2017 Garden Tours

Garden descriptions

Gary and Suzanne Adair
Gary and Suzanne have been working on their yard for the past 35 years. As original owners of the house, the backyard was first a playground to the left and a vegetable garden to the right.  But the kids grew up and fighting squash bugs and trying to grow tomatoes became too frustrating. So they now have flower beds around the perimeter of the yard.  Since deer frequent the neighborhood, they have all the tasty daylilies in the backyard. They continue to work on plant selection, composting, mulching, and design. After 35 years, they still consider it a work-in-progress.  They love to share their garden and Gary will tell you about his many staghorn ferns, too, while you’re there.

Skottie O’Mahony and Jeff Breitenstein
Prior to moving to Austin in 2011, Skottie and Jeff spent 22 years in Seattle where they packed a collector’s garden into a 50x100-foot city lot. Their daylily addiction, which started with a dozen unnamed Munson seedlings and a few passed down from family (including a red daylily from Skottie’s grandmother’s garden in Poland), has grown to a collection of over 800 cultivars and 200+ seedlings. In 2013, they found a 1.7-acre property in north Austin and their dream of starting a daylily hybridizing nursery grew into the larger goal of establishing a botanical garden - Tanglewild Gardens. In addition to daylilies, Tanglewild is home to many varieties of palms, brugmansia, arisaema, and coleus. The nursery and garden is their retirement plan from the tech world (someday) - in the meantime, it’s a place to recharge, relax, and share good times with friends and family.

Bruce and Jerre Threatte
Bruce and Jerre's backyard garden is an eclectic mixture of typically Texas native plants, plants attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, hostas, calla lilies, ginger, and of course lots of daylilies – including Bruce’s seedlings.  Their love affair with daylilies began in Virginia Beach, VA when they happened upon the local club’s fundraising sale at a nursery.  Daylilies quickly supplanted azaleas which had been their backyard mania.  Moving to Texas nine years ago, they packed their cars with a few favorites, but sadly left behind hundreds of beauties.  Deer in their neighborhood resulted in a decision to fence the backyard. Now, they can sit on the back porch and enjoy the fruits of their handiwork, especially when the daylily blooms make their annual appearance.

Pat and Tom Ellison
The Ellison’s is a cottage garden where fern, nandina, canna, and Lily of the Nile are among the many plants that accompany daylilies in creating the beautiful scenes of plant interplay. In the southern-exposed front yard, the sun-loving annual and perennial beds encircle a grass core. The shady backyard hosts the shade-loving plants and found object sculptures Tom makes, all located under a giant American Elm tree. One side yard is a dry garden where zeric plants like kidney wood thrive without irrigation. The other has two ponds connected by a babbling brook to enhance garden enjoyment. The first daylilies were planted years ago for the simple love of lilies. Then after attending an Austin Daylily Society show and being smitten by H. ‘Sweet Patootie’ and a room full of other beauties, daylilies (now totaling 80 cultivars) began taking center stage in the garden.

Mike Peppers
After moving to Texas 18 years ago, Mike was introduced to daylilies by a co-worker -- the son of award-winning hybridizer Inez Tarrant. He went to a flower show, then visited the garden and selling field of Leon and Paula Payne. His initial purchase of 10 cultivars from the Paynes eventually grew to a collection of more than 400 and became an AHS Display Garden. Relocating from Houston to Austin in 2013, Mike downsized both house and garden. He designed and completely reconstructed the yard and garden of his quarter-acre suburban lot. He now has "only" 200+ different cultivars.  The garden also features a 600-gallon pond.

Velia Sanchez-Ruiz
This special garden is situated on a picturesque corner lot in South Austin. The entire front yard has been converted into a flower garden with daylilies growing alongside herbs, roses, iris, tomatoes, verbenas, carnations, and many other perennials and annuals.  It has been featured on the Central Texas Gardener television show and its wide variety of plant types makes it a popular destination for other garden clubs.  Velia welcomes all to stop by and check out her little piece of heaven!

Don and Janice Heiskell
Don and Janice retired to Austin after gardening for 30 years in California, building their gardens here over the last seven years.  They have grown daylilies for a long time and now have a collection of 180.  Their previously all-Bermuda lawn is now home to five garden rooms with very little Bermuda remaining. The rooms vary from full sun to full shade, hosting collections of iris, roses, salvias, and many different native and adapted perennials and flowering trees. Their objective is to have color nearly year-round, trying new plants to see how well they can handle the Texas climate.  One garden features a number of trellises with climbing roses, espalier Rose of Sharon, and various tropical vines. Several rooms have water features.

Zilker Botanical Garden
The Zilker Botanical Garden is located on 26 acres of varied topography on the south bank of the Colorado River near downtown Austin. Its diverse topography is especially suited to depicting different habitats and displaying an array of native, hybrid, and exotic plants. The Garden is the centerpiece of Zilker Park and the Lady Bird Johnson Lake (Colorado River) corridor and is its most extensively used facility. Over 300,000 people annually visit the gardens from across Texas and the U.S., as well as over 100 countries.  The Austin Daylily Society maintains several large beds of daylilies located prominently near the front entrance and strikingly visible to thousands of people passing by on the busy street each day.