Cafe at the Ridge Garden Vignettes

Our Master Gardeners Club took a day trip last week to the Kerrville area.  Our first stop was Café at the Ridge outside of town.  Originally it was called Roadkill Cafe.  About 12 years ago a new owner renovated it and put in a bakery, a garden, a nursery, and a gift shop.

Immediately I knew I would love this place.

Usually, whiskey barrels are cut in half for a flower pot.  This arrangement of three different ways to use the barrels make them much more unique.

Behind the railing is the porch area for the cafe.  We ate a delicious lunch there.

The wood is mesquite, which is expensive because it takes a long time for trunks to get large.

The pot on the left contains a Hardy Hibiscus.  Behind that is Dusty Miller with its lacy gray leaves.  On the right are some Daylilies and mystery yellow flowers.

This picture is to show the use of a broken pot.  In the center, surrounded by Begonias is a large pot that has parts of the pot stuck in the remaining large section.  There is also a bright blue pot placed inside.

Even though I like yard art, I don’t care for the hanging sunflower circles.

Another reconstructed clay pot contains plants and a fairy garden.

Unusual.

Lots of brightly colored pots for sale.

The theme of the garden seemed to be:  use as many unique items as flower pots as possible.  Here, old chest drawers were attached to legs and hold Foxtail Fern, Woodland Fern, and Begonias.  Not sure about the dark leafed plant.

A concrete basket contains Dusty Miller, Pentas, and maybe Penstemon.

A seesaw for adults

I’m always on the look out for old metal cars.  So far, no luck or they are too costly.

The round plaque would be nicer if it were more legible.

I actually have an old enamel pot that I need to drill holes in so it can be a planter.

The plant in the large pot looks like a Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynosux chenpodiodes) and the purple leafed one behind it is Princess Caroline Napier Grass, which is a Texas Super Star plant.

Because the Mexican Flame Vine is zone 9 -10, I have to move it into the shed for winter.  I bought it at a garden club sale in Waco but didn’t realize it was too tropical for here.  But it is beautiful.

Even old tires can become planters.  Not sure how they folded the tire back after cutting the zigzags.

A word about yard art.  This place has an overabundance of it.  But they are selling plants, pots, yard art, and suggesting ways to use plants.

The “tea and brie” set look down their noses at yard art.  But it can be used effectively.  First, one should see and enjoy the plants.  Then, wandering through the garden, one should encounter pleasant surprises that makes one smile, such as yard art.

In the city, that can be more challenging because of yard space, and because  some community rules prevent it.  But enjoy it when you can.

Lamb’s Ear in front.  The bedstead in the back has been turned into a plant protector.  In the center is a wire grid tepee that can be covered with plastic to shade plants from the sun.

Note the posts for this porch – cages filled with chunks of glass.

This picture was taken to show the Bottle Tree.  Haven’t seen one with that shaped frame.

I was enamored with this place, so lots of pictures.  Next post will continue with more from this nursery.

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Bottle Tree

Being a lover of crazy yard art, I have wanted a bottle tree for several years.  The history of them also fascinates me.  When the slaves were brought to the southern US, they put bottles in trees to capture evil spirits.  The sound of the wind in the bottles indicated that the spirits were inside the bottles.  This site – felderrushing.net/HistoryofBottleTrees.htm – has an extensive history dating the bottle trees even before the African tradition.

People who display bottle trees today do so just for the art – not the superstitions.  So don’t read the history into the bottle trees you see in yards.

My sweet husband granted my wish and made this one.

We copied one that we had seen in Brownwood.  A galvenized steel feeding trough was used for the base.  My husband drilled drain holes in the bottom.  Then we put a layer of rocks for drainage and weight.  Then it was filled with dirt.  This thing is not going to be blown away!

The next step was to drill holes in the bottom of a cheap plastic tub.

The rebar (reinforcing bar or steel) was bent and then inserted into the holes of the tub before the cement was poured.

He mixed the cement in a wheelbarrow and shoveled it into the plastic tub.

After the cement hardened, the rebar was bent some more into desired shapes.  Then we added rubber tips to the shape edges of the rebar.  Since the wind is so strong here, we felt the bottles needed to be protected.

Love the cobalt blue.  I would call this a bottle bush rather than a tree.

Looking at the pictures, we’ve decided to bend the rebar more for greater variation.  The whole project cost was more than I had intended.  But I’m happy with it.

The bottles were ordered online at http://www.bottletree.com/.

Now if I can just figure out what to plant in the soil around it.  The plants need to be drought tolerant, not need much water or attention and be able to survive a cold winter.  We have had cold winters occasionally in the past.

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”       Eleanora Duse