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On a Clear Day: The Hilltop Garden of Ruthie Burrus

Our conveniently provided garden notes had told us that Ruthie Burrus’s hilltop garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat and Monarch Waystation with a spectacular view of downtown Austin, so before we got there I already expected to like it.

What I didn’t expect was the stunning way pollinators would be provided for. A sparkling mini-prairie / meadow covered the entire hillside along the drive all the way up to the house.

Hot hued wildflowers with cool blue agave — it’s a sight I’ve never seen in North Carolina. With its mix of annuals, perennials, and grasses, I bet there’s something interesting going on there year round. Quite the pollinator happy place, it was one of my favorites of the Fling, too…just hanging out with the butterflies in the sunshine-spangled flowers was pure joy.

I spent more time than I should have on the slope (and sleuthing out a couple of plant IDs) because I ran short of time for photos. Up top, besides the panoramic view, there is a stone garden haus, a children’s play area (with another great view), and a pool. There’s also an environmentally friendly rainwater collection system that allows for watering the garden without using treated city water, and a pizza oven that I’m sure makes for lots of fun times with family and friends.

The drama of the setting and the beautiful plantings make it a wonderful place to entertain which was one of the main goals of the homeowners. And…on a clear day, you can see forever and ever and ever more up there…or at least it seems so.

Click the photos below for larger pictures with captions.

Austin texas panorama
wildflower meadow, opuntia, agave, burrus hilltop garden
burrus hilltop garden children's play space
burrus garden, Austin tx, lake view
rosemary, burrus hilltop garden, Austin, tx
wildflower meadow, burrus hilltop garden
burrus garden, Austin tx, butterfly rudbeckia
Jerusalem sage, burrus hilltop garden, Austin tx
burrus garden, Austin tx,
burrus garden, Austin tx, garden haus
burrus garden succulents
burrus hilltop garden, Austin tx
burrus hilltop garden, Austin, tx
burrus hilltop garden fern water trough
burrus hilltop garden, Austin tx
burrus hilltop garden, Austin, tx
Ruthie Burrus hilltop garden, Austin, TX

Cold and Wet

Iam looking out the window of my office at a lake that I used to call ‘front yard.’ It has rained for what seems like an eternity but I guess it’s been more like a couple of weeks. Still, only a few spots of sunshine have popped through in that time. I had to get the Happy Lite out. Thank God (and my mom!) for that thing. And for the cold, I have this in my lap. My daughter knows I’m a total winter wuss and gave it to me a few years ago.

Besides the rain, deer have been going nuts out there, and the first frost burned a few things. Still, it’s fall and the color has been lovely. The dogwoods in particular look really nice. I noticed from an old photo that dogwoods can hold color until into December. I might not have noticed that if not for blogging and taking pictures. I’ve especially enjoyed seeing the asters bloom and the spicebushes berry up and then turn yellow. What a great shrub for the Piedmont. If you don’t have one, consider looking for it.

I squeezed in a trip to the coast last week, which reminded me of some pictures I took a while ago but never posted from the nature trail on Ocean Isle Beach. Its subtle beauty is stunning this time of year. That post is up now if you want to take a look.

One of the biggest events of my year is the Garden Bloggers Fling. Back in May, I attended the 10th anniversary in Austin, Texas, along with nearly a hundred other garden bloggers. We spent three days visiting thirteen private gardens, two large public gardens, and a wonderland of an organic plant nursery.

Besides the incredible gardens, we had an opening kickoff welcome party, a banquet, and a Texas barbecue finale with live music. It’s a lot to squeeze in, but the Austin planners — Diana Kirby, Pam Penick, Laura Wills, Sheryl Williams, and Jennifer Brown — were up to the task and pulled it off without a hitch, memorably, fabulously! I think everyone left tired, but inspired. I’ll be posting the photos as a series, Garden Bloggers Fling: Austin, over the next few weeks. There are two posts so far.

Is your garden under water too? Is anything blooming?

Have a good weekend!

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