Chandor Gardens

One of my favorite public gardens is Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, TX.  The travel time from our house to the gardens is two and a half hours, so it’s an easy day trip.

Another reason we enjoy it so much is that it’s mostly shady with some open areas that are sunny.  Even in the summertime, if the mercury hasn’t shot up too high, it’s comfortable to visit there.

Originally, the gardens were private and the result of the dream of one man.  He and a hired hand did most of the construction.  An Englishman, Douglas Chandor, married a Texas gal who wanted to live in her hometown.

Work on the garden began in 1936.  Chandor was a renown portrait artist, who painted presidents, famous people, and a queen.  He brought that artist eye to the garden that he labored on for many years.

Chandor built the Chi-Ling fountain using statutes found in New York city, Coke and 7 Up bottles, colored marbles, and his handmade ceramic tiles.  Because the original fountain was crumbling apart, restoration was completed this year re-using as much of his materials as possible.

Two rows of soda bottles continue around the base of the fountain.

I was glad to see that they saved the original parts from the fountain and have them displayed in a section of Mondo Grass.

Every time we visit, new items have been added, like these twisted glass accents that pop right out of the white Caladiums.

Usually, Canna Lilies have red, orange, or yellow flowers.  These are the first pink ones I’ve seen.

Monkey Grass and Little Ruby Alternanthera form a thick groundcover.

The large concrete pot gives nice height to the ground covers.  There doesn’t seem to be any bare ground in the gardens.  The only places without plants are walkways.

Chandor was enchanted with China and Asian art and styles.  I don’t care for the
Buddhas, but his use of water and rock is admirable.  He embedded marbles in the  Buddha Niche and decorated the rock walls with lotus blossoms created with cut rocks. Water pours out of the blossoms.

Six of these dividers form a line between two sections of the garden.  I don’t think these are original.

Chandor’s love for the Orient is evident everywhere.

Moon Gate was built in 1949 and was constructed by the artist with mortar, stone, roof tiles, split sewer pipe, bottles, and handmade ceramic figurines.

Looking up, these figurines look authentic.

Chandor Gardens is a fascinating place and has a peacefulness to it.  We usually visit on week days, so it’s extra quiet to stroll the meandering pathways.

The work of one man is enjoyed by many visitors.  Just thinking of all those years of back breaking labor, as well as continuing with his portraits of the famous is overwhelming.  It’s a good thing he spend half of each year in New York painting.

The city of Weatherford now owns the estate and keeps up the gardens.  Quite a chore for a small town.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton

A Classical Garden

Recently, a garden club member invited us to see her garden.  I was blown away to find such a garden in Brownwood, Texas.

To me, it has all the elements of a classical garden – formality, large statues, topiaries, precision, and clean, neat lines.

The garden was especially colorful because blooming annuals are displayed in pots and tucked into bare spaces in beds.

Personally, I don’t invest in many annals because I’m cheap, I guess.  So I can’t identify many of them.  I do recognize Coleus, Petunias, and the purple Oxalis.

Snapdragons?

Another thing this garden has going for it is the raised beds.  There’s not very deep, but contain good, loose soil.

The whole backyard is surrounded by a ten foot wall.  That’s a plus because it blocks the wind from blowing in weeds.

There are 50 rose bushes in the yard.  I like that they are surrounded by other plants, mostly annals.

The flagstone pathways keep it all neat.

Not a  single weed.  It’s not surprising that the yard owner also owns a nursery.  So plant knowledge and maybe some help from employees keeps this place shipshape.

All these pictures were taken about 1 o’clock, with the sun directly overhead.  This creates harsh light and dark shades.  Not the best pictures.

Caladium, which is another annual, Hosta, and a water thirsty perennial Hydrangea all need shade.

The peachy color is alluring.

I think this is Penstemon, but it might be Foxglove.

The white flowers are Peonies, which surprised me because peonies need a long period of cold weather and a neutral soil pH.  Neither of these are part of this situation.  So these might have to be replaced periodically.

A beautiful garden anomaly for this town.  Just enjoyed the visit and returned to my life in a field of native grasses and weeds.

“The sad part about getting old is that you stay young on the inside but nobody can tell anymore.”  unknown

End of Season for Some

With summer’s heat dragging on, some plants give their last sigh.  Summer is definitely not over yet, but its toll can be seen in the yard.

rosemoss5This picture was taken just before this Rose Moss (Portulaca grandiflora) wilted.  This pot is on the front porch on the north side of the house.  Each year I replant it with Rose Moss.

Such an easy plant because it likes the heat, sun and needs little water.

rosemoss3If I really wanted to keep it for the following year, it could probably be carried into the shed, and it would survive.  But it’s relatively inexpensive to buy small pots of it.  Or it can be cultivated from seed.

caladiumCaladiums are also easier to replace than save each year.  They like the heat but can’t tolerate direct sun.  So place them under a tree or in another shady area.  They also need regular water.

caladium2In the spring, Caladiums perk up a bare spot on the porch or anywhere.  I usually alternate colors each year.  Next year I’ll look for one in the red tones.

If you want to save Caladiums for the next year, the tubers must be dug up before they lose their color.  There are other specific steps involved.  I have never tried to save them because it sounds like a lot of trouble.  But if I wanted a large mass of Caladiums, it might be more economical.

crazyfrogsThis picture is just for grins.  Leave’em laughing, as they say.

These two bikers were in front of an antique store in San Sabe.  I resisted the temptation to buy them for yard art.  I figured that they would be laying on the ground most of the time because of our strong wind.  But seeing them gave me a chuckle.

“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.”  Langston Hughes