Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden.
Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
The Austin Pond Society tour took in quite a large territory this year, reaching up past the northwest corner of Austin to encompass ponds in Cedar Park & Leander, then tossing a lasso up to Liberty Hill. Past the shopping centers, past the faux-Victorian subdivision houses, up to where the streets have horse names, the houses have a few acres surrounding them, and there is room to swing a cat – or a backhoe.
This pond owner/builder told me that he had an advantage when building his pond – he owns the backhoe, and lives in an area where rocks abound under the soil. Some pond gardens in more urban areas are designed for specific reasons: to muffle the sound of traffic, to add resale value to the property, to provide an impressive area for entertaining, to enclose the koi so they’re not pierced by herons, to provide privacy from close neighbors or to bring a feeling of nature to the city. This pond plays in a different arena – creative expression by a hard-working man who is having fun. It's actually a series of ponds, built in stages, displaying an adventurous & masterful use of plants, and decorated with whimsical touches. Along the back border of the pond area, native trees, shrubs and drought tolerant plants provided a colorful backdrop. A recent addition was standing cypress, Ipomopsis rubra. [You can see it at top left in the previous posted photo.] The owner intends to scatter the seeds of this beautiful flower, extending the bed into a border. Within the pond there was an area with bog plants, among them the red-flowering Lobelia cardinalis, happy to have damp feet in Central Texas. Wonderful water lilies are mandatory, of course! The bloom season of the water lilies is one reason for the mid-July timing of this annual tour.
With this large, well-built and well-planted foundation in place, the owner added many quirky touches, thus invoking what the tour brochure promised, “the essence of South Austin in Liberty Hill”. The effect was playful, charming the adults and delighting the children as they wandered up and around the ponds, discovering the Mariachi band, a lighthouse, a dry hill with cacti & a windmill, and dancing frogs tucked in along the way.