July 18th, 2007
Austin Pond Society Tour 2007

Austin Pond Society Tour 2007
The tour’s featured garden was built into a steep hill. The owners are reported to have been inspired on the pond tour two years earlier. I wish my inspirations would take solid form like this.

One of the unexpected benefits of the garden house project is that we are becoming owners of a pond. I’ve wanted a pond for a long time. In anticipation of this new stewardship, we began checking out books on ponds. I realized quickly that I face a very steep learning curve. The Austin Pond Society’s annual tour was last weekend. Although I was in flight on Saturday, I decided I could extend my vacation one more day and spend Sunday visiting ponds instead of tending my own garden. Luckily, all the ponds open Sunday for viewing were in south Austin.

I really enjoyed the tour and it was well worth the $15 admission even though I managed to see only about 1/3 of the 30 ponds that were open to the public. What I liked best about the tour was the variety, little DIY ponds made by “normal” people with “normal” backyards; a pond in a funky old south Austin in a yard full of handcrafted buildings (including a screened porch room); brand new ponds which made the most of a steep otherwise unworkable sites by creating pools and waterfalls, artsy ponds in killer backyards overlooking Austin, and a series of ponds in a canyon being restored to native plantings. I even saw a house I’d give mine up for in a second…and only a few blocks (and several million dollars) away.

Everyone was really friendly, too, and all the owners were extremely nice in talking about their pond experiences. Owners, thanks so much for inviting the hoards into your back yards!

I’m afraid that my eye strayed more to the gardens and plants than to the ponds. I’m sure that once I have more experience with my own pond that I’ll become more attuned to what to look the next time I tour ponds. Part of the tour, my camera wasn’t working so I only have photos from three gardens.

Gary’s Garden
Gary Pettitt owns Seasonal Living Trading Co here in Austin and his garden is a showcase for his wares .
Austin Pond Society Tour 2007
Distracted by the poolside view overlooking Town Lake and the Austin, I thought the pond took a back seat. Which is difficult because what a pond it was!

Austin Pond Society Tour 2007
The backdrop was a 10-foot high drip wall which emptied into a 40-foot long, narrow but deep koi pond.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2007
A sculpture took center stage and on either side little statues of Buddha sat serenely in their niches behind the flowing water.

Although this is not a pond I can imagine having in my own back yard, even if I had the money, it was wonderfully impressive. The rest of the yard was divided into various garden rooms, each showcase in itself.

Marc’s Garden
In contrast, Marc’s garden and series of ponds better epitomized the Austin aesthetic for me. Imagine having your own canyon in which to create a hidden paradise–very Shangri-la.

Austin Pond Society Tour 2007

He is transforming the canyon on his property into a series of ponds. Native plants are being reintroduced. And I felt a special kinship for his collection of rocks and folk art and other quirky sculptures made from found objects.

David’s Garden
Walking into David Amdur’s garden I felt that I’d been transported to the Austin of my youth. The artist/designer/builder has handcrafted his own house and all the furniture in it. The large yard meanders down a hillside (a common theme on the pond tour). In a grove at the bottom of the garden is a little screened porch room which I thought was as cute a button. AJM gave me a look as if to say, well if you wanted something like that… I don’t want to trade, I think my screened porch room is the right thing for our yard.

by M Sinclair Stevens

2 Responses to post “Austin Pond Society Tour 2007”

  1. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    Wow, I am simply going to have to do that tour next year. Why didn’t I go this year, when it’s been so cool!?

    I really enjoyed this tour! The information brochure had specifically interesting information (size of pond, lining material, whether it was in sun or shade, age of pond, water collection system, and more!) And it wasn’t packed with people so it was easier to enjoy the serenity of the garden spaces. I wish I had had more time to visit more ponds. —

  2. From Annie in Austin:

    Good! You got to see some beauties, M! I also had to take photos of the wall of Buddha statues.

    I loved and coveted the garden off Barton Creek – it was way cool to leave the main garden, climb out to a rock overlooking a woodland, and inhale the odor of Shady Grove onion rings.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Yep! That one above Barton Creek Rd was the garden I could imagine living in. Isn’t it amazing that they just installed the pond only last year. I loved the two areas, the pool area, the outdoor living room and the glassed-in conservatory. Unfortunately, that was the garden that my camera conked out on. So no photos. Only memories. — mss