Thursday, June 5, 2014

¡Viva Muchos Colores!

The home of Lucinda Hutson

Let's celebrate the start of June, which I consider the start of summer, with a look at one of the most interesting small gardens I've seen in a long time. And the house as well! I had the privilege of touring the home and gardens of the very generous Lucinda Hutson, author of the new book, ¡Viva Tequila! Cocktails, Cooking, and Other Agave Adventures. Lucinda is also the author of that great cookbook, The Herb Garden Cookbook, sadly now out of print. I have to say, I'm really enjoying reading the Tequila book - it's part travelogue, part history, part cookbook, and all very interesting! Don't you love the color of her house? Well, there's more color in store here!

Bird friendly seating area in front yard

From the street, you can't really tell that Lucinda has a couple of cozy seating areas right in the front.

Second seating area in front. The tree in the background is a gingko, unusual for Austin.

The front garden has an interesting combination of plants: daylilies, 'Peter's Purple' monarda, datura, kumquat, zinnias, chard, tomatoes and eggplant in containers, last of the winter pansies, coleus, ajuga, violets, bronze fennel, and even a heart-shaped wax myrtle shrub. The plants provide privacy from the street and though there are lots of them, it's very calm in these hidden oases. But wait till you go through the side gate...

Side entrance to the back gardens

A giant concrete fish and mermaids on the gate signal you're about to enter a magical world. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to take a decent photo of the pond and waterfall that are behind the beautiful limestone wall. But I think you can tell it's there by the fish and mermaid motifs.

Mermaid hangout

Lucinda utilizes ordinary objects in uncommon ways. Note the sanseveria mimicking seaweed. The copper trough was an insert to a window box. And take a look at this table made out of a beautiful blue container.

Glass-covered pot as a coffee table. Is that mermaid also a bottle opener?

Lucinda told me a funny story about this table. Recently she found the glass neatly placed alongside the container and the starfish that was under the glass was missing all its arms. Your neighborhood raccoons at work.

Haitian tin art work 

Just to the right of the side entrance, the house is graced with some cool art work. As you move past the pond and mermaid seating area, you come to the greenhouse. But first, check out this window you walk past...

Corn tiled window

I never thought of tiling a window frame but it now makes complete sense to me.

Greenhouse to the left

What I really like about Lucinda's greenhouse is how it doesn't look like a greenhouse! She has covered the outside in rough cedar (juniper) branches so it blends right in. This is the start of her herb collection. Just to the right is a raised bed.

Limestone-edged raised herb garden

The raised bed is large and commands the most sunlight. It's filled to the brim with an array of herbs from Mexico, Asia, the Mediterranean, and one other part of the world that I can't remember. I'm assuming the purple structure used to be a garage but is now used for storage. Can you see the small chairs to the right hanging on the wall? Lucinda says you can't find those anymore in Mexico. Between the orange part of the house and the purple structure is a gate to yet another world...

Deck and studio

Now we're in the back-back, where Lucinda's to-die-for writing studio is located. I wish I'd taken a photo of the inside of it. Lovely smooth cedar walls... And the deck has a nice large table for al fresco meals. But there's still more. Walk to the left of the studio into ...

You're almost to the cantina

... the cantina area. This area is more informal with a picnic table and flagstone patio and more tropical-looking plants.

La Lucinda Cantina

And what's this?

Is this an outhouse??

It may look like an outhouse but it's not. This is an outdoor shower! Just what I could use after some serious gardening.

View from the cantina area towards the house

Walk back towards the house as there's more to see.

Opened door to the house with Mexican tin ornaments

Tiled stairs to the house

As you go through the back door, you see these beautiful tiled stairs to the house proper.

Folk art room

And to the left of the stairs is Lucinda's former studio, now being converted into a room filled with Mexican folk art. Can you see the tin ceiling?

Muchas gracias to Lucinda for welcoming me into her home at a rather early hour on a Sunday morning! And for welcoming me to the extension of her home - her garden. I hope you're inspired to look for ways to bring more color to your landscape, as I am. Hmm, wonder what the neighbors would think if I painted the house turquoise??

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2014. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. I love the exuberance of Lucinda's garden! So much color and eclectic decoration. It must have been a delightful visit.

  2. Love Lucinda's whimsical and colorful garden! I'm glad you were able to visit.

    1. I remember your post about it, Pam. I'm so happy I was able to see it in person now. Thanks for the intro.

  3. Great tour. Thanks for taking us along.

  4. I remember this garden from other posts but love seeing it through a variety of lenses! Can't get enough of this colorful and wonderful place!

  5. I used to have chairs like hers' on the wall, until my former garden's redo in 2004! Great tour...I hear she's originally from El Paso, and does El Paso better than anyone here with those colors and ornamentation.

  6. Fantastic...What a fun garden and very inspiring.

  7. Oh Jean, what a wonderful welcome to my little purple casita and gardens!! Thank you so much for sharing these photos with are such a talented photographer and made it so much fun and you sure captured the highlights of the gardens. I am absolutely delighted and appreciative!

    Gracias and good cheer,


    1. Thank YOU, Lucinda, for a wonderful time and your generosity!

  8. Oh, you wrote so well about Lucinda's house and garden. Such a magical place by a magical lady.~~Dee

    1. I heard you got to see it too, Dee. Glad we both did. :-)

  9. Love Lucinda and her garden though it's been a while since I saw either. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Jean!

    1. Good to hear from you, Sue! It sounds like I have several friends who are friends with Lucinda!

  10. What a fun place to visit! I love all her uses of color--you couldn't help but smile entering a magical world like this.

  11. What an incredible garden! I love it! I love how the heart of the gardener is so apparent in her design. :o)

  12. I have got to see Lucinda's garden for myself one day!

  13. This garden's a stunner! The kind I could spend hours in (stealing ideas). What made you not want to move in?


Thank you so much for visiting! I truly appreciate your visit and comments. If you ask me a question in your comment, I will answer it here.