Tour of Austin Gardens

Last weekend we traveled to Austin for the Texas Book Festival and for the Inside Austin Gardens tour.  This post will focus on the gardens or more specifically, plants in those gardens.

Originally, I had planned to get sweeping views of the gardens.  Most of the yards were fairly small, but the crowd of people in them made it almost impossible to get the kind of pictures I wanted.  So I focused on plants that I like or would like to know more about.

The tour was billed as “gardens by gardeners”.  To me, this means that the design and work was done by the garden owner.  But of the six gardens, half were professionally landscaped.  All of the pictures in this post are from one garden.  This gardener designed her own garden but also designs for other people.

austingardensPhilippine Violet (Barleria cristata) is obviously a tropical bush.  Austin is a warmer cold tolerance zone than we are.  So this would have to be a pot plant here.  That’s true of so many of the plants that I coveted.

austingardens4Beautiful plant.

austingardens1American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) Mexican Beautyberry (Callicarpa acuminata) is a understory shrub that doesn’t tolerate freezes.  But I sure do like it.

austingardens2The Inside Austin Gardeners put labels in all the yards but not beside all the plants.  These labels were very helpful.

austingardens3Yellow Yucca (Hesperaloe Parviflora Yellow) is a slow growing succulent that like the Red Yucca should not be overwatered.  It seems to have fuller blooms when the plant is smaller than even a mature Red Yucca.

austingardens5Mexican Honeysuckle or Coral Honeysuckle (Justicia Spicigera) should be able to survive here.


austingardens7Cute garden art.  Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus) is behind the snake.  That’s a container plant here.

austingardens9Don’t know the names of these plants except for Gopher Plant (Euphorbia biglandulosa).  It’s the small succulent in the pot to the side of the main plant.  That’s actually Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense).

The larger plant is Paleleaf Yucca (Yucca pallida).

austingardensbThese pots, that are made from galvanized metal culvert pipes, are sold in at least one Austin nursery.

austingardenscThis home owner loves what I call prickly plants.  She has some really large ones that I didn’t get a picture of.

austingardenseThis ground cover was used in a large area instead of grass.  In fact, there was no grass in this whole yard.

austingardensfI think this is a salvia.  This is Amistad Salvia.

austingardensgAlso, don’t know the name of this ornamental grass.  It’s ‘Vertigo’ pennisetum.

A special thanks to the home owner Pam Penick who read this post and was kind enough to provide the correct information for some of the plants I misidentified or didn’t know the name of.

austingardensiSilver Ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri v. leucophylla) is a Texas native, but I don’t know if it will grow in our 7b zone.



austingardensmThere are lots of different muhly grasses in Texas.  Most have showy plumes.  This should have pale purplish-gray ones in autumn, but maybe it’s been too hot.

Pam, the home owner, has a popular blog.  A beautiful garden all around the house – probably my favorite one on the tour.

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” – Brian Gerald O’Driscoll

4 thoughts on “Tour of Austin Gardens

    • I really like them and seriously considered buying one. But someone didn’t think they were that great and looked too “farmish”. They are painted different colors, but I prefer the metal color. The ones I’ve seen are as expensive as the large ceramic pots. Maybe sometime in the future.

      Good luck on your search.

  1. Hi, Wanda. I just stumbled across your blog, and then I saw that you’d posted pics from the Inside Austin Garden tour and my garden. What a surprise! Thank you for the kind words about my garden, and I’m glad you came! Following are plant IDs for the ones you had questions about.

    Philippine violet is hardy to zone 8b, so as you suspected, it would have to be given winter protection where you live. I have several American beautyberries, and they’re hardy to zone 6, but they do need moisture and shade. The picture you showed is actually my one Mexican beautyberry (Callicarpa acuminata), which is less hardy.

    In the purple pot, that’s a paleleaf yucca (Yucca pallida), which should be hardy for you ( The little succulent with it is ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), not gopher plant. And culvert pipe remnants can sometimes be found on Craigslist under farm supplies or construction equipment. That’s where I found mine.

    The unknown salvia is Amistad salvia, which I’m experimenting with to see how hardy it is. And the large purple grass is ‘Vertigo’ pennisetum, which I’m also trialing for the first time. It would likely be an annual for you, and may be for me as well.

    The silver ironweed is from High Country Gardens, and I think it’s native to your area of West Texas. It wants dry, dry conditions and sun, although it gets by with morning sun in my garden.

    Have fun trying some of these, and happy gardening!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to identify all those plants for me. Since I have been reading your blog for a few years, it was a treat to visit your garden and admire all your hard work. Thanks for sharing your super pictures and helpful information on Digging.

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