Express Yourself + Pond from Swimming Pool

May 1st, 2014 Posted in Vines, bees, garden art, garden structure, habitat, house plants, plant propagation, ponds, water features, wildlife

Like the paint and furniture we pick inside, gardens are snapshots of ourselves. I like bold surprises, so am thrilled that Amaryllis ‘San Antonio Rose’ joined the bulb parade this week.

Amaryllis 'San Antonio Rose' Austin garden

I wish I were indeed bold enough to paint my house the color of passalong Byzantine gladiolus.

byzantine gladiolus austin garden

I was surprised when this winecup turned out white. I didn’t plan this scene with pink evening primrose, but I sure appreciate it.

White winecup with pink evening primrose austin garden

My latest find is a little picture in a pot: ‘Little Pickles’ (Othonna capensis), a succulent from South Africa. I mixed decomposed granite into loose potting soil for a container that won’t need much water this summer. Grower Tom Peace confirms cold hardiness to 0°.

‘Little Pickles’ (Othonna capensis) succulent

Every fall, I get emails asking about the vibrant coral pink flowers trailing over fences and climbing skyward on any available host: Queen’s wreath/Coral vine (Antigonon leptopus).

Queen's Wreath Coral vine on Austin fence

Queen's Wreath vine on windmill Antique Rose Emporium

This week, Daphne explains how to grow this perennial vine (though usually winter dormant) for traffic-stopping flowers in late summer through fall. It’s a traffic jam for bees and butterflies, too.

Bee on Queen's Wreath vine austin texas

And I positively adore this little frame at Paco’s Tacos.

Queen's Wreath vine on Paco's Tacos pacos galvinized fence

Native plants express themselves to attract pollinators, like Baptisia bracteata that Kimberly Wieberg spotted near Houston. I hit up Houston award-winning author and blogger Cherie Colburn for the ID.

baptisia bracteata wildflower

Indoors, we accent that furniture and paint with strategic houseplants. This week, John Dromgoole shows how to propagate your favorites.

propagating house plants John Dromgoole Central Texas Gardener

And check this out!  That pencil actually rooted. We didn’t get a good shot, so Brandi Blaisdell at The Natural Gardener took this for us.

Pencil rooting in soil picture by The Natural Gardener Austin Texas

To excite our imagination with garden art, Chris Smartt from Sol’stice Garden Expressions in Dripping Springs joins Tom this week.

Tom Spencer and Chris Smartt, Sol'stice Garden Expressions

At Sol’stice, his mom Irene Anderson runs the nursery, selecting mostly locally grown plants that defy drought and deer.

Garden art Sol'stice Garden Expressions

She also selects gorgeous hand-made jewelry and other accents to express your “ensemble” and your home. Chris presents garden art from renowned designers, along with his custom crafted bird baths, fountains, sculptures, gates, tables and fire pits, to name a few!

Fountain from recycles by Sol'stice Garden Expressions

Fountain from recycles by Sol'stice Garden Expressions

Artistic steel design to hide AC by Sol'stice Garden Expressions

Artistic gate by Sol'stice Garden Expressions

He shows us how to power up a view.

Hanging garden art heart Sol'stice Garden Expressions

And how his kids’ discarded CDs inspired a trip back to the shop.

Recycled CD garden art Sol'stice Garden Expressions

The trick to garden art, he tells us, is selective placement to enchant. Fun backyard room from recycles Central Texas

Colorful backyard patio room with handmade fire pit by Sol'stice Garden Expressions

Chris designed this fire pit.

hand-made fire pit Sol'stice Garden Expressions

He crafted this charming totem from recycled finds.

artistic totem by Sol'stice Garden Expressions

He reminds us that the super trick with recycled finds is to give them credence with a place and personality of their own. One object can be clutter; a scene enchants.

Recycled garden art patio Sol'stice Garden Expressions

Oh, about art on trees: this week Daphne answers Nancy Smith’s great question, “Can we put a nail into a tree?” Find out why Daphne says it’s perfectly fine on a mature tree.

put nail in tree central texas gardener

On tour, Irene Anderson got fed up with the maintenance-hog swimming pool that came with her house in Wimberley. She even told husband John McMillan that she wanted to flat out move to get away from it.

swimming pool turned into pond

Instead, her son Chris Smartt and business partner at Sol’stice Garden Expressions had an idea: turn it into a native habitat pond!

swimming pool turned into pond Chris Smartt design

swimming pool to habitat pond Central Texas Gardener

John’s daughter Sarah McMillan and husband Clinton Robertson, biologists for the Texas Parks and Wildlife River Studies program, guided its self-sustaining design.

swimming pool turned into native pond central texas gardener

Chris and his kids gently caught native fish for the natural ecology.

swimming pool to native pond

After they covered the concrete surround with rocks, Irene tucked in low-water plants.

swimming pool to native pond

Tucked against native plants for wildlife, Chris added subtle, yet never-dormant art handmade art.

swimming pool to native pond

This mushroom is acid-stained concrete with bits of recycled glass.

garden art concrete mushroom recycled glass

Here’s another mounted on cedar.

garden art concrete mushroom on cedar

Take the whole tour now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week for hot popping summer color. Linda

  1. 6 Responses to “Express Yourself + Pond from Swimming Pool”

  2. By Mike Mecke on May 1, 2014

    Very neat pool transformation – great idea. I have seen a couple turned into gardens and flower beds, but this is better.
    Love the old house and porch with the beautiful shade trees –

    Speaking of purple or lilac houses, you should see author Sandra Cisneros’ home in near downtown San Antonio Linda. The neighborhood adjoins the historic King William area. She loves a bright purple! I tried quickly to find a pic of it but could not. Sandra is just down the street from the very nice older home of my Audubon friend Susan Hughes, who has a great Wildscaped front yard. Keep up the great finds. Mike


    Linda reply on May 1st, 2014 8:29 pm:

    Mike, Sandra’s garden is on my list!!! Do you have contact info for her? And can you give me Susan’s email? I’m at which is the best way to do this.


  3. By Diana/Sharing Nature’s Garden on May 4, 2014

    Wow. Chock full of goodies – as always. I love how the pool turned pond tranformed into an oasis. And your baptisia is beautiful. I’ve never seen it in yellow – when we were in Chicago – all I saw was blue and purple. Where are you growing it – part sun or shade?


    Linda reply on May 4th, 2014 3:03 pm:

    Hi, Diana! Thank you! Actually, that baptisia was in a Houston garden–sent in by a viewer. But now I want to see where to get it. Looked to me like it was in full sun in a field by her house.


  4. By Ally on May 8, 2014

    Wow, what a cool looking garden! Love all the metal art and the pool conversion! Btw, that wild indigo grows out my way. It’s visible along Hwy 71 east just past the Travis/Bastrop county line in the early spring. The way the flowers drape down so generously remind me of little creme colored wisteria.


    Linda reply on May 8th, 2014 3:24 pm:

    Thanks, Ally! Would love to see the wild indigo in person!


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