The Gardenīs History

More than twenty years ago, this all began simply for the sake of having beautiful blooms - but as all flower gardeners know, one bed leads to another until it morphs across the yard to become a garden.

To me, our land was just the "'yard" when visitors began calling it an English Garden, in spite of the fact that it grows in Texas. It must be the structural lines and historically inspired features that instigate the adjective, rather than the actual plant materials which must tolerate our prolonged hot summers. Although most of our plants are acclimated or indigenous to Southwestern U.S. as a matter of necessity, their selection and arrangements apparently contribute classical forms.

My first attempt at taming our piece of the used-to-be prairie began under 5 oak trees on top of a barren chalk hill. I naively wanted to see shrub-lets and ferns and some colorful blossoms from our living room window. Wasn't this a brilliant site to attempt my first bed; the only place in the yard without any soil, light, or water? In the first shade bed and other expansions, I did everything wrong until I got it right. That is how I have learned to garden in Texas.

The state seems to be held together with a central spine of lime. From this North Central section of Texas, down towards its tip, the underground consists of limestone boulders embedded in caliche lime paste, topped with a token of black clay. It would have easier to raise cattle in the backyard, than flowers, which is why it was once grazing land instead of crop land. I am glad no one told me. I wanted a garden and just set to it.

Excavation for recent foundation work, below, reminds me of the first few years of making borders on the prairie.

Little nooks have evolved into specific areas to accommodate the lay of the land, my plant collecting mania (frustrated by an artist's urge for design), the plant's requirements and my lifelong yens. On our 1/2 acre suburban lot, the classics of European landscaping have surfaced from childhood intrigues to inspire my tiny versions of features found in a turn-of-the-(last)-century garden. For the sake of identification and sometimes with a bit of accuracy, we label the features as follows. These traditional elements are on a small scale to fit within suburban confines and to keep the garden's size within my physical abilities.


A. Oak Bed

B. Front Bed

C. Mini `Orchard Stripī

D. Herb Parterre

E. Rose Covered Porch

F.Knot Garden

G. Rose Gate Arch

H. French Drain Bed

I. Twin Terraced Beds

J. Gazebo

K. Pecan & Violet Beds

L. Pleached Rose Bed

M. Long Border

N. Compost Bins

O. Circular Steps

...and some lawn must be reserved for croquet and other garden living, since that is the gardenīs purpose. In every month of the year there is something out there to be discovered, to delight in, and yes, to be maintained. But the former outweighs the latter in our biologically-balanced piece of the globe.