Inside Austin Garden Tour October 2009

October 27, 2009

It took a couple of days, but I think I’m finally rested from the garden tour this past weekend.  I had no expectations going into the tour and was completely bowled over by the turnout and the comments and compliments from visitors to my garden.  The sentence that played through my head on a continuous loop for the month leading up to the tour was “Is my yard really ready for a garden tour?”. I mean, I just started on the back yard in April.  That couldn’t possibly be enough time to get it really looking good enough.  Several times a day I would try to accomplish the impossible task of looking at my gardens through the eyes of someone who is seeing it for the first time.  Each time my eyes would focus on the passion flower vine and the morning glory bush that both stopped blooming two weeks previously.  Or I would worry about the fact that everything under the pecan tree seemed to be suffering from the black death that was brought on by all of the honeydew (aphid poop) that washed out in that big rain back in September. I never expected to hear so many compliments and I am truly humbled by all of the positive feedback.  A heartfelt thank you to everyone who visited my garden.

Yard, flowers, etc 002

Sanko, looking for squirrels

I had a terrific time on Saturday.  You couldn’t have asked for better weather.  I’m a bit of an introvert, so hanging out with a large number of strangers in my yard for 7 hours was exhausting (but it was a good exhausting).  I fell asleep sitting on the couch at about 7 pm.  I would wake up and then nod off again and finally decided to drag myself to bed around 9pm.  Sunday I got my dogs, Phoebe and Sanko back from my parents (I had shipped them off the night before because I knew that they wouldn’t understand why they weren’t allowed to romp and play with all the people in the yard) and took them for a nice long walk at Walnut Creek Municipal Park.  That’s one of their favorite dog parks.  Acres and acres of leash free fun.

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Here’s a photo of another plant that refused to bloom on Saturday.  This is the green tea hibiscus.  It was covered in flowers the size of a saucer for weeks leading up to the show and, of course, had 3 nice sized blooms on Sunday as well.

Bloom Day June 15, 2009 007

Camera-shy Phoebe

Some of my favorite things about Saturday:

Dichorisandra thyrsiflora

Blue Ginger "Dichorisandra thyrsiflora"

I met a woman who told me she grew up in my house.  She lived in my house from 1965 to 1974.  She told me about their clothes line, the vegetable garden and the above ground pool that was in the back when she lived here.  She said she was going to dig through her photos and try to find some photos of the place back then.  The linoleum that was in the house when I bought it was the same that was here when she lived here.  I told you that nobody had loved this house in a long time.  I was so distracted by what was going on that day that I didn’t even offer to show her the inside.  I do have her contact information and plan to be in touch soon.

“I was at another house on the tour and everyone was saying that you have to go see Randy’s garden.”  That was by far my favorite compliment.  I also loved hearing from so many people that mine yard was their favorite.  I certainly didn’t expect that.

Miscellaneous 003

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi'

Another great thing about Saturday was meeting all of the garden bloggers!  That was really terrific.  If y’all are reading this, you seemed like a LOT of fun.  I’d really like to do something with y’all soon.  It was also cool meeting people that follow my blog.  I had no idea that so many people read this thing.  I promise I will try to be more consistent in posting in the future.  I also had several people tell me that they have been unable to leave me messages on here.  I will be contacting WordPress about this issue and will post when I have a response.


Hibiscus mutabilis

The comments I heard the most about my yard that day were about the mirror that I have on my fence.  I got it for free on and decided to prop it up there one day and liked the result.  It really does look like an opening to another yard.  I like the way the base of the pecan tree in my yard matches up with the top of the pecan in the neighbor’s yard at several points in my yard.


Abutilon pictum "Patrick's"

This is Patrick’s Abutilon (also known as Flowering Maple and Chinese Lantern for obvious reasons).  He was the star of the show in the back yard.  It’s hard to believe, but I planted this in the spring (got it at Barton Springs Nursery) from a 4″ pot and it’s now taller than me and covered in blooms.  My dogs trample it on a daily basis in the quest for squirrels.  It bloomed all summer long.  I’ll definitely be planing more of these in the future (and it likes shade to boot!!!).


Abutilon pictum "Patrick's"

Many people were wondering where I got the skull that was in the birdbath.  046It came from the Great Outdoors and they still had at least one left when I was there on friday.    I also told many people about Plantfiles, which is the plant search option on Dave’s Garden website.


Staghorn Fern next to the lanterns I brought back from Morocco and the mirror on the fence in the background

Anytime I hear of a plant I put “plantfiles” and the plant name in the google search window and search.  It brings up a page with all the information that you need to know about every plant you can imagine.  I’ve rarely been able to stump this site.  It includes photos as well which is very helpful.  I can’t tell you how many plants I have passed over because the Plantfiles database informed me that they need acid soil.


Citrus x paradisi 'Star Ruby'

As much fun as I had on Saturday, it sure was nice to wake up Sunday morning knowing that I didn’t have to work in the yard.  I had a nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon on the chaise with a couple of beers, just me and the dogs and cat.  What a great weekend!

Bloom Day June 15, 2009 006

Another star of the show; my cat Ipo. Who knew she loved crowds?

15 Responses to “Inside Austin Garden Tour October 2009”

  1. Randy,
    We (my daughter-in-law and I) really enjoyed your garden. And, it was great to meet you. We were blown away when you told us most of the back was only there since the spring. Wow….
    You did good.
    Thanks for letting us all tramp through your place.
    And, thanks for showing the ginger. I took a photo of it and couldn’t remember what it is. I’m off to research it. I love Dave’s Garden site, too.
    Thanks again,

  2. Cheryl Says:

    Nice post Randy! Your yard is beautiful, it’s been great fun watching it unfold this last year…time for a crawl my dear!

  3. Bonnie Says:

    The garden was so gorgeous and I was thrilled to see it on the preview tour. Great job Randy, and congrats on a wonderful showing!

  4. Pam/Digging Says:

    It was wonderful to see you and your garden on Saturday, Randy. You have such an interesting variety of plants. I saw several I didn’t know but would like to learn more about. Enjoy your well-deserved rest now that it’s all over.

  5. Loved meeting you and seeing your garden, Randy – the people visiting all looked as if they were at a really great party! It’s good to know you had fun hosting the tour.

    How cool that you met someone who lived in your house in the sixties. I wonder sometimes about our house – like who in the 30-year string of previous owners planted the pecans? Remnants of liriope make me sure there were once large flower beds in the front yard. But no vintage linoleum!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. margie in austin Says:

    great of you to share your garden, plant buds as starters, and time. very very inspiring and renewing of the spirit.

  7. Michele Says:

    Randy, your garden was AWESOME! I could only make it to 3 gardens and someone told me at Cheryl’s NOT to miss yours. SO glad I didn’t. I LOVE the story of meeting the woman who lived in your house. How sweet…I love house history. Now, are you on a trust fund to be able to stay at home and garden all day? you MUST to have been able to create that yard in a year. dude.

  8. Ben Says:

    Was great to meet you at the tour. I can’t imagine all the work involved and then having a hundred or so people wandering around my yard all day, but your efforts sure did pay off. The yard looks great! And thanks for the poisonous seed pods, too!

  9. Robin Says:

    Randy, your garden was definitely one of the highlights of the day! I can’t imagine what you went through this summer trying to get a new garden ready for a tour during the Summer of Hell. I’m glad you survived, as well as your garden. There’s a garden bloggers event on Nov. 7, in case you haven’t gotten the email…and thanks again for the Datura seed!

  10. I loved your garden also. Particularly liked the abutilon, the devil’s trumpets – thanks for the seeds, and the cactus growing in with everything else. I’ll have to get some abutilons for the shady spots in my soon-to-be fenced garden.

    And I love the mirror effect. Want one myself but can’t figure a place for it. Maybe to screen my compost which has to live out in the middle of my garden.

  11. Your garden was wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing it with Austin. And thanks, too, for the seeds from you purple flowering brugmansia. You’ve accomplished so much in such a short time. I’m envious. And I love your stair step planters in the front.

    I also wanted to say that I admired your variegated ligustrum in the back. I know it’s not a “in” plant but the way you had it growing picked up the hightlights in a shady spot and I thought it was very effective.

  12. Jenny Says:

    I loved seeing your garden Randy. Thank you for opening it up to Austin gardeners and I’m glad you enjoyed the day as much as we did. You have done some wonderful design things and some of your plants I had never seen before. Glad you pointed out the bow tie plant. A friend told me she had picked up some seeds from you for a candlestick tree. I was sorry I missed out on that but she gave me some which I will start in the greenhouse. I will have a little bit of your garden in my garden.

  13. Diana Says:

    You have a great garden, Randy, and it was so nice to meet you and talk garden blogging. Thanks also for the Brug seed pod — that was so nice of you. Yours is a stunning specimen. Hope to see you at a garden blogger event soon.

  14. Bluestem Says:

    Nice profile of you and your garden on CTG. I caught it on YouTube.

  15. horselips Says:

    Thank you so much!

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