An Austin Garden: Tanglewild

Winter is here and with it comes cold, gray rain in Oregon. That has me dreaming of warmer days from the Garden Blogger's Fling in Austin in May. One garden in particular, Tanglewild Gardens, holds my interest in a way I cannot explain, perhaps it has to do with my background in art history and the fact that it is loaded with drool-worthy antiques primarily from Asia and Morocco. Tanglewild is a 1.7-acre future botanic garden and current American Hemerocallis National Display Garden (daylilies) full of nooks and crannies and a wonderful tapestry of plants. While I did not encounter many Hemerocallis, I did experience a very unique, exotic and wonderful place in North Austin unlike any other I've seen, a blend of architectural elements and plant material that feels balanced and soothing. Come along with me and soak up a little Austin sunshine in this fantastic place.

Inside one of two walled courtyards, more on those in a moment.

As we exited the bus and entered the gardens through a gate, many different directions of garden areas presented themselves. This garden as I mentioned earlier is accredited as an American Hemerocallis National Display Garden and also a Historic Display Garden for daylilies. Skottie and Jeff, the creators behind this amazing place, began collecting daylilies (an addiction, as they call it, and I think we can all relate) during their 22 years in Seattle prior to moving to Austin. They aspire to create a daylily hybridizing nursery and on a larger scale, to someday make this a botanical garden, Tanglewild Gardens. I have no doubt they will achieve this goal. 

Looking to the left, this Asian-inspired structure felt at home.

A forest of understory plants and a few accents.

Moving around the back side of one of the walls of one of the courtyards, more details in the form of Italianesque putti caught my eye.

Through this gate with amazing door handles in the form of what I think is Naag Kanya, an Indian goddess. 

 I love the use of mirrors in a garden, I feel it gives an enchanted experience, one of not only reflected light, but a sense of being in a room, of living outside.

Pulling back, we see the larger courtyard for entertaining with a most inviting pool. I am standing on the other side of the wall with the fantastic door and handle.

 This part of the garden is for entertaining; I would love to experience it in the evening with these lights illuminated.

The back of the house, a bar and area for eating, and a gate that leads into the Moon Garden. More on that in a moment.

Details in a sun umbrella.

Rusted bits of an ornamental panel. These two have amassed an amazing antique collection for their gardens, I was most impressed and a little jealous.

A corner area for eating and entertaining.

 Or lounging.

 Details. Lanterns such as these are sprinkled throughout the gardens, it was a common theme.

 Elongated Moroccan inspired lanterns in a cozy sheltered entertaining area.

I was a little surprised to see these. As much as they seemed out of the realm of the Moroccan and Asian inspired themes, I really like them and think they are fun.

This garden is only 5 years old. In their first year, they installed an irrigation system and many mature palm trees. They add new planting beds regularly while other plants mature, making it feel like a much older garden than it is. Case in point, these vines covering the walls add the green patina that softens structures, giving them a sense of history.

On the other side of the courtyard, another spectacular Moroccan gate beckons exploration of what lies beyond.

 Bamboos are plentiful to Tanglewild, adding to the Asian feel of the place.

Details. Oh, how I covet these gates.

 The second, matching gate leading to the Moon Garden.

On the other side of the gate within the Moon Garden, three Balinese goddesses greet you. Plants and flowers in this part of the garden are white and pale-colored, meant to be seen by moonlight.


Within the garden there are several places to rest and ponder, an especially lovely thing to do when the sound of water is involved.

 This fountain added such a cooling accent to this rather warm day.

In the Moon Garden, looking though the other gate.

 Just a small detail. I loved that the elephant is kind of tucked into the shade so you experienced him as an element of surprise rather than an obvious garden accent.

 More details. There were a couple of these goddesses hanging. They especially caught my eye, for I have one just like this in blue and green hanging in my mermaid bathroom.

 More details, more fabulous lanterns.

 "Life is beautiful" in Latin.

 An empty but picturesque greenhouse.

Beyond all of these wonderful walled courtyards is an expanse of lawn with a creek below, Tar Branch creek.

And this wonderful surprise, Texcalibur. This sword which has obviously been in this old live oak tree for many years, is reported to be of a legend of such a sword in such a tree pointing to a lost treasure of buried Spanish gold. You can read about the legend here.

Another beautiful greenhouse with some of their famous daylilies below.

Inside the greenhouse with very healthy looking propagules. Perhaps the start of some of their own daylily introductions!

This garden is lush and full, intimate yet open, very well tended and decorated with the most impressive garden antiques I have ever encountered. Perhaps it's my love of all things Moroccan that makes me declare such things. It is heavy on foliage which I love, perhaps I'm also picking up a little bit of the Seattle/Northwest sensibility in some of the Asian plants - a very popular theme for Portland and Seattle, you see many Japanese influences especially in these parts.

It did not feel very much like Austin - there were no desert plants that I really paid attention to - rather the 450-foot (deep) well that supplies their garden with ample irrigation makes it possible to grow more water-intensive plants that would otherwise do poorly in Austin, is my guess.

Here they are! Jeff and Skottie, creators of an extraordinary garden in Austin, Texas, Tanglewild Gardens that took me away to far off places in my mind's eye. Skottie did all of the design for this wonderful place, and one day when they retire from the tech industry, we look forward to visiting it as a full-fledged botanic garden. Thank you both, from one Northwest gardener to two former Northwest gardeners, from the bottom of my heart, for opening up Tanglewild Gardens to a bunch of crazy garden bloggers.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens, as well as the last post of the year! With that, I bid you all a fantastic New Year, may it prove to bring much joy and many blessings your way.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting and happy gardening, everyone!


  1. "propagules"... a new word for me! I too loved this garden, I could have spent all day there. Your detail shots really give a feel of the depth of design.

    1. I know...that's a new one for me too, Maurice uses it all the time in the greenhouse at Joy Creek Nursery. This was a fabulous garden, do you think that the PNW had an influence on their style?

  2. You captured all the wonderful details of this garden well, Tamara. I missed the decorative door handles entirely and I can't tell you how many failed attempts I made to get a decent shot of one of the hanging goddesses. Best wishes for a bountiful and beautiful new year!

    1. Thank you, Kris! I have many failed photos...I only ever show the decent ones...hee hee

      Yes, a wonderful happy new year to you and yours, may it be filled with many plant blessings!

  3. I covet that sun umbrella.....! Loved your post. I spent all my time in this garden swallowing nervously and trying to remember if I had actually downed a pit of the loquat outside, which someone said was very poisonous. Apparently, I did or it wasn't because I'm still here.

    1. Isn't that umbrella gorgeous? I covet it also. That's funny (now) about the loquat, although not funny at the time. Darn! Glad you're still with us! :)

  4. Thank you so much for the kind words about Tanglewild Gardens. It is still in it's infancy, in so many ways, so we were honored to even be considered for the Garden Bloggers Tour. So happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit. We have very eclectic taste, so although much of our garden has a nod to an Asian or Moroccan theme, it is not intentional, we simply surround ourselves with things that we love.... and yes, that includes silly garden ghosts, as they put a smile on visitors. I hope you return when the garden has matured some. Even this Fall was a completely different experience when the bananas reached over 20' tall and there was an abundance of cannas and grasses in their full regalia. Happy Gardening and wishing you a magical 2019!

    1. Thank you SO much, from the bottom of my heart! It's interesting how collections grow...yours is definitely eclectic and fantastic, in my humble opinion. Those gates! Those lanterns! The sculptures! Your plantings! I love it all. Thank you again and I just might take you up on your offer to visit another time - husband and I would love to go to Austin together sometime. I think he'd love it. Amazing about the banana, too - and happy gardening and new year to you both. Cheers!


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