‘The joy it gives’ – Spruce Up Austin Yard and Garden tours spark imagination

Published 7:32 am Monday, July 16, 2018

For natural beauty, Austin residents didn’t have to travel far.

Spruce Up Austin hosted its annual Yard and Garden Tours on Saturday. Several homeowners opened up their properties to showcase their gardens and landscaping jobs from meticulously planted flower beds to sprawling ivy vines to unique and repurposed artwork that doubled as an eye-catching piece.

Self-guided tours along with live musical acts, patrons got inspired to test their own green thumbs at four different residences across town.

Visitors to the home of Oliver and Char Hagen take in the flowers in front of the home during the Spruce Up Austin Yard and Garden Tour Saturday.

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The Hagens

Tucked away on the 700 block of 4th St. SW was a blooming paradise of vividly-colored flowers and well-tended vegetable plots.

This home belonged to Char and Oliver Hagen. The couple’s goal in gardening a bright masterpiece was to have something that “bloomed all season.”

From blooming roses to pole beans to tomatoes and dahlias, there was beauty.

Before the couple moved to their current Austin residence in 2013, the gardens were already established for two decades.

However, the Hagens have been working to restore the beds to their splendor.

“It’s a joy,” Char said. “I love all the flowers from early spring to late fall. It’s fun, and not hard work to me. You just love the peace and the joy it gives.”

Visitors remarked the rose bushes and the various herbs that the Hagens planted in their yard, taking in the inspiration for their own gardens. Joe Bennett, an Austin resident, had attended Spruce Up Austin’s Home and Garden Tours almost every year, and every year, Bennett finds a creative spark.

“I am a gardener and I appreciate their tomatoes, vegetables and flowers that are together, and the different varieties,” Bennett observed. “For me, I think to see how people puts plants together is the inspiration that makes me always want to run to the nurseries afterward.”

The yard of Dave and Rachelle Root is filled with a rustic highlight.

The Roots

Just down the street on the 1200 block of 4th St. SW was the home of Rachelle and David Root.

Their yard held unique and sentimental ties to David’s work on the railroad, and the couple’s love  to repurpose pieces of metal and wood, and to create focal points that drew the eye.

Such were the metal disc bird baths and the old metal bed headboards where plants could use as a trellis of some kind. Rachelle pointed to several wooden mini houses in her backyard  that David created from salvaged wood after some neighbors had planned to throw them out.

There were ongoing projects, and there were plans to plant more cornflowers to deter deer from taking another snack from Rachelle’s lilies.

“It keeps me busy,” she added.

Rachelle Root, left, tells visitors about her and her husband Mike’s yard.

Her daughter, Lace Baumgartner, had watched her mother and stepfather work on these yard projects. She had seen their yard transform from just patches of grass into a place where she can find a quiet place to sit, and enjoy.

Baumgartner particularly loved that much of the decorations and pieces of art in the garden, were all repurposed and found another life with new purpose.

“It’s so meaningful,” she beamed. “It’s brilliant.”

Two other stops were also included on the tour including  the homes of Mike and Amy Cooper and  and Mike and Shelly Compton.

Joe and Susanna Bennett drift through the yard of Oliver and Char Hagen.