less head the man is holding, but I'm sure it's a doozy!

 This seating vignette transports me to Alice in Wonderland...

Most of the sculptures in the garden are also lighted.  I would have loved to seen this magical place in the evening, with all of De Raad's concrete family members shining beacons across the garden.
After hours of editing and prepping, this post only skirts the beginning of this amazing garden.  So, stay tuned, another post is yet to come!