Two years ago, before & after: 2011 ~ 2013

A friend asked me yesterday to share some “before” photos of our front garden- photos from before the 2011 major revamp, when it was a very thirsty and tired yard.   This is the perfect cue to also update the blog with “after” photos showing the current garden, a la May 2013.  At the bottom there is also info. on the watering and fertilizer upkeep.

I’m surprised I didn’t post comparisons long ago!   I love before & afters, and it’s been nearly two years since we removed the lawn and improved the hard-scape.  I’m tickled that someone has interest, tickled enough to clear the hurdle of perfectionism and not wait till I have good current images to post.   The below recent photos are via my phone and in not-great light. But, they are better quality than what I’ve been posting recently- that is, they are better than nothing.

Notice the healthy sago palms. They've not looked as healthy since due to back-to-back hard winter freezes.

Before, late winter 2010 (just before our purchase of the home)-  I like the curves and contrast, but it looks ho-hum to me.  It does have neat and tidy going for it.

After, May 2013


Before, 2011

After 2013

After, 2013


Before, 2011- view from back gate, and shows line in dirt for future wood plank path


After, 2013- view from gate


Before, 2011, entry path / porch

After 2013- entry path / porch

After, 2013- entry path / porch


Spring 2012–  Taken about a year ago and one year after the big revamp.

After, Spring 2013

Spring 2013
Compare with above photo to see how the butterfly agave has grown this past year.  It kinda needs to stop.

The garden is hand watered:

– about 3x per week when newly planted during the still hot Sept.- Nov. 2011,

– then once per week during the first winter,

– then 2x per week during the summer of 2012 (the first summer),

– once per month this past winter,

– and every other week this recent spring.

Though I (usually) enjoy the 30 minutes spent hand watering, I hope to only need to water every other week this summer, the garden’s second summer.

Before planting in 2011, the soil was tilled and plenty of compost was added. Since then I’ve only added “compost tea” (brewed at a local nursery) about 5x per year and used a palm fertilizer around the sago palms.

Roll the Music, We Have a Winner….

But first I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by to leave a comment and show their enthusiasm for buying local and their appreciation toward The Natural Gardener

….the winner is LisaH of Austin!  Lisa, Congratulations!  I’ll send you an email with info. for redeeming your gift.   Thank you Natural Gardener for the donated certificate! 

I’m grateful to the very active Austin garden blogging community for introducing me to some independent nurseries that I am eager to visit soon…and for reminding me of the VALUE of shopping locally.    While shopping at local nurseries this past weekend I purchased….

Inland Sea Oats (chasmanthium latifolium) – (below) shade-loving, graceful and looks like a cross between bamboo and prairie grass;  I’m planting it in a strip between a fence and a walkway to soften the parallel edges of the space; it has great rustling movement in the lightest of breezes- nice to include nature’s music in a garden.  (photos provided by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Gardener of Good and Evil Blog)



Berkeley Sedge (carex divulsa) – (below) an evergreen carex that is clumping, grass like and floppy like rabbit ears, love it; I’m planting twenty of these in a portion of my garden that is part sun/shade where way-too-thirsty bermuda grass once was. (photo provided by The New York Times / garden design by Mark Word; Annie’s Annuals

Devil’s Shoestring (nolina texana) – (below) an evergreen uber hardy Texas native; I’m adding this amongst my boulders for year-round green and a truly authentic Texas Hill Country look.     (photo provided by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

 I’ve never seen any of the above lovely xeric plants at the big box stores.   Now, I’ve got to go get planting!   I’ll post photos soon…..

And, again, below  are some of the fabulous central Texas garden blogs that participated in Support Your Local Independent Nursery Month – brainchild of Pam Penick of Digging.  I visit these blogs often for inspiration and know-how.  


The Whimsical Gardener

Rock Rose

Vert Austin

Digging- It all starts with a patch of dirt

The Shovel-Ready Garden

Renee’s New Blog

Sharing Nature’s Garden 

Gardening in Austin

J Peterson Garden Design

Go Away, I’m Gardening!

Great Stems