Sneak Peek: Inside Austin Garden Tours 2017

Every 18 months the Travis County Master Gardeners put on the Inside Austin Garden Tours: “For Gardeners. By Gardeners.” And oh so lucky me and the other Austin garden bloggers were invited to a sneak preview to help get the word out.  So come along for a sampling of the 5 gardens we visited, and try to get to one or all of these on Saturday, May 6!

Peggy Hart’s garden was first up.  It’s listed as the Earth Kind Landscaping on the tour website.

Living on a slope myself, I found quite a bit of inspiration from her garden.  She’s worked bit by bit to remove her lawn and turn this space into a truly “Belo Jardim” for all you Portuguese speakers. If you’re looking for how to slow run-off, capture rainwater, how to make a keyhole garden, DIY drip irrigation, or want good ideas for native/xeric plant selections, visit this one!

Daphne Jeffers was garden number two on the visit.  You betcha that Birds, Butterflies and Zen is what this garden is all about!

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I might’ve gotten a little flower happy with the camera in the front garden here.  It’s a feast for the senses…and butterflies.  But, if crazy-cool, super-colorful, insanely-beautiful cottage gardens aren’t your thing, and you want a more zen retreat, just take a stroll to the backyard.  Seriously this is the Two-Face of gardens…except both halves are good looking.

If you’re looking for cottage style, zen style, how to attract pollinators, or how to get rid of your lawn bit by bit until it’s just amazing floweredy (totally making up words now) goodness, visit this one.

Garden number three, the Sun & Shade Garden, belonged to Velia Sanchez-Ruiz, a member of the Austin Daylily Society. Needless to say, she had a lot of Daylilies planted in the front “yard.”  A lot were blooming, but many more were waiting for the tour this Saturday to put on their show.

Honestly, while I was most smitten by the metal Garden Star Fairies that were hiding throughout the front garden, the true garden lust happened in the back yard.

Gardening with foliage! Whatwhat?! Be still my heart.  Because when you have a ton of shade, flowers just don’t cut it. So if you’re looking for tons of daylilies, shade gardening ideas, how to garden with foliage, the best way to use mirrors in the garden (she had lots that I loved), or super fun metal garden art, visit this one.


Ok for the last two, we headed out to Spicewood, just west of Austin on highway 71.  If you’re looking for good eats on your way out here, I highly recommend Angels Ice House.  It had great outdoor seating, friendly waitstaff, good food, and if you have kids, a playground! Also, be sure to make a side trip to Living Desert Ranch to buy a cactus, succulent, or slag glass while you’re out there.


Now back to garden number four on our tour, Wildlife Restoration, Preservation, belonged to Dorothy Thering.  Google gave us the wrong directions on how to get here, so we were kinda late to this party, and I forgot my camera in the car for this one, sooooo cell phone pics will have to suffice.

This garden, like others on the tour, has two distinct parts as well, one is more agricultural in nature, and the other is a more leisurely, traditional garden that also feeds wildlife.

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Part 2:

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If you’re looking for raised-bed veggie gardening ideas, how to raise dairy goats, bee keeping, DIY greenhouses made from old farmhouse windows, hydroponic gardening, rain water harvesting, building a pond or plants that are mostly deer resistant, visit this one!

The last garden on the tour was the one I was most excited to visit since I had just seen it on Central Texas Gardener the weekend before. It didn’t disappoint.

Shari Bauer, owner of the Journey Through Fairyland Garden, was exuberant and bubbling with laughter, and her garden matched her step for step. Perched above the Pedernales River, sits Shari’s abode and thrifted garden.

willys jeep fountain pond

A 1950’s Willys jeep turned into a fountain?  Umm yes.  willys jeep fountain closeup

A piano filled with succulents? You got it!

And oh so much more weird gardeny-goodness? You betta believe.

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Shari is truly keeping Austin, or in this case Spicewood, weird.  And I love it!! If you’re looking for thrift store upcycles, DIY garden art, how to make a garden unique and truly a reflection of yourself. look no further than this cool little spot.

I really hope you can make it out to one or all of these amazing gardens.  The gardeners and Travis County Master Gardener Docents are so friendly and willing to answer almost any question you can throw at them, and have worked soooooo hard to make these spaces truly inviting.

Sooooo if you’re looking for fun stuff to do in (our just outside of) Austin, really cool gardens, landscaping/gardening ideas, off-the-charts-cool plants visit these and the Travis County Agrilife Extension’s gardens this Saturday, May 6.

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