Cafe at the Ridge Gardens, Part 2

Lots of creativity in the gardens at the Ridge.

Displays on the long porch outside the Cafe include this old wash tub with an interesting mixture of succulents.

Not sure what the original purpose of this long wooden container was.  Looks old.  Anyone know?

Not a big fan of pink flamingos in the yard, especially in Texas.  But these glass ones are classier than the plastic ones usually seen.

Drawing a blank on this flower identification.  Anyone?

The gift shop was originally built as a storage building.

The gift shop displays some of its wares on the porch.  Cute chubby bumble bee.

Another building contains potting soils, fertilizers, etc.  I’ve been trying to figure out what the sign was painted on.  Looks like a hood but is tapered too much – maybe a race car.

Even a pile of rocks (which Central Texas has plenty of) can be spruced up.

An old colander makes a nifty planter.  Vincas or Periwinkles are a great annual for our hot summers.   They are so bright and cheery.

Old tire is considered a hillbilly planter of choice.  But it certainly has character.  This one has Bat-face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea Flamenco Samba), some Petunias, and Blackfoot Daisy.  Don’t know what the small purple flowers are.

Really sturdy and heavy picnic tables.

The grass is artificial.  We were told that liquids penetrate it, and that it is strong and long lasting.

Plenty of pots and succulents to choose from.

I was fascinated by these posts for the outside patio.

These tree trunks serve a purpose.

Molded to look like tree trunks, they are coolers to ice drinks for a gathering outside.

This has a Spanish mission look to me.  Very southwestern.

In the spaces between the flagstones, small succulents have been planted close to the edge of the walkway.  Lil Miss Lantana on the right with its pink blooms loves Texas sun.

Don’t know if this wishing well is a true well or not.  But it is iconic for garden lovers.

Birdbath makes a perfect miniature succulent garden.

Another old wash tub.  They’re hard to find without paying an arm and a leg for them.

Check out counter for garden purchases.

Just like at the grocery store checkout, before you pay out, more items to tempt you. Unusual containers that are already filled make it easy to take home a completed pot.

On the left is a Thorn of Crowns plant without the thorns.  So beautiful that I couldn’t resist.

Have an old broken mixer or one you don’t use?  Make it a planter.  Great imagination.

Great place to visit, especially for gardeners.

“You know you are a gardener when everything you see becomes a planter.”  unknown











Visit to Another Gardener’s Yard

It’s always fun to visit different yards and to get ideas.  The following pictures were all taken at the home of a member of our Garden Club.  This was the final meeting for the year since we take summers off.

mcglothlinyardssThe home is at the edge of Brownwood with a large lot – probably three acres.  This looks back to the street with part of the circular drive between the street and this metal stand.

mcglothlinyarduuThe front part of the yard is probably 3/4 of an acre with lots of native Live Oaks.

mcglothlinyardtyLove the flowers in the chair.

mcglothlinyardzThe front flowerbed against the house is a little wider than average.

mcglothlinyardyyLooks like a Norfolk Pine in the pot.

mcglothlinyardzzManicured plantings.

mcglothlinyardxxLots of container plants in the front and back yards.


mcglothlinyard1The first impressive sight in the backyard is the huge Live Oaks.

mcglothlinyard3Geraniums, Crocus, Ice Plant, and something I don’t recognize in pots.

mcglothlinyard6I was also struck by the flagstone patios and walkways, making it easy to walk around.  Plus, the lush St. Augustine grass with no weeds was pretty.   I know hungry water consumers are not recommended now.

mcglothlinyard4Beautiful water feature.

mcglothlinyard5This shot makes the yard look cluttered, but it isn’t.  It has a spacious feeling.

mcglothlinyard8There are several seating areas.  In the background, behind a chain link fence is their travel trailer.  The field behind the yard gives a sense of country living.

mcglothlinyard9Lots of hanging baskets.  One of these has begonias.  On the ground is a Boston Fern.

mcglothlinyardaA Pittosporum or Schefflera in the pot?

mcglothlinyardb mcglothlinyardcOn this table is succulents in hypertufa pots.  I think the small pot has Dutchman’s Pipes.

mcglothlinyarddMany groupings of small pots are scattered everywhere.

mcglothlinyardemcglothlinyardfmcglothlinyardgThese pots of begonias are a good way to add instant color.

mcglothlinyardhThe plant in the water in the tub looks like water Iris.

mcglothlinyardjThe garden shed is an attractive design.

mcglothlinyardiA small rain barrel collects water.  Any amount of water collection is a good thing in hot, usually dry Texas.  The heavy rainfall this year is way beyond an anomaly.

mcglothlinyardkInside, the shed is filled with gardening gear.  Not much room to bring in all those potted plants.

mcglothlinyardlA hay container for cattle makes a nifty flower bed.

mcglothlinyardmLooks like some newly planted begonias.

mcglothlinyardnThis corner bed at the back of the yard has Gold Lantana.

mcglothlinyardoProbably another storage shed.

mcglothlinyardpPetunias in a stacked pot holder.

mcglothlinyardrThis is probably a playhouse for grandchildren.

mcglothlinyardsLovely hanging begonias.  Hanging baskets require constant watering in our climate, so I don’t bother with them.


mcglothlinyardvThis is an understory tree and thus requires shade.  I’d love to have one but don’t have a place for one.

mcglothlinyardwWhat a chore it is to get ready for visitors to one’s home and yard.  Especially, members of a garden club.  There are many newly planted ferns, begonias, and other plants that will not survive the winter.  So they will either have to dig them up or just lose them.

Thanks, Debbie, for letting me take pictures for my blog and for hosting the club.  Everything looked wonderful.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” Corrie Ten Boom

Clark’s Gardens

My last post featured Max and Billie Clark who founded the Clark’s Gardens near Mineral Wells in a most unexpected spot.  They turned a mesquite filled pasture into a lush and inviting garden.

csawThis is a Tesmec 1000 rock saw.  It does exactly what it’s name indicates.  It cuts into mammoth rocks underground.  These were first used to lay copper cable and now for fiber optic cable.  A similar type was used to cut the rock on our land to bury telephone lines.

Mr. Clark did not invent the rock saw, but he improved it.  So the company he and his wife founded became successful.  They poured much of that money into these gardens, which are 80 percent endowed by the Clarks’ personal investments.  The rest is supported by gate income.

cstatue2The walking paths lead through shady areas, like this one.  Full sun gardens for roses and irises are beyond the wooded area.

cpetuniasOn this particular day, only a few type of flowers were blooming.  These are petunias.

cnandinaA Nandina with berries.  In Texas, this has become one of the maligned shrubs recently.  I’m not sure why.  I had a couple in the DFW metroplex and they grew and were healthy.  Our yard here has too much sun for that type of shrub.

chydrangaOak Leaved Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) were growing with a little dappled sun.  They are more prominent in the southeastern part of the country.  Wish I had shade for these beauties.

cfountainMany events keep this place busy on most days, especially week-ends.  Besides weddings, festivals and celebrations for holidays or bloom seasons occur periodically throughout the year.  Check out their website

The energy level for the special days is high with huge crowds.  Those are fun.  But for this visit, we purposefully chose a quiet day so we could meander alone and enjoy each scene without crowds.

cflowersThis might be Lyre-leaf Sage. I don’t really know.

Many native plants and other plants that have adapted to dry conditions prosper.  The gardens have also been used for different plant studies including one for Earthkind roses with Texas A & M and one for unnamed hybrid roses with the American Rose Society.

ctrain4Miniature train tracks circle and intertwine around an octagonal building.  Through openings, some of the tracks enter the building.  On this day, about ten trains were zipping along.

ctrainSome tracks are elevated about 2 – 3 feet above eye level.


ctrain3Other tracks are low on the ground and viewed from walkways and small walking bridges.

ctrain6Inside the train building a replica of the town of Mineral Wells depicts actual buildings.  The court house is shown here.  Train tracks run in front of this set-up.

ctrain5The most famous building in Mineral Wells was and is a large posh hotel.   In the far left of the picture, you can see part of the Baker Hotel or “Crazy” Hotel.  The hotel opened in 1925 with 400 rooms and 11 stories, plus another section on the roof with 50 apartments.  The third well in town was drilled at the hotel site.

BakerhotelWhy such a huge, lavish hotel in a small town out in the middle of nowhere?

It’s partially explained by the nickname of the hotel.  The name “Crazy Hotel” comes from a story about a woman with mental problems, called the crazy lady by the town kids.  She drank the water at the hotel and was cured.  So the word spread about the healing waters.

The citizens of Mineral Wells had been anxious to cash in on their natural resource of mineral waters.  This rumor helped fulfill their dreams.

Many people traveled there for the baths.  It was a happening place and brought prosperity during the 30’s.  But the real boom came after Ft. Wolters was built just outside of town.  So the early 40’s were the heydays.

At the end of the war when Ft. Wolters closed, so did the hotel.  Then Ft. Wolters reopened as a helicopter base.  For a brief time the Baker Hotel reopened and hosted the Texas Republican conventions in 1952 and 1955.

It’s been on the market for decades now.  Some stores operate on the ground floor and some retirement apartments for assisted living are available.

A grand old, aging lady is just a part of history now.  More than you wanted to know about that?

ccouplestatueBack outside at Clark’s Gardens, another statue of a romantic young couple.

cbaldcypressA tall Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) grows beside one lake area.   Watchful attention is needed not to trip on the Cypress knees growing around the tree.

ccampfireSome statues present every day vignettes.

cswan2Aahh, the quiet peaceful scene of a swan  What is it about them that is so enchanting?

cswanFarewell to Clark’s Gardens.  It is so much more than these pictures show.  A great half day or full day of enjoying nature.

“An addiction to gardening is not bad when you consider all the other choices in life.”  Unknown

West Texas Garden

It’s amazing what an occasional rain will do for plants – especially in West Texas.  These pictures are from a Thanksgiving Day visit to a relative in northwest Texas, but not as far north as the panhandle.  They had a five inch rain two months ago.  This year has been way below their average rainfall of 25″.  So that much rain at one time is a strong gully washer.

This Lil Miss Lantana is easily 10 feet wide and deep.  This backyard belongs to elderly relative who can’t do yard work anymore, but has a guy who helps her.   He will cut this lantana down to the ground in the near future.

At first, I thought this was a monarch or viceroy butterfly on this lantana.

When it lowered its wings, I was totally confused. There were several on this bush, so I kept taking pictures thinking that the photo was blurred in an odd way or my eyes were deceiving me.

Can someone tell me if this a butterfly or a moth?

There were also lots of tiny grey butterflies and several of these yellow ones.  But getting a picture of them with wings open proved to be impossible.

This pepper plant is 4′ tall and 3′ wide.  I thought the peppers had not developed fully yet, but was told this size of the pepper (about 1″) is mature.  When they turn red, they’re ripe for picking and are extremely hot.

Common names for Dianthus are carnation, pink, and sweet william.  There are about 300 species in this family.

One common characteristic is the fluffed edge that looks like it has been cut by pinking shears.

This backyard is small and protected somewhat by a solid wooden fence.  This has allowed these flowers to still be blooming in spite of some cold weather.  Plus, they are all container plants, which can be watered during the summer water rationing.

We Texans are proud of the Lone Star and display it in as many different mediums as possible.

The owner couldn’t identify this grass.  It was sold at a local gardening store, so it may not be a native one.

I was raised in West Texas, so this speaks volumes to me.  An empty pot in the sand with a man carved from agate  taking a siesta brings back memories of how sun and sand dominate the landscape.  Also, the Mexican influence is  important to the culture of the Southwest.

Petunias are an easy flowering plant to grow.  Most varieties today are hybrids.

This little clay goat reminds me of many products that come from Mexico.

This Vinca, also called periwinkle in English, is definitely on its last leg.  It’s a hardy plant that usually is an annal.

This foxtail fern is protected on a porch.

Also, the geranium is on the porch and only receives early morning direct light.

It’s great to see so much color and life in a small garden in a harsh environment.  It brings much joy to the owner and others.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks.”  John Muir