An Austin Garden: Margie McClurg

We should expect winter weather mid-February, but somehow I expect to see sunshine, not ponds from the record rain we experienced this week. Poor me, I know. Well, it's more fun to look at sunnier garden photos, so I give you my last garden from the 2018 Garden Blogger's Fling in Austin, Texas, that of Margie McClurg.

The garden started about 12 years ago after the owners took a trip to Butchart Gardens and were inspired to re-create the beauty they experienced there (with plants that do well in Texas). After hiring Jackson Broussard, the owner and designer at Sprout Landscape design, to make it all come together, the end result feels like a secret garden, a slice of the Mediterranean hidden in Austin.

The bus dropped us off on a gravel drive tucked in among mature shade trees. The dappled light was most welcome on this very warm day.

One design element Jackson cites in his description of the garden are Italian cypress, something evergreen that gives a backbone to the garden in winter. Here they punctuate a wider view, occupying vertical space.

Yucca rostrata mixed with Cupressus sempervirens (Italian cypress) work surprisingly well together. 

Branches of an Arctostaphylos or manzanita, perhaps? Actually a metal sculpture that seems to echo the spirit of this garden. I do not know the artist's name, but I admire the work.

A slightly wider shot of what seemed to be the center of the garden. The Cupressus sempervirens seem to form a hedge, enclosing this area, making it feel quite private.

In the center of the garden is a group of pear trees surrounding a dining table. The low retaining wall surrounding this area serves as secondary seating.

Around the pear trees are many shade loving plants.

The retaining wall and Papaver somniferum seed pods.

Gravel walkways used what must surely be local rock that has a lovely warm cast to it. Our local gravel is gray, which would look out of place here, but is right at home in my garden. I think it's important to work with local elements to make one's garden connect with the land it rests upon.

These fun painted balls (I don't know if there's a story about them) are a surprise and are obviously hand-painted. 

Many perennials in this garden explode this time of year (May). Jackson Broussard cites his goals for this garden as "wanting to create color changes throughout the seasons, plus promote easy and interesting movement throughout the garden. Also, creating an evergreen backbone of Italian cypress, nolinia, and wavy pad cactus ensures that the garden is visually held together, even in winter."

Terra cotta figures tucked into the gardens are another sweet surprise.

The pool with a brightly colored water feature vase.

A hot tub, too! 

A Saint Francis sculpture with crows. 

This shot is around back from where the bus dropped us, and I think this might be the front of the house. I admire the use of boulders as a design element, finials marking the entrance to a grand staircase. Sometimes the understated and most natural answer is the best answer.

Papaver somniferum popped up here and there, likely self-sown plants that shift around the garden from year to year as they do.

Cotinus or smoke bush catching the light.

Italian cypress punctuating the horizon line.

I honestly could not say what this is. I like it, though. It was in a less formal part of the garden along the gravel driveway.

An Eryngium or sea holly perhaps? Whatever it was, a beam of sunshine landed right on it. Thank you to Hans for the i.d. of Mahonia trifoliolata, that is indeed a good match!

Finally one last shot of the "spineless" prickly pear so ubiquitous in the Austin gardens we visited, Opuntia ellisiana. 

To be perfectly honest, I kind of dragged my feet writing this blog post. It's mid-February, dreary, I have very little to show in my own garden and I'm ready for a change in weather. I also am a little sad that my look back at the fabulous gardens of Austin, Texas, are at an end. There were other gardens to visit this last day of the Fling, however I and my Fling roomie Jennifer of The Rainy Day Gardener sadly had a plane to catch. So, Margie, I thank you for opening your garden to a bunch of crazed garden bloggers - it was a delight and felt intimate yet grand. It will stay in my memory for years as the last garden I got to visit in Austin.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Hopefully we'll all have some good weather soon, may spring be on its way for all of us. Until next time, happy gardening!


  1. You did a wonderful job at capturing the beauty of this garden, Tamara, including many elements I seem to have missed entirely like the terracotta figures. I hope you enjoy a nice warm-up in your weather soon.

    1. Thank you, Kris! We all saw different bits of each garden, for sure. I am sure I missed tons of other great bits. Thank you for the warm-up wishes, right now I'm looking outside, in my garden clothes, watching the rain and waiting for a break in the weather. I could be here a while.

  2. This is one of the gardens that really made me wonder what it would be like to be in at dusk and into the night. Sitting at the table under the trees with a nice glass of wine --I guess I'm tired of winter !

    1. Me too, indeed. That table with the surrounding pear trees was the epicenter of the garden, really lovely. I'm ready for spring, too.

  3. February is such a dreary month and right smack in the middle of winter so everyone is desperate for some little indication of Spring. Thanks for showing us these lovely pictures to remind us that it is not really that far away.

    1. Oh, yes - very dreary indeed. We are all a little weary of winter. You are so welcome, glad you enjoyed the tour!

  4. I think the plant IDd as a sea holly is a Mahonia, maybe trifoliata

    1. Thank you for the i.d., Hans! I believe you are absolutely correct. A species of mahonia I did not know about. Thanks!

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