Austin Pond Society Tour 2010
Water lily ‘Rhonda Kay’ at Mark and Debi’s garden.

June 23rd, 2010
Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

Now on my fourth year of touring Austin ponds, I see that my eye has begun to wander. I snapped very few photographs of ponds. So, if this post leaves you wanting, head over to The Transplantable Rose where @Annieinaustin provides a more complete tour.

Jim’s Garden

The 10 x 25 foot pond fills the gap between the addition to the house and the fence. The room overlooking the pond is walled in glass so that you can sit in the comfort of the indoors and see nothing but waterfalls and plants. Now that’s designing for our Austin environment!

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

What I was particularly attracted to were these metal and concrete risers. I’ve been wanting to do metal enclosed terraces between our house and pond. I love these sinuous curves.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

The pond creator, Kevin Wood, was there showing before and process photos on his iPad. Unfortunately, he didn’t do the stairs.

Danette’s Garden

Kevin Wood also did Danette’s garden which I found quite peaceful.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

The waterfall muted the noise from the bustle of nearby South Congress. But the sense of peace came from something more than silence. Although filled with many interesting plants, the garden had a feeling of openness and space. One could breathe deeply in it.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

The plant that really caught my eye was a white, single Rose of Sharon. Most modern Rose of Sharon flowers are double and I didn’t even recognize it as the same flower. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for it. I think I like Rose of Sharon even more than Austin’s ubiquitous crape myrtles (which do look fantastic this year). And they’re just as easy to keep alive in Austin.

Leeann’s Garden

Leeann’s garden was designed to be a delightful environment for children to play in. Even though the back yard was tiny, it was filled with places to explore and hide in. The garden was a natural playscape, both fun and beautiful. This tiny, imaginative space made me feel sorry for children doomed to grow up in the bland lawn infested suburbs.

golden lace Polish hen

The garden was filled with trees, water, and (of course) critters. A bunny. And four chickens. How could anyone resist the charms of a a golden lace Polish hen?

Mark and Debi’s Garden

We visited Mark and Debi’s garden on previous pond tour in July after two years of drought. Even then the pond and landscape were in good condition because they are watered from an artesian spring which provides 10,000-20,000 gallons of water a day. (Compare that to my usage in the worst heat of summer–10,000 gallons of water a month.)

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

All that water plus all the water from our wet winter produced one of the lushest gardens I’ve ever seen in Austin. I probably took more photos here than at any other garden.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

I overheard Mark say that before he became a doctor he was an engineer–which is why he likes to build things. I also appreciate that he labeled his huge collection of water lilies. Now I know the one I want to buy is called ‘Star of Siam’. I love its mottled leaves. However, I doubt that it will fit in my small pond.

Bud’s Garden

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

I had seen Bud’s garden before and, again, it was interesting to see it earlier in the season and after a rainy spell rather than in the drought. The plants had really filled in and I preferred the choices to the zinnias that were there when I last saw it.

Susan’s Garden

Susan’s garden is one of the best shade gardens I’ve ever seen in Austin. The backyard is just a typical-sized suburban yard but the entire space is filled with plants. To make it seem even larger, the path through the garden is a circle. You can’t see the entire garden at glance and you’re drawn along the circular path to find out what’s just out of sight.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

Plant choices for dry, hot shade always seem so limited. But this was a very inventive garden. It had lots of whimsical garden objects and a really gorgeous wooden bench, too. If this garden hasn’t been on Central Texas Gardener yet, it should be.

Bill and Kharon’s Garden

The pond was small but deep and filled with fish. “Too many fish,” Kharon said. What I really liked about it was how the water plants were arranged. I wish I could have gotten a better photo but people were clustered around the edge looking at the fish.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

I really like the bald cypress in the pond–although I wonder what will happen to it when it gets too big for the pond.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

Lisa and Donald’s Garden

This garden was such a surprise. From the street, I would never have guessed that such a wonderful place was hidden in the back. I loved all the woodwork in the fences, porches, and outbuildings–both the style and the colors really appealed to me.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

The Transplantable Rose has a photo of the deep green lawn with two tomato red chairs on a tiny patio. Perfect!

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

Here’s an excellent solution to the fence height restrictions.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

Austin Pond Tour
Full sun demands bright colors in Linda and Rusty’s trim and tidy pond with fancy goldfish.

July 22nd, 2008
Austin Pond Society Tour 2008: 2

Annie and Philo were gracious enough to let me carpool with them for Day 2 of the Austin Pond Society 2008 tour: the north country ponds. Annie and I talked non-stop, often forgetting to provide directions to a very patient Philo. Amazingly we managed to see all fifteen ponds with time to spare. Early on, we both agreed we weren’t interested in giving a blow-by-blow account of the tour. I didn’t even take photos at every location. And then, as if to reinforce our resolve, technology failed us. First Annie’s camera stopped working and then I had problems posting photos to Twitter via Twitpic.

The theme of this year’s ponds tour was owner-made ponds. Some were tiny. Some were huge. And all were very, very personal. There was something for every taste and sensibility from trim suburban ponds in a lawn of grass so green that I bent down to touch it see if it were real to ponds that seemed to have evolved in situ. There were ponds built by koi fanciers and ponds that were an excuse for a plant person to explore bog and water plants. Many ponds were inhabited by fairies.

Austin Pond TourFred and Mary’s two ponds took up half their back yard which was covered with plants. They have lots of garden ornamentation but I liked these fairies cavorting in the waterfall best because they seemed like they might disappear if I blinked my eyes.

Even if you couldn’t be with us, you were in our thoughts. Throughout the day, Annie and I kept noticing little details that reminded us of y’all. On a window ledge we saw tiny flower pots and a child’s tea set which made us think of Carol’s fairies at May Dreams Gardens. And when we saw the decorated outbuildings, the grouping of plants, and garden ornaments around seating at Jody and David’s pond, we turned to each other and said, “Pam/Digging would like this garden!”

Austin Pond Tour

Jody’s mermaid collection called to mind Lucinda Hutson. Not only does Jody have the knack for arranging the pots and furniture in her garden, look at how beautifully she’s grouped the different shapes and textures of pond plants.

Austin Pond Tour

Austin Pond Tour

Kathy and Rick’s garden (which was featured on the Central Texas Gardener) is an oasis in the dry scrub and 100-degree heat. The size, of course, is astonishing. I especially liked their unusual sculptures. We sat to rest on their porch, looking down on the ponds and across the valley. I didn’t want to leave.

Austin Pond Tour

APS Tour 2008Cactus and water mix elegantly in Ray and Jeff’s garden. Jeff is the current president of the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society.

July 19th, 2008
Austin Pond Society Tour 2008, 1

Just a preview post to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Day 1 of the Austin Pond Society’s 2008 pond tour. Central Texans, if you didn’t have a chance to check out ponds today, don’t despair. Wristbands are only $15 and there are 15 more ponds on the tour tomorrow, Sunday July 20th.

If possible, download the map before going because guide booklets were scarce today. The map comes in “groovy” and “uncool” versions. Sunday’s ponds are in north Austin, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, and Round Rock.

I didn’t get a chance to take a lot of photos today. I spent the afternoon under a huge shade tree at Frank’s garden in Sunset Valley, ticking off visitors as they came in and chatting with C., the daughter of the pond owners next door who were also on the tour. In addition to running into Annie and Philo from The Transplantable Rose, Bob from Gardening at Draco stopped by and introduced himself.

One of my favorite gardens contained “his and her” ponds. Thenell explained that his wife, Deborah, is a plant person. He’s a fish person. Their first pond got so crowded with plants he complained that he couldn’t see the fish. He suggested she remove some plants. She suggested he get his own pond. And that’s how they ended up with two stunning ponds in their back yard. This is “his”–it’s above ground and had many lovely fish. Lots, of plants, too, though, I see.
APS Tour 2008

A public service announcement. Austin gardeners can help make the 2008 Pond Tour a success.

July 3rd, 2008
Austin Pond Society Needs You

An announcement to my Austin readers: the Austin Pond Society needs volunteers to help with this year’s pond tour. The tour is July 19th and 20th.

You do not need to be a member of APS to volunteer. As the volunteer contact, Beth Zapata put it, “Volunteer duties are light and mainly involve greeting visitors and marking the visitor tally sheet, checking for wristbands and directing visitors to the pond. Everything you need will be waiting for you when you arrive at your volunteer station. A smile is all we ask you to bring. Volunteer shifts are either 8:30am-1:00pm or 12:30pm-5:00pm and are available for either Saturday, July 19th (our south day) or Sunday, July 20th (north).”

In return for your smile you receive free admission to the rest of the pond tour, a T-shirt, and invitation to the private Splash party on July 13th.

I enjoyed my first pond tour so much last year that I immediately joined the Austin Pond Society and am volunteering to help this year. As of today the APS needs ten more people. If you’re one of them, contact Beth Zapata at bzapata1 at sbcglobal dot net.