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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Secret Garden

Originally named White Shadows, Ina Chandor changed the name of the gardens to Chandor Gardens to honor her husband after his death.  Douglas had been the dreamer, creator, and worker of this enchanting place.  It was his passion.

waterfallSeveral waterfalls transport one from an arid climate to a cool, lush place.

succulentwhiteSucculents grow tucked into the rocks.

smallplant

redrosesKnock-out Roses and other hardy plants grow among water loving plants.  Today the garden is in transistion with more drought tolerant plantings.

fish2

fishThere’s a good sized pond filled with carp.  Chandor seemed to be fascinated with oriental objects and designs.

pinksPentas or starflowers or Egyptian Star Clusters are planted in several places throughout the gardens.

oakleafhydrangea3On the other side of these trees is an Oak Leaf Hydrangea.

oakleafhydrangea4They love mostly shade.

minglionsThese two Asian lions are just one example of Chandor’s use of oriental decorations.

queenelizabethEleanor Roosevelt commissioned Chandor to paint Queen Elizabeth in 1952.  She posed in Buckingham Palace for eight hours in one day and the painting was done.  This portrait was a gift to the British Embassy in DC.

This was to be his last work as Chandor died two weeks after returning to Texas.  See the two previous posts Quiet Garden and Intimate Garden to learn more about this garden and his painting career.

When Ina Chandor died in 1978, there were no heirs, so the property lay unattended for 20 years before a local couple brought it.  They took on the tremendous task of restoring it.  They eventually sold it to the city of Weatherford, Texas.  Today it is under the management of the city parks division.

yellowpompom2This small Golden Ball leadtree (Leucaena retusa) is in the parking lot.  It’s in a good spot since they are very drought tolerant, can withstand reflected heat, and naturally grow on dry, rocky slopes.  It is also somewhat protected from strong winds, which can snap the brittle trunk.

yellowpompomA bright golden-yellow puff gives a happy welcome or a come back to see us ending.  Chandor Gardens are an example of planting as a gift for the present and for the future.

“The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep.”  Edgar Watson Howe

Intimate Garden

Douglas Chandor created a garden with many refreshing areas inviting contemplation or just chilling out .  And he did it in a field in West Texas.  See the previous post for more details about the beginnings of Chandor Gardens.

rockypondEven while he worked hauling rocks, constructing fountains and bridges, and planting trees, bushes, and flowers, he continued his life work as a portrait artist.

churchhillpaintingPresident Roosevelt commissioned Chandor to paint the portraits of the Yalta participants.  Stalin refused to pose but sent a photograph.  That project was not finished.  But he did paint the other two men.  The story goes that while he was painting Churchill, who was an artist himself, Churchill got up out of his chair and walked to the painting.  He wanted his midsection made slimmer, so Churchill picked up a paint brush and proceeded to make that change himself.

FDRpaintingChandor’s paintings of FDR and Herbert Hoover are at the National Gallery, while a portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt hangs in the White House.

yellowdaisiesThis looks like a Texas native – one of those yellow daisy looking ones that are so plentiful.

sidewalkThis long stone pathway with letters made from brick was Chandor’s tribute to his wife.  Called Ina’s Walkway, in Latin it says “May this little garden flourish, consecrated to Ina, in the year of Our Lord Edward the Eighth, forevermore.”

redyuccaA native Red Yucca grows in front a pile of rocks.

potmixturePentas grow in a pot with an exotic looking Shrimp plant (Justicia Brandegeana).

waterfall2The house was built on a small hill of four acres.  This allowed Chandor to lower some areas and create different elevations.  The higher levels provided a method to build natural looking waterfalls.  Note the silver ball on a lower ledge.  The falling water spins the ball.

plaqueUnfortunately, this was not to be.  Chandor died at age 55 in 1953 of a cerebral hemorrhage.

pinktreeflowersThese pale pink flowers look like False Foxglove, but I can’t really identify this plant..

lizardThis lizard’s movement were jerky, so he was difficult to photograph.  Periodically, his throat would swell and puff out.  He looks like a Carolina anole.  The extended dewlap is used to attract females and to show their dominance over a territory.  He may have felt threatened by our presence.

oleanderThis plant I know.  Oleander is a great friend to southwestern states.  They grow almost anywhere in the hot sun, no matter the soil.  They are old standby plantings used by the highway departments in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona and probably others.

lordnelsonLord Nelson?  Darwin?  Cute statue.  It’s actually the Mad Hatter.

grapegate3The grape vine gate had been recently repainted.  Love how unique it is.

grapegate2

fountain2Many types of water features provide a cooling and calming atmosphere.  My next post will finish this visit to Chandor Gardens.

“Acquaintance is a degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor and obscure, and intimate when he is rich and famous.”  Ambrose Bierce