New stuff I forgot to post


I have some new Garden Art. Many of you in Austin will know the artist – Dale Whistler. He created most famously the dancing frog band on top of the original and subsequent Whole Foods (the new one just doesn’t have the same soul) and our wonderful Bat Sculpture on Barton Springs Road and Congress, near Congress bridge that houses the largest bat colony in North America.

I am the fortunate recipient of two of his pieces, the dog and cat chasing each other above, which can be reversed to be all purple if I want. It was originally a hanging mobile, but the string broke and I haven’t decided whether to rehang them as a mobile or let them run on the fence.

I have another mobile he created on loan from a friend – it’s one of my favorite pieces, but ridiculously hard to photograph. All the pieces are made from 1/8 thick metal, and painted with metallic auto paint to give them a great shine. It’s my kind of art – whimsical, colorful and fun.

Dale Whistler garden mobile

Dale Whistler garden mobile

Okay, stop laughing! I KNOW it’s a horrible picture, and I KNOW you really didn’t want to see my neatly covered outdoor grill, but dangit! it’s the only way I could get it to hold still and have the colors sorta show up. There’s more color, too – the opposite sides have some turquoise, reds and other colors that spin around in the breeze. How awesome is that???

I’ve had several projects going on during this cold snap – only 90 degrees now. But last week, with that lovely north breeze and days in the 80’s, I really did get a lot done.

I finally planted this bed near the infamous outdoor grill. It took a long time for me to get a feel for what I wanted there. It’s completely in the shade, so my options were limited. Several people kept saying “Put ginger there; it’s a great place for some ginger” so after much consternation, research, dream therapy, freudian analysis, prayer to the great Garden Fairy, and reading every shade garden book I could get my hands on, I decided to put Ginger there…with a gaggle of Holly Fern to keep it company.

My Ivy Geranium is certainly enjoying the weather, if I must say so myself.

I saw this planting below at a local retail store, and fell in love with it. It’s so hard to find nice plantings for shade, and this really brightened up a dull corner in an unfinished part of the yard. I already had the empty planter, looking lonely and empty.

So I copied what I saw and put in black and green Sweet Potato Vine, Crotons, and Cordyline, which you can barely see because the one I found wasn’t quite big enough. Assuming I can protect it through the winter, next year its soft spikes should shoot upthrough the middle, giving the planter some much needed height.

And this isn’t a new project, but I haven’t yet posted a picture of it. I found this awesome Garden chair in an antique store in Salado, and snagged it (especially since it was half-price, always a great thing). This corner of my yard needed interest, and my budget wasn’t ready for something permanent. This grouping is very happy under the ancient Cedar Elm (I love the semblance of autumn with the yellow leaves on the ground from the Elm. I’ve actually had years when this huge tree has turned bright yellow and been quite beautiful.) Look at those blooms – I’ve never had that succulent in the chair seat bloom so much, and I’ve had it for 8 years now.

(by the way, I need suggestions as to what I should put behind that chair to cover the fence? An outdoor screen of some sort? What can I do – it’s a totally shaded area in the summer because of the elm, and sunny in the winter once the leaves are gone.)

And get ready to laugh again, but don’t tell me you are laughing cause it might hurt my feelings. My yard has been very green and lush since I bought this place, but without any colorful blooms. I spent so much time and energy working, I never got around to correcting that situation. Finally this year, I’ve had the luxury of time and energy to add blooming plants to my shady garden. So this is the first time I’ve been able to actually have flowers to enjoy, and about a month ago, I was able to create this small vase of flowers all from my garden. I know you have all been doing this for years, but I’m celebrating my first homegrown indoor flower cuttings!

As you can tell, I am a fan of tropicals. I also have planted many natives, which I’ve shown in previous bloom day pictures. Once they get established, I’ll probably let many of the tropicals go, since they are higher maintenance. But they certainly do give me a lot of bang for the buck when it comes to adding color quickly in my green garden. And I am a tropical kind of gal – send me to the blue water anytime and I’ll be happy!

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6 thoughts on “New stuff I forgot to post

  1. I love all your tropicals — you’ll laugh Thursday and you’ll see why…I have a ton of gingers. I’m eager to hear more about your suggestions for flowering plants for the shade. My shade bed in the back needs some sprucing and I’m feeling like I am out of ideas. And I love that iron chair with the succulents and all the pots you’ve grouped around it — very creative.

  2. Oh – and I forgot to tell you — I love the dog and cat on the fence. That is just priceless and I’d leave them both right there!

    Thanks, I kinda like them there myself. I think the solid background of the fence makes them show up a bit more. And I really like having a bit of Austin history in my yard. I’ll bring my books that I’ve used for shade ideas, and all my research. I’ve been a bit of a geek with all the self-education I’ve done this year, especially for shade plants. Robin

  3. So that’s what happened to the plants in the back of your truck. I love the crotons in the pots and they will look great in the house when winter comes-if it ever does. I’m wondering if I have one of his mobiles. It’s of cowboy hats and cowboys but the strings broke too. That’s what made me think of it. The metal sawed through the string!

    Jenny, did you purchase it locally? If so, it could be one of Dale’s. He moved to Norway several years ago, though, and just recently returned to Austin. Before he left (probably 1998 or so?) he had a “fire sale” and sold a bunch of things that he had at home. That’s where my pieces came from. And I’m hoping to leave the crotons out all winter, just covering them when it gets cold. They’re in a very protected spot, so I’m crossing my fingers! BTW, good catch on the plants in the back of the vehicle! šŸ™‚ Robin

  4. It mobile was a gift from my son and must have been about 10 years ago so maybe it is one of Dale’s, but then again maybe lots of people are doing this kind of thing. You must live in a very sheltered spot because I don’t think even covering would help at our house. You would be a good candidate for one of my Agave desmettiana which does not do well with frost. I’ll be taking some to the garden tour.

  5. Hi, Dale! Happy you visited my blog. And I definitely AM enjoying that mobile. I have to say my favorite is the dog and cat, though. It makes me smile every time I look at them on the fence. I’m happy to have your work gracing my garden.

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