August 22, 2023
Backyard Diary of Life’s Development: Colleen Belk
“Once I first began, I didn’t know actually what I used to be doing. I simply love crops,” Colleen Belk advised us after we visited on a cloudy day in Might, gregarious pup Jellybean at her facet.
Her 40-year journey on rocky land in deer nation led to a brand new profession and a backyard that developed in philosophy, design, and lifelong friendships. I met Colleen when she labored at Barton Springs Nursery, enthusiastically guiding me and so many different new gardeners.
Ranging from scratch on land above Lake Austin, she and husband Brad delighted in constructing gardens and the deck that’s hosted household and lots of of associates through the years.
When Brad, an engineer, watched Colleen wrestle with a water hose after work, he designed and constructed a 4600-gallon rainwater assortment system. That barrel to the left within the image homes a gauge for what’s flowing in. Any thunderstorm meant a rush to the deck to whoop and holler because it inched its method up.
Once we first taped her backyard within the late 90s, the idea of cottage gardens had been eclipsed by the soldierly shrub and garden routine for many years. Colleen and I had each grown up with yards like that, however regularly received away from it. At first, our dads weren’t too positive about what their daughters had been as much as, however quickly jumped on the bragging bandwagon!
To navigate the steep cliff, Colleen and Brad constructed a staircase and ultimately a greenhouse.
Like many people, she began with just a few crops in a small island mattress. Quickly she had her eye on development alternatives.
Colleen’s concepts grew as she hopped from one nursery to a different, reveling locally of plant fans. She turned president of the Austin Herb Society. Then, she landed her dream job at Barton Springs Nursery with founders Conrad and Bernardine Bering. “I used to be given a number of crops and my paycheck didn’t at all times come residence,” she laughed. She began designing vignettes, like this one with native coneflower, blue Mediterranean fan palm, and Queen Victoria agave simply out of view.
In 1992, the Austin Pond Society launched yard ponds for hands-on gardeners. Colleen labored with BSN colleague (and later designer) Scott Thurmon to craft a naturalistic pond utilizing stones and boulders from across the property.
Colleen ventured into one other design dimension, one which additional populated her backyard with useful wildlife. Numerous flowering crops be a part of framing anacacho orchid. The candy foreground plant is Japanese star sedge (Carex radiata).
At first, she used crushed granite to create paths. When somebody prompt pea gravel for a brighter look, she went for it. “And it did change the entire look of my backyard,” she mentioned.
Each wander in each season invitations a unique view in solar and shade. Braced by foliar construction, flowers come and go towards layers of leafy texture.
This one options Texas sabal palm, Will Fleming yaupon hollies and crape myrtle.
Brad inspired boundaries to differentiate backyard areas. BSN colleagues constructed a stone wall at one finish, and he or she topped their entrance with tire planters.
Colleen’s backyard lies in deer nation, and as a lot as she loves deer, she doesn’t need to share all her crops with them. Fencing the yard spared roses and different favourite yummies.
In entrance, she sticks with crops that aren’t so tasty.
She does embrace a sturdy Sally Holmes rose together with retama and oleander, however deer can’t attain its topmost flowers.
At BSN, Conrad received her hooked on plant propagation. Within the greenhouse she and Brad constructed, she grows up new crops from cuttings or seeds. Nary a customer leaves empty-handed!
In 2020, Colleen misplaced Brad to a type of surprising situations that you simply by no means knew even existed. Her loving tales go deep with us all, and our hearts are together with her.
Since then, backyard remedy’s taken on a far deeper significance. “I simply need to backyard and be right here and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Watch her story now!
Thanks for stopping by! Linda