Linda and Mickey Rawls combine art of plants, natural resources
by Margaret B. Williamson
Keep Salado Beautiful will sponsor tours of Salado’s gardens Oct. 8 with proceeds funding improvements in Salado.
Definition of garden from Wikipedia: “A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature.” Linda and Mickey Rawls have combined the art of featuring plants, the natural resources of the land and the imagination to create their garden spaces. They have extensively used local rock and stone throughout their landscape combined with various sized rusted pipe vessels used as containers for potted specimens. As you enter the landscape along the driveway, notice the hillside has been lined with river rock and terraced with large limestone.
Plantings within these terraces are a combination of natives, irises, yuccas and ornamental grasses mostly drought-tolerant, shade loving and deer resistant. There is a stone walkway up the hill to a seating area amongst the large oak trees and a large stone patio with pots of boxwood. Mexican plum trees, native to the landscape, are prized and are great understory trees which are early spring bloomers and have the most fragrant blossoms providing a source for nectar.
Another understory tree found in this upper garden is the vitex tree, also called the “chaste tree” because of the lore that the scent of the purple flowers reduces passion. This tree is used frequently by the Texas Department of Transportation because of the profuse flowers in spring and its Texas toughness along the roadside.
If you choose to travel the way of the drive, you will notice the steep side of the drive wall is layered with stacked limestone interspersed with autumn sages, large native grasses and a dessert willow, a favorite with hummingbirds. There is a grassy meadow below the limestone wall with a dry creek or brook that flows in rainy weather thru the area.
The front yard is a shady oasis with decorative gray river rock and ajuga with its gray green and purple leaves carpeting the bed along the walkway to the front door. An elegant Japanese maple adds a sense of grace and provides a beautiful contrast to the gray walls of the home and the ajuga groundcover.
There is a potted olive tree and fountain nearby with annuals and perennials in small spaces adding color to the landscape.
Shade loving plants such as holly fern and cast iron plant (aspidistra) are used as foundation plantings while crepe myrtles in the yard provide summer color and winter sculpture. Since the home and gardens are located on a sloping terrain, care has been given to drainage and water flow from heavy rains with terracing and a man made arroyo or ‘dry river bed’ at the back of the home.
Other private home gardens on the tour are the yards and gardens of Nancy and Owen Messenger, Shirley and Bill Pinkston, CR and Joyce Pennington and Alice and George Romfh.
View the public gardens of Salado College, Salado United Methodist Chapel and Historic Green Walking Bridge here.
View the public gardens of Saint Joseph Episcopal Church, Salado Library, Sculpture Garden here.
Tickets for the tour are $15 and can be purchased at Keep Salado Beautiful or the Chamber of Commerce located at 813 N. Main Street.
Gardens will be self-guided with Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists as docents located at each location. Tours will be conducted rain or shine. Wheelchair accessibility is limited and strollers and pets are not permitted. All proceeds from the tour will go toward future improvement of the Salado Sculpture Garden.
For more information visit Keep Salado Beautiful and follow them on Facebook.