Friday, May 11, 2012

Dallas Open Day (part 5) - the Middleton garden

This is the last of a series about my trip to Dallas last weekend to attend the Garden Conservancy's Dallas Open Day garden tour.

(click here to start from the beginning)

This home was listed as the Middleton "farm" (which almost made me not visit it), but I thought this had the most pleasant style of the entire group of gardens. I asked the homeowner why she had it listed as a farm and she said she couldn't think of what else to call it.

Let's see what you think: farm or not a farm?

Here's what I saw walking up the driveway:

You can click to make any of the photos larger.

The plant to the left with red flowers is a yucca, one of many I saw in the Dallas area. 

When I got into the backyard, I found these cheery pots of mint and flowers on the patio:

Across the pool from them was a lovely stone wall with a rosemary border.

If you keep going to the left, they have a chicken coop in the shade of a huge tree, which was where all the children were. I didn't take photos because it was too shady to do so, but their chickens seemed as neat and well-behaved as the rest of the yard.

As I continued to my right around the pool, I came to another area of the yard:

This reminded me of a hotel patio ... it was so beautiful and relaxing. Here are some closer views of the raised beds:

Behind the chairs were mounds of basil, with squash behind them (might have been zucchini) and peach trees next to the fence.

If you continue on past the chairs, you see this!

It took me a moment to realize that this was asparagus! I have never seen anyone make a hedge out of asparagus before. This was gorgeous ... reminds me a bit of weeping willows. Behind the asparagus were peach and apricot trees, and in front of the asparagus they had placed 4" wire mesh to keep it upright. The effect was spectacular -- I bet this is even lovelier when the red berries form on these in the fall.

Turning completely around you see another area of the yard:

I really like the way they used these fig trees, especially in the second photo.

Moving back towards the right, I saw yet another ingenious edible hedge:

Instead of trellising their grapevines lower, they used them to top a denser hedge and show them off at the same time. I loved this!

Next to the house they had this wonderful outdoor dining area, covered in grapevines.

Simply breathtaking.

This was by far my favorite on the tour, both for the variety of plants and the quality of the garden design.

So that was my day! I had a great time, and will definitely do something like this again. I'll leave you with the last two photos I took at the Middleton "farm" front pond.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dallas Open Day (part 4) - the Nichols garden

The fourth garden I visited last Saturday on the Garden Conservancy's Open Day tour in Dallas was at the home of Matthew Nichols (who was kind enough to show me all around).

This is another garden that I hope will be entered in my front yard photo contest next month, because it was really good.

(here's the link to the first one, if you want to start from the beginning)

The first photo I have here is of his driveway, which had a row of citrus trees going along it to screen the side of the home. I imagine that this cools off the house considerably.

 Around to the left was the front door, which had a bay tree beside the steps up to it:

This was about when I ran across Matthew, and he showed me this over on the side of his other house (he owns the one next door, too), which to my surprise was a variegated tangerine! This would make a great edible hedge:

Then he showed me his backyard, which was in two parts. This is the back of his other house:

The one on the left is of course a yucca and the right photo is of a sago variety that is endangered ... he had several there. 

This was the back of his main home (click the photos to make them larger):
Another yucca

Tapioca plant
Really nice deck with all sorts of edibles around it
Several fruit trees

If you go down some steps, you come to another little courtyard, with this off to your left: 

This is a loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica), also known as the Asian plum. Matthew told everyone to try one, so I did ... it's a bit like an apricot in taste, but fuzzy on the outside like a peach is. The stone is almost perfectly round, not at all like a plum stone.

I went out front to look at his impressive collection of agaves before I left to see the last garden. Here are a few of them:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dallas Open Day (part 3) - the Butterfly Garden

On the third stop I made on the Garden Conservancy's Dallas Open Day was to the Butterfly Garden. While most of the action was in the back yard, they did have some gorgeous dill starts out on the corner of the front yard:

Looks like they've gotten some taro going along the left side (edible) below the pipe vine, which is for the pipe vine swallowtail caterpillars to snack on.

Over on the right was a passion flower vine! None of them were open yet (unfortunately), but I was excited to see the vine itself, because I really want to grow this and it was nice to see one in action. It looks like they put up a trellis of 6" wire for the vine to curl around:

If you keep walking along the right side, you come across this huge parsley plant which is full of caterpillars!

And if you turn to the left, there's the most amazing hibiscus I've ever seen. I have never seen one with these colors before:

Then more potted plants, a citrus and I think another hibiscus in the center ...

Off to the back of the lot was something like a greenhouse except with netting over it ... inside were the butterflies!

(you can click on the photos to make them larger)

There was a short show inside where the guy showed the caterpillars in various stages of growth, and we even got to see one going from caterpillar to chrysalis, which is I guess pretty rare to witness. This was a fun place to visit.

Start from the beginning

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dallas Open Day (part 2) - the Passmore garden

I went to the Garden Conservancy's Open Day in Dallas this past Saturday, and saw five private home gardens ... this is the second one I went to, the home of Paul and Kay Passmore.

(go here to see the first garden)

This is their front yard, which I'm hoping they'll enter in my edible front yard photo contest which starts June 1st.

This was really a nice water feature ... the water lilies hadn't quite opened yet.

There were many different kinds of roses and other herbs along the pathways.

These lettuces looked quite stately, even though they're bolting. They contributed some nice vertical lines in the garden.

Here's the walkway into the back garden:

Off to the left, they had all sorts of herbs, like this exuberant mint bush growing beside the walkway ...

... as well as their deck, which had many more edibles around it:

This was a lovely example of what can be done with home edible landscaping, they had a lot of great plant choices that I only skimmed the surface of. I don't want to give too much away in case they want to submit an entry in the contest! :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dallas Open Day (part 1) - the Merritt/Kleinman garden

I went to the Garden Conservancy's Open Day in Dallas this past weekend, and I saw five great gardens that I thought I'd share with you.

Since I took a lot of pictures, I'm going to present one garden a day this week.

The first garden I went to was the Merritt/Kleinman garden. This is Texas architect O'Neil Ford's 1958 house with landscaping done by Dallas landscape architects Arthur and Marie Berger.

I got there early, so I had my own personal tour of this house with Dianne Del Cid of She did her Master's thesis on the collaboration of O'Neil Ford and the Bergers, which you can read at the University of Texas Arlington website (scroll down a bit for the link to the PDF).

These are maple trees, with bamboo used as a groundcover. I'm not sure what the border plants are but you could easily get this effect using miniature daylilies.

Here, the Bergers used "trees in threes" (as Dianne put it), mixing oaks for a high canopy, smaller trees and tall bushes for a second story, then a variety of ground covers, forming a deliberate dappled shade garden which was very restful without being overly dark.

Here's the front yard ... I'm not a huge fan of this (it seemed more blandly decorative than useful) but I took a photo to show the way they used the star jasmine and bamboo to make a nice screen for the walkway, which otherwise would be too hot with all the stone and brick there.

So even though they weren't intending for this to be an edible landscape, there's certainly a lot of "stealth" edibles there, as well as some interesting design ideas.

Link to part 2

Link to part 3 

Link to part 4 

Link to part 5 (my favorite)