corymbia |

Meanwhile, back in Sydney

A few days after our dear neighbor sent this photo of our glorious corymbia ‘Summer Red’ in full flower, she emailed this other photo of a large, fallen limb of the jacaranda several yards away. Apparently the corymbia needs a stake, but will survive! (Work to do on that limb when we return . . […]

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sunflower seedlings |


The several times I have attempted to sow seeds, I have been spectacularly unsuccessful. But look at these sunflowers (tithonia rotundifolia)! I bought the seeds from one of my all-time favorite artist’s home/gardens, the Max Liebermann Villa outside of Berlin on Lake Wannsee. We spent a magical day there last year. I sowed the seeds […]

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Spring flowers

It was a perfect spring weekend at Dancing Red Ranch. Soft sunshine with a soft breeze, buzzing bees and hummingbirds as loud as jet engines. A mama bird continuing her duties in the birdhouse outside the bedroom french doors. And Ross continuing to replant the languishing lavender field as a rosemary field. The rosemary hedge […]

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People with dirty hands

I don’t read much fiction; my preference is real life. (Not surprising for a journalist/scholar.) Mostly I read biographies, anything by Hilary Mantel, and garden books, mostly garden essays. I also love the I-ran-away-and-started-a-new-life-and-a-new-garden memoir genre, in any country — France, Italy, Australia . . . For a new volume of garden essays I usually […]

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I love the delicate shapeliness of myrtle.

Meet the new rock garden

Our most recent project has been in the making for quite a while. (Everything around here takes several years to complete . . . ) Here it is, the rock garden. A mound of rock rubble from around the ranch, filled in with soil, topped with gravel, and accented with large stones. Finally, in late […]

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kangaroo paws |

Summer in Sydney

Just as the cold change moves into the Hill Country, I receive these photos from Andy, my Sydney neighbhor. I hope they cheer you up as they have me!

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certified wildlife habitat |

My tiny cottage garden

On Friday we posted our “Certified Wildlife Habitat” sign on the gate leading into the backyard in our Austin home. While I was there snapping the sign, I turned the camera to the left, to document what I grandly call my “cottage garden.” (A girl can dream, can’t she?)

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Don Gardner |

How to properly water a tree

It’s finally tree-planting season, and we headed out to the Natural Gardener to replenish our sprinkler inventory. The Hill Country sun is tough on plastic. When were told which model arborist Don Gardner recommends, were were sold. Don is our go-to arborist: he’s worked with us at the ranch and in the city for more […]

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