Southern Color: Cottage Garden Design in Texas

This free-spirited Texas garden puts herbs front and center


| April/May 2008



Southern-Color-Lucinda

A carefree cottage garden of herbs, annuals, perennials and roses surrounds Lucinda Hutson’s purple casita in Austin, Texas. A gate leads to a series of intimate garden rooms behind the house.

Lucinda Hutson

Recipe: Lucinda's Champagne Sangria 

No one can drive past Lucinda Hutson’s little house in Austin, Texas, without gawking. It’s not so much the bright purple color of the house, although that’s certainly eye-catching. The house is a showstopper because lush gardens engulf every inch of outdoor space. Facing the street are annual flowers, herbs, roses, vines and perennial shrubs and trees, all thriving in the carefree confusion of a cottage garden.

Hutson is a culinary writer, garden designer and lecturer whose book The Herb Garden Cookbook (Univ. of Texas Press) has been in print for 22 years and reached the status of a classic. Just as that book is centered in the garden, so too is her life. The old gate to the back yard, topped with a trellis laden with Brazilian sky vine, hints at more surprises beyond.

Once inside the gate, a visitor enters Lucinda’s world of whimsy. The cozy backyard garden is infused with her spirit—her affinity for all things Mexican, her collections of primitive folk art, her humor and grace and, above all, her love of plants.

Cozy and Comfortable

Lucinda’s garden is a living example of how to make the most of a small space in an urban setting. Although the entire lot is just 50-by-135 feet, it’s all the space she needs to entertain, explore, harvest or simply hang out.

"It was the herbs that did it," Lucinda says, recalling the beginnings of this garden extravagance. She grew up in the desert environment of El Paso, surrounded by cactus and gravel. As a student at the University of Texas, she studied the way Mexican women use medicinal plants. "I started to piddle around with herbs a little. I’d traveled all over Europe and Mexico, and I loved the way people there used herbs in cooking."

brucemonge
4/1/2014 12:10:21 PM

exactly my taste... Cheers! http://www.structurestudios.com/website/






elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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