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Shortly after the garden opened, Tenna Florian, the garden representative as well as architect, approached Professor Darryl Ohlenbusch about an idea to bring a unique design-build project to the College of Architecture that could later be donated back to the garden. Simultaneous to approaching Ohlenbusch, Florian also contacted Green Spaces Alliance who were willing to fund the project as a part of its Community Garden Program.
Approaching the end of the semester, the one group design was chosen and construction of the pavilion began. I’ve been to both Laguna Gloria and City Hall many times, but it was interesting to hear the landscape architects involved with these projects talk about their design decisions and the history of each site. While waiting for my friend to arrive, I poked around behind the hotel and discovered an intimate courtyard that would look right at home in the garden of many a contemporary Austin home. Their front garden faces east, and they went with xeric (dry-loving) plants on the sunny side of the yard, mulching these with decomposed granite. Our neighborhood’s regular visitors have already stopped by to check out the new garden, with hoof prints left as evidence.

It takes determination to garden under such circumstances, but I love to see my neighbors going for it and making their yards more beautiful and inviting to birds, bees, butterflies, and other creatures (but hopefully not the deer, not if they want to have a garden). Read more…Modern courtyard garden at South Congress HotelLast weekend I met a friend for drinks at the beautiful new South Congress Hotel bar. Located at the corner of West Gramercy Place and Capitol Street, the Beacon Hill Community Garden is managed by the Beacon Hill Area Neighborhood Association. After deciding on a pavilion, the class was divided into five groups and each group designed a shade and rain-catchment structure for the garden. Robert Alverado, a local contractor with South Antonio Builders, was brought on board to provide technical support and tools. Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros, Green Spaces Alliance representative Linda Hardberger, CoA Dean John Murphy, Associate Dean for Outreach Taeg Nishimoto, students, and members of the community all attended while the Beacon Hill Area Neighborhood Association provided food directly harvested from the garden.
Designed by Christine Ten Eyck, the narrow space is kept from feeling like a shoebox thanks to a zigzag design of board-formed concrete retaining walls that create planting beds and conversation nooks with built-in benches.

I'm Pam Penick, a dirt-under-my-nails, hoping-for-rain, spiky-plant lover gardening under the Death Star in Austin, Texas (zone 8b). It received a grant in September 2008 from Green Spaces Alliance and began gardening immediately. Their mission is to protect land in and around Bexar County by preserving large parcels of land, fostering community gardens, and educating the public. Here's where I share all the gardening goodness I can dig up, not just in Austin but wherever I go.
One third of the garden consists of harvestable vegetables that are available to the community while the remaining two thirds are native plants (including a wildflower garden, butterfly garden, and cactus garden).

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