Wildflowers, edibles, and hibiscus-munching tortoise at Teresa Garcia’s garden Leave a comment

May 17, 2024

A colorful patch of native Texas wildflowers greeted me in Teresa Garcia’s garden on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour last weekend. Ka-pow! Like Katie Bird Farm in my last post, Teresa’s garden is large (one acre) with extensive gardens, and located in southwest Austin. Let’s start our tour in the backyard.

Blanketflower and horsemint crowd around a big green agave — ‘Green Goblet’ maybe?

I got hung up here taking photos of this beautiful spring scene.

Blanketflower and horsemint, a native Texas monarda

With a little hesperaloe thrown in

Bees were loving it all.

Nigella going to seed in its pretty way

Giant coneflowers reaching for the sky. I love their glaucous leaves.

On a gravel patio off the back of the house, a large stock-tank pond is packed with water-loving plants. Elevated pots keep their crowns above water while their roots enjoy the soak.

This combo stopped me in my tracks. Is that creeping Jenny surrounding a chartreuse-veined colocasia? Perfection!

Canna can grow in the ground, of course, but it’s fun to see it used as a pond plant too.

Teresa’s back porch is jam-packed with potted plants too, plus a collection of antlers.

Throughout the garden, bicycle parts are quirkily used as trellises, like the wheel supporting this dragon fruit cactus…

…or perched atop poles — totems of a biking life?

All kinds of interesting edible plants, like Buddha’s hand, grow here.

Wild carrot’s lacy parasols

Just as pretty from above

A metal parrot mugs in front, along with a hesperaloe (red yucca) bloom spike.

Cornflowers add their periwinkle blue.

Friends Cat Jones and Lori Daul. Lori was taking official photos for the Travis County Master Gardeners, the organization that put on the tour.

Under a tree, a couple of chairs with kiwi pillows offer a shady spot for Teresa to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

A side view reveals a passel of stock-tank planters overflowing with produce.

The chairs look out on this view: wildflowers, fruit trees, a large greenhouse, and a chicken coop.

The meadow-orchard fills a good portion of the back garden.

Horsemint putting out a siren song for hummingbirds

This guy was reading Dune in a back corner.

Another patio destination appears at the very back, next to a stock tank of pink and red cosmos under a fruit tree.

The greenhouse

And chickens

I spotted a few brown eggs inside the coop.

Vitex flower spires

As I headed back toward the house, a tiered fountain planted with succulents caught my eye. A strappy metal orb held with a piece of rebar perches on top.

Cilantro/coriander gone to seed

A pet tortoise named CheonCheonHi (Korean for “slowly”) lives in a grassy walled yard beside the house.

On a bike-adorned pole, a sign in Korean declares this CheonCheonHi’s place (or so I assume).

CheonCheonHi is living a fine life for a rescue tortoise under Teresa’s care. He enjoys a diet of hibiscus flowers — his favorite food. Teresa fed him one while we watched.


The pantry

Bananas in metal tubs are arranged on a low wall.

I was surprised to see dahlias in bloom in a raised bed along the house. The stifling Texas heat makes it challenging to have these beautiful flowers, but Teresa is working her magic.

A dark beauty

One more, with a maroon Japanese maple doing a color echo behind it

Bees were flocking to a white crinum.

More horsemint

A side yard holds raised vegetable beds and a water-collection system.

Out front I ran into my friend Vicki Blachman cradling the owner’s very relaxed dog. So freaking cute!

Also cute: a furry prickly pear in a small stock-tank planter

The sunny front garden was awash with flowering plants, including horsemint, salvia, desert willow, vitex, and silver-leaved cardoon.

The cardoon’s artichoke-like fruits were forming.

Ladybugs were working them for aphids.

Blue mealy sage…

…was drawing bumblebees.

Spiny-leaved agarita was covered in red berries — a feast invitation to birds.

Rose of Sharon adding pink, ruffled flowers to the colorful scene.

My thanks to Teresa for opening her garden, and to the Master Gardeners for putting on the tour! Due to another commitment, I was only able to tour two of the four gardens on the tour. But for a look back at my exploration of charming Katie Bird Farm, click here.

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Digging Deeper

May 18: On Austin Home’s Great Outdoors Tour, held 5/18 from 10 am to 3 pm, find “Pinterest-worthy pools and outdoor kitchens to thoughtful plantings and stylish urban density solutions.” Tickets are $30.

May 18: Pop up to Dallas for the 2024 DCMGA Garden Tour on 5/18 from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $18 if purchased online prior to 6 pm on 5/17, or $22 after 6 pm on 5/17 or at the event. For a sneak peek, click here.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and around Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Garden Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come learn about gardening and design at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, authors, and gardeners a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Stay tuned for more info!

All material © 2024 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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