May 9, 2018

Austin Garden Tours, Day One!

Hello and happy Wednesday!

I'm back from the gorgeous gardens of Austin Texas, where I participated in my very first Garden Bloggers Fling! What a thrill to be part of the 10th anniversary of this spectacular event.

The Fling began in Austin in 2008, so what better place to return and celebrate a decade of glorious garden tours? I joined nearly 100 fellow bloggers and boarded one of two tour buses to complete three all-day itineraries, meticulously arranged by the energetic Austin team, including the fabulous Diana Kirby and Pam Penick...whose gardens we had the opportunity to tour on the first two days of the Fling.

Central Library rooftop deck
So, in honor of the Fling, for the next three weeks I'll share my favorite three moments from each day of the garden tours.

However, I'd be remiss if I didn't start off by sharing a few shots of the rooftop deck on Austin's Central Library where our opening night reception was held.

If you don't want to wait to see all pictures I took from all three days of the Fling, they are available online here. Now, on to day one!

Day one of the Fling was deluge day...the first stop on our tour was the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Luckily the group photo was taken as soon as we arrived because shortly afterward the skies opened up and there was no escaping a thorough soaking...

Diana Kirby home
Despite the rain, we soldiered on, Diana Kirby opened her doors and let two busloads of cold and wet travelers into her home, where many viewed her gardens from windows and under the shelter of a beautiful open-air living area adjacent to her pool.

Natural Gardener lunch
The next stop on our tour was The Natural Gardener, a business that specializes in organic gardening and sustainable living.
The Natural Gardener fence row

The huge expanse of property upon which The Natural Gardener is situated features teaching and display gardens, outdoor classrooms, a retail plant nursery and garden store, as well as eight acres of cultivated grounds.
We ate lunch (sponsored by Proven Winners!) in the green and white tent where many of the gardening classes occur. We were still chilly and wet, but owner John Dromgoole gave us a warm welcome and shared a little of the history of the place and his passion for organic gardening.

Jenny Stocker gardens
The grounds are decorated with lots of fun, eclectic touches, like a low fence bordering the driveway that uses old shovel heads hung on the crossbar as posts!

Another day-one favorite was Jenny Stocker's garden. Jenny and David's house was built with matching adobe-type walls that keep the gardens, which she describes as "Texas-style arts and crafts", deer free. Native plants are allowed to grow naturally within these walls, and indoor-outdoor living areas are plentiful, all which provide beautiful views of the garden areas.

What a cute little guy...
A bonus during our visit was seeing a baby praying mantis emerge from the egg sac Jenny had rescued. She saw the sac on a twig when she was cleaning up and stuck it in a pot on her porch so the babies would be safe and sound until they hatched. Click here to learn more about the benefits a praying mantis can bring to your garden!

By the time we arrived back to the hotel in the evening the rain had abated, and of course, we were grateful for the sustenance the rain provides the plants...and we rested up for two more full days of tours. In the sun!

More next week... Natalie


  1. I heard about the praying mantis show -- with one hatching while everyone watched -- and was envious. So glad you got to see it! Thanks for coming to Austin, Natalie.

  2. Love your post and the pictures of my garden. Or, rather, not my garden! That was a crazy morning but it was great having everyone there ... and having everyone feel sorry for me! Just kidding. I was just so happy to have you all there that the weather really didn't phase me. If I'd known how bad it was going to be, I would have planned mimosas for everyone inside!

    1. Hi Diane! Well, I just figured out why I haven't been able to post replies on my blog...replies on Google Blogger don't work on Chrome for me for some reason. Crazy, right? You were such a good sport about the weather, I don't think it could have been raining harder... but I did do some peeking from the windows and as you can see, under shelter, and it was beautiful!

    2. Diana...sorry, I do know better!


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