Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Take a walk on the wide side

I'm on time for Heather at Xericstyle's Wide Shot this month (note to self: Once! Don't let it go to your head!).  In getting these shots I experienced a series of little shocks.  Not any the earth moved, change my outlook on life stuff, but I did garner insight on the way I view my garden spaces, which to my mind explains a lot about how they've ended up looking.  More on that in a moment.

First up?  To ease the nerves I feel at exposing myself so mercilessly with these wide shots I'm going to start out with two cheater close-ups of a couple of recent victories here.

I've transplanted this little sumac tree twice now.  The first time I moved it out from under a large yaupon and stuck it into one of my favorite blue pots as part of the triad design rules (1 thriller, 1 filler, 1 spiller).  The sumac was my thriller, and thrilled I was when it took to its new home.  The second transplant came when I rather rudely yanked it, root bound, back out of the pot.  I planted it out front and was thrilled a second time to see it survived the winter.  If I can keep the deer from browsing it to pieces, (the reason for the ugly mini-fencing) I think this will be its forever happy place.

Also?  I have several irises I brought with me when we moved back "home" to Austin.  They have been shifted around our lot multiple times over the years, always in search of the right spot, each transplant restarting the "two years in place before I'll bloom" clock.
I've been envious of the iris shots on everybody else's blogs lately so I hope you'll pardon me for intruding on the wide shot meme space just long enough to do this.  Ta da!  Iris!! (I do jazz hands when I read that aloud - you feel free to join me or sit silently shaking your head.  Your call.)

OK - back to bidness.  The wide shots.

A followup shot of the curb beds up the hill from the drive.  Bluebonnets are setting seed and the damianita is taking center stage.  Lavender is blooming but you have to lean over to see it.

The view out front all the way down the hill.  Except for right around the mailbox and up in the walled beds this used to be a swath of St. Augustine.  No matter what I've got going here now or how it looks, I count it as a total victory that there is no more lawn.  No. More. Lawn!

Wide shot of the back bed, flat footed.  Meyer lemon trees in the white pots on either side of the bench releafed to our relief, as they were damaged by the cold despite our wrappings.  Fingers crossed they'll set fruit again.
And now the aerial view - an overhead of that same back bed.  Bluebonnets here are setting seed, the primroses as well though they still have blooms. Daisies are up, joined by our first yellow coneflowers.  Four-o-clocks are re-emerging, as are garlic chives and jewels of Opar.
Looking the other direction, a first glimpse of the Hub's recently re-established plethora of potted plumeria.  This has become an annual project for him and though I don't love the early views, the flowers to come will well reward the wait.
Finally, just for grins, a shot looking up the path I almost always regard from the opposite direction.  Reaching up above the blooms please note the bottle tree in the background juxtaposed with a staked bottle brush tree in the foreground.  This is my first attempt at a garden pun and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Which brings me back to the insight I gained after forcing myself to go wide with the views this month.  I very rarely look at my garden spaces in toto. The labor of maintaining a garden can be daunting, especially when factoring in a limit to my outdoor access.

Rather than allow myself to be overwhelmed, I've developed the habit of focusing on one small pocket of space at a time, broken away from all the others.  It results in a "to-do" list that is, well, "doable".  The danger enters when I employ every glance at the garden spaces solely to assess work to be done.  In my case, what begins as coping mechanism can easily morph into a character flaw.  I now must consciously refuse to allow the beauty in these beds to be reduced, in my viewing, to a job site.

So a sincere "thank you Heather!" goes out for hosting the wide-shot meme.  It allowed me a broader look at not only my garden spaces, but also at how I approach them.  I resolve here and now to (try! try to!) spend at least as much time lost in admiration of the "work" that goes on in nature without my intervention as I spend time lost in planning what comes next.  This next month I'll attempt something new to me - gardening as both a journey and a destination.


Debra said...

First: that is a gorgeous iris.
Second: love the street view. I couldn't bear to do a wide shot because I am just not there yet. (someday?)
Third: too many nice things going on in back. If I commented on them all Blogger will think I am spamming you. So a simple: A+ to you. =)

TexasDeb said...

Debra: That iris is doubly gorgeous to my eyes. I'd convinced myself I'd killed them all off or rendered them into some permanent non-blooming state.

You are so kind, especially considering what a rabble rouser you are. I thank you sincerely for the A+ designation and recall how my Mom used to tell me to never argue with a guest. So I won't.

Heather/xericstyle said...

I LOVE your yard - front and back! I love your front yard slopes...your paths in the back...the wildflower carpet...and your hubby's collection! Everything is so beautiful and mature looking. Thank you so much for participating! Can't wait to see next month....-xericstyle

Tina said...

I love the layout of your back space--the walkways between the wooden bench and the two blue chairs--it's such a nice meeting spot. And, good for you for ridding yourself of noxious lawn (jazz hands here, for anyone who agrees!). Isn't it nice to have gardens and no grass? Of course, you're replaced one form of labor for another!

Kris Peterson said...

Congratulations on getting rid of the lawn! I have a good idea of the challenges associated with that - we're still chipping away at ours piece by piece. The mass of pink evening primrose provides a beautiful carpet. I think the street view is wonderful too.

TexasDeb said...

Heather: I deeply appreciate your enthusiasm. I had to chuckle at the use of the term "mature looking". The Hub and I are old hands at caring for these spaces in all their incarnations. And I mean that literally. OLD hands. If anything is mature looking around here it is the gardeners more so than the gardens. I'm finding I'm enjoying the wide shot appraisal much more than I expected. Thanks for hosting it.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Thank you, Bee Momma. That meeting spot - so far it is sadly underused. Between oak pollen, heat and mosquitoes it seems there are more excuses to work than sit and enjoy. We do have one small remaining patch of lawn - another pet project of The Hub's. 90 percent is happily gone however and one of these days....

TexasDeb said...

KP: Thank you! Having seen your spaces (online) that means a lot. I am a patsy for the primroses and the local pollinators seem to appreciate them as much as I do. Allowing them to dominate my spaces for most of the season is an easy choice to make for me.

Shirley said...

Your gardens look great and the iris is gorgeous. Everything works so well with your site and the stone house. I want a carpet of primrose too! We're working on coaxing them over.

The damianita, now that's what I want to see.

You have some nice places to sit in the garden so take some time to enjoy what you've accomplished.

TexasDeb said...

Shirley: Thank you! Glad you dropped by.

We've been working on putting in more native perennials. My Damianita is waning - I need to try supplemental watering to see if it looks better longer.

I am going to take your advice to heart and plan on a little sit-down with a glass of wine this very evening. Have fun with the primrose - hope you get your carpet for next season.

Pam/Digging said...

Jazz hands here too! Your wide shots are always delightful. I love your staggered line of agaves out front and, now, the carpet of evening primrose in back.

TexasDeb said...

Pam: Aw shucks. You have such a discerning eye design wise - I truly appreciate the encouragement. That carpet of primrose out back has been especially nice this year and we've all enjoyed it immensely.

(Side note: Why do we say discerning eye, singular? Don't you use BOTH eyes when you design?)

Pam/Digging said...

And "lead the eye" and "please the eye." Just one. Funny.