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Austin Pt2 – Deep In The Succulent Heart of Texas

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!

this is MY kind off hellstrip - just heavenly!

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.

meet Jeff, a bigger succulent maniac than even ME! Jenny, Philip & Leah, Pam, and I were in awe

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.

Jeff's greenhouse had my head spinning- what wonders could be inside to rival the wonders outside?

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!

glorious opunita! amazing agaves! yucca madness - and they all play nicely together

Philip/ESP photographing the terraces - just check out that stonework!

Jenny admires the beauty - we were all a bit breathless

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.

check out these beauties! Two Agave desmettiana all dolled up for sentinel duty! I love it when agave twins are used to flank an entry - SEXY!

look! SIAMESE twin agaves! aren't they absolutely stunning? I don't want to misidentify them - let's just call them A. 'Ghostly Fangs' for now

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!

as if I wasn't already beside myself, this gorgeous line-up of tender cacti and aloe seedlings just blew me away. I could live in Jeff's greenhouse - but I'd have to improve my housekeeping skills

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.

Another HUGE thank you to my Austin blogfriends Pam, Jenny, Philip and Leah, and of course Jeff for exposing me to such a garden!

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

8 Responses to “Austin Pt2 – Deep In The Succulent Heart of Texas”

  1. Oh I love this…how interesting that you saw it in the rain! Made for some great light for photography. Those terraced hillsides are magnificent; loved your description of character actors trying to upstage each other. I like the way Succulents operate; the divas just emerge and the rest bow down. Great post! We’re hoping to visit Austin for a day after the GWA conference, you in?

  2. It was truly succulent heaven over at Jeff’s place. The ghostly Siamese twin agaves are A. colorata, and I’ve been coveting one since I first visited Jeff’s garden. One of these days I WILL find one!

    Would love to have a repeat visit after GWA. I’m hoping to meet Laura and the gang if they do come to Austin.

  3. Whoa! Terraces full of succulents?!?! AND a greenhouse full of more succulents. Amazing. Thanks for sharing your Austin garden pics!

  4. Wow. I’ve loved Pam’s posts about this garden and you’ve just totally sent me over the top. Heaven, pure and simple. I want to live there SO BAD!!!!

  5. Wow! What amazing gardens! I love his retaining walls! They really showcase all the wonderful plants. I am drooling over that greenhouse!

  6. Wonderful, amazing pictures of a great garden! Thank you so much!

  7. I loved the picture you took of the greenhouse, wow, I wish I had a friend with a greenhouse like that, I think I could live in there too!

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