Zoom Out, Granny…

A visitor recently said she would like to see a panoramic view of my garden.

I have often thought that my friends here probably wonder what the garden looks like.

If I could persuade Rita to fly over with my camera, I could do it.

The next best thing is to walk around the garden and try to show you what it looks like.

All of the photos of flowers and plants in my previous posts are taken from areas of this garden.

This post is for you, my friends, who have walked with me in the garden.

You who have encouraged me and cheered me on when I thought my images were terrible.

Thank you.  All of you.


(Image # 1)

Standing on the walkway between the porch and the pergola and looking to my left,

I see the left side of the landscape that encloses the porch and the pergola in a kind of circle.

On the other side of the Wax Myrtle and the palms, there is a walking area surrounded on both sides by trees.


(Image #2)

When I zoom out, this is what I see.

The fountain sputtered an died recently.

The motor is kaput waiting for Romero to replace it.

There is a water softener on the water here so I have no idea what the white residue is.


(Image #3)

Miss Lily and family live under the screen windows of the porch on my right.

During the spring and summer, the pergola has a lush cover of Trumpet Vine.

The limbs of the vine hang down to face level and are covered with trumpets.

The pathway leads around the pergola to the other side of the garden.

Straight ahead, it leads to Boy’s house next door.


(Image #4)

The pathway to Boy’s house winds around to his back patio.

Kelli is walking toward us.  She designed both gardens to join her house and mine.

When she showed the CAD design to me, I had no idea what I was looking at.

She designs residential sewage treatment plants for installation

so she is able to visualize such constructs.   I am not.

She knew that a “secret garden” was possible.

She designed the Secret Garden at the old house too.

Simply stated, I owe my Garden and the happiness that surrounds the last years of my life to her.


(Image #5)

If we walk toward the back of the image, we’ll be entering the path to the other side of the garden.

There are few blooming plants or trees this time of year.  Maybe,

I will remember to tell you where the close-up photos of blossoms live.  😉


(Image #7)

Cheeky is sitting in the Wax Myrtle tree that you see in photo #5 above at the corner of the pergola.

All of the photos of Rita or Cheeky in a tree were always in this tree.

Wax Myrtles are very short-lived trees.

Romero is talking about replacing these trees, one on each side of the pergola.

They thrive for six or seven years and then begin to fail.

Kelli chose fast-growing trees because her dad was near the end of his life.

She wanted an instant garden for him to enjoy, and he did.


In this image, I am standing further back towards the area between my house and the fence between our houses.

The area on my left is filled with Pygmy Date palms, Cardboard Palms, Bearded Iris, Morea Iris, a Crepe Myrtle tree and a Giant Philodrendon.

The landscaping there is similar to the landscaping on the other side of the porch.


There are large Pygmy Date Palms on each side of this area.

Romero has removed many of the plants recently including the Japanese Pittosporum along the front edge.

The cardboard palms live here along with the iris that I had so much fun photographing in the spring.

As you can see, the light in South Texas is harsh even in the late afternoon.

There is usually harsh light adjacent to deep shade everywhere.

The porch is shaded all around by trees and plants to block the hot light.


(Image #8)

In the image above (#7), Cheeky is sitting in the Wax Myrtle directly across the lawn from the Fan Palms.

Here we are standing on the rock walkway looking toward the fence behind the pergola.

It has a lattice in front of it with Carolina Jasmine covering it, and it extends the length of the garden.

A twenty-foot Queen Palm tree grows between the large Fan Palms here.

It’s trunk is hidden among the fans, and the long, graceful fronds at the top of the tree are out of the frame.

If you look closely, you can see one arching frond just below the top of the photograph beneath the single fan against the sky.


Sometimes, Rita sits on the tripod that you see in Image #8.

Parrots require sunshine, but they cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

The palms provide filtered light and an interesting place for Rita to hang out.


(Image #9)

We are on the path behind the pergola.

The house is on our left.  This pathway curves around the end of the pergola.

The close-up photos of the “grass lilies” that I post are of lilies that live here behind the pergola.


(Image #10)

It is necessary to bend our heads to walk under the fans at the end of the path.

There are Fan Palms, Crepe Myrtles, Japanese Pittosporum, Foxtail Ferns and the “Yellow Flowes” in this area.


(Image #11)

Here is the other side of the garden hiding the porch and the back of the house.

If we walked further, we’d see the Giant Philodendron whose leaves I photograph so often.

In this area, there are Pygmy Date Palms, Ferns, Hibiscus, Pintas, Morea Iris, and those orange-flowering bushes.

A large Wax Myrtle that grows against the pergola is on our left.

(See the view from the walkway side in # I and #2)


(Image #12)

If we walk to the gate in the background of the image above (#11) and look back toward the path,

We see the last two sections of screen windows on the porch.

If we could walk straight through the Pygmy Date Palm,

We’d end up in the pergola outside the back door.


(Image #13)

I added this orange bush flower to illustrate the way in which many of the subjects in my photographs

are hidden underneath or behind other plants.

This one is hidden behind the Hibiscus in the image above (#12).

There are several of these bushes under the Pygmy Date Palms in that image.


(Image #14)

We have walked in a semi-circle around the pergola, from the back door of the porch to this side of the garden.

The garden was designed with the porch and the adjoining pergola at its center.

The garden encloses both with open areas of lawn on either side.

If we walk away from the Giant Philodendron back toward the pathway, this is what we see.


(Image #15)

There is an oak tree on our left out of the frame.

Two large Fan Palms, a Crepe Myrtle, ferns, Japanese Pittosporum, and the “yellow flower” bush grow here.

If we walk toward the back of the image, the pathway turns to our right

leading back around the pergola to the other side where we started.


(Image #16)

At the end of our walk back toward the beginning of the path,

we walk directly into the palms where we started.


Now that we are at the porch door again,

Cheeky wants to show you what a big boy he is and brave too.

He’s learned to step onto my shaky finger and to hang on fearlessly

although sometimes my whole hand might shake like a tree limb in a stiff breeze!

When you’re in the neighborhood, do drop in for a cup of coffee.

No need to ring the bell.  Come on in through the gate.

You’ll find us on the porch.

83 Comments on “Zoom Out, Granny…

  1. I so enjoyed the virtual walk through your delightful garden George. Kudos to Kelli’s designing skills. Meeting your feathered friends is always such a pleasure! How I wish I could take you up on your invitation for coffee in your gorgeous green haven 🙂


  2. What a wonderful tropical paradise you and your birds inhabit, George 🙂 My husband designs gardens too, and I struggle to visualise them when they’re on paper, but they come wonderfully alive when they are made. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. Omigosh, George! What an amazing garden! I would love to wander through it with my camera and just day-dreaming the day away.


  4. Thank you for sharing your treasure of a garden, George. It resonates with your lifetime of love, wisdom and laughter; and as I scrolled down the page I thought for a moment that I heard the clink of martini glasses. ; )
    Kelli is quite talented at landscape design and I love how she incorporated the whimsical secret garden into the plan. Love everything about it!!


    • Thanks, Elisa. It’s a fine place to withdraw from the world. And that’s precisely what she knew when she designed it. I am very happy here in my make believe forest… With my critters. 🙂


  5. Such a fabulous garden, great bones to it so that I’m sure it’s gorgeous even when the bloom is off the rose. Did you design all this yourself, George?


    • Thank you, Lynn. No, I didn’t design it. My daughter designs residential sewage treatment plants for our business so she is good with landscape stuff too. When she showed the CAD design to me, I had no idea what it would be. She included plants and trees that require little maintenance. Romero, a professional gardener, takes care of it. This is a bad time of year to take pictures of it, but you get the idea of how it is laid out. I enjoy it so much. It’s a haven for me from the world, I suppose. 🙂


      • Well she did a fine job indeed. I relate to the enjoyment you get from it – I can’t put into words the wonderful feeling my gardens give to me, but mine are not so elaborate and interwoven as yours seem to be.


  6. What a lovely tropical world you have here. I felt like I was in Hawaii or South Florida for a moment.


    • Thanks, Ron. I enjoy the garden. I hope the winter doesn’t slay my Pygmy Date Palms. They are the most cold-sensitive plants here. Houston’s climate is good for growing things. I’m always amazed at the difference in vegetation compared to Victoria. There are palms that are winter hardy, you know. I have lost only one of my queen palms to the cold. I enjoyed my visit to your blog today. You are a superb photographer. Such wonderful BW photographs. I like the tones you use very much. Hope your Thanksgiving was warm. 🙂 Thanks for the visit!


    • Thanks, Otto. My daughter created the ideal retreat-from-the-world for me. I chose a bad light day, but it provides a kind of general idea of the layout of the garden. I am fascinated by your series analyzing photographs. That’s a very helpful and generous thing to do. Too few professionals are willing to share. Thank you.


    • Thanks, Mak! A tree that isn’t covered in ice would look inviting to you! 🙂 How cold is it there? It is still forty-something here and I’ve got on so many layers of stuff that I can hardly bend! And, I’m still cold. I can’t have the temperature higher than the low seventies because Che would suffer. And, die at above seventy-five or so. Can you believe I freeze to keep Che comfortable? I panic in the summer if the air conditioner makes a squeak for fear it will stop working. Che cannot tolerate the heat. I even have marble cooling slabs in the fridge to put in his cage if the temperature goes up. I may freeze to death, but Che will be fine! 🙂 Thanks for stopping in to warm yourself. Chuckle…


    • Oh, dear. I didn’t see email from you!
      I just checked and I have the photos. How clever the levitating ones are! Very well done, I must say!

      Can you resend mail? I’m fine and I hope all is well with you and school too!

      Thanks, Pablo!


    • Thank you, Robin! I love the seclusion and the sense of wildness in the garden. My daughter designed it to wrap around the outdoor room that is a screened porch with the idea of shielding me from the world. Chuckle… Thanks for walking with me here. 🙂


  7. Thank you for the tour – it’s a good thing to do, for yourself as well as for us out here. Cheeky in the Wax myrtle & Rita are a nice touch – animating the scene! – and I like the moss (?) – no grass, or something, in the walkway. I’m a fan of palms so it’s all good! Beautiful job designing, landscaping and keeping it up!


    • Thank you, Lynn. I don’t know how I missed your wonderful comment. I appreciate your taking the tour and stopping to chat. I really do. The “moss” is actually an indestructible plant called mondo grass. You can walk on it without damaging it. The walk is designed with slabs of stone laid on sand. It isn’t difficult to construct if you’re young enough and strong enough to do it. I laid the “floor” of the secret garden at the old house with these slabs of stone in exactly the same way the landscapers did this walkway. The coarse sand stabilizes the surface under the slabs.

      I don’t think of the garden without thinking of Cheeky and Rita in it. The enjoy it as much as I do! Thanks again, Lynn.


  8. The birds look so content in this glorious, natural setting. No wonder you have endless beautiful pictures to show us–you live in paradise. But how do you maintain it all? I hope you have help! 🙂


    • I could have sworn I answered you, Lorna. It’s the Mad Cow again… I don’t lift a finger in the garden. Romero is the sweetest gardener on the planet. He takes care of everything. He’s young and smart and knows all about plants. Kelli designed it to look like a jungle. We both love what other folks would describe as overgrowth. She got a letter from the “community elders’ asking her to trim the “unsightly overgrowth”. She has a curved driveway lined by large varigated bushes against trees designed to block the eye from her front door. She ignored it. Chuckle…

      This is a small piece of property on a city street. Anybody can create a secret garden for himself with very little space. It wraps around the porch and protects me from the world, Lorna. Kelli knows me. She knew precisely what to do. And I am grateful. Grateful too for friends like you who support and encourage me. Hugs, Lorna! 🙂


  9. George, your garden is tremendous. So exotic for my eyes 🙂 am particularly taken with the path – the shaggy growth around the slabs is lovely, it kind of looks…friendly. Beautiful photo tour, thanks! Zoom on baby…


    • Oh, my goodness! I missed replying to your sweet comment! I visited the farm yesterday and had an exciting walk around with the cows! I enjoyed it so much that I plucked the perfect dahlia from your garden and offered it to everybody for Thanksgiving! (See my last post). The photographs of the ancient house and the garden and the cows wandering around peacefully remind me of old European countryside paintings. The cows are beautiful animals who are pampered by the look of them. 😉 Thank you for making my Thanksgiving Day special, Sarah!


  10. Thanks so much George, for the wonderful tour of your beautiful garden. I love the photo of Rita on the tripod. 🙂 I can see why Cheeky has his name. It really suits him. 🙂


    • Oh, Sylvia! I missed replying. That’s unforgivable. You have been such an encouragement to me forever here. If you change the palm tree gravatar, I’ll lose you! 🙂 I’m glad you like the layout of the garden. This is a kind of bad time of the year to photograph it, but you get the idea. It’s cold here now. Rita loves hanging out in the palms and the wax myrtle tree. The sunshine is good for her too. Cheeky really is a cheeky little thing. He spends a great deal of time hanging onto my clothes as I go about my day. He’s about the most fearless little fellow I’ve ever known. I am so happy that we met each other. Serendipity, for sure. Have fun and don’t fall overboard into the wonderful darkness of that bejeweled water! I loved that post. What a magical place! Thank you, Sylvia.


  11. You have such an incredible garden, George – Kelli did a beautiful job of designing it – what a nice secret. But you have made it thrive. Nice to see Cheeky enjoying the Myrtle.


    • Thanks, Richard. This was an obligatory post that I didn’t do very well. I prefer the photos that I post on The Fuzzy Foto. I am trying to learn from you. Monochrome is difficult for me. I am always studying your portraits for clues… 🙂 I absolutely cannot do what you do with that 50mm!


    • A true paradise would be where I see your feet! But I’m trying to make one on a city street as the next best thing. Chuckle. Thanks, Loquita! 🙂


    • Thank you, Paula. I’m glad you like it. I do enjoy the garden. I can see almost all of it from my chair on the porch since it surrounds the porch. I especially enjoy Rita, who has been with me for twelve years, and little Cheeky too. Thanks for stopping by to visit and for the kind comment! 🙂


  12. Yes, your images have improved steadily, George. And I enjoy them more and more. The idea of sharing your garden is wonderful. Your garden is beautiful, and I love the rock pathway… and also the connection by way of garden to your daughter’s home. But why do you have a fence between the two houses? For years now, I have been fascinated by greens under different light conditions, and in your pictures, we see the grass with intensities of shade… an assortment of shades with double meaning. The idea of an ‘instant garden’ is something I’ve never thought of, and no one has ever suggested it to me… but after reading about it here, I think I’m going to discuss it with one of my sons. Whose home I visit often, and whose garden seems to wait for my grandchildren to grow up. Rita is a real beauty, and if I had a parrot, I would keep a tripod especially for him or her. I really liked the image #9. It has photographic beauty. My traveling days are over (at least traveling abroad), but seeing your garden and then getting your open invitation was certainly a temptation.


    • We have the fence because it was there to separate the properties from before we bought this house. The people who lived here wanted to build a house in the country so we bought the house and leased it back to them for a year while they built their new house. The house was about three years old when we bought it. We talked about taking down the fence, but I didn’t want to do that because it hides most of their house and just looks better with the fence. Jeremy walked out there one day and removed a wide section of it. I liked that so we just left it that way.

      I too am fascinated by the ways in which light changes the colors and tones on green foliage. That’s what interests me so much about the fan palms. Yes, your son can plant specimens as large as he wants them to be. Gardeners recommend doing that. Otherwise, it’s years before anything is big enough to look good or to be really enjoyable. I would suggest planting fast-growing trees for fast shade along with trees that you intend to keep. You can remove the fast-growing ones when the permanent ones are big enough to produce shade. All plants need more food and water than most people realize they need or are willing to give them. We feed and water lots here and use time-release plant food

      The tripod perch is lightweight, adjustable and easy to move with one hand. It’s ideal for out of doors. I like the view in the image that you like. Often, I snap a photo of it simply because I like it. It rained today so the foliage looks so much better than it did on the day of these photos. The light was bad that day too. It amazes me how green stuff lifts up its head and looks “new” after a rain.

      I wish you could visit. It would be so very nice to sit on the porch and drink coffee and chat! Maybe in our next lifetime… Chuckle.

      Thanks, Shimon!


  13. Kelli is talented! Paradise is the word of the day for this post. I see love and yes, lots of hard work going into your secret garden. I think it’s nicely manicured, but also has a look of “wildness” in places. I can see why you are captivated by the light and shadows of this beautiful place. Cheeky looks right at home, too. Great post, George, I loved my tour.


    • Hi, WL. The wild places exist only because I threaten Romero with loss of life and limb if I see him with those pruning shears! I’m glad you like my little secret garden. It protects me from the world. 🙂 Thanks. Cheeky is growing more confident by the day. He’s such a little sweetheart!


  14. George, as often happens, your post leaves me both elated and a little misty eyed. I love your photos, and you have a way of talking about things that is natural freshness personified – I could just go on and on reading your words! Thanks for another real treat. Adrian


    • You are kind to me always. My generation were supposed to be seen and not heard, you know. I could never quite manage that… I talk. That’s what I do. Chuckle. I wish you could sit on my porch and drink coffee and talk. That would be too much fun. Thank you, Adrian.


    • Thank you, Marie. I enjoy the garden since I am at home all the time now. When I worked, I had little time for such things. The benefits of being old, you know. 🙂


  15. That was some tour of your lovely garden. I do like the photos, nice and big and easy to look at, especially that one of Cheeky on the Wax Myrtle tree.


    • Thank you, Chrisstov! I’m glad you liked the photos. Cheeky is a sweetheart little guy. He weighs only 58 grams, but he’s fearless. Thanks for the visit!


  16. Where in the heck are you George? I thought you were in Texas! These images would lead one to believe you live in the tropics! What a beautiful, beautiful place. Gardens like yours don’t just happen … I see years and years of hard labor in those perfectly manicured lawns and trees and plantings. Paradise! D


    • Yes, in Texas. I live in Victoria about 35 miles inland from the Gulf as the crow flies, I guess. It’s halfway between Houston and Corpus Christi. There is vegetation here. 🙂 It is not coastal-looking and it’s not plains-looking either. We have some freezing temperatures during most winters, but usually not for long. It’s very humid with a mostly constant breeze. We have to wrap the palms during winter sometimes. Last year, we didn’t have to do it since the temperatures didn’t stay low for long enough to damage them much. I lost a couple of Pygmy Date Palms a couple of years ago from the cold.

      Kelli ordered the biggest plants and trees that the nursery would guarantee. That’s the secret to a fast garden. Most folks plant small specimens that take years to grow. We also use lots of plant food and water. It’s amazing how fast plants grow with adequate food and water! 🙂 The initial work was done by a nursery according to Kelli’s plan. After that, truckloads of mulch every year is the hardest labor part. Romero maintains both houses. He’s a professional gardener with lots of experience.

      I’m glad you like my little hermit house garden. It’s peaceful here, D. Sitting on the porch, I can see the garden enclosing me. It’s a fine, safe haven for my weary old bones. Chuckle…


    • Thanks, Mike. It’s my hermit garden. I’m as isolated on my porch as I could ever be in a wilderness. I’m half-deaf so I can’t hear the phone or the doorbell. The best of worlds for me. And, I can still drive to Mickey D’s twenty-four hours a day for coffee. Now, I couldn’t dream of a better life. Chuckle… (Granted, my needs are simple and few…)


      • Simple and few are good things, in my book. And the older I get the more I am tuning out. We might be cut from similar cloth.


        • Yes, I suspect that we are, Mike. No-Bullshit folks. We have the luxury of tuning out the rest of it now. The liberating effect of retirement from “Having To”. 😉


  17. That’s quite a paradise George! I think I’d like to live in your yard – LOL
    I love how your daughter created the “secret garden” & love how she chose fast growing trees for her dad to see. So touching.
    And – I’m happy that you have your daughter (& fam) close enough to hug every day.
    Much love & many blessings to you & your family – including the non-human family members 😉
    {Hugs} RoSy


  18. I’ll be sue to stop by – would love to spend some more time in that lovely garden of yours, and to meet young Cheeky! Beautiful green images … so restful and cool. 🙂


    • Thank you, Meredith. I hope you are back and settled by now. The last time I visited, I think you were on your way. I remember the wonderful face of the woman in the crowd. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the beauty of that serene and kindly expression. I’d love to sit on the porch and hear about your adventures. And, yes, you’d love little Cheeky. He is such a sweetheart. Thanks for stopping in to say hello. 🙂


  19. Thank you for sharing your garden, George! It is amazingly lush and tropical. I would never want to leave home! How wonderful to have your daughter and grandson next door.


  20. WOW! WOW! WOW! Paradise…right in front of me!! What a true paradise and haven you live in…and Cheeky looks so proud!
    Rita of course, looks like a living work of art 🙂 Thanks for sharing such beauty with us!!!!


    • Thanks, Suzanne. I love the garden. And, my porch in the middle provides the perfect hermit house for an old recluse like me. I can pretend that the world outside doesn’t exist except in an abstract sort of way. 😉 I’m happy that you like it here. Stop in when you’re in the neighborhood…


  21. WOW!!! Things have really thrived in your yard. It looks absolutely wonderful…..how very lucky to have our dear Kelli, who does so many things so well. I can’t wait to see you all and your garden and Cheeky and Rita, etc.!!!!


    • Hi, Celestine! Well, it’s paradise for an old hermit like me. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by to visit. I always appreciate that. And I’m glad you like my little garden too! You have to visit me if you are in the US!


    • Thank you. She thinks she is beautiful. She calls herself “pretty girl” … especially when she bathes. That makes me laugh. I’ll relay your message. 🙂 Thanks for visiting us!


    • HI Marianne! Thank you for coming along on our walk. I’m always posting only close-up shots of the flowers and plants in the garden so I finally posted pictures of the whole thing. I began to think people would suspect I’d visited a nursery for the photos! 😉 Chuckle…


  22. Aww – this is such a sweet post! 🙂 I absolutely love the tour – what a beautiful garden you have! I love how it’s lush and overflowing with so many goodies, but is tidy at the same time. I saw some foxtail ferns in there – those remind me of my old house as we had a few by our front door. 🙂 So lovely to get this different perspective – great post.


    • Hi … and all the way from Dubai! 🙂 Your life there fascinates me. It’s about the most unique place on the planet, I think. I’m glad you like the garden. Yes, I have lots of foxtail ferns. They like the climate here. I’m sure they’d grow really well there in a large planter. I don’t think they’re fussy about where they live. Romero, who takes care of our houses, is determined to remove some of the “jungle” around here! I have to watch him like a hawk. He’ll most certainly want to prune the fan palms this year. Sigh. Perhaps, I’ll make him plant small ones underneath! Chuckle…
      Thanks for coming to visit us. I appreciate that!



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