Best in Show in Downtown Austin

You may have seen the recent news out of New York, from the Westminster Dog show:

Malachy The Pekingese won Best in Show in Westminster 2012Malachy The Pekingese won the 2012 Westminster dog show last week

Segue to a glorious winter day in Austin, TX,  last week. A friend and I were walking downtown, enjoying the 75 degree weather and admiring the sights. Much to my surprise, we came upon Malachy outside one of the new buildings near the second street district:

Wait, my mistake. That’s not Malachy, though I’ll bet you can see why I was confused. That’s smartly planted Mexican Feathergrass in a gorgeous planting softening the foundation of a commercial building.

Though the bloom shown above in mid-February isn’t typical, this combo of Little John Bottlebrush with Mexican Feathergrass is striking and creative.

Throughout downtown and newer commercial areas throughout Austin, drought-and-heat-tolerant plantings are replacing flowering annuals that just can’t make it here without huge amounts of water. While I do miss flowers, these types of displays soften the sharp modern edges of buildings and are certainly a smarter choice.

And this gorgeous nearby display of  “Dianella” Variegated Flax Lily combined with blooming purple sage and bamboo muhly in the background can make me forget about pansies and mums.  You can see the dining chairs of the W Hotel in the background; a modern Austin scene.

I’m joining in this month’s Foliage Follow Up with Pam at Digging. Thanks, Pam!


12 thoughts on “Best in Show in Downtown Austin

  1. I was just thinking, while looking at your photo, “I know I’ve seen that Dianella with black rock somewhere just recently…where was it?” Yep, the W.

  2. It’s a really pretty planting, isn’t it, Katina? And why is their Bamboo Muhly so lush and large right now and mine is but a sprig?

  3. I love that waterfall effect, Pam. If I didn’t already have Blackfoot Daisies spilling over my curb that I’m totally in love with, I’d put that look in my bed. I knew some of y’all out there would have the same irreverent sense of humor as me…

  4. I was down at City Hall Wednesday and wandered around admiring all the perennials being used in lieu of annuals. It’s a nice change. The combo of feather grass and bottle brush is a good one…if only I had more sun.

  5. That is such a great example of feather grass at its best. I was always taken by a similar planting outside Crate and Barrel. Simple but effective. I tried to do a similar thing alongside one of my walls but never managed that effect. You have made me want to try again. After all I have beaucoup feather grass.

  6. What a hoot, Robin. Great comparison. I do love that feather grass, but didn’t you pull all yours out from the sun bed? I’m jealous of those Dianella, buying big new ones is definitely on my list. I can’t wait any more since mine didn’t really come back last year. They still look like they belong in 4″ pots!

  7. Diana, I pulled out several plants that were either crowded or had died from the drought. I still have a few. If I didn’t have the BF Daisy hanging over the curb, I would do this with feathergrass. But right now I love those blooms hanging down!

  8. I really enjoy using Bottlebrush plants in my design process.
    It’s a great value plant in the sense that it is an evergreen, has outstanding blooms and gets quite big. A healthy well tended Bottlebrush is a s real show stopper.

    Thanks and keep up with your good work!

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