Saturday, November 8, 2008

Peckerwood Party!

Some of the Austin Garden Bloggers set out on Friday on a field trip to see the infamous Peckerwood Gardens. About 2-1/2 hours from Austin, 7 of us hit the road at 7:30 in the morning in a two-SUV caravan on our garden road trip.

Peckerwood Gardens was established in 1971 by John G. Fairey. We were greeted at the garden by Mr. Fairey, who was delightful and gave us the background tour of the garden and shared with us his history.

The garden enjoys the benefits of three climatic zones and covers 21 acres. It is a collection of rare plants native to the United States, Mexico and Asia. He has an amazing collection of trees, and told us that there are more than 250 different types of oaks native to Mexico, where he was gone on almost 100 plant discovery expeditions. The trees included beautiful and unusual oaks, maples, cypress, magnolias, conifers and palms.

We saw such unusual specimens -- some of them extremely rare, and some even as yet unnamed. I couldn't possibly remember the botanical names of all the thousands of plants we saw, and I don't know how our guide, Chris, can retain as much infomation as he shared with us. He was able to identify exact plant names, where they came from, when they got them and how they were planted. (And I can't remember anything about the 3 plants I bought 2 weeks ago!)

I can't identify the plants in the photos I took, so I will just let you take a little mini-tour here and enjoy the beauty of the garden. Enjoy!

Many of the trees had beautiful trunks and wonderful shape.
Our tour guide, Chris, explaining every little detail and patiently answering all of our questions.

For the first 6 months after plants are taken from the greenhouse and into the garden, they are protected with their own little shade cloth!
This beautiful wall and water feature marks the end of the garden. Mr. Fairey's house lies beyond the fountain and pond.

Two little frogs greeted us at the water feature!

Several of the Century plants on the property were in full bloom against the beautiful blue sky of our lovely fall day.
This allee of Cypress trees lines a creek and is a lovely oasis.

Cypress knees come up when the trees live in a moist environment.

Hope you've enjoyed these photos and will look at the other 6 blogger's perspectives as well.


Carol said...

I've read posts on Pam/Digging and MSS's blogs and each of you brings a different perspective. What a wonderful and fun field trip. It sounds and looks like an interesting place.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Pam/Digging said...

Diana, you have a much better memory for the facts, dates, and numbers than I do. Chris's memory was really amazing though, wasn't it? Thanks again for organizing this remarkable visit.

Gail said...

You guys had a great road trip! I would so love to go beyond the fountain wall to see the house, too!
You know that this plantsman has to have an interesting home. I love the century plant against your beautiful blue sky!


Diana said...

Carol - yes, it's always interesting to see what other people take away from these things. You would have loved it - it's so unique. I wish I could have remembered more details, but I think MSS got so much more of that, so I was happy to read her blog.

Pam - I thought your blog had more details than mine! But Chris must have a photographic memory! I'm not sure I could have ever retained all that information in my head.

Gail - wish you could have come - it was so fun. Members get to tour the house and the cultural museum that is also on the grounds once or twice a year on Member days. You should go online and join -- membership starts at $30, and then make another Texas trip! We'd all go back for the house and the museum.

Lori said...

Thank you so much for organizing this trip, Diana! I had a lot of fun, and learned way more about trees than I was expecting. :)

And I, too, am in awe of Chris's incredible squishy brain! I imagine that with such great stories behind all of those trees, it must make it easier to remember the details. I don't think I retained much besides an impression of the incredible variety of tree species in Mesoamerica. I really hope that somebody wrote down the name of the oak that we got those acorns from, though. It was gorgeous, and I'm going to try to sprout the seeds, even though I don't have room for another tree in my yard. :)

Lancashire rose said...

Another look at Peckerwood through different eyes. I love the long view of the fountain wall and your cactus garden shot. I could quite easily have a desert garden.

Diana said...

Lori - I did write it down -- if you and I got the same acorns when he said we were welcome to take them. It is Querus pungens.

Lancashire Rose - The cacti there were all so beautiful and interesting. Most of us came home with a little columnar cactus from Mexico that they propagate at Peckerwood.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

You took a lot of photos that I wish I had but didn't--except that we both took almost the exact same photo of the oak we got the seeds from.

Is it really Quercus pungens (Vasey Oak)?

Thanks again for organizing the trip. It was just the jump start I've needed to get me interested in growing things again. Can't wait to sprout my little acorns.

Annie in Austin said...

This group garden blogging is wonderful! Each of you has responded to the same place in a different way so we readers are getting a comprehensive tour.

You did great with the numbers Diana - 250 kinds of oaks, 21 acres, 3 climate zones. And I love the cypress allee but now wonder... how the heck is Tom Spencer is going to keep his city-lot allee in control?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Kathy said...

I am impressed that you managed to get a private garden tour. I bet garden bloggers could do this more often if they just thought to ask.

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

Thanks again Diana for your organizing this trip. I'm loving the posts and photos.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What an exciting trip. I have read a couple other takes on the trip. It sounds like a good time was had by all. I love that cypress grove along the creek. People around here collect those knees and paint various things on them. I love to see them poking up out of the water. It seems so Zeusian.

ConsciousGardener said...

Nice thorough stroll through our day! Loved getting to spend time with all of you, thanks for putting it all together!

vertie said...

Diana, Thank you so much for organizing the visit and for driving. What a great day!

Diana said...

MSS -- I loved your acorn photo. It's like a piece of artwork. Isn't it fun to read each other's posts? I read the tag on the tree after I got the acorn, and that's what it said... Glad you're getting inspired again - I've missed your posts.

Annie - well the interesting thing that Chris told us is that the Cypress trees can grown in drought-like conditions, too. That was the fascinating part of the garden tour - learning how so many far-flung species could adapt. That is the funadmental experiment of the collection.

Kathy - they offer private tours - it's a way of fundraising for the foundation. I'm just not sure how often groups go.

Libby - you're welcome! So cool to see all the pictures that you took and posted. Weren't those trees amazing. Your shot of that one oak was stunning. I had to show it to my DH. Wish I had one!

Lisa - those knees are something else, aren't they? I love Cypress trees - their structure is so unique and interesting. I was shocked to learn that they can live in dry conditions, too.

Conscious- So glad you went - it was fun to get to meet you in person.

Vertie - It was a hoot. Now I'm thinking what we should do for our next "field trip!"

Bonnie said...

what a cool, diverse garden. I can't believe the amount of plants in that garden. Great idea for the trip.

Layanee said...

I also am reading through the Austin 'Peckerwood' posts. I just love that word...hee hee hee...You all have given us a slightly different view of this garden. All are beautiful and each adds a piece to the puzzle.

Diana said...

Bonnie - yes, it was diverse. That is what they are using the garden to demonstrate, that so many different species of comparable plants can grow in other places. It really was amazing.

Layanee - thanks. Someone asked our guide, the garden manager, if the name ever stops being funny and he laughed and said, well, "no!"