Xeric and stylish gardening in San Antonio, Texas

Rock-Oak-Deer = xeric-woodland-meadow!

2013-06-24_09-04-00I was so excited when Shirley, who blogs at Rock-Oak-Deer,  invited me on a tour of her garden this week.  As an avid follower of her blog, it was such a treat to explore her garden “in real life.”Walking to the front doorWalking to her front door you are greeted by majestic Texas live oaks and surrounded 360 degrees by her beautiful front yard xeriscape.perfect balanceIn my opinion, all of her beds strike the perfect balance between structural plants, flowing grasses, and colorful xeric perennials.  Barrel buddiesShirley is a master of arranging her plants for maximum impact.  I think her barrel cactus trio looks AMAZING.Woodland gardenWhat struck me by surprise, is when you leave the front xeric area, you enter a very private woodland garden area.  It is beautiful…so natural and serene.  The forest floor is littered with oak leaves Shirley left in place to act both as a perfect mulch for this area, and they also look and smell wonderful adding ambiance.shady benchThe shade of the woodland garden makes it comfortable to be in, despite being almost 100 degrees outside.  woodland pondShirley and Mr. R-O-D built a very natural fountain with rocks from their property – it fits in beautifully and adds tranquility to this woodland area.  oak gateLeaving the woodland garden, you exit under a live oak limb arching gracefully over the gate propped up cleverly by an old hackberry tree.meadowEnter the sunny native buffalo grass and wildflower meadow!  Buffalo grass is so soft and flowy and has a beautiful blue green color.wildflowersThere are many different wildflowers that seed out naturally – Shirley lets them be….welcomes them actually.circle gardenShirley created this amazing circle garden and it is FULL of native plants and movement….movement from plants….butterflies…and MANY butterflies swirling around your head as you walk around this area.  verbenaIt was captivating! …so alive…hot circle garden color!…and full of HOT color!mosaic artNow I am excited to share a few things about Shirley you may not know…at least I didn’t.  She is an artist!  This project she is working on is going to be beautiful when it is done.plate artShirley upcycles plates and old glass bowls she finds at thrift stores and creates glass flowers, and whimsical garden art.veggie areaAnother thing I did not know…Shirley grows A LOT of edibles!!!!  She has many vegetables, and several fruit trees that she and Mr. R-O-D enjoy.  Shirley has to get creative to keep the deer out.pomagranateLook at the size of her pomegranates!2013-06-24_07-23-16Here is a picture of her lemonquat tree, and a fig tree in the back.  She also has an ‘orange frost’ satsuma tree as well.

I have several more pictures of Shirley’s garden – it is full of color, and incredible plant combinations.  What I really wanted to get across in this post, however, is how many truly different garden areas she has on her property, and how well she gardens and treats those areas differently.  Or more accurately, how Shirley and Mr. R-O-D allow their property to remain natural and work with it to play up those areas, rather than change them into something they are not.  That was my main take-away from Shirley’s garden.  I loved being in it…and I enjoyed her and Mr. R-O-D’s energy and hospitality.  What a cool couple!

Thank you Shirley and Mr. R-O-D!

If you want to go on another June tour of Shirley’s garden, head over to Digging to see the master photography skills of Pam Penick.

If you want to see more of Shirley’s amazing garden all the time through all the seasons, and learn a lot in the process, follow Rock-Oak-Deer by e-mail like me. :)


  1. Whoo hoo! What a spread! You are so right. Shirley and the husband are masters at playing up the best features and natural capabilities of their property. Your photos capture it so well. I’m more impressed than ever — with their garden and your photography.

    • It was AMAZING to see her garden in person….such a treat!!!!!!!!!!! I left with so many wonderful ideas…as I did with your beautiful garden, Ragna. -xericstyle

  2. Another great tour of Shirley’s garden. Both you and Pam shared new perspectives to this nice and creative lady and her garden that I did not know. Lemonquat. I need to look up that one. Looks like a nice patch of horseherb underneath.

    • I know, right? I am so intrigued by that tree too! Yep…Shirley has a lot of horseherb groundcover. You have quite the eye! You would just love touring Shirley’s garden, Michael. She is a lover of native plants like you. -xericstyle

  3. I agree it is such a treat to have someone escort you through their garden and share their creative thoughts…what a wonderful experience. Thank you for posting the photos and the inspirations.

    • You are more than welcome, Charlie. It was so much fun hanging out with Shirley. -xericstyle

  4. We enjoyed visiting with you Heather and it’s fun seeing your view of our garden. You’ve made my veggie garden, horseherb, and unfinished project look interesting which is not easy to do.

    • I love all of your garden areas so much Shirley! I had so many of almost the same shots Pam had from her recent visit, so I thought it best to do a different take. You have such diversity…and yet the common thread in every area, beautiful Texas natives. You have such a special way of putting together combos. I would love to come back in the fall if you’ll have me – your grass blooms are going to be INCREDIBLE! Thanks again for a great visit! -xericstyle

  5. First time visitor. Actually started with Digging and curiosity led me to R-O-D and finally to here. I enjoyed my visit.

    • First, Digging ROCKS! Second, thank you so much for stopping by – I appreciate your visit :) -xericstyle

  6. I’m excited to see your post! I’m a big fan of Shirley’s blog, so thank you for taking me to her garden! I’ve never known she has a lot of edibles. It was interesting to know her garden from your viewpoint. And so wonderful your pictures! Thank you for sharing:)

    • Glad you enjoyed the tour, Keity. I was super excited to see her garden too…knew I would love it…but I did not know she would shock me with the woodland garden…the meadow…the art…and the veggies!!!!! It was so neat to see that side of Shirley. -xericstyle

  7. Desert Dweller

    Nice tour; funny but we picked out similar things about her place, but they are at different stages in season! I hope to post on her and your places soon, but choosing photos will not be easy. I missed how artsy Shirley is with that mosaic piece!

    • Cool! I love that we noticed similar things! :) My garden was so boring and not blooming or doing anything fun when you were here – not much of a post at all. One day, I hope you will come back and see us when my garden is more of a toddler. :) or teen :) -xericstyle

  8. One question…
    What’s the bloom period of that eupatorium? Is a short period bloomer like the rest of them?

    Hmmm… Apparently it’s a work horse… Late spring till frost, according to the “hill country master gardeners” website…

    I grow heliotropium amplexicaule… and that eupatorium greggii looks like potiential companion… If they were planted far enough apart.

    Those queen butterflies are gorgeous! Shirley doesn’t post enough butterfly pictures….

    Next time, I hope that you get Shirley to identify her plants n stuff for you.

    • The blue mistflower blooms several times from spring to fall and definitely more often than the white eupatorium which is also native to Texas. The white is more fragrant and the blue also seems to peak just in time for the queen butterflies.

      We enjoyed having Heather visit our garden and wouldn’t expect that she should spend all day identifying my plants. They are often named when I post them on my own blog. I’ll try to do more butterfly posts. Special requests are always welcomed!

      • Thanks so much for answering Stone’s questions, Shirley – and also for the great information, as always. I was drooling over your garden and enjoyed it so much – exploring…seeing it in real life…next time I am going to bring a notepad, for sure! -xericstyle

      • We have eupatorium coelestinum here… it blooms at the same time as the white snake root (ageratina altissima)… disappointing.
        ‘preciate the info… will add E. Greggii to my wish list.

      • Thank you for stopping in Stone, and glad Shirley could help. She rocks! -xericstyle

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