currently in Austin


Soothe that garden brain chatter

Here’s some valuable advice a gardener once shared with me: create a soothing spot to frame your patio.

Cat sculpture for soothing garden

His philosophy: In order to relax and make that necessary segue from the day’s work to evening’s reflection, be uncluttered. Tone it down, make it easy.

Turks cap

Otherwise, you won’t embrace any peace in your garden. You’ll be jumping up to prune and fix and add 251 things to your to-do list: garden, work, and home. Isn’t it interesting how that works? Once we hit that mode, it’s hard to let it go. We see one plant that needs a haircut. Next, we realize we need to fix that window and oh my gosh, when in the world will I ever get the car in, and if I don’t make Christmas travel plans right now, it’ll cost a fortune to visit Aunt Mary. Wheesh.

So, gather around you some peace and quiet to whisk away the brain chatter.

For me, it was rather easy, because the poorly drained, shady site near the patio was a garden nightmare, especially since the former owners had filled it with “red death” loam. Plus, the pets want to hang out with us there. When we had three dogs (two rescued, one by choice) that was an issue, too. Plus, I didn’t have any $$$. Someone gave me three liriope divisions that turned into 300. Bingo! Now, it’s the rescued cats that flop down in the no-maintenance jungle.

Cat napping in liriope

(Another interesting note: when all our first dogs went to tennis ball heaven, stray cats moved in).

To spice things up, I added gingers.  Tradescantia albiflora fills in some sections out of view here.

liriope, gingers

Along the patio, turks cap brings the hummingbirds close up. Just a little spot of exciting red, but not much trouble at all.

Turks cap

At the sunny edge to the yard, there’s fragrant Marie Pavie rose and star (Confederate) jasmine trained as a “shrub” on a trellis. Around the rose, spring and fall bulbs and daylilies add seasonal excitement without frequent attendance.

For years, our water feature was a small, galvanized stock tank with a little pump through holey rocks. But it was troublesome. When the last pump pooped, I envisioned a fountain.

A few years went by while we traded creative ideas. Then, on our anniversary weekend this June, we stopped at Target to get a new coffee pot (not sure that’s included on traditional gifts, plastic & electrical maybe?). As always, we cruised the garden section. Sitting right in the aisle, on sale at killer price, there was our fountain!  The last one, too.

patio fountain

Yahoosers!  Since just about every gift that comes through this house has something to do with the garden, how perfect can you get? Sure, we’d imagined doing all these creative things, and you should too. But this was totally work free, and right now, that was just what my brain chatter needed.

Patio fountain

Oh, the plant in the blue pot looks pathetic right now after it had an “accident.” When it fluffs out again, this old-fashioned petunia is the perfect deep pink against the burgundy, including superb aromatherapy to join the rose, Confederate jasmine, and summer-blooming sambac jasmine in a large pot.

We turn on the fountain with our before-work coffee. Soothes us to corral the work brain chatter.

Patio fountain with turks cap

And it’s night’s  last sound to fend off  pillow-time brain chatter. Then, the toads hop into the water-filled basin to party down.

Patio fountain at night

To energize, we watch the birds, bees, and butterflies, including these Bordered Patch butterflies on super-sized brain chatter.

Until next week, Linda