Tanglewild Gardens: Morocco meets Thailand in Texas (#gbfling2018)

I like fusion. Fusion cooking, fusion music, and yes, fusion gardening. Why limit yourself when you have the entire world to choose from? Pick what you like, and don't worry about what others call “rules.”

We saw a particularly nice example of fusion gardening in Austin, Texas last year. Blending Moroccan and Thai influences with an extensive collection of daylilies, 1.7 acre Tanglewild Gardens proves that you can have your cake and eat it, too.

The original house was a split level built in 1971. The current owners Jeff and Skottie tore it down to the studs and foundation in 2011 and created exactly the kind of space they wanted. We didn't get to see the inside of the house last year but here are a few representative photos.

Front of the house

Wall along the street side. The filigreed window screens designed by owner Jeff hint at the Moon Garden inside.

In the garden, Jeff and Skottie's biggest passion are daylilies. According to their own estimate, their collection includes over 800 different cultivars. If your mind is boggled by that statistic, you're not alone. Most are planted in the ground all over the garden; the seedlings in raised planters are hybrids of their own making that they're trialing

 The plant labels are exemplary, putting most botanical gardens to shame.

Unfortunately, it was too early in the year for most daylilies to be blooming, but I found a few that were. Here's one of them:

The greenhouse next to the raised beds (above) contains a variety of cuttings waiting to go in the garden:

Daylilies aside, the general planting scheme is tropicalesque—just what you'd expect for a space with Moroccan and Thai design elements.

The heart of the garden is a large central courtyard with a pool and plenty of seating.

The shady area under the trees is densely covered with rice-paper plant (Tetrapanax papyrifer). This East Asian native is actually a large shrub (up to 15 ft), but Jeff and Skottie must mow their plants down periodically to maintain a groundcover height.

The first garden I explored is off to one side of the pool. Inspired in part by the paradise gardens of Old Persia, the Moon Garden features plants with white flowers that are easy to see in the moonlight. A comfortable seating area around a tiered fountain is the perfect viewing spot. Except for the white stucco wall separating the Moon Garden from the central courtyard, the walls are painted black to set off the plants and various art pieces.
The exquisitely carved teak doorway leads to the central courtyard with the pool

Three Thai rice goddesses

I couldn't let go of that carved doorway...

Flying statue in a tree

Seating area and tiered fountain

One of several matching Morroccan lanterns

Yep, a good place to sit and converse

Window screens designed by homeowner Jeff

Backlit elephant ear (Colocasia sp.)

Glimpse of the pool

Another carved doorway leads to a tiki bar:

Dining area at the far end of the covered porch

The pool separates the Moon Garden (above) from the side yard on the opposite end of the property (through the gate in the photo below):

The windows in the stucco wall have the same metal screens as in the Moon Garden:

I have a thing for antique doors, and this one caused another pang of envy:

A pair of tiki totems keep watch:

The side yard here is fairly narrow but it's put to good use, with more daylilies growing along the fence:

The photo below shows the wooden fence to the neighboring property; on the right is the start of the white stucco wall you just saw above. The green leaves belong to the tetrapanax from the beginning of this post.

Walking along the wooden fence, I found a nice clump of bamboo. It was positively glowing!

Now we're in the lower part of the garden. Here's another small greenhouse:

Steeps lead down to yet another garden area:

The lower garden still looks a bit unfinished. I'd love to see it again in a few years when the plants have put on more height.

Creative gardeners find ways to put just about anything to decorative use:

Cannas on fire:

When there's so much to see, I often overlook the details. I'm glad I noticed these vignettes:

Hey, yet another daylily in bloom! I'm not a daylily guy, but I imagine seeing thousands of them in flower must be a stunning sight!

When Jeff and Skottie moved to Austin from Seattle in 2011, their original plan had been to expand their daylily hobby into a specialized daylily nursery once they retire. As they began to develop their property, however, their vision evolved into creating a botanical garden. An endeavor that ambitious takes time, but Jeff and Skottie aren't in hurry, especially since both of them are still working. For now, their garden is a place to “unwind and recharge” and to entertain friends. But down the line, it may eventually become something more.


Index: 2018 Garden Bloggers Fling, Austin, TX

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  1. Thanks for giving me a return visit!

  2. An eclectic garden full of interesting elements. I agree how the smaller interesting bits often get overlooked in the overall picture. Stopping and soaking the whole scene in usually lets your eye find something small and intriguing. Thanks for the tour.

  3. Hey there, Thank you for the wonderful post. Jeff and I really appreciate it. It seem you really understand our eclectic approach, it surely didn’t sit well with several other posts on our place from the tour. That said, we like to surround ourselves with things that we find beautiful. This is a private garden, so why follow any rules. It is also a very young garden, still is, the oldest part of the garden was started in 2013, most areas are less than 4 years old. We are expanding a lot this year with new raised beds, paths throughout the gardens, etc. and are even converting the detached garage into an art gallery & studios, complete with glassing in the RV carport to make a Polynesian/Industrial/traveller’s club styled Tiki bar. Talk about fusion, right. You are welcome to come back anytime. We have an Instagram & Facebook pages now, Tanglewild Gardens, so please follow us and let us know when you’d like to visit. Also, the house was open, sorry you missed the inside. You can check it out here on Houzz: https://www.houzz.com/photos/tanglewild-contemporary-shed-austin-phvw-vp~41929791


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