Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Visiting Jennifer's garden...during the Austin Fling

I've been reading Jennifer's blog, Rockrose, since meeting her at the Seattle Fling in 2011. In addition to photos of her own gorgeous garden, Jenny frequently writes about her, and her husband David's, travels. Those travelogues have gotten me through many a grey, wet, Portland winter day. To say that I was excited to finally see her garden in person is an understatement. Thankfully the intense rain that plagued us earlier in the day let up. Instead of a downpour of epic proportions, there was just a light rainy mist, like we frequently experience here in Portland.

The Agave-centric garden area that greeted us surprised me. Maybe Jenny spends more time talking about the plants inside her garden walls? Maybe I just missed the posts where she writes about this space? Maybe I just haven't been paying close enough attention?

Whatever the reason it didn't matter now, I just stood there taking it all in. A little jealous, and a lot in love.

Reading the information our kind Fling organizers provided us with I've been reminded that Jenny and David moved into their newly constructed home in 2001, for some reason I was thinking they'd been here longer.

In the printed material Jenny also gives credit to David for the the garden's success, she writes: "I am fortunate in that David has accepted the challenges that living with a gardener brings, and he as been an unfailing help in creating our gardens. He has always been ready to take on any project I suggest. This garden would never have happened without his constant help and support." How many of us remember to credit our partners for our garden's successes? I don't know that I do. While Andrew isn't out there digging, weeding, watering, etc, he never balks when I do need help lifting or cutting. The patio, paver-path, and the shade pavilion wouldn't exist if not for him.

Anyway...let's tour the garden! This is the entrance we took into the front courtyard garden, although I later learned that it's not the one they consider the formal entry. You'll see that in a bit.

Wow! Look at that garden...

But first, before you walk through that door, look to the left and note the stock-tank pond...

And the clever sliding window cover.

And the great wall-planter...

And the plaque that hangs above the doorway.

And then once you do step through the door be sure to look down to admire the planters (many of them Jenny made herself).

Okay now you can look up. And smile at the sight of rain-poncho covered Garden Bloggers.

Patience pays off with a few poncho-less photos.

Quoting Jenny's words: "the water feature in the front courtyard was once a footing for a post. We found it discarded in the back alley at our son's house in Dallas. I knew immediately that it would make a great water feature because it has the look of a millstone. It probably weighs just as much and took two people to load it onto our truck."

Jenny also writes that she relies heavily on self-seeding plants, and is more than willing to let them grow where they plant themselves. With much success I must add...

The various garden rooms (the house is surrounded by different walled spaces, see this post on Jenny's blog for a great overview) all feature a space to sit and enjoy the garden with a bit of tea.

And of course there were flawless Agaves everywhere you looked.

The front entry to the home.

Agave, Agaves, Agaves!

Such a curly A. bracteosa!

These photos are all just from the front courtyard garden. I knew I needed to tear myself away to see more, but it was just so beautiful.

Okay, finally we're about to walk out the main entrance...

The view to the left, outside the door...

I recal Jenny saying she was waiting to cut the dead Cycad fronds because she loved their look. I can understand that.

Looking towards the Agave garden that held me in awe, but from the opposite side. You can see the driveway in the distance. That's where I was standing when I took the first few photos.

The sidewalk to the front entrance...

And what you find if you walk to the right of the entrance, around the outside of the wall...

And just like that you're back inside a wall, and looking at another wall...with an Opuntia topper!

There's even a fantastically shaped Opuntia tree.

Another of Jenny's creations.

And now you're in the "English garden"... (Jenny is a transplanted English gardener making it work in Texas).

And we've caught up with the poncho people.

There are wonderful details and vignettes all throughout the garden. I walked through twice actually, hoping to see them all.

Now we're descending the stairs into the garden room with the pool.

One of the most beautiful pools I've ever seen.

There was a Yucca rostrata too, of course.

In another garden room this Confederate Rose Agave is sending up a bloom spike.

While the surrounding plants will live on after the centerpiece blooms it's still going to be bittersweet to watch the biggest one die.

The wall behind the Agave pillar.

And the veggie garden...

With it's fabulous stock-tank pond. Jenny made the floating planters herself (instructions here).

The rain did make for a few extra photogenic plants.

Looking back at the pond and the house.

And then I walked through the back gate and was outside the fence, in the parts of the garden that must be deer-proof.

Walking along the side of the house, back towards the driveway.

And once in the driveway a look back at where I'd just been.

I hope you enjoyed this photo-heavy post. I feel like I just barely touched on the magic of this garden. If you'd like to see a non-rainy overview check out this post Jenny did just after the Fling, on a much nicer day, here.

Weather Diary, June 18: Hi 83, Low 58 / Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I've not seen such a thorough look at Jenny's garden before, nor one so wet. :)
    How many garden rooms are there? I'd be happy with any single one of them as my garden!

    1. From my memory I’d say 7 or 8, but really that’s just a guess. It’s all magic!

  2. Jenny's garden is spectacular in any weather. I'm so glad she was generously willing to share it with us! And you make an excellent point about remembering to thank our partners who may not be gardeners but have to live with one, and who are willing to help when asked.

  3. Such a beautifully laid-out garden. I love the wildflower meadow near the pool. And of course, those agaves!

  4. OMG this garden is magic -- thank you for sharing it with us!

  5. I believe I read a little Agave Envy in this post. What is not to envy in this garden. It is spectacular. I like some of the view you chose to show. Different than any I have ever seen of her garden. Fresh...

  6. Loree, you beat me to it. I'm going to post about Jenny's garden shortly, and I was worried that I'm including too many photos. But Jenny's garden is so special that you can't even begin to do it justice without showing its many (MANY) different facets. I'm glad I saw your impressions. They similar to mine, but you saw quite a few things I missed.

    1. I too was worried about too many photos, but then just decided to go for it.

  7. I loved this garden so much, and like you I was relieved that the deluge let up for our visit.The garden was much larger than I expected it to be, which was a good thing ! And so right about the non-gardening helper-my late hubby had absolutely no interest in gardening but he enjoyed sitting in it and he built me things . Occasionally he would make requests i.e. Dahlias, and I always tried to accommodate.

    1. It was larger than I expected too, but thinking back I don’t know how it could have been smaller and have fit everything I knew was there.

  8. As usual, you captured views in this garden I missed. I loved Jenny's garden, even rain-sodden as it was that day.

  9. There is much to comment about in this post. It struck me that some areas in the garden are very meticulous and and others carefree and wild. Both done with much attention to detail but it's not often that you see both in the same garden and by the same gardener. The stock-tank ponds and Agave pillar are pretty great.

    1. This is a very interesting point you make. I am a person who strives for the tidy look but who also loves and can live with the wild look. You would see the same in my house. All is tidy in the main living areas but take a look at my closet, laundry room and you would see a different person. How can the two live together is a mystery.

    2. Chavliness I love your observation and Jenny your response is perfect!

  10. I know: I really, truly loved everything about this garden! I wish I could go back and spend a few days there exploring all the little nooks and crannies. Jenny and her husband have created many, many amazing creative garden features and one large, fabulous garden. I'm always amazed by gravel gardens. There's one at Olbrich Botanical Garden here in town, and I always marvel that there's no soil on the top layers of the entire area. It's very calming in an unexpected way. Anyway, for some reason I hadn't followed Jenny until the Austin Fling. I was thrilled to meet her, see her amazing garden, talk with her, and now follow her blog. :)

    1. I would love to go back and watch it throughout the day. How the light changes in the different spaces.

  11. Marvelous! I love the way each garden room has its own character but how seamlessly they flow together and how the house is an integral part of the whole. Truly a gifted gardener and a stunning garden.

  12. This was amazing, Loree! Thanks for sharing your photos and your experience with us!

  13. This photo set captures the restraint of the RockRose garden, which I think is its best feature. As a landscape, it's seamless and feels inevitable in that it fulfills the true and ultimate potential of the property, and yet on a micro level the palette screams Plant Person and the plant health and vitality are a testament to her horticultural knowledge. She is really, really good at this. :)

  14. I woke up this morning, on a welcome rainy day this time, to read your wonderful post about visiting my garden. Thank you for all the kind words and great photographs. I have gained so much pleasure from reading your and others' posts about that rainy day visit. Our garden brings us immense joy and we love to share it with others. And I hope visitors and readers are inspired to go home and imagine what they can have in their own private spaces.

    1. I imagine your beautiful garden has inprired many to create in their own spaces. Thanks again Jenny!

  15. I've always thought she had one of the most beautiful and beautifully designed gardens no matter the climate. And the fact that she is from the UK has always amazed me to see her very Texas garden. Your pix showed so much more in terms of closeups and other big views. Glad you took a lot of pix. And I love her little English auricula theater on the wall but filled with southwestern plants in pots.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the photos, can you believe I edited out the over 100? I went a little crazy...

  16. Thanks for the excellent post; this was my 2nd time in their garden, and I saw so much more. I also told Jenny the outer areas surprised me as I hadn't seen them! "You have to be there", I guess. Just stunning.

    You're right about only being able to touch on all her garden is. A college semester course in garden design could be taught on it.


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