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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ladies (and Gentlemen) Provide a Meta Moment in the Garden

Not much makes me stop my car these days, but the recent sight of royalty strolling about the water conserving gardens in front of my neighborhood's City Hall had me abruptly executing a bat turn and pulling over to the curb without pause.
Rollingwood (Texas) City Hall, Zone 8b
The team from public television station KLRU's Central Texas Gardener were out and about, interviewing horticulturalist Scott Ogden.  Ogden designed the Rollingwood Waterwise Demonstration Gardens along with wife Lauren Springer Ogden and Patrick Kirwin (Kirwin Horticultural Services).  Ogden and his wife are the creative force behind Plant Driven Design.  Scott and Lauren currently provide ongoing advisory and maintenance services for the community garden.

Joining in the discussion was Rollingwood Parks Commission member Robert Patterson, who was key to moving the garden from concept towards completion.  Living less than a block away, Patterson is a direct beneficiary of the new and improved view provided as he walks his dogs daily and occasionally rides his recumbent bicycle past the park.  He also walks the talk, having removed his own lawn a couple of years ago in favor of more xeric, naturalized plantings.

The community garden design, utilizing natives and well adapted neighbors, is meant to be both inspirational and instructive, providing by direct example what good can come AG (After Grass).  Most of the plants are clearly labeled, giving you a glimpse of what grows well and as importantly, where, under some very typical central Texas conditions.  The plants chosen, once established, require little supplemental watering.  As the gardens are unfenced and our area is populated with freely roaming white tailed deer, the plants in play are also proving their browse resistance under combat conditions.
Director of Photography Ed Fuentes relocates a camera as Producer/Editor Linda Lehmusvirta chats on site with Mark Morrow, in charge of Audio Ops for the segment.
After parking my car and just (barely) managing to avoid squealing like an adolescent, I casually dashed over and breathlessly inserted myself into the group.  I blurted out my blog handle along with how excited I was over the gardens getting airtime on the popular Central Texas Gardener program.  I apologized for interrupting but stated I wanted to thank Ms. Lehmusvirta and crew personally for the hours of enjoyment and invaluable information I've picked up over the years as a KLRU subscriber and faithful CTG watcher.

You know, I'm not sure how the CTG crew ever gets any work done when they are filming in a public place.  I was not the only one to recognize them and casually enter what was actually their work space.  It didn't matter - everybody was as courteous and congenial as if they were simply enjoying the day and not trying to get a segment filmed. After mis-identifying a small tree (just to assure everybody it was really me!) I realized I had originally been on my way to run an errand, so I excused myself and did just that.

Then of course, I scooted back home and grabbed my own camera.  Wouldn't you? As I was attempting to surreptitiously snap a shot of CTG's queen bee at work, I could not help but notice a couple of other important garden ladies busily working the spaces.
Harmonia axyridis - Asian lady beetle 
My role models for gardening come in all shapes, sizes, and numbers of spots.
Coccinella septempunctata - Seven spot lady bug
The Rollingwood Waterwise Demonstration Garden segment on Central Texas Gardener is currently set to premiere on September 26th, 2015.  (If you aren't an Austinite, check your local PBS listings for dates and air times.)

But don't wait to see it on television! If you are ever in the neighborhood, do stop at Rollingwood's City Hall on Nixon Drive and take a leisurely live self-guided tour of the garden and grounds.  I can't promise I'll recognize you, stop my car and say hello, but I can promise that possibility is not at all the best reason to visit.

Rght now, things are lookin' very good in the hood.

Rollingwood Waterwise Demonstration Garden
203 Nixon Drive
Rollingwood, Texas
Admission:  free


Tina said...

You didn't, in your adolescent, groupie fervor,toss your gardening gloves or some other apparel at the anyone, did you? Snort.

Such a fun post, Deb, and thanks for your promotion of the Rollingwood Waterwise Demo garden--I need to cruise by there sometime for a look-see.

Love your ladybird beetle shots. I've had a bunch of those aphid-munching friends visiting this spring--as well as a bunch of aphids. But, I'm letting the beetles and their offspring do their thing: munch, mate, reproduce, etc.

Thanks for the morning chuckle!

Shirley said...

Oh wow! I would have stopped just as fast. Scott Ogden (sqeee!) whose books on gardening in tough climates have been inspirational and the plants lists indispensible. The CTG crew and the shows they produce are just as important to the formation of my garden.

The Rollingwood garden looks like an excellent place to get inspired.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: If I had my gardening gloves in the car I think I'd have angled for autographs. Do I now carry a pristine pair of gloves and a sharpie in my car on the off chance I'll ever see the CTG group in action again? (chances: slim to nonexistent..) Um, maybe? : )

TexasDeb said...

Shirley: Right!??!! These folk are Garden Gurus for real. I am love-love-loving the golden poppies and globemallow in the demo garden right now. You suppose it would be considered homage or petty theft if I tried to snag some seed later in the season?
(Not that I am planning on it but I do think about it every time I drive by!).

Linda/patchwork said...

How fun!
I would have stopped, too. Not often you can hobnob with royalty.

TexasDeb said...

Linda: Everybody who stopped was treated quite courteously, not at all a controlled access situation there in the public gardens. It helped to have the KLRU van parked close by. The van + the gardens = Squeeee!

Kris Peterson said...

That sounds like a great break from mundane errands. How nice to have a community garden close by! The closest waterwise demonstration garden in these parts I know if requires an arduous drive through downtown LA (which isn't something I undertake lightly) plus a significant entrance fee. But that's LA...

I'm enjoying the thought of you counting the spots on every ladybug you see!

Travis Heights Garden Mama said...

So fun! What a fun way to meet some idols. The demonstration park looks beautiful- I haven't herded (ahem, walked) though with my kids on the way to the playground in a few months and it looks wonderful!

Rebecca Newcomb said...

I'm such an avid viewer of CTG! Such a great program. I look forward to seeing this episode air, and will have to put this on my list of gardens to visit!

TexasDeb said...

Kris: Most organized tours are held this time of year, when flowers are at peak right along with the oak pollen. That means I don't tour much locally.

This demonstration garden was installed in place of lawns in front of City Hall buildings located between two parks, just a stone's throw from where I live. I'm proud of our municipality for their foresight and leadership in waterwise gardening. Now if only my actual neighbors would do the same!

TexasDeb said...

THGM: I bet you'll be pleased at how well everything has filled in so far. Lots of pollinator action, too. And the parks, well, they're great, aren't they! The happy noise from both the parks and ball fields nearby is a welcome backdrop for being outside in our neighborhood.

TexasDeb said...

Rebecca: I know you'll love the segment. Watching CTG is my favorite way to armchair garden tour.

We are a bit of a drive from where you are, and the gardens are small, having been installed where lawn used to be in front of our public buildings. That said, if you were already in this neck of the woods, the gardens are lovely and well worth a look around.

Linda Lehmusvirta said...

What a beautiful and sweet post! And great pictures. Believe me, I was squealing with delight to meet you, too! Thank you so much for stopping!!

Rock rose said...

I'm wondering why you didn't call me! I would have been over there in a shot. But I will have to pay a visit next time I am heading down or up Bee cave Rd. I never knew where your city hall was but you have put it on the map. And Deb. you are too funny. You had me smiling at some of your comments.

TexasDeb said...

LindaL: You are too kind. Believe me, I had no choice but to stop - after spotting you I couldn't have driven on by to save my life. I am deeply relieved I managed to come to a full stop before leaping out and rushing over...

Thanks for letting me transplant a little of the CTG fun over here to austinagrodolce!

TexasDeb said...

RockRose: Thanks Jenny! [Ummm - do I have your number? : ) ]

I'm tickled you enjoyed the post and I know you'll enjoy the small R'wood garden by City Hall. What they've done there is right up your alley.

That said, you've been doing a lot of what they've done there for years already. I wouldn't have been shocked to learn they'd come to you for inspiration!

Pam/Digging said...

How fun - a rare sighting of the elusive Linda in her natural habitat! And Scott Ogden as well!

A year ago, you suggested I visit this garden, and I finally did a week and a half ago, catching the bluebonnets at peak bloom. I had no idea I was so close to the elusive TexasDeb's garden as well. Would that a sighting had been possible. I'll be posting about the Waterwise Garden soon. It offers fabulous inspiration. Thanks for letting me know about it!

TexasDeb said...

Pam: I remember that suggestion and when I began reading posts about other gardens in the neighborhood on your blog recently I wondered if City Hall was on your list of stops.

I'm excited to see and read about your take on the gardens. Rollingwood is certainly getting its moment in the sun (and the hail!).

I'm glad you and the CTG crew were here before the storms hit. The damage wasn't terrible but the flowers sure looked happier before they got pelted with ice!

Debra said...

=D Love CTG and Scott Ogden's work. hahaha I wonder what he would have done if you HAD thrown your gardening gloves at him. That is hilarious. I've seen some interviews with him and he seems kind of intense and intimidating. More of a plant person than a people person. Thanks for the laugh (and great tip ... will definitely check out the garden some time soon).

TexasDeb said...

Debra: I was only around long enough to mis-identify a plant and to make a statement that provoked a bit of a reaction from Mr. Ogden about invasive plants and what we should be doing (or not) about them. Me stepping in conversational mucky spots is so par for the course I ought to wear rain gear full time.

Just you all watch though - one of these days I'll get an ID correctly sorted out and then who knows what will happen next!