Inside Austin Gardens Tour: the contemporary cottage garden of Martha King

Master Gardener Martha King’s garden is a surprising mix of traditional cottage style with Asian influences, which nicely compliments the contemporary updates to her Crestview home. As you step through the shaded arbor and minimalist gate into the garden, the front porch nicely encapsulates the overall aesthetic (and I LOVE the color palette!) and offers a comfy spot to sit and read or have a refreshing beverage (bottle cap removers are stealthily-placed on the underside of the chair arms). This is the kind of welcoming garden where it feels like neighbors wander by and then stop to chat.

Martha King - front porch

Speaking of le chat, cats and front porches go well together, and this cat reminded me of my friend Robin, who loves cat garden art:

Martha King - porch cat

I also really love the combination of brick and limestone pavers that lead from the sidewalk to the front door. The sharp-edged limestone feels contemporary, but the brick kicks it back a notch to a softer, more casual style.

Martha King - paving

A striped aloe in a pot adds subtle color to the porch arrangement:
striped aloe

Some front porch art points the way to the rest of the garden:
Martha King - front porch art

The double lot has lots of mature trees and shade, but the sunny spots are filled with vegetables or flowers. Do you see the bee heading for the flowering basil?

Martha King - flowering basil with bee

Fungus on a stump in the veggie garden reminds me that I forgot to ask Martha whether she’s tried to inoculate stumps with edible mushrooms as I’ve read about permaculture practicioners doing.
stump fungus

There are birdbaths and fountains everywhere. Martha’s garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
Martha King - fountain




















I was amused by the contrast of Zen-influenced garden art with pieces of classic Americana:
buddha fountain
Martha King - Sinclair fence

Martha King - Buddha statue

Martha King - massive banana

Martha has a few microclimates in her garden and uses them to her advantage to grow borderline hardy fruit trees. The giant banana in the picture above is by far the biggest I’ve seen in Austin. To the right are citrus trees in the ground. Martha also grows arbequina and manzanilla olives (olives require a pollinator) and recently harvested an impressive amount.
Martha King - olives

And what of flowers? The biggest show was in the full sun of the hellstrip, which is also planted up:

orange cosmos

grasses and cactus

cosmos and mistflower

This concludes our tour! You can read more about Martha’s garden here and see more pictures here. The Austin-American Statesman also recently published an article about Martha’s garden as a wildlife habitat.

The Inside Austin Gardens Tour is October 17th from 9 AM to 4 PM. Tickets are $20 for all 7 gardens or $5 per garden. You can also buy your ticket to all of the gardens for $19 here. More information can be found on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour website.

See you on tour day!

About The Gardener of Good & Evil

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2 Responses to Inside Austin Gardens Tour: the contemporary cottage garden of Martha King

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    What a lovely garden! I can’t wait to see it.

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