November 29, 2011

Fall 2011 Tour : Backyard

Two nights ago, San Antonio had its first freeze of the season - 31°F. All of my plants escaped unscathed, but I know it's only a matter of time before Jack Frost catches them so I wanted to take a minute to document my backyard in its fall glory.

The peak of the season was mid-October, and the profusion of flowers has lessened, but still, looking at these pictures, I'm very pleased with how the scene has developed over the past three years.

I have two water features in the backyard, and both were out of commission until about a month ago.

This bird bath's pump burned out when we were out of town for the weekend in the spring. Tip: Do not depend on your house sitter to fill your bird bath. Lucky me, I found new pump in an opened package on the clearance rack at Lowe's. Score! Now the bird bath is running again. (I always check the clearance rack, or as I call it, the Rack of Death.)

This fountain cracked when I left water in the basin last winter. I was so mad at myself for being careless with my gift, and I was bummed that after exhaustive Internet research and a call to a local water feature store, I could not turn up any recommendations for fixing it. That is until I called a kooky handyman show on a lesser-known radio station.

When I told the host my dilemma and how I wanted to at least try something before I turned my fountain into a planter, he didn't hesitate with his answer. "You need Through the Roof!" So that's what we drove to his store and bought the same day. I painted the entire fountain, inside and out and let it dry. Voilà! So far, so good.

This spring, when the nurseries are stocked again, I'd like to plant some coral bells or holly ferns to hide the brick risers. Have you had any experience with either plant in South or Central Texas? Any recommendations?

No Man's Land
Back to the tour. Around the corner from the lawnette is No Man's Land. I've tried to spruce up this utilitarian space with a trumpet vine on the fence, firespike in the pocket and a second confederate jasmine.

A huge pot of the jasmine was on clearance at H-E-B for only $10 in early October. The vine was healthy and I know it normally sells for about $24 so I snagged it. I am training it to grow around the window. Won't it be great to open the window and smell jasmine in the spring!

Now, a U turn back toward the lawn.

A shot of Travis' veggie gardens filled leafy green sprouts (and my wildflowers mixed in). The arbor. And the patio.

Right bend
And finally, if you stand at this juncture...

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... you can see both the veggie beds and the path to the front yard.

I love long shots of landscapes especially when you can compare them to previous seasons and previous years and see the changes. Cheers!


  1. Looks good, Abbey, nice tour. Great that you found a way to repair the birdbath.

    Coral Bells don't seem to like heat even if it's in the shade. Mine are holding on, but not looking good this year so I'm not planting any more.

    Holly fern is about the same. It's planted in the shade and did okay, but even a bit of filtered sun made it wilt and even brown on the leaves. I might try it in an even shadier spot next year.

    These plants have been in less than two years and might do better if we don't have such a tough year.

  2. Hi Abbey, your garden is looking great! Water features add so much...sound, attractive to wildlife and us! I've had holly fern in my garden for 7+ years. They are situated under live oaks where they receive only dappled sun. They took a couple of years to take off - I planted 4" pots - but once they did they have done well. This year is the first time they've struggled but once the fall rains came they perked back up and put on new foliage. There is a somewhat blurry view of them on my blog right now behind the Japanese Maple.

  3. I love your birdbath glad to know you were able to have it fixed! Oh and the idea of jasmine growing around your window is just lovely! If you're planning to get install a pergola or a patio
    Sugarland Landscaping does a really good job!

    Thanks for the tour Abbey! Keep up the good work! :)