Home GardeningGarden Diary Linda’s live oak courtyard garden in San Antonio

Linda’s live oak courtyard garden in San Antonio


October 18, 2023

After the tour of the Ten Eyck garden last Saturday, I visited my friend Linda Peterson’s garden, one of my favorites in all of Texas. Her garden is home to several charismatic live oaks, including this one with octopus-like arms stretching through a porthole cutout in a courtyard wall.

The trees embrace the garden — and you — as you walk through it, or you can choose among several patios to sit and commune with them.

The inner courtyard garden is shaded by a grand old tree whose gnarled limbs support a hammock for napping.

An outdoor fireplace offers a cozy spot for the chilly season.

Linda makes these charming flower sculptures out of flexible copper tubing. She bends them into abstract floral shapes and secures them atop copper pipe stems.

I also enjoy her metal and stone animal menagerie, like this rusty porcupine alongside a faux bois birdbath fountain.

Sage green and a dusty turquoise make a consistent color scheme throughout Linda’s garden, harmonizing with the olive green leaves and charcoal trunks of the live oaks.

A stumpery garden contains this big tree stump with a fern planted in it. A wire bird’s nest with a single turquoise egg makes a charming accent.

Linda brightens up the shade with bottle shrubs made out of green glass bottles and painted rebar.

A spiral staircase on the back deck leads up to the flat roof, where Linda can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the garden.

Everywhere, Linda creates artful arrangements of her exquisitely maintained potted plants, seating, and her menagerie. You just want to sit and LOOK.

Succulent pots under a window with a beaded curtain

A careful color scheme, little pedestals to elevate pots, and creative top-dressing materials — colored stones, frosted glass chips, broken tile, etc. — make each one a thing of beauty, but the full effect is unified.

And look — after I just said that I never see anyone growing bananas in this part of Texas! Linda said that this summer’s extreme heat put a damper on the banana’s growth. It was only when temperatures cooled that the banana unfurled new leaves. Just in time for my visit — yay!

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Digging Deeper

Leander Garden Tour this Saturday, October 21, from 10 am to 3 pm. Visit 6 private home gardens in the Cedar Park/Leander, TX, area on a tour sponsored by the Hill Country Bloomers Garden Club. Tickets are $15; children 12 and under are free.

Come learn about garden design from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. The Season 7 lineup can be found here.

Tour several Austin gardens on Saturday, November 4, on the Garden Conservancy’s Open Day tour for Travis County. Tickets must be purchased online in advance and will be available beginning September 1st.

All material © 2023 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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