Some of us here at GardenRant confess to falling into a mopey, nostalgic funk over our bucolic college days in Austin, Texas, especially late at night after the fog has rolled in and the nearest Shiner Bock is a plane trip away. But even a fourth-generation Texan has to go see the ocean eventually, and, well, that turned out to be pretty cool, too.
Thanks to Pam at Digging: Diary of an Austin Gardener for submitting this rant on garden tours and for reminding us that some things–like garden tours that focus on tony, million-dollar homes–are the same everywhere. She writes:
My sister-in-law and I went on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s garden tour—Gardens on Tour 2006—today. Two of the gardens were particularly spectacular: one that the homeowners had designed and installed themselves (photo above), and one that complemented an over-the-top, fanciful, Mayan-inspired mansion, complete with personal observatory, rooftop temple, and solar calendar made from massive limestone columns (very Indiana Jones!). While the latter was most fun to explore and marvel over, the first was our favorite garden by far. Rather than a single garden, it was divided into seven distinct walled gardens, each intimate, beautiful, and natural yet structural. The husband’s hand-stacked stone walls and paths throughout the garden were the perfect foil to the wife’s colorful native wildflowers. The photo above shows one of the couple’s gorgeous garden rooms.
While we enjoyed ourselves on the tour, and the two gardens I mentioned were worth the price of the tour alone, I confess to being disappointed that the other gardens played second fiddle to the architecture of the homes and the lake views . One exception was an unusually striking garden designed by Big Red Sun, but all in all the “gardens” were more about hardscaping, stonework, and showing off spectacular views than about making your own view with a garden. Only tony West Austin gardens were featured, most of them had been designed by professionals and are maintained by a team of professionals, and they didn’t reflect their owners’ tastes or personality. I would like to see a tour that focuses on the garden, not the million-dollar home it complements, or the million-dollar view.
And thanks, Pam, for the never-ending stream of fantastic photographs on your blog, which remind me of the land I love.