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We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.

- Herman Melville

The following page contains some useful links that I will update regularly. Each will connect you to organizations, ideas, and services that you will find invaluable in your garden and beyond .

 

Strands -  Featured Websites

 

 This section of my links page features an eclectic mix of  websites that are on my current list of favorites, I hope that you will enjoy them too. Feel free to recommend your own.

 

Where Wonder Was Born - - A new project from Soul of the Garden capturing and sharing your stories of magical encoutners with nature from your childhood. Submit your story for an upcoming book!

 

Soul of the Garden Video Series - From KLRU-TVand yours' truly. This five part series of spiritual reflections is also available from the KLRU store as a DVD.

 

God is the Good We Do - God is the Good We Do is a new book by Austinite, Michael Benedikt: "God Is the Good We Do invites believers and agnostics to return to their spiritual heritages with a changed understanding of how religions are and are not carrying out God's will. At the same time, it invites atheists to see that God is not the oldest and strongest but the youngest and weakest force in the universe, a force whose existence depends on them as much as anyone else." Highly recommended.

 

National Geographic Map of the DayFor the cartographically aligned among us. A wide variety of maps with everything from gorgeous historic maps to the most up-to-date. Very cool.

 

Hubble Site - The official website of the Hubble Space Telescope. Amazing, breathtaking images. Be sure to visit the gallery.

 

Kingdom Coming - The official website for the book of the same name. Truly frightening and essential reading for those wishing to understand the threat to our democracy posed by Christian radicals.

 

Richard Louv - The Future's Edge - Richard Louv is a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune and is the author of the new book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. I highly recommend his work to you.

 

The Poet Seers Website - An incredibly deep and well organized anthology of spiritual poetry on the web - highly recommended.

 

The Transcendentalists Website - A "...site to provide both original content and links to other material on the internet for study of the Transcendentalists: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and others."

 

Austin Granny - A lovely website created by Carol McGuire, a friend and fellow traveler. A blog that weaves garden inspiration together with poetry, family, and friends.

 

New York Public Library Digital Gallery - Get lost searching this amazing database of images. Very cool.

 

Library of Congress - Explore the history and culture of the U.S. at this amazing web resource. Be sure to check out the collections of photographs and maps in the "American Memory" section.

 

USA QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau - I find demographic information fascinating, in fact I am a total geek when it comes to population studies.  I believe that one of the biggest and most under-reported stories of our time are the enormous demographic changes we are currently experiencing.  If you want to see a detailed profile of your state or county check out this website.

 

What is your religion... if any? - From USA Today - a quick take on religious diversity in America. This easy-to-use map with demographic content provides  fascinating info.

 

World Mapper - The world as you've never seen it before. Fascinating, scary, and amazing maps that illustrate a host of world trends. A real find!

 

The CIA World Factbook - Yes, that CIA. If you are interested in learning quick facts and statistics about all of the nations of the world this is a good starting place.

 

Geology.com - Cool satellite images, maps, and more. Click on the satellite image of the United States (or country of your choice) center it on your backyard, and then zoom-in. Amazing. I hope you were wearing something presentable out there!

 

Gramophone - Music anyone? The classical music website.

 

Thoreau Quotes - Random quotes from the great American "saunterer-scientist."

 

Explore Byzantium - Did you know that I am a history nerd? Did you know that the Roman Empire breathed its last just a few decades before Columbus sailed across the Atlantic? For those interested in the fascinating history of Byzantium, the "Eastern Roman Empire," this site is a goldmine.

 

Wisdom Quotes - The name says it all.

 

Psycho Proverb Zone - Hunting for that perfect proverb or quote?  Check this out.

 

 

 

 

Garden and Nature Destinations

 

With a special nod to my current stomping grounds: Central Texas.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - the Wildflower Center is both an incredible resource and a beautiful destination. Everyone who loves native plants, gardening, and architecture should visit.

Zilker Botanical Gardens - Located in the heart of Austin, the Zilker Botanical Gardens are a great place to see a variety of different kinds of gardens and to meet other gardeners. The Garden Center located here is where most Austin garden clubs meet.

Peckerwood Garden - Yes, Peckerwood Garden. This incredible private garden, located in Hempstead, Texas, is perhaps, the finest in the state. The garden's owner, John Fairey, is a Texas A&M Professor of Architecture who has created a magical space filled with spectacular native and exotic plants. This garden is a MUST SEE. Check out their website to learn when the garden is open for public tours. Yucca-do Nursery, a prime source for rare agaves, rain lillies, and more is located next door.

Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens - Located in northern Harris County, this makes a fine destination for visitors to Houston.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center - Part of the green island of Memorial Park in the center of Houston.

San Antonio Botanical Garden - Close by for those of us who live in Austin. A fun destination, especially when paired with a visit to the nearby McNay Art Museum.

Mast Arboretum at SFASU - Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, has long been know for its excellence in the fields of arboriculture and forestry. The Mast Arboretum gives the public the chance to take advantage of the school's expertise. This is an excellent website loaded with helpful information about landscape plants for Texas.

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens - "A Sanctuary for the Senses" in the Metroplex.

Dallas Arboretum - "An oasis of beauty and serenity..."

The Red Corral Ranch - A real working ranch, an environmental lab, an organic farming operation, and a retreat center with guest houses all rolled into one. If you are interested in labyrinths, the wooden one on this ranch may be the most beautiful in Texas.

Selah - Bamberger Ranch - Perhaps the most famous ranch in the Hill Country, Selah - Bamberger Ranch is a pioneering operation that is showing the way to a environmentally and economically sustainable future for Texas ranchers and property owners. J. David Bamberger and his wife, Margaret are the dynamos behind the ranch, they hold workshops and host tours and conferences throughout the year.

Westcave Preserve - Many folks consider Westcave to be the most beautiful spot in Texas, it certainly has my vote. This hidden canyon along the Pedernales River shelters an amazing diversity of plants and animals and is open to visitors on the weekends for guided tours.

Hamilton Pool - Located in the Southwest corner of Travis County, Hamilton Pool is one of the gems of the Texas Hill Country. I fell in love with Austin after visiting Hamilton Pool on my first weekend at the University of Texas. Now a preserve, I highly recommend a visit to this natural wonder. Be sure to follow the trail to the river in addition to going to the grotto where the "pool" is located. Westcave Preserve is just a two minute drive from the Hamilton Pool parking area.

Enchanted Rock - About a two hour drive west of Austin, Enchanted Rock is a great day-trip  destination from Austin. Go early in the spring, especially if it is foggy! Climbing to the summit may be a little slick in the fog, but it is a magical experience.

Lost Maples State Natural Area - The "jewel in the crown" of the Texas Hill Country, at least in my book.

Big Bend National Park - Mountains, desert, canyons, river... The great nature destination of Texas.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park - Texas's "other" National Park. A jewel in the desert.

Big Thicket National Preserve - The wet side of wild Texas. A patchwork preserve system that contains amazing plant diversity. Best visited in cool weather, this Southeast Texas preserve is where I first encountered the natural beauty of Texas.

 

 

Botanical Gardens

National and International Destinations.

Bressingham Gardens - A garden masterpiece in Norfolk, England (and an excellent website!)

Butchart Gardens - In Victoria, British Columbia. A spectacular garden destination.

Chateau de Villandry - Villandry is one of the great chateaus of the Loire Valley in France, it is home to one of the most amazing formal gardens of the world.

Ruth Bancroft Garden -  "Preserving an exceptional example of American garden design, The Ruth Bancroft Garden demonstrates the beauty and excitement possible in a water-conserving landscape."  A spectacular garden featuring one of the world's great collections af arid climate plants. Located in Walnut Creek, California (in the San Francisco Bay area.)

Hakone Gardens - Located in Saratoga, California, just outside of San Jose, the Gardens of Hakone are the oldest Japanese-style gardens in the Western Hemisphere.

Cornerstones Festival of Gardens : Sonoma  - "An ever-changing series of walk-through gardens that show case new and innovative designs from the world's finest landscape architects and designers." In the Wine Country of Sonoma, California.

The Desert Botanical Garden - In Phoenix, Arizona. "Not your garden-variety garden."

Giverny - Claude Monet's "Impressionist" Garden.

Kew Gardens - Visit the world's leading botanical garden, located in London, England.

Longwood Gardens - In Pennsylvania, "the world’s premier  horticultural display garden."

Missouri Botanical Garden - One of the  great garden destinations of the Mid-West.

Monticello - Tour Thomas Jefferson's famous home and gardens.

 

New York Botanical Gardens - One of this nation's leading botanical gardens.

 

Sissinghurst Castle Garden - Tour one of Great Britain's most famous gardens.

 

The US National Arboretum -  One of the great national centers of horticultural education and research, located in Washington D.C. .

 

 

The Natural World

Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Information for the birder in your nest, including an amazing library of bird songs and calls. Their headquarters, in Sapsucker Woods, outside of Ithaca, New York, is an extraordinary work of contemporary architecture.

Meet the Birds of Texas - Includes a great "listening library" where you can while-away the hours listening to loons or screech owls. Beats TV (with the exception of PBS!)

Texas e-Bird - Texas's destination for birding on the web.

The Owl Pages - Photos, calls, books, art, mythology and more.

Find Sounds - Interested in hearing the song of a canyon wren? Or a tree frog? This site will open your ears to the world around you.

Singing Insects of North America - Catch the buzz.

Benny Simpson's Native Texas Trees - The late, great Benny Simpson was an early pioneer of the native plant movement in Texas. This website explores his passion: the trees of the Lone Star State.

Texas Fossils Project - "... a cooperative network of students, teachers, volunteers, paleontologists and geologists interested in the study of Texas Earth Science."

The Useful Wild Plants Project -  "Our mission is to advance stewardship of the wild and naturalized plants of Texas and surrounding regions. To that end we are dedicated to the sensitive tasks of promoting the economic development of underutilized renewable native botanical resources in an ethical and responsible manner and preserving wild plant populations and their habitats from extinction."

Nordlys - A website dedicated to the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Gorgeous imagery from around the world.

SnowCrystals.com - A website dedicated to the science and art of snowflakes and related phenomenon. Beautiful images!

Don Bain's Virtual Guidebooks - "Immersive" photography of beautiful natural destinations around Western North America. I found this site when I googled Hueco Tanks. Fun panoramic images.

Astronomy Picture of the Day - From NASA, supercool images of space.

 

 

Environmental Organizations & Media

Acres U.S.A.  - A monthly newspaper, produced here in Austin, that is " A Voice for  Eco-Agriculture."

The American Wind Energy Association -  Clean Energy for our Environment and Economy.

The Center for Respect of Life and Environment - "The Center for Respect of Life and Environment was founded in 1986 to foster an ethic of compassion toward all sentient beings and respect for the integrity of nature."

Children & Nature Network - "The vision and mission of the Children & Nature Network is to give every child in every community a wide range of opportunities to experience nature directly, reconnecting our children with nature’s joys and lessons, its profound physical and mental bounty."

Earth Easy - Take personal responsibility for the way that you impact the earth with help from Earth Easy.

The Evangelical Environmental Network and Creation Care Magazine - Yes, you read that right. For evangelical Christians who take the golden rule seriously.

The Hill Country Alliance -  "The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country."

The Hill Country Conservancy - "Hill Country Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust committed to preserving the natural beauty and open spaces of the Texas Hill Country - forever. But more importantly we are a group of unexpected partners united in a common goal. We are members of the business, real estate and environmental communities working together to protect our land and our economy."

Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network - An extensive listing of Austin based Environmental organizations.

The Nature Conservancy -  Preserving the world's most cherished and threatened spaces.

Save Our Springs Alliance - Local action to protect Austin's most cherished places.

The Sierra Club - The grand-daddy of them all.

Sustainable Sources - Get connected to Austin and Texas environmental resources.

 

Farmers' Markets of Central Texas

Austin Farmers' Market - Saturdays, Downtown at Republic Square Park. 236-0074

Sunset Valley  Farmers' Market - Saturdays at the Toney Burger Center  (290 W. between Brodie and Westgate.) 280-1976

 Angel Valley Organic Farm - Two market locations (Saturdays and Wednesdays. )

Boggy Creek Farm - Wednesdays and Saturdays, an inner-city organic farm and market right here in Austin, Texas. Be sure to read Carol Ann Sayle's charming 'News of the Farm'  letters. 926-4650

Pure Luck Farm - Extraordinary hand-crafted cheeses from Texas. 101 Twin Oaks Trail, Dripping Springs, TX. 512.858.7034

South Austin Farmers' Market - Saturdays, 2910 South Congress Avenue, Austin.

Georgetown Farmers' Market - Tuesdays in Sun City, Thursdays in Georgetown, and Saturdays in Round Rock. 512.281.3699

Wimberley Farmers' Market - Wednesdays across from Lions Field on FM 2325. 512.858.4374

Texas Specialty Cut Flowers and Arnosky Family Farms - Saturdays, 9 miles south of  HWY 290  at the intersection of RR 165 and 2325 (8 miles east of Blanco.) 830.833.5428

 

 

Garden Clubs and Organizations

The Garden Conservancy - Founded in 1989 to preserve exceptional American gardens for the public's education and enjoyment. Sponsor of the annual Open Days Tour, a national tour of great private gardens.

American Horticultural Society -  "The American Horticultural Society is one of the oldest national gardening organizations in the country. Since 1922, we have provided America's gardeners with the highest quality gardening and horticultural education possible."

Austin Butterfly Forum - Create a landscape that attracts "flying flowers" and learn about the butterflies native to our region.

The Austin Herb Society - "Dedicated to the providing education regarding the benefits of cultivating and using herbs to promote better health and well-being, and encouraging the growth and use of herbs for many beneficial purposes."

The Austin Pond Society - Learn how to add water features to your landscape and meet other enthusiasts in this fast growing club.

The Austin Organic Garden Club - Earth friendly gardening made easy. These folks were "green" before chlorophyll hit town!

The Austin Rose Society - Yes, you can have beautiful roses in Austin! And, you should! Learn how to prune, feed, and plant roses with the experts.

The Garden Club of Austin - I always say that if you want to meet the real garden experts in Austin, hang out with these guys (and gals!)

Native Plant Society of Texas - Learn about the rich diversity of native Texas plants through this organization.

The Texas Rose Rustlers -  "An Organization Dedicated To The Collection and Propagation of Old Roses."

Travis County Master Gardeners - One of the most helpful local web resources for gardening information.

Treefolks - Austin's Johnny Appleseeds. Learn about treecare and help to provide our city with some "re-leaf".

 

 

Garden Media

Central Texas Gardener - KLRU, Austin's PBS affiliate, offers this weekly round-up of garden facts and fun. Hosted by yours truly, CTG is produced by Linda Lehmusvirta. Central Texas Gardener also features the talents of John Dromgoole, County Extension Agent Skip Richter, and Trisha Shirey. Catch the show Saturdays at noon and four P.M. on KLRU (broadcast channel 18, Time Warner cable in Austin channel 9.)

Newsradio 590 KLBJ-AM - Home to my call-in gardening program, The Wildflower Hour, (Saturdays at 8 a.m.), as well as John Dromgoole's Gardening Naturally, and Cheryl McLaughlin Sunday morning show, The Austin Gardener.

Judy Barrett's Homegrown - Produced by Georgetown's own Judy Barrett, this newsmagazine features all kinds of practical organic gardening information presented in a clear and fun to read format.

Organic Matters - The website of HTV's Organic Matters program hosted by Hill Country gardeners Bruce Deuley and Rick Martin.

Garden Design Magazine - One of the best ways to get inspired about your own garden is to visit wonderful gardens around the world . If you can't afford to travel to all of these fabulous backyards, don't despair- Garden Design will take you there. This is my all time favorite American garden magazine.

Gardens Illustrated - From Great Britain, this is one of the world's finest garden magazines. A great source of inspiring ideas and beautiful images.

Organic Gardening Magazine - Information about earth-friendly gardening from the experts.

Ketzel Levine's Talking Plants - From National Public Radio gardening personality Ketzel Levine.

 

 

Austin / Central Texas Garden Blogs

Aurora Primavera - A "desert tropical cottage garden" in uptown Austin.

Austin Urban Gardener - "Austin Urban Gardener is a seedling of a dream, thought up by Robyn and Amanda, two sister-in-laws, sharing an unlandscaped yard in the city of Austin."

Central Texas Gardener Blog - From CTG Producer Linda Lehmusvirta with lots of links and updates.

Digging - Diary of a Central Austin Garden - A inspiring website filled with helpful information and beautiful photographs.

East Side Patch - Gardening on the wild side in the east side.

The Gardener of Good and Evil - From "a transplant from northeastern Wisconsin trying out this gardening thing in southwestern Austin, TX."

Gardening in Austin - "What do you grow in Austin, TX when everything you try dies?"

The Grackle - An East Austin garden blog (with the best blog name ever!)

The Great Experiment - From R Sorrell. "All about an Austin garden whose keeper has no idea what she's doing..."

Hana's Garden Catastrophe - "Contrary to my name ("Hana" means flower in Japanese) I have a history of killing plants. Well, most of them. Let's see how this one goes!"

The Human Flower Project - The Human Flower Project is an international newsgroup, photo album and discussion of how people live through flowers.

In Bloom - "...what grows in my Austin garden." Austin garde

Kiss of Sun - "I'm an avid gardener in Austin, Texas who spends minutes between baby napping and children potty training to try and plant something in my garden."

People with Dirty Hands - "Robin Chotzinoff bares her soil in this garden blog."

Playin Outside - "After over 55 years of it being about me, I'm learning it's more about us..."

Seeds - "...about my experiences with backyard gardening and nature in Austin, TX."

Something About Blooming and Butterflies - From Vive Griffith, "Texas-based writer, poet, teacher, partner, gardener, friend, dancer, wanna-be gourmet at work on a road-trip memoir."

South of the River - From Susan, about a "garden  in Austin, Texas, less than half a mile south of the Colorado River in a neighborhood of arching pecans and live oaks that were here when the Mayflower landed."

Suburban Wildlife Garden - From Dawn, an "Ozark Mountain farm girl turned overeducated suburban hausfrau."

The Sun is Killing Me - "A Central Texas Garden Journal."

Susan Albert's Lifescapes - Notes about writing, landscape, and life in the Texas Hill Country from novelist Susan Albert.

The Transplantable Rose - From "Annie in Austin." A former Midwest gardener doing her best to bloom and grow in Austin, Texas.

Vert - From a Hyde Park Gardener.

Zanthan Garden - From Central Austin to the world - this is an excellent, informative site.

 

 

National / International Garden Blogs

Bliss - From Yolanda Elizabet, "Horti-barbarica, Dutch, of the female persuasion, gardening on heavy clay and digging it!"

Garden Rant - "We Are: Convinced that gardening MATTERS. Bored with perfect magazine gardens. In love with real, rambling, chaotic, dirty, bug-ridden gardens..."

Gardening Tips n' Ideas - From Stuart Robinson in Busselton, Western Australia, garden-blog central. This is the place to go to discover the kingdom o'gardenblogs.

Horticultural - From Jane Perrone in Great Britain. She is an assistant news editor at Guardian Unlimited one of my all-time favorite newspapers.

You Grow Girl - "You Grow Girl was launched in February 2000 and has grown into an online community that speaks to a new kind of gardener, seeking to redefine the modern world relationship to plants."

Hands In The Dirt -  Notes and letters from an "Episcopalian gardener in the townlet, a small wooded corner of Indianapolis, Indiana."

Green Zoo - Notes from the Missouri Botanical Garden created by a dedicated "garden walker."

Prairie Point - From North Texas: "A view of the world from a garden on the Blackland Prairie."

Sign of the Shovel - From Michele Owens, gardening in upstate New York.

 



 

Gardening Information

Malcolm Beck's Homepage - Malcolm Beck is one of the pioneers of the organic gardening movement here in Texas. His website is a great source of information and stories about the benefits of gardening with Mother Nature.

City of Austin Green Gardening Program -   Learn about earth friendly gardening practices, local resources, and city programs related to gardening

Travis County Master Gardener Program - "An educational, non-profit service organization which renders non-biased, sound horticultural information to the community."

Austin Gardeners - From the "Gardening Launchpad" - an excellent website containing dozens of links with helpful information.

Backyard Wildlife Habitat - The "ABCs" of creating your own wildlife habitat from the folks at the National Wildlife Federation.

Bamboo Central - From Austin, Texas. "Linking the world through bamboo."

Hill Country Gardens - Created by the North Shore Habitat Stewards out of Lago Vista, this site is dedicated to landscape stewardship through responsible gardening and has great tips for Hill Country gardeners.

Greg Grant's Arcadia Archives - Author, Greg Grant is one of Texas' great plantspeople. This site brings together a series of essays he has written about landscape plants for our region.

The Dirt Doctor - Organic gardening info from author Howard Garrett.

Texas Super Star Plants - Highly recommended plants from the Texas A&M Agriculture Program.

Neil Sperry's Gardens - The original Texas garden guru.

Old Garden Roses and Beyond - A beautiful and informative site with lots of information about antique roses and much more.

Potager.dk - A  tribute to beautiful kitchen gardens. From Denmark with lovely photographs of vegetables and gardens.

Wild About Texas Wildflowers - Identify that spectacular wildflower and follow favorite wildflower trails courtesy of this well organized website.

The Gay Gardener - "A collection of garden knowledge, wit, and wisdom."

Gardening in Texas - 'The Garden Web' Texas chat area.

A Gallery of Salvias - A family portrait of one of the most diverse and useful garden plants for planet Austin and other locales.

In the Garden Online - "The mission of In the Garden Online is to foster a love of gardening and to provide practical, earth-friendly information for Michigan gardeners." From Colleen Vanderlinden creator of the "Mouse and Trowel" awards.

 

 

Commercial Garden Links

Aquatic Features - You've may have heard me mention Aquatic Features on my radio program. Owners Scott Smith and Michael Minghini are serious about building beautiful ponds and water features as well as providing customer satisfaction.

BambooSpecialists.com - For all things bamboo in Austin, Texas. A local resource of specialty tools, bamboo barrier, and bamboo maintenance services.

Barton Springs Nursery - Austin's native plant headquarters for many years. BSN features beautiful grounds, a great staff, and a huge selection of products and plants. An Austin classic. 512.328.6655

Big Red Sun- Big Red Sun is located in East Austin. It is one of the most beautiful and fun nurseries in the state of Texas. Their garden design team is among the most creative going.

Brent and Becky's Bulbs - Another mail-order source for the unusual and hard to find bulbs on your shopping list.

Earth Action Lawn Care - An environmentally responsible lawn care service? Yes, now you can have experts take care of your lawn without fear of a toxic spill in your front yard. A great way to get that healthy, lush, green lawn you are looking for!

David Austin English Roses - I can't say enough about the durability and beauty of these roses. If they can thrive in Austin, Texas, well, imagine their performance in friendlier climes.

easywildflowers.com - From Missouri, a source of wild flowers and information about the native plants of the Mid-West.

Ecolage - An "uncommon selection of gift trees, shrubs, vines and Southern native plants" are available  at Ecolage.

Floribunda Plant and LandWorks - A fun addition to the Austin gardening scene, Floribunda offers landscape design and installation services based out of a cool new nursery on South Lamar.

Gardens - Recognized nationally for its selection of plants, incredible presentation, and garden design team- Gardens is a gem. Here, gardening is elevated to the art form it should be. You will feel inspired just by walking through the nursery yard.

Geo Growers - Superb soils and composts from South Austin.

The Great Outdoors - One of Austin's top nurseries. Located on  South Congress Avenue near St. Ed's, this nursery is a fun place to visit.

Heirloom Tomatoes of Texas - Looking for that old-fashioned flavor? Look no further... this outfit has dozens of heirloom varieties for sale.

Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery - A complete water garden resource center  for Central Texas. A great operation run by committed and knowledgeable folks.

Its a Jungle - A great place inNorth Austin to find roses, orchids and other nursery standards.

Its About Thyme -  A South Austin treasure that is also convenient to the booming communities of Buda and Kyle. Its About Thyme has a well-rounded selection of herbs, xeriscape plants, palms, and more. Another Austin nursery run by gardeners who know what they are doing.

Kimas Tejas Nursery - Located in the "Lost Pines" of Bastrop, this nursery prides itself in its wide selection of native and Texas grown plants that are well adapted to this region. A nursery by and for gardeners that deserves our business.

Native American Seed - Offering wildflower and grass seeds from plants that are native to our region. "Responsible Beauty" from Junction, Texas.

 The Natural Gardener - A complete garden center and nursery, featuring John Dromgoole's new "Ladybug" line of organic composts, soils, and fertilizers. Also a great destination with a beautiful herb garden, labyrinth, butterfly garden and more for your strolling pleasure.

Old House Gardens - "Unique, Endangered, Amazing!" A great source for heirloom bulbs. This is where I finally found my 'Campernelle' Narcissus.

Plant Escape Gardens - "South Austin's neighborhood Nursery and landscape design company." A cool place to enjoy both plants and art - the interior shop includes an art gallery!

Rabbit Hill Farms - A source of fine organic soil amendments. Look for their products at area nurseries. Rabbits Rule!

Shoal Creek Nursery - Taking over  where Park Place Gardens used to be on Hancock Drive, this is a welcome addition to the Austin nursery scene. No website as of yet.

Soil Foodweb Inc. - "Mission: To grow healthy, productive plants you need healthy soil with the right balance of organisms. At Soil Foodweb, we measure the quality and quantity of soil organisms and guide you to build the life in your soil to grow healthier plants that achieve extraordinary results."

The Southern Bulb Co. - "Unique bulbs for warm climates." From deep East Texas, tried and true bulbs that will naturalize in our Texas (and Southern) heat. A new star on the Texas garden scene.

Ted's Trees -  One of Austin's largest nurseries and a great place to shop for large specimen trees.

Tejas Native Bulbs - Hard to find yet super-hardy bulbs for the Texas garden. A very welcome addition to the native plant vendors of the Lone Star State.

Wildseed Farms - From Fredericksburg, Texas. A great source of wildflower seeds and a wonderful destination in the Hill Country.

Yucca-do Nursery - Located in Hempstead, Texas, Yucca-do has a wonderful selection of rare agaves, rain lillies, bromeliads, and more. Their catalog is fun and informative and the nursery is located next door to one of the state's best private gardens, Peckerwood Gardens. (See link in the destinations section.)

 

 

Landscape Designers and Architects

Inga Marie Carmel - A very talented Austin based landscape architect whose work is steeped in classical garden design principles. I recommend her very highly.

Big Red Sun- Big Red Sun is a nursery located in East Austin. With a signature style that has "branded" Austin gardening the folks at BRS are among the most talented garden designers in Central Texas.

Scott Thurmon - An excellent plant-person and designer who offers design, installation, and maintenance services. No website at present,  512.773.7028.

Mac Design-Build - Founded by Robert MacKay, Mac Design-Build is an "artistically driven" company that produces exceptional garden structures and landscape concepts. Further proof that Austin is becoming a garden design  hot spot.

Penick Landscape Design - Pam Penick the master-blogger of "Digging" is also a talented landscape designer. (512) 431-6165.

 Plant Driven Design - Renowned garden author, Scott Ogden and his partner, Lauren Springer Ogden are the folks behind Plant Driven Design. I have known Scott for years and he is one the best plantsmen I have ever met.

Jill Nokes Landscape Design - Jill Nokes is a native plant expert and pioneer, author, and designer, her design work incorporates natural rythms, a sense of mystery, complexity, and even a little whimsy. She is currently focusing her practice on rural restoration projects, public projects, and site management consultation. Acceptance of residential projects will depend on her schedule and the scope of work.

 Gardens - Gardens is is both an exceptional nursery and the home of a  design team that handles everything from estates to backyards with style and grace.

 

 

Arborists

Austin Tree Specialists - Pat Wentworth knows more and cares more about arboriculture than any person I have met, he was the winner of the Texas Association of Arborists "Arborist of the Year" award on two separate occasions and was voted "Best in Austin" by the Austin Chronicle Readers Poll in 2004. ISA Certified. call 512.291-8844

Arborworks Tree Care - One of the more respected tree services in the city, this company is headed by Keith Babberney a dedicated friend of the urban forest.  ISA certified. call 512.924.1245

Don Gardener - Consulting Arborist, Don Gardener is a great source of information for homeowners and landowners who want unbiased expert advice about their trees. ISA certified. call 512.263.2586

Trees Unlimited - ISA certified tree care as well as forest and land management services, headed by Austinite Carl Brockman.

 

 

Herbs and Herbalism

Herbal Gram - The homepage of the American Botanical Council, which is located here in Austin. This is one of the world's premiere sources of information about the uses and benefits  of herbs.

The Austin Herb Society - "Dedicated to the providing education regarding the benefits of cultivating and using herbs to promote better health and well-being, and encouraging the growth and use of herbs for many beneficial purposes."

Gardens of the Ancients - An herb emporium and nursery located in northeast Austin.

EZ Herbs - The webpage of Austin herbalist, Ellen Zimmerman, and the Austin School of Herbal Studies.

 

 

Garden Inspiration

Tour sites with inspiring thoughts and images.

Zen Gardens of Japan - A wonderful guided tour of some of Japan's most famous Zen gardens. Produced by Bowdoin College in Maine.

The Spirit of Gardening - This site has a rich selection of garden and spirituality related "poems, quotes, sayings, proverbs" etc. . I highly recommend it for those interested in cultivating "higher" ground.

The Human Flower Project - The Human Flower Project is an international newsgroup, photo album and discussion of how people live through flowers. We report on art, medicine, society, politics, religion, and commerce. Written and photographic submissions are welcome. Based in Austin.

Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - A website from New Mexico that offers gardening inspiration as well as information.

American Garden Museum -  Heritage Gardens in the U.S. - this site celebrates gardens and gardeners in our nation.

 

Canadian Garden Museum - Heritage gardens across Canada.  The Canadian Garden Museum is a working archive that celebrates Canadian gardens and their gardeners.

 

Contemporary Landscape Inquiry Project - Tour some of the most famous and revered landscaping projects from around the world.

 

 

 

Poetry

The Academy of American Poets - A rich website with poet profiles, poems, and - my favorite - a listening booth.

The Poet Seers Website - An incredibly deep and well organized anthology of spiritual poetry on the web - highly recommended.

Soft Animal - the Poetry of Mary Oliver  - An excellent introduction to one of our greatest poets. "You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

Billy Collins - Can you believe this guy was our Poet Laureate? Good for us.

Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky - Wendell Berry is among my favorite poets, writers, and philosophers. Some consider him a crank, but I prefer to think of him a wise curmudgeon. (However, being a crank isn't such a bad thing in a world filled with slick salesmen.) This site brings together a vast amount of Berry related material.

Haiku for People - A nice introductory page to the way of Haiku.

Bureau of Public Secrets - Devoted to the works of Kenneth Rexroth. Be sure to read his translations of classical Chinese poetry.

Borderlands Texas Poetry Review - An excellent journal of contemporary Texas poetry.

The Poetry Store Archive - A storehouse of wonderful poetry. Be sure to read the Li Po selections and the pages on Buddhism and poetry.

Wide Path Poetry - Contemporary yet timeless haiku and other short form poetry from Austinite Melanie Alberts - a lovely space.

 

 

 

Spiritual Retreat Centers

The Crossings -  Austin's world class retreat center and spa. I have led several classes and retreats at The Crossings in the past and recommend this beautiful hill-top retreat to you.

The Empty Bell - A sanctuary for the study and practice of Christian meditation and prayer giving special attention to the Christian-Buddhist dialogue. Learn about the history and practice of the Christian contemplative way as rooted in the Gospels, and  explore its common ground with other ancient Wisdom teachings.

Vallecitos Mountain Refuge - In Northern New Mexico, a place of stunning natural beauty and deep mindfulness practice - highly recommended!

 

 

Spirituality and Religion

Austin Area Interreligious Ministries - "AAIM unites faith and cultural communities to foster respect, partnership and transformation in service of the common good."

Austin Zen Center - Practice Zen meditation and link with other Buddhists here in  Austin.

Belief Net - A great place to explore your religious or spiritual side. This interfaith site includes the writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, and other inspired souls.

A Call for a New Reformation - From Episcopal Bishop, John Shelby Spong. Despite being a "lightning rod" and one of the most controversial figures in Christianity, Spong is one of the gentlest, truest Christians I have ever met.

The Center for Respect of Life and Environment - "The Center for Respect of Life and Environment was founded in 1986 to foster an ethic of compassion toward all sentient beings and respect for the integrity of nature."

The Crossings -  Austin's world class retreat center and spa. I have led several classes and retreats at The Crossings in the past and recommend this beautiful hill-top retreat to you.

Dharma Yoga - This Austin based yoga center blends Buddhist meditation techniques and teachings with yoga practice. Founded by author and teacher, Keith Kachtick, one of the best spiritual guides I have met.

Earth Light Magazine - The magazine of spiritual ecology.

Forum on Religion and Ecology - Revisioning Human-Earth relations.

Friends of Creation Spirituality - The website of Matthew Fox one of the fathers of the Creation Spirituality movement. Hopeful, challenging, needed.

God is the Good We Do - God is the Good We Do is a  book by Austinite, Michael Benedikt: "God Is the Good We Do invites believers and agnostics to return to their spiritual heritages with a changed understanding of how religions are and are not carrying out God's will. At the same time, it invites atheists to see that God is not the oldest and strongest but the youngest and weakest force in the universe, a force whose existence depends on them as much as anyone else." Highly recommended.

gratefulness.org - "A Network for Grateful Living (a.k.a. ANGeL) is a member-supported, non-profit organization. Our vision is a worldwide community in which all relate to one another in the spirit of an all-embracing family."

Historical Jesus Theories - A comprehensive site dedicated to the many competing theories about who Jesus really was.

Killing the Buddha - "Killing the Buddha is a religion magazine for people made anxious by churches, people embarrassed to be caught in the "spirituality" section of a bookstore, people both hostile and drawn to talk of God."

Kingdom Coming - The official website for the book of the same name. Truly frightening and essential reading for those wishing to understand the threat to our democracy posed by Christian radicals.

The Network of Spiritual Progressives - A project of Tikkun magazine  and a much needed antidote to both the "religious right" and the secular left.

Ordinary Mind Zen Austin - Zen meditation in the tradition of Joko Beck.

Places of Peace and Power - A personal website that highlights some of the world's most revered places. Filled with information and beautiful images-, this site helps you make your own pilgrimage to Stonehenge, Kyoto, or Compostela on-line.

Theocracy Watch - Monitoring the rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party.

Tikkun -  "...an international community of people of many faiths calling for social justice and political freedom in the context of new structures of work, caring communities, and democratic social and economic arrangements. We seek to influence public discourse in order to inspire compassion, generosity, non-violence and recognition of the spiritual dimensions of life."

Sacred Places - A site that explores why certain places/landscapes become sacred to mankind. Recommended for everyone interested in creating their own sacred places.

The Seton Cove - The cove is an Austin based spirituality center affiliated with the Seton Healthcare Network. I served on the Cove's Board of Directors for several years. In the past I have taught a course on creating "Sacred Space" in the garden there.

Sojourners - Christians for justice and peace - the magazine created by the Rev. Jim Wallis, one of the leaders of progressive Christianity in the U.S..

Via Negativa - "Via Negativa is the personal weblog of Dave Bonta, a poet, naturalist and amateur photographer based in Plummer’s Hollow, near Tyrone, Pennsylvania... Why 'via negativa'? The blog began as a more tightly focused 'celebration of the unknown, the unknowable, and the mystic experience.'

 

 

Politics, Culture, and News

 

When I first created this site, I resisted the temptation to include any references to politics. However, these are perilous times and I believe it is critical that we open ourselves to the world, not turn our backs on it.  Ignorance and fear are the greatest threats to our peace and prosperity - knowledge and hope are our best defenses. Don't rely on mainstream info-tainment for your news, try some of the following resources:

 

BBC News - One of the world's great news organizations and an essential part of my daily reading.

 

Real Clear Politics - A great source of political opinions and polls from around the nation, a must visit site for those interested in U.S. politics.

 

The Guardian -  The homepage for the last truly independent newspaper in the western world (published in the U.K.)  Once you have logged on, check out the "world" section for U.S. and international news. The Guardian often breaks stories days before its U.S. counterparts catch up. Though its writers often have a smug tone regarding American culture and politics, I find it useful to see our nation through the eyes of others.

 

DefCon - Campaign to Defend the Constitution. "DefCon is an online grassroots movement combating the growing power of the religious right. We will fight for the separation of church and state, individual freedom, scientific progress, pluralism, and tolerance while respecting people of faith and their right to express their beliefs."

 

The Atlantic - Is there a better magazine in the United States? No. The Atlantic is the home of outstanding long-form journalism- a true national treasure.

 

Now - This PBS newsmagazine is one of the few places to see real journalism practiced on American television.

 

The Network of Spiritual Progressives - A project of Tikkun magazine  and a much needed antidote to both the "religious right" and the secular left.

 

Orion - The homepage of Orion Magazine and the Orion Society. " The Orion Society's programs and publications seek to inform, inspire and engage civil society in becoming a significant cultural force for healing nature and community."

 

Small Planet Institute - "Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé founded the Small Planet Institute to bring to light the emergence of "living democracy," a rewarding, inclusive, learned practice that creates communities that work for all. "

 

Christopher Lasch on the Web -  One of the great social critics and intellectuals of late 20th century America, Christopher Lasch's insights into our current political/moral impasse remain crucial years after his death. 

 

Texas Freedom Network - "A mainstream voice to counter the religious right."  Sign up for their clipping service and be prepared to be appalled.

 

The Texas Observer - Still fighting after fifty years, this little magazine asks the hard questions most Texas newspapers are afraid of.

 

Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections -  For election nerds and those who love to play the 'electoral college board game.' A fantastic resource that I find addictive.

 

 

 

Architecture and Urban Design

Whether it is in a private garden or a public street,  good design matters. Architecture and urban design are  the art forms that most directly impact our lives.

The Charles W. Moore Center  for the Study of Place - The former residence of renowned architect, Charles Moore has been turned into a center "dedicated to the advancement of architecture." This is one of the coolest places in Austin.

 

Project for Public Spaces - Why do some public places feel dead or even threatening, while others positively burst with life and activity? These folks have the answers. Austin's parks and streets could benefit enormously if some of the principles identified by this organization were acted on.

 

Architecture for Humanity - "Design like you give a damn." Providing low cost, innovative shelter for those in need.

 

Skyscraper Page - For fans of architecture, this site is a must visit. Tour the world's tallest buildings and those destined for the top. Very cool.

 

Gotham: Skyscrapers and Views - Part of a personal website that deals with collectible vintage materials, this site features an architectural tour of New York courtesy of antique postcards. Beautiful images and intelligent text.

 

The Great Buildings Collection - Search out architectural landmarks from around the world and take virtual tours of your favorites.

 

Mell Lawrence Architects - One of Austin's most imaginative designers and a hell of a good guy. Regular patrons of the nursery, Gardens, will recognize his work.

 

Lake / Flato Architects - One of my favorite Texas architectural firms and a very cool website.

 

Black and Vernooy Architecture and Urban Design - Among the leaders of Austin architects for over two decades.

 

Andersson Wise Architects - An accomplished and inventive Austin based firm with a long list of wonderful national projects.

 

Glass, Steel, and Stone - A website about architecture from Houston, Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

Hudson Valley Links

 

I grew up in Fishkill, New York, in the beautiful and historic Hudson Valley. Despite the fact that I rarely return in person, I travel there often via the internet. Here are some links that will introduce you to some of the wonderful attractions and organizations of that area:

 

Scenic Hudson - "Scenic Hudson is an environmental organization and land trust working to protect, preserve and restore the Hudson River and its riverfront as a public and natural resource."  I grew up in the Hudson Valley and still feel a very strong emotional attachment to that region. Scenic Hudson is working to save the best features of  the Hudson River Valley, one of America's great historic and scenic landscapes.

 

Fishkill Ridge Caretakers - A group dedicated to the protection of the line of mountains that graced the view from my childhood home. Way to go, you guys!

 

Historic Hudson Valley -  "Discover the outstanding National Historic Landmarks of the Hudson River Valley."

 

Storm King Art Center - Storm King Mountain is one of the great landmarks of the Hudson Valley and is often cited as the birthplace of the modern environmental movement. The Art Center holds a remarkable collection of monumental  sculptures that are displayed in a beautiful rural setting. Be sure to check out Andy Goldsworthy's "Storm King Wall" if you visit.

 

Dia: Beacon -   The talk of the art world, this new museum for late modern art just opened a few miles from where I grew up in a converted box factory. When we were kids we always knew when it was noon because of the Nabisco Box Factory whistle... I hope they still let it rip every lunch time!

 

The Hudson River Valley Institute - "Your gateway to the Hudson River Valley."

 

Friends of the Palisades - Helping to protect and preserve the "great wall"  of the Hudson.

 

Postcards from the Woods - A "photoblog with random writings" from Carolyn Torella in Dutchess County in New York's Lower Hudson Valley.

 

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Soul of the Garden
by Tom Spencer
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