My apologies that the Austin posts have been appearing in dribs and drabs. Lots of May travel pushed my own late spring garden tasks right on in to June and I have not caught up yet. Add to that some June travel, lots of mountain cabin maintenance (when the smoke from surrounding blazes was not too bad), my husband’s retirement and too many other distractions to list. I think these are supposed to be my Golden Years…
I like to introduce posts about private gardens with a nice wide photo of the garden’s street side vista to let you take in what any walker, runner or bicyclist would enjoy as they pass by on their daily routine. This time I’m going to introduce you to the garden creator first, as she sets the stage better than any wide shot could.
Lucinda Hutson is a cookbook author, garden and lifestyle author and lover of all things “Texican”. Lucinda is a self described tequila aficionada and the golden nectar is the focus of her latest book, Viva Tequila! Cocktails, Cooking and Other Agave Adventures. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and has lived in and gardened on her urban Austin cottage property for over 41 years. Her website (www.lucindahutson.com) entitled Life is a Fiesta with Lucinda! is a party for both your eyes and your spirit.
How can you not love a gardener who wears purple cowboy boots??
We arrive at Lucinda’s casita “La Morada” (little purple house) in a dappled early morning light that only exaggerates the cottage’s whimsical, Texas style fairy tale aura. Being a girl whose own garden graces a home with a purple front door and matching trellis work, how can I not be tickled by this brightly colored bungalow? The bright white trim allows the bold colors to pop while also acting as a unifying detail. Lucinda has done what we all secretly want to do–she has painted her home to delight herself rather than for resale!
The sculptural tree trunk is that of a ginkgo tree, planted by Lucinda 36 years ago from a five gallon can. She shared that it is one of the oldest and tallest ginkgo species in Austin.
A purple house deserves a pink door in my book and the floral themed tile accents set the tone for the layer upon layer of detail the rest of the home and garden offer. Just to the left of the arch you can see Lucinda’s tiled house number leap right off its purple backdrop.
Sancho, the resident gato, keeps a watchful eye on his garden’s visitors.
Lucinda’s garden was originally an organic herb garden, an integral part of her life as an author of books and articles about cooking and entertaining. But as many gardens do, it evolved over time into a gathering spot for friends and neighbors and a place for Lucinda to try new plants and observe the constant buzz of nature around her.
At the time of our visit the front garden was predominantly green, some plants having finished their early spring flowering and other summer bloomers not yet at their prime. Please go to her website and take the photographic garden tour and you will see much abloom plus an great display of vining and climbing beauties ablaze with bright flowers.
Lucinda graciously invited those who desired to go through her home to reach the back garden as a way of spreading out the traffic flow in the small space. I decided to take the gravel path, passing the shady woodland area, into the wide side courtyard.
This side courtyard is appropriately called the Fish Pond and Mermaid Grotto and is awash (no pun intended) with all things of the sea.
This lushly planted area abounds with a great variety of foliage and blooming plants, including many pots.
Even the stone wall behind the pond has a fish swimming across it!
The mermaid altar rises from a sea of copper troughs in which succulents and sansevieria are planted, as if on the sea floor.
On the cottage side of the courtyard this Haitian mermaid and friends swim in a sea of purple.
Colorful pots echo the purple and hot pink color theme.
An open area with seating perfect for relaxing with a glass of iced tea separates the Pond and Mermaid Grotto from the Kitchen Garden, where the cool blues and purples of the sea give way to yellows and oranges evoking the Texican theme.
All manner of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers grow in raised beds and containers. You can get a glimpse in both photos (near the greenhouse) of Our Lady of La Tina in her bathtub shrine keeping an eye on all that grows here.
Lucinda unabashedly admits that her garden is both water and labor intensive. Although she has an extensive drip system many hours, especially in the hottest parts of summer, are needed with a hose in hand, making sure every little corner and pot has been covered. Winter is not without effort as she must move many succulents and tropicals to the greenhouse or garage for protection from the cold.
In the last three photos you can see little snippets of the numerous plates Lucinda uses to border her Kitchen Garden raised beds, a play on her “garden to plate” theme. Not to leave the cutlery out, these shiny cuties pop their heads up from the herbs and veggies.
This unique corn themed mosaic window frame is right across from the Kitchen Garden and easily visible from Lucinda’s kitchen.
The Interior Patio packs a lot of goings on into a compact area. As you round the end of Lucinda’s cottage she has displayed her colorful collection of wooden Mexican wicker seated chairs.
This entrance to her collection of Latin books, artifacts and collectibles is called the Stairway to Heaven.
I took just a peek but a few of my fellow bloggers found a lot to see!
A potted green room divider separates the cottage from the balance of the garden. I love the unique “awning” wrapping the corner and extending across the back of the house.
A large wood deck offers umbrella covered dining opportunities and the gateway to Lucinda’s Creative Cathedral, an aromatic cedar cabin where she does all her writing.
The cabin offers a dark, cool haven in contrast to the brightly painted and lavishly decorated garden exteriors.
This great spot in Lucinda’s garden is perfect for plant display or to have a bite to eat. The multitiered benches are covered with weather friendly oil cloth.
The back part of the garden houses the Tequila Cantina including a unique tequila bottle tree.
Notice the mulch–bottle corks! No found object fitting Lucinda’s themes goes unused.
An outdoor shower is handy just in case anyone imbibes a bit too much. An open area of flagstone patio allows Lucinda to set up her party tables, chairs and fixings in whatever style suits the to-do!
Lucinda’s garden is intimate in size and in its ability to give you a window into her life and personality. Few of us are bold enough to live life as large as this garden does.
We admired, lingered, chatted, took pictures and notes AND I’m sure a few of us probably asked to come back again, like reading a book the second time to catch all those things you missed the first time. Lucinda’s garden is like a party everyone wants to be invited to!