Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Rest of the Tour

On the second day of the Plano Garden Club Garden Tour, I took a little bit of time away from my garden to get a look at the other gardens. I have to apologize up front that it was a quick look and the photos are not that great because I wanted to get back to my garden and, as I realized after my first photo, my camera batteries were about to run out of power.

The first stop was at the Joslin garden. 

They have a large flowerbed in front of the house that is planted with a variety of plants, including a few vegetables scattered here and there.

A table for morning coffee sits on flagstone near the house.

I thought the gate leading to the side yard and driveway was interesting. It looks kind of like a screen door. I did not get a closer look because I looked down and was temporarily distracted by a leaf or root imprint on a flagstone.

I assume it is painted or stamped on and not natural. This is a natural formation called dentrite. (Thanks Rock rose and Bonnie.)

A vegetable garden and potting shed are next to the driveway. The potting shed backs up to the alley.

A disappearing water feature in the backyard.

Also in the backyard.

The narrow flagstone pathway leads to the other side yard. I always thought I had a small backyard, but I believe all of other gardens had smaller backyards than mine. I probably have the oldest house of the five on the tour, so that may be the reason.

This side of the house has a small covered bar with bar stools and a TV mounted to the outside wall of the house. All of this is sitting on a small deck. It is creative use of a small space. I wonder how much water runs off the roof and into the neighbor's yard when it rains?

This is the only one I took under the cover. 

The next stop was down the street at the Pai garden. I ended up with just two pictures of this garden. The front garden featured lawn and a large flowerbed near the house. Just as my garden featured educational displays of four line plant bug damage, this garden featured an example of rose rosette disease. The garden club volunteers made a point of educating people about the disease and showing visitors how to recognize it on rose bushes.

This is the backyard of the Pai garden. As I recall, there was no grass back here. Several native plants were on display.

The next stop was the Stierlen garden. This garden is probably the newest of the gardens on the tour. It is planted primarily with native plants, although there is a raised vegetable garden near the house. I started my front garden with an edge of lawn like this garden. That did not last long. It was too much work edging and mowing that small space. I found it interesting that the homeowners placed plants on the outside of the edging around their garden. It is going to be hard keeping the lawn from creeping into that space.

Less lawn on this side of the garden. It will be interesting to see how this garden fills in over the next couple of years.

This was also interesting. There were several of these wire mesh enclosures around the garden. What are they for? Testing plant varieties on each side of the short center divider or tennis courts for the lizards?

The homeowners had several solitary bee houses around the garden. Here are a couple of examples.

I keep planning to add one to my garden and I still have not.

The last stop before returning to the crowds at my garden was at the Eck garden. The front yard was typical Plano and nobody was even out there. Visitors were directed to the back of the house where volunteers were set up in the driveway. Upon entering the backyard, a large koi pond was the first thing you saw.

This garden has an Asian feel with several Japanese maples. Pathways of various materials lead visitors around the garden.

One of the teen aged volunteers said everyone that came into the garden took pictures of the lemon trees. I had to do the same.

This weekend is the city organized Plano Water-Wise Landscape Tour. It is on Saturday, May 16 from 9-3. My garden is not on the Water-Wise Tour this year. This gives me a chance to see some of the gardens I missed last year and a couple of new ones. Click here for more info.


  1. Thank you for taking us on a tour of the other gardens. It is good to see others moving towards the no lawn garden. I imagine that if it is allowed those homeowners will eventually replace that grass with granite or river rock. Unless the HA demands a patch of green! By the way, the imprint on that rock is natural and is a dendrite. I have some of these on the slate in my bathroom and always thought they were leaf fossils until I learnt they are a natural geologic mineral formation.

    1. Thanks for the ID on dendrite, Rock rose. It is a very interesting formation.

      Plano is a little slower to let go of the lawn than Austin and parts of Dallas. It is encouraging that more people in Plano are beginning to go against the lawn tradition. Tours like this and the upcoming Water-Wise Tour help people realize that lawns are not the only option.

  2. A fascinating glimpse into the various styles evolving as folks experiment with how to enjoy their spaces without lawns (or much lawn) in play. As you pointed out, in that one front area with the strips of lawn left so close to beds, it is hard to imagine how those neatly established borders will last. Perhaps the strip of grass is a nod to folks walking their dogs in the neighborhood, an attempt to encourage folks to keep their canines out of the plants and to pick up after Fido? Hard to say.

    Every time I see a series of gardens this way I develop a deep desire to go out and make more paths in our spaces. Usually I lie down until the feeling passes... Thanks for sharing!

    1. TexasDeb, I wish I could take your approach when I get ideas about things to do in the garden. My mind starts planning when I lie down with an idea in my head.

  3. Very good to break away for a few other homes on the same tour - not easy. Good perspective in seeing who's using natives, who's not, and how far along each garden is - the potting shed and coffee spot in the first garden are perfect.

    All proof that small spaces are larger spaces, it's about creating more scaled down a small space, you are already part there.

    1. David, It was hard getting away and leaving strangers alone in my yard. If I was going to borrow ideas from one of the other gardens, the Joslin garden had the most that were of interest to me.

  4. I still like your yard better! I did like the Eck backyard garden, though. It's good to see a few people at least trying to be different with their yards.

    1. Thanks Misti. I did hear other comments to that effect. I like mine best too, but, of course, I am biased.

      I found it interesting that there was absolutely nothing unique about the Eck front yard, yet the owner's touch was clearly seen in the backyard.

  5. Nice examples of how to garden differently. The bistro set out front was a surprise as were the other front yard treatments which can be a challenge to get past the neighbors in the town where conformity rules.

    Good to see you had a break to bring us these gardens. Now back to your own place and instead of relaxing you plan to make major changes. Or that may be your way of relaxing though I can't imagine what you need to change.

    1. Shirley, you are right about conformity in Plano. It is scary to do something different, but more people are taking baby steps and a few are taking giant leaps.

      I may not do any work in my garden this year if it does not stop raining. I mean, stop raining every day. Once a week (and not on weekends) would be perfect.

  6. Looking forward to your evaluation of the Waterwise Landscape Tour. I will be working a different event.

    1. I am looking forward to the tour. I hope it does not rain. It looks like a 50% chance.

  7. Thanks for sharing the tour. It's always interesting to see what other people are doing.

  8. Not really impressed with these gardens in comparison with yours. I have been waiting for some dry weather myself and maybe some sunshine.


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