Peeping bloggers...

With a little luck and a lot of planning, I was able to check out 4 of the amazing gardens on the Garden Conservancy's Open Days. My neighbor and gardening friend, Maria and I set out on our excursion early this morning, hoping to fit in 3, and we managed to see 4.

I have some nice pictures, and I'm not going to try and guess plant names, so I'll just share some of the wonderful views. This first photo was the first garden we visited in East Austin -- called Fatal Flowers. It was a beautiful blend of desert and lush plants. Lots of rock paths and walls, shade and sun plants, all mixed in a lovely layered garden. And who should I run into at the first garden, but Pam of Digging and Annie of the Transplantable Rose. We had fun looking at everything together and trying to ID things!

There were so many beautiful succulents - many growing out of rock crevices and cascading down.
The most stunning focal point in the garden was this Agave. It was at least 9-10 feet tall.
The dappled shade pathways gave me lots of ideas and inspiration for shady beds.

This garden, on West 12th, was called Stone Palms, and that's what was at the entrance to the property. Not a species of palm, but rather art -- tall trunks made all of rock, topped with Sago palms. Not sure how they water up there!
This gardener is also an artist who uses shells to create her art. This is a gazebo in her front yard, complete with a shell-covered fireplace in the background.

Then on the other side there was a grotto-style waterfall, lush and tropical, with art made from shells in the middle of it. The water trickled into a concrete tank surrounded by plants. Beside this was a bed - yes, a bed, in her front yard. I supposed it was intended to be a sleeping porch, just without the screens or the porch!
This is the entrance to the back yard.
Along the side of the house.
And another piece of her striking and unique art holding an agave.

We saw two other gardens, the G. Hughes & Betsy Abell garden, designed by Scott Ogden, but we were not allowed to take any photos there. I'm not sure why, once you've let the city come in and walk around, what you protect by doing that, and it was lush and interesting. Lots of shade plants, a cactus garden and interestingly, the beds had pine needles instead of mulch. You don't see that much around here.

Then we went around the corner and saw the Granger Garden, which had beautiful lake views and some lovely beds. Sadly, I had put my camera away and didn't get it back out. And the garden, while pretty, wasn't as unique -- not a gardener's garden, like the first two clearly were.

All in all, a lovely day, spent with a good friend and basking in the beauty and inspiration of others. We both went home wanting to stick our hands in the dirt.

Thank goodness, because now I can say that the two Mystic Spires and the new Celsii Agave are in the ground!