Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fountain, Edging, Plant News--Peckerwood

It's been a slowish month, but we (Matt) did get the pond in the backyard operational yesterday. The pond is a mound of rocks--no idea what kind, I'm afraid: Mattchew? Dad? any ideas?--that trickles water over a rock lip and into the liner. Matt pulled the pump out of the oubliette (it has to be pumped out periodically) and hooked it up to the pond tubing--et voila! The peaceful and bucolic sound of running water. As ever, one project bred two more: there is also tubing for a spitting frog (an elegant and graceful accoutrement for any garden), which we'd rather like to also get running. In addition, the pond leaks something awful, so we need to decide whether to repair, replace, or augment the current molded liner. Still, even in its current state, it makes for a nice bit of interest in the garden. And the equisetum is looking terrific.

Mystery Rose Update

You'll recollect that we were heartbroken to lose a lovely red cabbagy mystery rose last year, and that just before it completely succumbed to that terrible fungus, we snipped off a few healthy cuttings. Well, I'm tickled to announce that out of ~10 cuttings, we have 3 surviving propagules, all doing well, putting on leaves, and gaining in height. We may ultimately have more wonderful mystery rose than we quite know what to do with.

We installed the edging bought with Mom & Dad's anniversary present--finished off the pole bed and began the shade patio. The pole bed, which is on the corner of the property facing 2 streets (and surrounds a telephone pole) has been half-edged and half mulched for months now. Little bit trashy. Very pleased to be able to finish it off. It has a couple of 'Duchers' a faintly lemony-white china rose, and a feather palm that will probably never flourish but also refuses to die.

In lieu of working on the house today, we took a day trip to Hempstead to visit Peckerwood Garden, this 20-acre garden created by an architecture professor from A&M who takes regular trips to Mexico and South America to collect rare and unusual plants. The garden looks terrific, much as it cheeses me off when a non-horticulturist turns out to be good at plant design. (It's like they're horning in on our turf, sort of). They've done a really excellent job layering colors and textures and finding very interesting, very sculptural looking plants. My favorites were an agave with very round leaves that never pups--ovatifolia, perhaps? Also a low, spreading oak from Mexico (name unknown), a Japanese white oak, the silver Mexican Sabal, and the clumps of curcuma. There was also a fantastic red crinum called 'Queen Emma' that looks a lot like our red crinum. They claim that it will get to be 7' tall! I'm not sure how I feel about that. They've done a really great job with this garden--it's definitely something plant lovers should see (but it's only open a few weekends out of the year, as it's this guy's private garden). It's not quite a viewy and showy as the lovely Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, which is another (formerly) private garden on ~20 acres, but it's more botanically interesting.

Afterwards, we visited Yuccado gardens next door, a nursery that used to be affiliated with Peckerwood, but is now independent. (I think it's a little like the Dan's and Fran's burger chains in Austin--the owners of the two used to be a couple and shared both businesses, but then split up and spawned two separate entities. Do you know Dan's/Fran's? They're these classic Old Austin burger dives where you see a different--blue-collar, pre-yuppie--incarnation of Austin. Burgers are tasty too--not virtuosic, but tasty; also excellent breakfast tacos.) Yuccado has some rare bulbs (boophane, brodaea, and a few others I didn't know) and a LOT of yuccas and agaves (perhaps the name is a clue?). It's also only open to the public a few times a year, or by appt. We enjoyed Peckerwood a bit more--there was a little more there, though YD does have some interesting materials, including a variegated Agave perryi, a funny fleshy-leaved plant with a spike of fat, ball-shaped flowers that looks like it was designed by Willy Wonka, and a pink spiny yucca-like plant that erupts from its pot like a cluster of many-pointed stars.

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