Sue Nazar’s garden was the third garden I visited, and it really wowed me. It was like something straight out of Seattle, not Austin. It was lush and green and shady, all things I’ve missed, moving to this climate. I’m not used to seeing such fabulously filled out plantings in Austin, especially in the shade. Here’s a view of the bed at the head of the driveway:
I really enjoyed seeing such commonly used landscape plants like yucca and loropetalum combined in a different way than I’m used to seeing. And Sue Nazar’s use of color was masterful. The hardest lesson I’ve learned about good design as a gardener is the importance of a color palette and of sufficient foliage contrast. Everything in this garden was well thought out in these two areas. Colors and textures contrasted, echoed, and pulled arrangements together constantly, for instance in this grouping of pots by the pool:
You can see those themes echoed in this vignette across the pool:
That same color theme is echoed in the entrance to the garden, a staircase down from the driveway parking area:
Here’s a view down the path that leads to the left of this vignette:
I really admire the calming, orderly effect that’s achieved here when the plant choices are limited and large drifts of the same plant are planted. While overall the color is green, the blocks of similar plants provide contrast– the airy foliage of the river ferns against the hoja santo, the low green waxy spikes of the liriope with the larger, broader spikes of the aspidistra. I also love that these are mostly common, no-fuss, tough landscape plants that are pretty easy to find at any local nursery.
I asked Sue about watering, and she said there’s an irrigation system that waters twice a week. I’m sure that helps a lot, but she’s also been gardening on this property for over ten years, improving the soil, and one thing I’ve recently noticed is that Austin gardens older than 10 years that have been cultivated by big believers in mulch and compost are all generally amazing and lush. Our problematic Texas soil really can be improved to the extent where plants want to grow like crazy. It’s definitely something I aspire to in my own garden.
For more info on tomorrow’s Inside Austin Gardens tour, check out the TCMG Inside Austin Gardens Tour page.