I recently spent a day (on my company’s dime) at Lake Austin Spa, getting massage, facial, pedi, and sunning at the pool. It’s a very beautiful place; the grounds are spectacular but there’s something a little New Age-agey about its food and spiritual ambiance. In between “treatments” I was at the pool, reading Eat, Pray, Love, the summer phenom, recommended to me by a colleague. I felt like a complete cliche. A woman, who had been off by herself under an umbrella meditating and doing yoga, stopped by my chaise lounge afterwards, and said “I’m reading that too!” (No, really?) I felt I was in my own private Oprah special (and this was before O did her show with the author, Elizabeth Gilbert). While ogling the amazing gardens there, I rustled a root from an interesting plant; it looked like a bamboo with a cornstalk leaf. I finally found this at a plant nursery: it’s called Buddha’s Belly. Thus completes my trip to Nirvana-on-the-Colorado. Good news is that the plant has rooted. It's in my nursery waiting for the long-heralded front garden.
After 10 years gardening on solid rock in Rollingwood, I moved into a 40's cottage in the North Loop area spring 2007. The little postage stamp yard is black clay and no one had ever dug a single flower bed. After visiting Key West a few years ago, I came back inspired by the little frame cottages, white painted railings, and rustling palm leaves. So the plan is: desert tropical cottage garden.