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Winter here, missing Sydney summer

The hard freezes have done some damage here at Dancing Red Ranch. The oleander hedge has turned crispy brown, and I’m unsure which of my new fall plantings in the Well House Garden will return with the spring. But that’s the adventure of gardening! We’ve gotten an excellent head start on annual maintenance. This year, […]

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My rescue garden

Some people have rescue pets; I have a rescue garden. It’s the one in Sydney, begun by my in-laws when the house was built in 1966. In the past decades, it suffered severely from benign neglect. Three years after we took a metaphorical machete to the overgrowth, it’s coming along as a blend of venerable […]

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Keeping track of the gardens

When we arrived in Sydney almost a week ago, we were greeted with resplendant cool breezes. Lots of gardening got done. But today we’re experiencing Texas-style heat, so I’m in the house this afternoon. If I can’t be tending the garden, I can at least be updating my garden database. I started the database around […]

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Fergus Garrett | DancingRedRanch.com

Christo, Fergus and me

Central Texas has been rainy this month, so everything here is surprisingly, and rather oddly, green. Still, it’s too hot to start planting and will be for at least another four to six weeks. Sidelined, I turn to books. Today I finished one by Christopher Lloyd — The Adventurous Gardener. (I’m concurrently working my way […]

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Things I didn’t photograph

I am a constant gardener, but an unconstant blogger. If I were as devoted a blogger as a gardener, I’d have pictures for you of the lovely garden we’ve left on its own to enter spring and early summer in Sydney. I’d have pictures of our Eremophila nivea, a bushy silver-gray native that is notoriously […]

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Greenhouse envy

I’m a sucker for any kind of  “backstage” tour, and the glasshouse tour at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney was no disappointment. Led by botanist Dr. Dale Dixon, Curator Manager at the garden, we made our way through the new tropical display house, known as Latitude 23, which is home to an amazing collection of […]

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Sunflowers, by way of Berlin

I had better luck sowing seeds this year than ever before. Beside the hollyhocks from Georgia O’Keeffe’s garden, I sowed sunflower (tithonia rotundifolia) seeds that I bought at one of the most wonderful artist home/gardens I’ve ever visited: the Max Liebermann Villa outside of Berlin on Lake Wannsee. Here’s what the seedlings looked like when […]

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Far from England . . .

For the first time in several years, we did not take our annual springtime trek to England. Instead, I must be satisfied with my own foxgloves, in Austin, in what I call (aspirationally) the “cottage garden.”

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shade bed | DancingRedRanch.com

At Dancing Red, a lush shade bed

There is one tiny spot of shade at Dancing Red Ranch, and it’s taken me a lot of years to get it right. With the help of landscape designer and radio host Sheryl McLaughlin (if you don’t listen to her weekly show, you should!), I planted up a shade-, drought-, and deer-tolerant bed last year. […]

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fallen crape myrrtle | DancingRedRanch.com

After the storm . . .

From the bedroom we have such a great view (well, two views, actually, from the double windows across to the hills and from the french doors across to the field). A nighttime Texas boomer is a sight (and sound) to behold. But Friday night’s storm was off the charts. The driving downpour on the metal […]

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