“Fantastic Mr Phlox”

by ESP on October 12, 2012 · 5 comments

Here is snippet of a small back garden overhaul that I have just completed in central Austin this past week.

The property had a few limping shrubs and lots of bare dirt and drainage issues.

A naturalistic corner water feature was introduced as a focal point to a new patio, introducing the sound of running water to entice birds and nature.

Here it is plumbed up, mid-construction.

Quite a few hours were spent shuffling moss boulders around to get the desired two-tier wells to flow naturally and to eliminate any splash-off that would deplete the reservoir over time.

When installing water features I try to create as much visual depth as possible, lots of overhangs,

and deep cavernous caves.

The flagstone echoes the color of the of the moss boulders. The gray gravel (Tejas black) slows down water flow and improves drainage, it blends naturally into Mexican beach pebbles around the fountain.

Back in the Patch:

It is the time of grasses.

Purple fountain grasses come to life this time of year as the sun sets,

providing movement and a dramatic effect when planted together in large stands.

The Patch Hell strip got a bit of a facelift this week with some left over Tejas black gravel.

So much gravel I will now have to go back in and dig out this drowning agave.

The opuntia tree in the background has grown considerably the past few years,

the woody base looks very prehistoric leading up into the crazy antler paddles.

The gravel also contrasts well with chartreuse bamboo muhly.

Here is a frosty trio,

Gaura, rosemary and artemesia ‘silver king’.

Gaura lindheimeri

This plant is also known as whirling butterflies, describing how the flower heads dart and move around on long and slender stems. Planted into a sharp soil this plant shows up every year without fail and has even spread to a couple of new locations across the sidewalk.

Like canna I remove spent flower spikes to prolong the bloom period.

Fantastic Mr Phlox also started to bloom this week,

providing refreshment for this skipper, perhaps a clouded skipper?

Palm grass brings a touch of the tropics to central Texas. They also grow extremely fast and are great for filling in large areas.

I have mine planted under the shade of my post oak and another predominantly in sun, it doesn’t care.

Like myself, it responds well to an occasional summer beverage.

Old yucca flower spikes make great futuristic “fire swords”, he has played with this one for days and I am constantly tripping over it on my back deck. Just when I thought this particular fire sword was about to disintegrate,

I noticed this…

…This will be the third flower spike (brand new fire sword / health hazard) for this soft leaf yucca this year!

There has been a lot of activity in our Michelin Star Patch restaurant.

This waiter diligently took our order,

and in no time a hearty fall “broth” was presented, wait, is that plumosa fern in there as a garnish?

Hibiscus is also festive, turning from green to golden-red.

Pride of Barbados seeds are getting prepared to free-fall from the safety of their capsule.

Almost there now.


Should you live on a sloping property you may consider this as a rather unique garden feature:

Stay Tuned for:

“Patch Panic”


All material © 2012 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

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1 Nicole October 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

Love the water feature you did for your client. The patch is looking pretty too. This weekend we are getting the first real rain for at least 6 months so next week my plants should start looking spruced.

2 Gail October 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

Excellent recent design and implementation!

3 ESP October 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

Thanks Nicole.
I hope you got your rain!

4 ESP October 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

Thank you Gail.

5 Bob Pool October 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I would just have bet you would leave some caverns and caves in your rock work. No telling what will eventually live in there.

Are we to see an in ground water pond in the Patch in the future?

On a side note, I think I found you a round steel thing that you were looking for. I will know for sure soon. It is big and very heavy. You will need a team of Egyptians with roller logs to get it into a yard. Did I mention it is very heavy.

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