Garden Blogger's Fling, Austin: Jamison Garden

Back to Austin, Texas, this week for another garden on the annual Garden Blogger's Fling tour. Today we visit the garden of Colleen Jamison, who gardens for herself, her family, for wildlife and her whole street. Colleen has not only created a lush private garden surrounding her home, but has turned a very long median in the middle of her street, once void of life, into a space the whole neighborhood can enjoy. First up, her private garden:

Bougainvillea in shades of red echo furnishings in one of several nooks throughout her garden. Red is repeated throughout.

Here you can see the front of the house and its shady garden. I was standing in the median (more on that in a moment) when I took this shot.

Colleen gardens with plants suitable for her Austin climate, having experimented to find out what works well. She cites gardening as a form of therapy, having had to travel for work for years, she rewarded herself on flights home with gardening magazines and obviously design sank in. She has a flair for making comfortable, flowing spaces that attract much wildlife, so much so that we witnessed some in the short time we were there.

Moving around the side of the home towards the back garden, small details begin to emerge that are delightful when encountered as surprises.

Another water feature, I think every Austin garden we visited had some form of a water feature. I think it must be necessary for a kind of relief of the incredibly hot summers.

Silver ponyfoot, yucca and a sweet sculpture tucked into a groundcover bed. It's almost as if the ponyfoot were a trailing creek.

I want to share this, a seemingly mundane detail, to give ideas to those of us who crave such creativity when hiding unsightly trash cans. I love this. Facilities Manager? What do you think? 

One thing Connie has, in my humble opinion, done successfully is incorporate many tiny details in the form of pots, ornaments, chandeliers and other reflective, interesting objects into her garden.

Even a cracked pot is beautiful.

Oooo . . . shiny! I noticed several ornaments, mostly sparkly shiny ones (of course I noticed), throughout. I guess I'm a magpie in that sense.

Moving through the side garden, the back garden opens up to a green expanse of lawn, a large salix and immaculate borders. And a few garden bloggers.

A nook off of the house highlights the color red.

Paired with the warm brown tone of the home, the feel is cozy and inviting.

More details.

More red and a fairly extravagant water feature. How lovely.

The gazebo, which Colleen cites as her favorite feature in the garden. Here she can enjoy the sound of water moving, birds and the trees swaying in the breezes. There are many seating options in this gazebo, for a cuppa, a book, or a nap. I'll take all three, thank you.

Another great chandelier hanging in the gazebo.

Looking out towards the water feature.

More details in the form of lighting. Most of the ornaments in Colleen's garden were similar in color, function and sparkle.

A loveseat and adjoining chairs look mighty inviting.

Around the corner, another seating area with a cooler color vibe.

A Punica or pomegranate flower, a tree we saw repeatedly in Austin. Oregon summers are not hot enough to grow these. Not yet. 

Way in the back corner of the garden I spotted this lovely urn and mirror. It helps to lighten up dark, shady spaces. A good use for an old mirror if one happens to be lying about.

More details. See what I mean about the chandeliers and the coordination of colors and sparkle?

Moving around to the other side of the house, we encounter a large dining table in a shady nook. This must see a lot of use, for it was a great spot to watch the birds while enjoying dinner. OK, that's a look at the private garden. Now to the median which Colleen planted with considerable challenges to overcome.

It is quite lengthy, I would estimate that it is 200 feet long, I could be way off, but it is the better part of the length of her street.

Looking right towards the end. This garden had terrible soil, no irrigation, was covered in weeds and was slightly browsed by deer. Colleen was up to the challenge, however, and created not only a screen for neighbors but a beautiful space with many areas to sit and enjoy the view. I imagine it really brings the neighborhood together to feel like a special community.

Sparkle . . . even out here.

Hesperaloe parviflora bloom.

The opposite end of the median with rosemary, Hesperaloe parviflora again and a great spot to take it all in.

Stipa tenuissima or Mexican feather grass works particularly well here, giving movement, a bit of sound and a flowing look of water. I know it's invasive in some areas of the world, but here I think it's fine. 


Denser plantings in the center of the median.

It's rather difficult to get a photo of the whole thing. This is just the tip.

These trees . . . I loved these. Perhaps a mesquite tree? 

There is the wonderful couple, patiently answering all of our many questions and chatting with 40 garden bloggers at a time. This is the front porch, again echoing the red theme. They were as welcoming as could be and showed us a lovely time. Thank you both for sharing your wonderful garden with 90+ garden bloggers (total . . . two separate bus loads!) and for creating such a welcoming garden for your whole neighborhood. It's a wonderful idea, maybe it will give other gardeners ideas how to liven up their own neighborhoods and create a space for the community. She did it on a shoestring with many challenges, which is quite admirable. Great work, Colleen!

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you all! Happy gardening and stay cool out there!


  1. I like this garden a lot from the ones I've seen so far of the Austin Fling, especially that wonderful median. I love all the sparkly baubles, plus it looks like a gardener's garden, not an overly designed space that people don't really garden or live in.

    1. That median is something else. She's put a lot into it and it shows, plus the fun! I agree with you about a gardener's garden - you can sense that they love being involved with their garden on every level.

  2. I enjoyed this reprise visit of the Jamison garden. You captured a lot of the wonderful detail there. That median garden was inspiring!

    1. Great! I'm glad you enjoyed it. The That is something else, I agree - inspiring indeed.

  3. Excellent look at this garden. That was one LONG median.

    1. Yes, it is so very long. Thanks, Lisa for your comments! :)

  4. Wow, thank you for sharing that. I always love garden tours. It's fun to see other gardener's unique perspective with plantings and art.

    1. Yay! I'm thrilled you enjoyed that. It is so fun to see private gardens and how they pair art with plants, I agree.

  5. I love seeing Colleen's inviting and beautiful garden through your eyes, Tamara. The yellow-flowering tree is our native retama (Parkinsonia aculeata). And just fyi, for anyone looking for a home and garden in Austin, Colleen's house is for sale. She'd love to find a gardener buyer for it.

    1. Thank you Pam, and thank you for the tree i.d.! I appreciate it. Well, some lucky home owner is getting a sweet piece of property. I wish Colleen and her family well in their new adventures!

  6. Tamara, this just warms my heart! I love seeing what you love, and I thank you so much for sharing this. I have experienced so much joy in creating a space that is mutually beneficial for me, our neighbors, the wildlife and the environment. Somehow your photos made it look even better!

    1. Aw, Colleen, thank you for your words. I'm thrilled you enjoyed a romp through your own garden, your love of it certainly shows. Whomever moves into your piece of paradise is lucky indeed. Thank you again for opening your beautiful, warm and welcoming garden to a bunch of crazed garden bloggers. Best wishes for you and your family with your new adventures! - Tamara


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