Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An English Garden with a Texas Twist

Bluebonnets and whale tongue agave in the entry courtyard
Ah Austin, how I miss you so. Last weekend I finally made it back to Austin for a too-short visit. It had been a whole year since my last trip, I confess. Austin didn't seem to be experiencing any financial meltdown - the energy there is palpable. But I digress. Besides seeing my friends (not all of them unfortunately!), I had a blast doing "gardeny" things around town. And one of those highlights was a visit with Jenny of Rock Rose blog. Wow, was I floored by her garden and all the work she and her husband have done! Jenny is from England but has mastered the Texas Hill Country completely. Faced with inhospitable to nonexistent soil in the west of Austin, she has designed a showcase garden full of self-seeding flowers and other plants, both native and non, that are thriving.

Another view of the entry courtyard
Her garden is within a number of courtyards. The entry courtyard bursts with low-growing wildflowers - Texas bluebonnets, Blackfoot daisy and four-nerve daisy, to name a few. There's also a giant Lady Banks' rose, assorted cacti and succulents, and a subtle little fountain (seen in the first photo). Each courtyard has at least one gathering area.

A peek over the far wall reveals the vegetable garden
Each courtyard showcases another jumble of flowers. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good photos of the English courtyard, again full of flowers.
The pool courtyard
Poppies and yellow (Hinckley's?) columbine were everywhere.
Pool courtyard
It would be difficult to pick a favorite courtyard for they all have very special attributes. I think what I liked most about the pool courtyard was the design. The different levels really added that extra something. Jenny was able to envision all this in her mind as she supervised the placement of all the rocks (dug from the lot, of course). And the pool was very inviting although not obvious at all. You can see part of it as water spills from the jar at top.

My friend Marcia talking with Jenny on a patio
A place to contemplate the beauty
What I like most about Jenny's garden is how well it captures that sense of place. You know this garden belongs in the Hill Country. Also, believe it or not, Jenny designed the entire garden and did almost all of the work on it herself. Her husband apparently became very proficient at pouring concrete (there are many beautiful concrete steps), and he built steps with native limestone in many places. What that says to me is that this garden is not a "trophy garden." It is well loved and a piece of Jenny's heart.

Jenny - the Lancashire Rose
You really should visit Jenny's blog as she's much more talented than me at photography. Jenny - thank you so much for the tour and I'll see you in Seattle at the Bloggers Fling!
This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. It was really a pleasure to finally meet you last Friday and show you round our garden. Thank you for capturing the essence of my garden with such kind words and photos. You are welcome to come back anytime to visit. We may land on your doorstep sometime when we are passing through Louisiana! See you in Seattle.

  2. What a fantastic garden! I love the idea of all those courtyards which sound almost as Chinese as they do English. the plantings are different, though. Just beautiful.

  3. Jenny is a marvel, truly. And so is her husband. You are quite right that theirs is not a trophy garden but a gardener's garden, and it's stunning.

  4. nothing beats a visit to a friend's garden, especially one that is so warm and inviting! i admire that jenny and her husband did most of the work themselves - what a labor of love.

  5. Oh, I missed the Austin fling and hope to see this garden in person someday and meet the smiling Jenny. I am sure this is not the only Austin garden you visited. LOL See you in Seattle.

  6. Jenny - anytime you're in the neighborhood, you're more than welcome!

    Andrea - I should have picked you up on the way to Austin!

    Layanee - oh yes, I visited several nurseries and Pam's garden as well!

  7. What a beautiful garden! Thanks for sharing it!! I love it when gardeners overcome obstacles in their garden to create something wonderful. :o)

  8. Oh my heavens, I'm so envious of your getting to see Jenny's garden. I'm delighted to hear she's coming to Seattle!

  9. What a beautiful garden! I'm especially impressed how Jenny adapted to such different growing conditions from what she had been used to and was able to create such a lovely Texas garden yet one that reflects herself. Thanks for sharing this, Jean!

  10. Jean, I've wanted to see this garden for forever! At least since I stumbled upon her blog many years ago. gail

  11. I wish lupine wasn't so fussy with me... I love that blue color in the garden.

  12. She does have a very lovely garden and a wonderful blog as well!

  13. I loved seeing Jenny's garden through your eyes. And now I can picture things a bit more clearly as I had not realized there were multiple courtyards. It really is an amazing garden. It may be Texas but you can see those English gardening genes everywhere!

  14. Beautiful post about a lovely lady and her gorgeous garden. I missed it when I went to Austin, but Jenny was our docent at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.~~Dee

  15. I'm not really the Diva. For some reason, my email is picking up and Meg used to have a blog. She's the Diva. :)

  16. You certainly had me confused there for a sec Dee! I couldn't imagine you turning into a diva! :-)

  17. How wonderful to see a garden that reflects both the gardener(s) and sense of place! I love what she's done with the space.

    Look forward to seeing you (and enjoying gardens with everyone) in Seattle.


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