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Annie in Austin
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.
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

2007 Austin Pond Society Tour

A week before the Austin Pond Tour we went to Hill Country Water Gardens to buy tickets and get the brochure. Buying the tickets took only a minute, but we needed an hour to wander around this wonderful place, fantasizing about water features, [oh those disappearing fountains!] admiring the plants, fish and statuary. This year the paper tickets were replaced by wristbands - a fun idea that left our hands free to hold the camera.

We made it to 24 of the 30 locations featured on the weekend of July 14th & 15th, having a slight meltdown up in Pflugerville and Cedar Park where new tollways slash and divide the terrain but don't yet appear on our maps. An organized account of the tour may be posted soon at the Austin Pond Society Website - these are merely my impressions of a few of the delightful ponds and gardens, from small owner-built pools to lavish estates.

We loved the fabric sail over this Wells Branch pond - an artful way to add shade.

I'm not fond of garden bridges with no reason for their existence. This simple bridge lets you move across the ponds, from one side of the garden to the other, so it's not just decorative but functional.

A really cool arch made a gracious entry to this waterfall and pond. I liked the pond but also liked that large fig tree full of fruit. It was interesting to see how many of these pond folk grow Loquats, figs and cannas - some of my own favorites.
This Pflugerville garden was filled with whimsical decor. And I do mean filled.

This garden in the Lakeline Mall area incorporated the existing large trees into the design and truly felt like a retreat.

Many ponds attempt to look as if they're natural outcroppings - this pond, also near Lakeline Mall, made no such attempt, remaining spare and geometric. It's clean lines acted as a refreshing lemon sorbet, clearing the palate at this lavish pond banquet.

A beautiful waterfall and stream like this one would be thrilling in any garden, but it's just the entrance pond for one of the most spectacular gardens in Austin. Featured on Central Texas Gardener and open both Saturday night and Sunday, this Lost Creek wonderland is large and lovely and was very difficult to leave. A wide shot of just one part of the back is below.

In yet another area there was a wonderful stream full of lilies.

MSS of Zanthan Gardens also enjoyed this hillside garden and has posted another view in the
Zanthan Pond Tour Post.

MSS also took photos at this huge and famous estate garden overlooking Town Lake for her post - and it was fun to see that we noticed some of the same things, both posting a photo of the Wall of Buddha Statues in the Lotus Garden.

But I don't think MSS went on hands and knees to capture the floor of the terrace in the Lotus Garden - the elongated pebbles appear to be set individually making a wonderful pattern. It had me crooning, and the texture felt good underfoot.

What a view!

We came down from the mountaintop and drove back to the real world, where pleasure can be found in a long relationship with one plot of land and the fruits of one's labor. That concrete bench in the background is handmade, decorated with impressed Caladium leaves.

Alone in an enclosed garden hearing the sounds of water and birds.
Ah, serenity.

There are no photos of some of my favorite views and pond gardens - it doesn't feel right to put innocent bystanders on my blog, and at many locations it was impossible to exclude recognizable persons when photographing the ponds. One of the impossible-to-photograph places was a delectable, dreamy garden off Barton Creek Road with one of the ponds running alongside the house, and a rock outcropping overlooking green woods. In a perfect blend of urban life and privacy, one could balance on a large rock seeing nothing but pond and garden while inhaling the odor of onion rings wafting up from the Shady Grove.

Edit June 2011- old link to APS doesn't work - linked to revamped website.


  1. Wow, why do I suddenly have the urge to pick up a shovel and start digging a pond? I really like that Lost Creek garden, that's magnificant. All of the gardens are beautiful.

    I'd say you got your money's worth on this tour. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. What a great tour, Annie. I loved all of your photos. Like MSS's post, yours has persuaded me that I really need to take the Pond Tour next year.

    You've also opened another photography discussion, I think, with your comment that you don't feel right posting photos of bystanders. This had never occurred to me, and in my garden-tour photography I've often sought to put people in my photos for a sense of scale and how a garden is enjoyed by people. Hmmm. Your comment has startled me into thinking about this and wondering if it's a blogging no-no.

  3. Carol,
    Thank you for the tour. what a wonderful way to spend a day...or...two. I love ponds. I have an unfinished pond in my yard that has been there for two years. We are just waiting for some extra cash to finish it and waiting and waiting.
    I loved the wall o' Buddhas. I'm not aware of a pond tour here but it's a great idea.

  4. Annie,
    I don't know why I just called you Carol. Maybe because she left the first comment. Who knows why my brain does what it does. Sorry. I love your article.

  5. Beautiful! Thank you for the virtual tour!

  6. Hi Annie,

    Well, you must know you tickled me with this post. I could spend hours of delight during a tour like this... I recognize many of the plants that are full-grown in your photos that are young-starts in my newly rebuilt pond. I'm looking for trees to shade my pond and I see some possibilities here!

    Thanks for a great tour. Wouldn't you love to create your own Zen within your gardens? The soothing sound of a soft waterfall surrounded by your favorite flowers and maybe a few Koi? Add a few wind chimes...

    I love my pond - it lowers the blood pressure and makes me smile.

    Try it :o)

  7. How neat that we both fell in love with that same garden above Barton Creek Road. I was there early Sunday and could have had some great photos without any people had my camera been working. Like you, I prefer not to include people in my photos in most cases. (Your "What a view!" photo is of that garden--so you got at least one shot, even though it's of the pool not the pond.)

    I wasn't quite as impressed with the cobbled pavement as you were--probably because I'd just come back from England where I saw a lot of cobbles. However, I'm tempted to do a separate post on just that garden. There was a lot going on there.

    I wish I had seen more. I'm glad you shared the shot of the "spare and geometric" pond which I missed. Mine will be a formal rectangle, too and I hope its "clean lines act[ed] as a refreshing lemon sorbet".

    I was limited to half a day on Sunday and pretty jet-lagged. Next year, though, I'm going to go all out. I'm definitely joining the Austin Pond Society, too!

  8. What a great tour! The terrace in the Lotus Garden was amazing - and I love those pools (the one with a view) that have the disappearing edge.

    Boy, rocks and stones are hard to come by here (or expensive to come by). There just gorgeous in the landscape, aren't they?

  9. Carol, the only surprise is that you haven't made one already.

    Pam/Digging, Philo and I have been on it 4 times and now it's a highlight on the summer calendar.

    As to posting photos of strangers...I don't know if there are rules about it. I just decided to either leave people out, use photoshop to blur them, or set the resolution very low.

    Chigiy, it's like a 2-day road rally trying to get to all the locations before 5 PM, but tons of fun. I want a 'water feature' too - maybe we should start buying lottery tickets?

    Hi Melissa - you're welcome - thank you for coming!

    Mary, you could have gotten in on the discussions with the pond owners about filters, fish, temperatures, algae, water, etc., and had a lot of insider fun.

    Maybe you need a sail! There was a pole somewhat hidden by tall plants with a metal hook-thing on top. The point of the sail had a guy rope that went to the hook. In person it was enchanting.

    Thank you so much, MSS for giving me a positive ID on that photo... I was almost certain it was from the Barton Creek pond, and hoped that was the case, but stupidly had not written down the photo numbers as I snapped them. The path around the second pond next to the house was like a conga line by the time we got there in mid-afternoon.

    Hello Pam, the disappearing edge is really big around here, seen frequently in the realty ads for million-dollar houses.

    Even in a rocky area those landscape stones aren't cheap, but they seem to be less expensive than in IL. If had money some of it would turn into rocks, and some of it would turn into water!

    Thank you,


  10. Annie:

    As always, great post. How else could we all see these delightful gardens if not for your camera! Thanks for taking us on the tour! I loved your 'lemon sorbet' comment and the clean lines of that pool!

  11. Annie, what a great tour, and thanks for showing it to us. That was a LOT of gardens to tour in one day and you did a beautiful job with the photos. I loved them all.

  12. Awesome photos Annie. You had me salivating as I scrolled the page as I daydreamed through a few possibilities.

    I'm surprised that you don't appreciate superflous bridges. I thought that if they fitted in with the pond then they added something a little more special - much like a pond sculpture. Do you have any pics of bridges that you don't like?

  13. Thanks for a lovely tour Annie, I've enjoyed it. Love that wall of Buddha's! And the use of natural stone in many a garden.

    I wish I had a pond, seeing all those pics of lovely ponds makes me miss my pond in my previous garden and the fishes too. But hopefully I will have a new pond in the not too distant future. Can't wait!

  14. What a wonderful day of garden touring that must have been, Annie.

    I have no desire to have a pond of my own, but I really enjoy looking at other peoples. I especially like the one that incorporated the tree trunk.

    I am off to check out the link you provided.

  15. Sounds like a wonderful tour and you've shown us some gorgeous pictures! I find myself wanting to peer over the edge of that "What a View" pool to see what's below :)
    That "difficult to leave" garden looks like I place I could spend hours wandering and sitting.
    I do love to sit beside water and listen to the sounds.
    I can see why you're making it an annual event. Thanks for taking us along!

  16. What a nice tour, Annie, thanks for sharing it with us. Your comments were as delightful as the photos, "lemon sorbet" indeed!

    I've never done the pond tour held here each August but now I'm re-thinking that!

  17. Just gorgeous. I love the "Zen" pond, the Wall of Buddha Statues in the Lotus Garden, infinity edge pond and the one filled with water lilies. Interesting on "bystanders" as most people in the US love to see people in pics of the Caribbean, or other places I travel.
    Well, I don't think seeing other North Americans in pics are as interesting LOL!

  18. Annie, what a wonderful post. I have thus far resisted the call of the water feature, but many of these pictures make me want to change my mind about that.

    I love that cobblestone floor--what handwork must have gone into getting that just right! I like the idea of the wall of buddhas, but for some reason the reality kind of takes me aback somehow. I don't know why.

    Like others, I would like for any feature in my garden to "act like a taste of lemon sorbet"... and I would also want my garden to feel like a place that you would never want to leave. You have such a lovely way with words.

  19. Wonderful pictures of ponds. I do like the one surrounded by decking and the stream is very nice too. The infinity pond looks a little weird with the horizon line at mid tree height. Would probably work better with a backdrop of water, a lake or ocean to extend the illusion.

    Weird that the photo of the person in the left side of the decking pond is clear reflected off the water but blurred as you would normally see her/him. Hmmm, a different kind of vampire or some photoshop magic?

  20. The ponds are always the highlights of Garden Walk, although we lack the larger ones you show here. Plenty of gigantic koi though. I've always longed for a perfect geometric rectangle of water but it's impossible to do in my space.

    I am a minimalist at heart and someday I'll be able to express that--not here though.

  21. I'm so jealous! What a wonderful tour. Thanks so much for sharing your photos!

  22. Hi Layanee, this makes up for last year when I forgot the camera!

    Hello Bev, well it was actually most of two days... looking at the gardens is easy - driving around Austin is not!

    Stuart, who knows what this quirk is about? Too practical maybe? Not enough imagination?

    Yolanda, I also hope your dream of a pond comes true soon, and that you let us in on the process.

    That garden was very inviting, Zoey, and the people looked as if they'd be fun to know.
    Maybe what we need are friends with a cool pond!

    Hello Kerri - it's in the heart of Austin on a hill - you'd mostly see trees, but a busy street is not that far away.

    LostRoses please go on yours and post photos!
    I'm glad you liked the lemon sorbet analogy - that was the effect it had on me, at least.

    Nicole, I'd want to ask permission first, unless it were a public kind of celebrity. I don't know if this is an odd quirk or a sign of age.

    Hello Blackswamp Kim, I'm still not sure how I feel about the wall of Buddhas. It's probably not a lot different from the walls covered in silver and wooden crosses. About which I'm also ambivalent! Good grief, all my neuroses are on parade today.

    Thank you very much for liking what I say.

    Howdy Ki - there was one stream that may have run 100 feet from start to finish. I'm not too sure the infinity pool is used for illusion here - more for the wow factor.

    You are right - I left the reflection alone, but used the Impressionist Brush to blur the actual person.

    EAL, one of the ponds was about 100 gallons, and the largest was 9000 gallons - quite a range!

    I enjoy seeing all of them, but have wavered between wanting something plain and geometric as a reflective heart to a garden, and wanting a bubbling stream for the birds and frogs. I can't do either one yet, but love the tour in the meantime.

    Thanks for coming over Mimi - I'm glad you enjoyed them.

    Thank you all,


  23. The whole thing is a revelation for me. We do not have such pond societies in India and I am really amazed and thrilled at the concept.

    I love the 'lemon sorbet' analogy!

  24. Nice tour! Funny how calming water features are...even my little water tubs have that effect on me!

  25. I love ponds features so this was a neat treat for me. You give a wonderful tour! I find myself just wanting to sit and listen to the water trickle in gardens with water features. Someday I hope to post that we are building one. That may be awhile though...lol

  26. Hi Annie,
    Amazing that you got to see most of the ponds on the Tour! Jan and I went on Sunday only and we only got to see six. Will do better next year. Did you tour this year?
    I put some photos of the ponds we saw on my 'blog, My Photographic Memories. I really enjoyed the tour, and like most folks, want a pond in my back yard soon!
    Best regards,
    Mike Z

  27. Hi Michael -
    Thanks for checking out last year's tour and commenting.
    Philo and I went on the tour again this year and managed to see all of the private ponds but didn't go to the Wildflower Center. This was probably the 6th year we've gone on the Pond Tour, and my husband has the route plotting down to a science - the engineer thing, maybe?

    This year my pond post was a little different. The camera broke mid-tour, giving me the push to turn another of the garden songs I've written into a music video. It has some photos from this year, from other years and some video of Rick & Kathy's stream. It's part of a collection called Roots in Austin as "The Pond Song", if you'd like to see it.

    Now over to check out your pond photos!


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  29. Are you going to this year's Pond Tour? It will be on July 18th (north) and 19th (south)
    The Austin Pond Society weblog has all the details.
    Mike Z

  30. Hi Michael,

    I looked at the site a few weeks ago but we're not sure whether we can make the Austin Pond Society Tour this year or not. Started going in 2001 (when it was in June instead of July) and think we only missed one or two after that.

    Hope things work out for this year, too! And hope your summer is rolling along well, even though hot.



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