Friday, May 18, 2018

Rock Rose in the Rain (Garden Bloggers' Fling)

The 2018 Garden Bloggers' Fling in Austin, Texas kicked off on Friday, May 4th, under ominously cloudy skies.  At our first stop, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the skies opened up and it commenced to pour.  Now, I usually run around like a crazy person in the rain collecting rainwater in areas missed by my collection tanks but this rain gave me pause.  Accompanied by thunder and lightening, my phone registered a flash flood warning, and sodden clothes, if not common sense, caused me to take shelter.  I did take some photos at our first 3 stops that day and I'll feature them in a future post but I thought I'd kick off my Fling coverage with Jenny Stocker's garden, which we saw in the afternoon when the rain had abated a bit.

I took a LOT of photos of Jenny's garden, which she blogs about at Rock Rose.  The light was dull and her lovely wildflowers were largely flattened by the rain but I've pulled out the best of what I have to offer to share here.

The front garden is dominated by oak trees, agaves, and grasses.

Gravel holds the soil in place and rock helps to direct the rainwater during the periodic downpours characteristic of the climate in Central Texas
 
This is a view of the same general area from the other direction

I spotted a lounge chair in the front garden under the trees, a perfect place to rest a while on a sunnier day


The entrance to the main areas of Jenny's garden sits next to the garage.

You can just make out the garden entrance under the overhang of the trees

This is the view looking back the way we came in

This lovely courtyard welcomes you into the garden.  There's a message above the door but I failed to register it during our tour and my photo isn't clear enough to show it.

Although the courtyard was relatively small, it contained lots of interesting details, including a pond created using a small stock tank and potted plants


The doorway shown above leads one into a gravel garden featuring a wet weather creek.

View from the doorway looking across the space toward another set of stairs

View looking back in the direction from whence we entered

This is a closer look at the same area

These are some of the details I captured on camera.  The steps lead to another doorway.  The shelves containing a small collection of cactus and other succulents charmed me.


Walking up the steps past the bench and the pots takes one into what Jenny calls her secret garden.  I didn't get a good shot of the space as a whole but I do have photos of 2 wonderful wall plaques that gazed at us as we passed through the area.

They were perfectly framed by creeping fig


We entered Jenny's English garden next.

The space featured circular beds centered around a birdbath.  Birdhouses were scattered along the outer walls.

A circular patio occupied the area next to the house
  
These adjustable wooden window doors reminded me of the barn doors so popular with home decorators now.  They're also a clever way to protect the patio beyond during storms.  If you look back to the photos of the garden's entrance area, you'll see that Jenny repeated this element there.

Looking back across the English garden from another angle highlights another portal, which Jenny calls her sun and moon archway


Exiting the English garden through the sun and moon archway, brings us into Jenny's sunken garden, which is full of wildflowers and backed by a pool.

Note the message at the top of the archway

The walls on each side of the arch are mounted with terracotta sun, moon and weather-related plaques Jenny's collected

This is the covered patio on the other side of the archway

These aren't great photos but the first shows the view through a window in the covered patio looking back into the English garden.  The wood piece is mounted inside the patio and, according to David, he found it at a pub that sold a "Rock Rose"  ale and brought it home because it also refers to Jenny and her garden.

This is the view looking across the sunken garden from the steps of the patio
 
A view of the pool

A view of the pool from another angle


There's still more garden on the other side of the wall on the far side of the pool!  It's an herb and vegetable garden.

A small courtyard next to the house features a pedestal planter with an agave preparing to flower

The wildflowers have moved in here too, to rub elbows with the vegetables.  Verbena bonariensis seems happier in Austin than in my area of Southern California.

Another view of the same area with a better view of the stock tank pond.  There was a small greenhouse in this area too (not shown).


A gate in the vegetable garden takes the visitor beyond the walls into an area that's unprotected from the deer that plague many Texas gardens.


Opuntia and Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)

Pipes and stock tanks to capture rainwater were also in evidence in a couple of locations


My photos aren't of the quality that her garden deserves but Jenny recently posted photos of it on a sunny day, which you can see here.  I was happy to see Jenny's garden in person after years of following her blog, even if it was on a rainy day.  Thanks for the opportunity, Jenny!


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

29 comments:

  1. It must have been so disappointing to have that rain, but the garden still looks magnificent to me! I looked at the other photos as well. To have all those bloggers together in one place illustrates what a close knit community the gardening blogosphere is... it must have been such an enjoyable experience.

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    1. As disappointed as I was that rain interfered with the tours on Friday, I expect the gardeners who opened their spaces to us were even more disappointed. I'm glad Jenny went ahead and shared her own photos taken under sunnier conditions.

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  2. Such a lovely take on Jenny's garden! I remember being amazed at how her garden kept going and going with so many lovely rooms. You've captured that well here.

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    1. Thanks Renee. Even though I thought I knew a lot about Jenny's garden based on reading her blog, seeing it in person always puts a different spin on the space.

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  3. Great write-up Kris. Unfortunate about the weather but the garden looks amazing.

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    1. It was unpleasant to be damp the entire day, Susie, but I'm glad I got a chance to see Jenny's garden nonetheless.

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  4. A well laid out garden. I esp. love the sunken garden meadow - it is lovely!

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    1. I wish flowers (wild or not) planted themselves in my garden as prettily!

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  5. I too have read her blog for years. I am glad to see her garden through your eyes.

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    1. No matter how well you think you know a garden from reading a blog, there are always surprises when you see it in person. I previously had no concept of the flow of Jenny's and I don't think I'd appreciated how views were framed by doors and windows.

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  6. Oh my goodness, I LOVED Jenny's garden! It's one of my favorite gardens, ever. The way she made use of the "rooms," the great rain gardens and rainwater collection, the beautiful rock pathways, and the sunken garden. All of it was magical! Were you on bus 1 or bus 2? I was on the latter, and the rain seemed to let up a little more by the time we got to Jenny's garden. I wasn't aware of Jenny's blog for some reason, but now I'm following it because I LOVED her garden. :)

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    1. I was on bus #2 the first day (and bus #1 the next 2 days). I've always loved Jenny's walled gardens but I hadn't really appreciated how they were segmented even though she provided a historical overview of her garden's evolution several months ago. I just went back and searched it out. If you're interested is was posted 11/22/2017.

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  7. It's so interesting to see her garden through your photos - I have a better sense of it now. I've always loved her many rooms.

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    1. I only wish my photos had been better, Barbara. I hope you took a look at Jenny's own follow-up post covering the garden on a sunnier day.

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  8. Going into the Fling I was really anticipating this stop, I’ve been following Jenny’s blog since I met her at the Seattle Fling in 2011 and I love her garden style. When the rain was coming down the hardest I told myself to just endure, Jenny’s was at the end of the day and it HAD to let up by then...and thank god it did! The only downside was the view finder on my camera was so fogged up I could only see about a quarter of what I was pointing the camera at. I haven’t been brave enough yet to look at my photos...yours give me hope! I think you did a marvelous job of capturing her spirit.

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    1. Even with the rain diminishing, the damp condition were challenging. Part of the reason I took so many photos was the hope that at least some would turn out well. I'm not sure why I didn't take more close-ups - those probably would have been clearer.

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  9. Oh thanks for the tour Kris. What an absolutely fabulous garden and so many memorable features. I shall be showing himself that photo of the small pond :) I've not come across Jenny's blog before so will have to visit.

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    1. Jenny's a British expat, Anna. I think you might find a lot to like in how she creates an English-style garden in Texas.

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  10. Great post about Jenny's garden, Kris, especially her use of framing through doorways. That rain was challenging for sure, but looking back I feel it showed everyone another aspect of our gardening climate, one that informs every gardener's design decisions: how to handle our torrential gullywashers! ;)

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    1. I think you're good at looking on the bright side of everything, Pam!

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  11. Such a lovely garden. You captured it so well. I love Jenny's garden.~~Dee

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  12. So many views and plants to take in at Jenny's garden. You captured it really well. It's a garden one could never tire visiting, so much to see and different every month/season. It very much reflects her garden passion.

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  13. It's a wonderful garden. The walls make the spaces seem so private. Nothing like great enclosure.

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    1. I think the walls are a carry over from the English aesthetic Jenny brought with her but, where deer and weather both present challenges, they also make a lot of sense for gardens in Texas.

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  14. Her garden and blog have always been among my favorites. I am always amazed at what a great Texas garden she created after having grown up among a different style and climate. Your pix showed lots of views I am not sure I've ever seen which is a bonus of the the Fling visit. Thanks.

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    1. I wish you could have been there with us, Linda! I'm sure you would have enjoyed the in-person tour.

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  15. What a wonderful post - and such great photos of so many views. I have to learn to take more photos when I have opportunities like this. A wonderful garden!

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