Thursday, April 21, 2016

Garden Girl

I'm a garden girl.

One who is happiest in a garden, 

be it mine or someone else's.  

Gardening genes run through our family.

My grandmother's garden is one of my 

favorite childhood memories.

Sweet peas climbing up a trellis, 

snapdragons in candy colors,

stock, and a wealth of other bloomers. 

My mother and all three of her sisters were also gardeners.

I'm happy I inheritated the gardening gene too.

Spring arrived early in Austin this year, and the

redbud trees all over town offered up deep pink blooms.

Our ever blooming knockout roses, with their

backdrop of blue plumbego,

welcome guests just about year round.

As do the firecracker ferns and 

the brilliant yellow of the golden thryallis.

I'm a serious fan of this wonderful shrub.

I cut it back at the end of winter, and by spring it rewards us 

with these delicate yellow blooms right into the next winter.

Iceberg roses with their sweet fragrance

welcome you as you come up our front steps.

A staple in our garden are hardy iris in a rainbow of colors.

All of our iris were "pass along plants" given to 

us by other gardeners who had an abundance.

The day lilies are just beginning to 

put out blooms, but it won't be long before

we'll have a sea of these pretty blooms to greet the day.

Gerber daisies and petunias

give the sun garden annual color before the

dreaded triple digit heat of summer arrives.

Oh, and before I take you to the shade garden,

Sadie wanted you to see our crop of bluebonnets 

that bloomed earlier in the spring.

Bluebonnets grow wild along the roadsides in Texas,

but many of us Texans have them in our gardens too.

We can follow this foot path

to move on to our shade garden in the back.

The shade garden is my favorite outdoor space because

the shades of green with occasional white blooms offer the 

feeling of a cool oasis, even if it's just in my imagination.

Do you see the tall ginger plant to the left

that grows under a large live oak tree?

It's a shell ginger.

Most winters it freezes back to the ground and 

wouldn't yet be tall and full of leaves, but there was no freeze  

here this past winter.  The odd years with no freeze

means we'll get to enjoy the beauty of these amazing blooms.

Truly they are the 

most exquisite blooms!

You might come across a 

bunny here or there.

My garden bunnies like to hide 

among the holly ferns .   .   .

Or frolic beneath the canapy

of the oak leaf hydrangeas.

Oak leaf hydrangeas are native to the US,

and they seem to thrive here while most hydrangeas find

our summers too hot.  They don't require a lot of water like most

hydrangeas, nor do they need much attention.  

Perfect for a Texas shade garden!

 Our shade garden is a quiet space except

for the sound of bird calls and the occasional bark 

from Sadie as she chases a squirrel up a tree.

It's also basically an evergreen

garden so it can be enjoyed year round.

I'm trying something new this spring.

I  moved this table from the upper terrace

down to the lower terrace and brought out my topiary plants 

from the sunroom to see if they will flourish outdoors.  

Image here from Tone on Tone

My inspiration is my blogging friend, Loi @ Tone on Tone.

I've been a fan and avid reader of Tone on Tone

for many years.  If you don't know of this exquisite blog,

then head over and prepare to spend some time.

He has an amazing eye for beauty, and as you can see

Loi is an expert gardener.  Aren't these myrtles amazing? 

Image here from Tone on Tone

I'd like to add some myrtle topiaries if 

I can find a source and perhaps

do the table exclusively with myrtles 

as Loi has done in the photo above.

~ Gardens ~

Happy Earth Day 2016!

I'd love to hear about your spring garden.


on Monday, April 25 for a Garden Party

Also Joining
Garden Tour @ Chatham Hill on the Lake


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Your garden is simply beautiful! I have never seen Shell Ginger before...stunning!

  2. Sarah,
    Love your gardens, especially your shade garden with its table of topiaries and oakleaf hydrangeas. Your patio areas with their stone surfaces are just beautiful.


  3. Oh my gosh Sarah - you have the most exquisite gardens - and such a gorgeous yard and hardscapes - I just drooled all over my keyboard looking at your handiwork.
    WOW. Just wow - so beautiful. I'd be so embarassed to show you my garden. I have half a mind to offer a jet ticket to come here and give me some pointers - I have had it done professionally (read: $$$) twice now and still don't like it one bit.

    Think about it? I am serious. I just cannot stand my gardens. You have inspired me to give it another go - last year's broken foot was tough on my gardens, and hopefully this year will be better. I had to go to the doctor yesterday - getting a second opinion as to why my feet and legs are hurting so much. Hope I don't have to go into another boot this year or all I will have is earth and weeds!!!!! Hugs.

    Absolutely beautiful gardens, Sarah - good for you - love it is in your genes. I didn't get the gene.

  4. Your garden is beautiful and I see why you enjoy it so! The color of your irises is very pretty, we have just gotten ours to doing well this Spring. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous. Love everything about it!!!!

  6. Ahhhhh your lush gardens and I'm swooning over that table. Don't you love Loi's topiaries? I need to go buy some dirt and flowers. It's almost May for Pete's sake!

  7. Your landscaping is fabulous. Love the trees and flowers in bloom. I like the table you set up in the lower terrace. I'm exciting to go visit this blog with the topiaries. That bloom on the shell ginger is beautiful. We're only just thawing out and spring is barely underway here. I don't have much to contribute to the new party.

  8. Sarah your garden is truly spectacular! I totally agree with you about hydrangea even though I have a neighbor who seems to have proven me wrong.And now with your lovely vignette you've got me wanting some topiaries!

  9. Sarah... You make me miss Texas more than ever. Your photos are stunning!! I wish I had something to contribute to your garden party but unfortunately, we are warned not to plant anything until Mother's Day. Have a wonderful weekend. Sadie a yorkie? We had a yorkie for 17 years named Jack. He was a pistol!!

  10. Sarah your garden is lovely and I was just thinking about the gardening gene this week before you posted this! I inherited the gardening gene from my grandmother. My mother never gardened! My mom was a star athlete and put all her time into her beloved sports. Thank you for sharing this inspiration!

  11. Sarah, I love touring your garden! Your shade garden really appeals to me since we have so little shade to escape to in the heat of the summer which is LONG. We had our driest March on record with very few April showers unlike poor Houston, so I'm in need of some drought tolerant plants. I'm wondering about Golden Thryallis by my Potting Shed where it's in full sun with a western exposure. We're zone 7a so I'm not sure it would be hardy but the thoughts of trying to spend my summer and spring lugging a heavy garden hose to keep things alive makes me weary with our already dry spring. I love your mixture of foliage in your shade garden and beautiful Oakleaf hydrangeas. Sweet Sadie has a beautiful spot to chase the squirrels. ♥

  12. Oh my Sarah, I so enjoyed touring your garden and yard through your pictures. My, to see it in person, would be a feast for my eyes!! I must look into the firecracker ferns and the Golden Thryallis. Your ginger plant is fabulous as are the oak leaf hydrangeas. I loved your cute picture on the bench with the pot person! I have a itty bitty one on my yard that I made several years ago. I know your sweet Sadie must love being your sidekick in your garden.
    Happy gardening, Sarah, and enjoy your weekend!

  13. Your exquisite taste is reflected in all your gardenscapes..noting is overdone..they are all tasteful.
    I love all of them..and those small topiaries in their new location look positively south of France.
    I admit to having garden envy right now..
    Sadie is a gardener too..
    And what a kind and lovely face you have Sarah.
    I have no clue who gardened and who I got it from..I think my first manager and a friend at the time..

  14. Wow Sarah, I'm amazed at your beautiful flowers and garden. You have a beautiful house and property. Thanks for the wonderful tour of it as I really enjoyed it. Have a happy earth day and weekend.
    Julie xo

  15. *sigh*
    That was just beautiful. I don't even know where to start with this comment. The serenity is first thing to strike me. Your garden must, indeed, be an oasis for you. The variety of plantings and the lovely views - truly lovely. I have seen Texas Bluebonnets in a field but never in a garden, and I have never seen anything like that gorgeous ginger. It glows. I would encourage you to give the myrtle topiaries a try - and I may copy you shamelessly! I am feeling rather effusive but this really is just the loveliest post - and even lovelier with the photo of you!

  16. I fell in love with those daylilies - what a great color combo! I will have to look for those.
    Also want want want the oak leaf hydrangea.

  17. Dear Sarah ~ your garden is enchanting and a total delight to behold. The love and care you give it is reflected in each bloom and leaf. You did indeed inherit your green thumb. I wish my Mom was alive to see this. She would have loved it too. I enjoyed seeing Sadie's happy face. She loves your garden too. Have a great weekend. Today is beautiful here and it looks like tomorrow will be too. We need to enjoy it while we can before more storms roll through.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  18. Wow, what an amazing garden you can definitely tell you love gardening. What a quiet oasis of shade and beauty.
    and yes, those topiaries are amazingly beautiful. I love topiaries, they are just so delightful.
    Thanks for sharing this lovely lovely yard,
    Blessings, Nellie

  19. Oh, Sarah, what lovely gardens!! I wish I had the interest or desire to garden, but I missed that gene!! I love walking thru them, and enjoy the beauty, but I hate dirt, bugs and little snakes!! Your shade garden looks like the perfect area to read! Our flowers are just beginning to show growth and should be flowering soon!

  20. Your gardens are delightful. I especially was impressed with your walkways ,garden wall, garden gates and lovely urns and your fountain peaking out. They are fabulous. Your plants are so healthy too. Love your ginger. So pretty. The thryallis is pretty too and a new scrub for me. I need to check it out.
    You have many plants to take care of. My mother and her mother and sisters were all gardeners too. Wish my mother could see my garden.
    Happy Gardening. Thanks for your visit. My friends have been thrilled with all the comments about their garden.

  21. Your garden tour is just spectacular! I was drooling at every bloom. I have a black thumb instead of green, so perennials are my favorite. They bloom despite me and my terrible gardening skills! ;)

  22. What a lovely surprise, my friend! Thank you, Sarah, for your kind words and for the share. I'm so honored! Hugs to you and Ms. Sadie :)

  23. Ooops, in my excitement I forgot to say how beautiful your garden is looking. So lush and lots of pretty blooms. Cheers

  24. Hi, Sarah. Such a pretty post with lovely pictures. Your garden is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  25. Your gardens are beyond stunning---they belong in a good magazine. What can I say? I love everything and I do think it takes some inherited talent (mine, if you can call it talent, more like love) from my maternal grandfather. Bur we all have our love of certain things and I might say you are very organic and a lover of beauty. You are a wonder!


  26. Gorgeous, gorgeous gardens! Love the bunnies tucked in here and there...those are the best kind...they won't eat your plants...

  27. Wow Sarah you got the gardener genes and then some. Your gardens look like a magazine photo. Fabulous. I love the photo with the flower pots too. You've inspired me with topiaries. I wish I lived closer and could visit with you in your gardens.

  28. Oh, what a beautiful post, so inspiring. Love gardens, but my husband is the gardener with a green thumb here. I enjoy arranging flowers so it's a match made in heaven. :)
    Those myrtle topiaries...oh my. Heading over to Loi's.

  29. Wow Sarah, everything looks so lush and beautiful. What a lovely patio you have that winds around. The shade garden looks amazing. I love the sweet little bunnies along the way, hidden in the shrubs. Gardening is so satisfying to see the fruits of your labor. Thank you for sharing this lovely tour. Happy Weekend. xo

  30. You have the most gorgeous garden! I love all the different areas and variety of plants. I don't have a garden but do enjoy some container planters each year.

  31. I love ... this lovely post ... your beautiful garden ... that sweet picture of you in the garden ... and I'm so glad you are linking to the Garden Party on Monday.

  32. Wow, beautiful garden, your garden is bigger than the size of our entire apartment complex. Wow.

  33. Sarah,
    I was waiting for a new post of yours to stop by to thank you for commenting on my Doll House post and I am so glad that I did!!
    My Goodness!! What an amazing post!! Filled with such beauty!! You are truly a Garden Girl!! And your home and yard is magnificent!!
    We will not be able to even plant here until at least the middle of May. It was in the 30's this morning!!
    Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous garden with all of us! It is a wonderful delight!!


  34. Sarah, I can't say enough good things about your gardening layout, choices and maintenance. It's stunning! From the hardscaped paths to the beautiful blooms, it's all a real feast for the eyes and, I'm certain, the soul. I have no shade in my garden to speak of, so I particularly enjoy that part of yours. Some of your specimens are unusual and not recognized by me either - the thryallis & shell ginger - both outside my growing zone, I found, after googling. They're beautiful. I can see why you love spring so much in Austin - you are at least 1-2 months ahead of our bloom schedule, so your heat & humidity of summer lasts much longer than ours. We will get our first glimpse of several of what you're already seeing not until June, and then our humidity and higher temps arrive in July/Aug. Thank you for sharing - I really appreciate the comparing and sharing of differences in my blogging friends' gardening seasons. And I think your topiary project will be a nice addition!

  35. I love being in the yard and outdoors as well. I have some pretty flowers I enjoy, but nothing to compare to the beauty of your world. I so enjoyed seeing all your beautiful garden.

  36. Sarah, I had to come back and visit again. Your gardens are gorgeous and I love the character on the bench with you. Such a pleasure to visit and see all of your plantings. Thanks so much for sharing at DI&DI.

  37. Your home and garden is so beautiful, Sarah. One of my favorites in Blogland....Christine

  38. A wonderful array of spring colour in your garden. But like you, I think I would enjoy spending precious time in your beautiful shade garden. It is magical with that winding walkway.

  39. Gardening is in my blood too Sarah!
    It's a wonderful pastime.
    Your garden is a picture and Oh that Iris is calling out to me - do know it's name?
    I spent hours in the garden yesterday trimming and shaping a hedge - not good for the back at my age!

  40. Oh Sarah, every time I see your home and gardens I SWOON!!! You live in a slice of paradise. I would LOOOOVE to have plants alive and blooming year round. Here in Pa. that will never happen. I love gardening too. Yesterday I drove by the old house, that had GORGEOUS gardens and it broke my heart. The new people have never done a thing, never raked or blew the leaves, there are limbs down and it is a big mess. Thank you for taking us on this tour!!! BTW, I got my pillows at Christmas Tree Shops (not Christmas Tree Hill). It is a chain here in the northeast, not sure if it is in Texas or not. XO

  41. Sarah, this is so beautiful! You have a beautiful lot filled with so many of my favorite plants. Thryallis is new to me but I'm definitely going on the hunt for some. It's so pretty! I could spend all day out there with you and Sadie. My little Belle is barking at snakes these days...she sure is good at finding them but I can't convince her to leave them alone. :)

    Thanks so much for joining the garden linky party. Sharing this on Facebook right now.

  42. Sarah,
    This is a post that is a must revisit read.
    You have such a lovely estate and your gardens are exquisite, charming, tasteful and elegant.
    Truly a garden retreat and treasured gem-I cannot ever imagine wanting to leave!
    Thank you ever so much for sharing this masterpiece and inspiration!

  43. I truly marvel at the beauty and variety of your gardens. Each object and statue accentuates the flowers. Thanks for sharing your sanctuary!!

  44. Beautiful garden and such lovely blooming shares. Enjoy your week and thank you for sharing.

  45. Sarah, I didn't see this post come in my email! I can't believe I've missed this amazing post of your gardens. Such beauty and elegance, you should have this featured in a magazine article. I've seen all of the beautiful interior you created inside, now I see your talents are just as beautiful outside! All of your trees, shrubs and flowers are in the perfect spots in your gardens, you really do have the garden gene. Love the shot of Sadie in the Bluebonnets, the sweet steps to the shade garden. Great pic of you with the flowerpot man! Stunning Post!!!!
    I didn't get the gene, Jim does have a knowledge and talent of gardens, inherited from his mom. Thanks for sharing your amazing gardens…...

  46. OH Sarah, I feel like I'm sitting here looking at page after page of fabulous gardens in a Home and Garden magazine! Your home could certainly be shared with the world, how about Architectural Digest! Maybe it has! Your garden is truly paradise! I hope all is well with you and yours! I've missed your blog, but I'm back!
    Hugs, sweet friend.

  47. Dear Sarah, Your garden tour is so lovely. I LOVE every thing you shared. I belong to a Garden Club and also came from a family of gardeners. Since we moved to the NC Western mountains we have scaled back because our front yard is pretty much 'down' hill and our backyard is all driveway However, you have inspired me to share our garden, such as it is.

    Your shade garden is a thing of beauty. A place to sit and take in the best of a gardener's dream.

    Hugs, Jeanne

  48. Not a lot going on up here in the North yet aside from some trees in bloom and tulips so what a treat to see your lovely blooms and garden! :)

  49. Sarah- I really studied this post, and I agree with Jemma- I need to find a way to bookmark it.
    Your home and its gardens are absolutely stunning.

    I am so glad you shared this at our Garden Party!

    White Spray Paint

    1. Sarah- I am so glad you shared this at TOHOT!

  50. Yes, Sarah. All of those flowers are plucked right out of my garden. Your gardens are gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing HSH!

  51. Oh my Sarah, what a delight! Each and every photo is stunning. I can't imagine having a plant or bush blooming year round. What a delight! As much as I love color, your shade garden is my favorite as well. Just so inviting! Love those topiaries. I will hop over and visit his blog. Thanks for sharing with our Garden Party.

  52. What a stunning garden..and your home and grounds beautiful..

  53. You look so pretty and happy in your amazing garden, Sarah.

  54. Sweet Sarah I adore your friend on the bench. I haven't head of Tone on Tone but you better believe I'm off to visit. Thank you so very much for linking up to the garden party. Your post was completely enchanting.

  55. Sarah,
    I'm swooning over your Shade Garden, dear friend!
    Love the addition of the bunnies throughout your Garden!
    Here on the Prairie, our dry arid heat gives way from green~to~brown about mid June!
    I'll be looking at the possibility of the Oak Leaf Hydrangea for our area.

  56. Happy belated Earth Day, Sarah! Your gardens are truly spectacular. I so enjoyed the tour and dream one day of having a shade garden like yours; it's stunning. I wonder, did you do all the landscaping yourself? No matter whether you did or not, you are clearly a master gardener. Thanks for sharing your special gift with us at Vintage Charm.

  57. Oh Sarah, I'm just amazed at the beauty of your gardens. Every pic is just gorgeous and the shade garden is absolutely stunning. I am so glad you shared your gardens with us. Heading over to Tone on Tone for a first visit.

  58. Sarah, your garden tour is spectacular! What a delight it must be to spend time in the shade garden. The lilies, irises, roses are gorgeous, but the ginger blooms just took my breath! I am without words, just beautiful! Pam @ Everyday Living

  59. Beautiful gardens! Lots of pretty colors. I can't wait till I can get some more plants in my garden for a variety of color. The previous owner only had roses and irises. So now I am working on planting my flowering scrubs, and perennials for more color that comes back every year. I love your topiary plants, I have never had one. But now I want one. Thank you for the tour of your lovely gardens.

  60. Oh Sarah! What a fabulous garden tour! I loved the photo of you with your potted friend on the bench -- I can imagine how glorious it is to simply BE in your garden. To relax, enjoy, savor. Biggest sigh!

  61. Wow, wow, wow, Sarah. You most certainly are a Garden Girl and so is sweet Sadie!. Sarah, I'v only been visiting you for a short time so I guess I never have seen your garden or your beautiful home before. It is absolutely gorgeous!! I love the formality of the garden with the old fashioned flowers. And may I say, that you look so pretty in that picture, a dead ringer for Dame Judi Densch! Hope you are having a good week..Judy

  62. Your garden is beautiful! Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things! Angelina @ Peonies & Orange Blossoms

  63. Oh my, what an exceptionally beautiful garden! I enjoyed the tour, and am just blown away by the variety of plants and how healthy and exquisite they all are! Your passion for being a garden girl is evident in the care you put into the space! ...thanks for visiting me and for the sweet comment left! I will be back! :) ~Rhonda

  64. Oh my, what an exceptionally beautiful garden! I enjoyed the tour, and am just blown away by the variety of plants and how healthy and exquisite they all are! Your passion for being a garden girl is evident in the care you put into the space! ...thanks for visiting me and for the sweet comment left! I will be back! :) ~Rhonda

  65. Sarah, your garden is just breathtaking! I love a lush garden and yours is enviable! Thanks for sharing at Five Star Frou-Frou last week. Will you join us again? Mimi xxx

  66. I just love how you have shared this beautiful and inspiring post and I can easily see that garden gene runs in your family.
    Your green thumb prevails beautifully.
    Your gardens are magazine worthy and I feel so inspired and motivated when I see them!
    Such a beautiful treat to have you share them with us at Thoughts Of Home On Thursday! Thank you so very much,

  67. Sarah, your gardens always take my breath. You most definitely inherited the gardening gene. Everything is gorgeous. I could sit in your shade garden for hours. (Of course, I wouldn't get any gardening done that way. Maybe that's why my garden is so shabby.)

  68. Your gardens are beautiful. We are just starting to see our beauty. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

  69. Sarah!!! Your shade garden is just so lush and green! I adore it!

    I hope you are doing well. I wanted to check in from a very long hiatus and see how you are. You are as pretty as ever, and I'm glad to see you gardening. I could sure use your help. My thumb is brown.

    I had a call from a couple of blogging friends who were thinking something bad had happened to me, but aside from losing my IPAD (it crashed), I am okay. Borrowed Mr. Magpie's computer this weekend to play catchup. I plan to return to blogging, though when is a question.

    The renovation is still ONGOING. I had a bit of a meltdown today, but I think the issue is corrected. I am feeling a little stronger, which is a good thing, but alleviating stress is difficult.

    Sending you great big hugs.


    Sheila :-)

  70. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

  71. Oh my, your garden is absolutely gorgeous! And I'm a huge fan of myrtle topiaries. Too bad I can't keep any alive! Wish I had your green thumb:) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

  72. Your garden is lovely. I aspire to having one like it someday.

  73. Your garden is absolutely stunning, and I especially love the Shell Ginger!


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.