by germinatrix | July 5th, 2010
We drove far; deep into the Austin hills, it was so incredibly lovely. We passed a dam – gorgeous! There were young deer by the roadside (I know, but they are still awe-inspiring!) And then we pulled over – we had reached our destination. The house was below the street, on a steep slope, so the first clue I had to the wonder that was coming was the hellstrip. And I basically wanted to faint!
The magnificent Pam from Digging had wrangled a visit to the unique, sublime garden of Jeff Pavalat. Jeff is a cactus and succulent grower/collector of extreme knowledge – he speaks on the subject all around the country and I can’t tell you how FANTASTIC it was to be in the presence of this kind of passion.
When the group arrived, we gathered streetside, ooooing and aaaahing at the combinations of agaves and other lovely succulents. From our perch we could see Jeff’s greenhouse, where he keeps his tender aloes and madagascar palms, as well as a whole host of rare seedlings and tiny pots of beauty.
We then walked down the driveway to see the beautiful terraces Jeff and his partner built (themselves!) to display the collection. As a gardener designer who also is an uncontrolled plant collector, I know how difficult it can be to keep your ever increasing collection from wreaking havoc on a well-designed garden – but that is no problem for Jeff. The terraced walls are an elegant organizational element that allows for specimens to shine without looking like a bunch of character actors trying to upstage each other. I was tremendously impressed, and immediately thought I should terrace MY garden – but my lack of a hill will make that tough. DAMN!
The variety of cacti and succulents in Jeff’s garden was so exciting – and he shared his expertise so generously! I am of course crazy about these plants, and the opportunity to see so many thriving in one place was a tremendous thrill.
It was one thing of beauty after another, and THEN we got to peek inside the greenhouse. I couldn’t believe my eyes – everything was so neat, perfect, and organized. I can only IMAGNE what Jeff’s closet is like! He is obviously someone who folds his t-shirts and has an impeccable sock drawer!
It was the second garden of the day – and WHAT a doozy! I was faint with succulent desire … okay and maybe the heat was getting to me just a wee bit. And in a garden like this, when you are looking for a place to sit down, you get something as elegant as :
Benches are my favorite pieces of garden furniture. I have several in my small garden – but THIS bench is now my DREAM bench. Just check out the beauty of stone and wood colliding – simple, well-proportioned, and chic. And nobody set dressed this beautiful moment – this is just the way Jeff ROLLS. Impressed. Respect.
BUT WAIT – there is MORE … our day ended up in a place of wonder and mystery … the East Side Patch! In Part 3 of my Austin Adventure, we get all heated up over a treasure of a garden, and more fun is had by all! See you there…
XOXO Your Germinatrix