June 23rd, 2010
Austin Pond Society Tour 2010

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

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

by M Sinclair Stevens

7 Responses to post “Austin Pond Society Tour 2010”

  1. From Pam/Digging:

    I enjoyed Annie’s tour, and yours has provided new perspectives. Almost makes me wish I’d braved the heat to see some of these.

  2. From Linda Lehmusvirta Austin Texas:

    Am finally catching up with blogs after being MIA with CTG. Great tour you’ve just given! I love that path in the shade garden; must try it.

  3. From Linda Lehmusvirta Austin Texas:

    Oh, I have the white single Rose of Sharon so you should be able to find it in town.

  4. From Iris/Society Garlic, Austin:

    Between your and Annie’s posts, I feel like I got a thorough tour. Very cool. I have an ignorant question: these ponds require many thousands of gallons of water, right? Once they’re initially filled, is the water continually recycled or do they require many gallons of refills? Thanks.

    Ponds come in all sizes and the Austin Pond Society Tour is really good about showing small ponds of less than 500 gallons to huge ponds that are tens of thousands of gallons. (My own pond is 1000 gallons.) Ponds do have to be filled and they have to be topped up. I try to rely on rainwater including water collected in two rainbarrels. However, in the heat we’ve been having lately, my pond is losing 1/2 an inch of water a day to evaporation. So at some point I will have to top it up with the hose (and use dechlorinating chemicals to remove the chemicals that the city puts in our drinking water that can kill the fish). Ponds that have waterfalls or fountains (which spray water) lose even more water to evaporation although the water is recycled. I try to run my pump only at night to reduce the amount of evaporation. In the summer, my pond gets the water instead of my lawn. — mss

  5. From Annie in Austin:

    You may have fewer photos but they’re terrific and it’s always fun to see the same place through your eyes, MSS!
    Even though we didn’t go on tour together, we liked so many of the same things – including the covetable concrete & metal risers.

    Getting to every pond is impossible but seeing your post makes me wish we’d fit in Susan’s garden and glad we’ve been to Mark & Debi’s on previous tours.

    Plant Lust! I took three photos of the white Rose of Sharon and all three were white blobs since my camera can’t do white at midday. This variety is so superior to the normal white Hibiscus syriacus that I asked Sheryl McLaughlin for an ID and a source. Sheryl said she couldn’t remember the name offhand, also wants more and has been unable to get them. Wonder if it’s ‘Diana’?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    I took a photo of the white Rose of Sharon and it also came out as white blobs (which is why I didn’t post it. When I asked Sheryl McLaughlin about it I got the same discouraging answer…hard to find. I loved looking at your post and imagining I was going around with you and Philo again. It’s true. We’re attracted by many of the same things. I love reading your take on them, though. — mss

  6. From Fougères San Antonio:

    Great Pictures and comments!
    Thank You!

    Fougères at VerdantSanctuary.blogspot.com

  7. From compostinmyshoe:

    Love the fence. The color is wonderful.