The Austin Pond Society held its 2010 Austin Pond Tour on June 12th & 13th with 26 ponds scattered over the entire Austin metro area. Some were small city backyards, others were suburban yards of a quarter or half-acre, and a few were estates with huge water features that would make many a municipality envious.
This year we visited ponds both days, making it to 9 of the 12 South ponds that were open on Saturday. (Most of the photos should enlarge when clicked. Some enlarge more when clicked a second time).
How lovely it must be to have this tranquil view from the adjoining family room! I liked the rain chain's solidity and the way it led to a sort of dry creek lined with stones. Kevin Wood, the landscape designer, told us the chain was there when the pond was made and it had to be worked into the design. Here's a lengthwise view along the back of the house. The space isn't large but the pond and walk fit into the terrain perfectly, transporting the owners into a private world.
The kinds of plants lining the walk uphill from the street was the first clue that this garden was made by someone who knew how to use plants that were beautiful but Austin-tough. The pond itself was serene and lovely but the area is near to a busy street. The waterfall was designed to mask the street sounds with water sounds.
When we started talking to the pond design person she seemed very familiar - it was Sheryl McLaughlin! She's Kevin Wood's partner, and I knew her great Central Texas voice from her Sunday morning radio call-in show
We enjoyed the colorful mix of native and adapted shrubs and perennials on the walk back to the car and headed Northeast.
This very cool pond deserves many photos, but they'd be filled with human legs, heads and back ends... this was one popular pond! Although the garden's size meant tight quarters for a tour, it was perfectly sized for the daily life of a friendly family who live in harmony with each other and with nature. We had fun watching assorted chickens & ducklings in one part of the garden, then went into a separate area where another small pond set a child's imagination free.
Take a closer look - all pieces of existing toys put together by a budding engineer.
The owner did the work himself- digging the ponds and building a floating deck in the back, using the available space in creative ways.
This garden had a great deck and the beautiful pond had a cool rock wall, but the many cameras were all pointed at an enormous pink waterlily...or maybe this is a Lotus?
Not-quite-invisible netting was hung above and along the back fence - like many Austin pond owners, the people who lived here had to find a way to foil fish-loving herons from gliding in for lunch. The owner said he was pretty thrilled that the lotus opened on the right day. I waited my turn to get in closer, liking the shadows on the leavesAnd even closer - the structure of these water lotus flowers is fascinating.
Then I took a "wait until next year" photo - we were told this space will be a new feature that will knock your socks off in another year or two!
A flurry of dragonflies swirled around the next pond. This rectangular back garden had a 'Little Gem' Magnolia, wisteria and many interesting containers. A red dragonfly sits on the tall cattail with a blue dragonfly on the shorter plant.
The red dragonfly stayed still for another couple of seconds
The waterfall had a good sound and the plants were both dramatic and fun
We walked across the lawn, passed through a vine covered arch and entered an enclosed world slightly below street level. A lot with a sharp drop and a retaining wall may have been a detriment to a less creative person, but to this couple it was obviously the right space for a waterfall pond. The resulting multi-level pond was fun and it felt right.
This was a pleasant place to be,with the sound and sparkle of water falling from one part of the pond to another and the area around the pond filled with the collection of a plant loving owner.
We made a return visit to a cool garden and pond we'd enjoyed a few years ago. The art is still whimsical (feel free to insert jokes about the "State Bird" right here)
The dragonflies and fish are still abundant
The connected ponds seemed more beautiful and the tropical plants more lush
But the annual plants were no longer the country-style mixed Zinnias of 2008
They were the dramatic 'Black Pearl' peppers and Blackfoot daisies we've fallen in love with in 2010. I'd seen them on Pam's Digging blog but this was my first in-person encounter. When DivaAnnie (from the Divas of the Dirt) and I were nursery hopping last Friday we found Black Pearls at Shoal Creek Nursery and I bought a few plants, too.
The adjoining deer-fenced vegetable garden was full of beautiful tomato plants with orange fruit picked and sitting on benches to finish ripening. Even netted tomatoes can be chomped in our yard - I asked the owner why the squirrels didn't get them... his answer? Dachshunds don't like squirrels.
I must show you one more dragonfly!
The house was a mansion, with large statuary announcing its presence, fully equipped with all the trappings of Austin mansionhood: grand gates and approaches, luxurious patios and a zero-edge pool...but then something odd happened. We were directed down a steep set of steps at the back of the house where a path led to a very large pool surrounded by chunks of rocks. We'd left mansionhood for a water garden that was more natural and more pleasing and maybe more revealing that the rest of the place.
In this peaceful and beautiful pond the lotus flowers had gone wild
Walk through the back garden, under a vine-covered arch and turn left. Tucked back in the corner of this city lot is a waterfall pond with a soothing sound and a rock wall This is a wall with space for memories... not just stone bought from a building supply but rocks that were gathered for their shapes and stories and whimsical resemblance to other things
One of the owner's favorites looks like a smiling bear.... I hope she won't mind my getting a little whimsical and making him even more like a cartoon.
Next up- a few North Ponds from the Sunday Pond Tour.
2016 Spring Flowers
1 week ago