Mermaids welcome in Lucinda Hutson’s garden

April 26, 2019

Austin may be 200 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, but for beachy ambience look no further than Lucinda Hutson‘s mermaid garden. The ¡Viva Tequila! author created an under-the-sea vibe with a shell-encrusted arbor dripping with capiz shells, under which a cast-iron mermaid poses seductively. Potted sansevieria, asparagus fern, and kalanchoe mimic seaweed and other underwater plants. A turquoise fence, shell accent pillows, and fish chairs and a tiki-style umbrella play up the seaside theme.

It’s a playful, imaginative space that never fails to elicit a smile from visitors.

In front of a rock wall, which separates the garden from the front yard, more mermaids and seashells cluster around a tiny pond. A fish pot holds ember-colored begonias.

You enter the mermaid garden through a peaked arbor topped with a velvety red ‘Don Juan’ climbing rose.

A beautiful iron gate with a seashell wreath sets the mood…

…as does a stone fish atop the wall.

From the mermaid garden, you walk through a tunnel-like arbor engulfed in (fittingly) a ‘Mermaid’ rose…

…and enter the edible garden, where a raised bed of herbs and lettuces occupies a central square. In one corner near the greenhouse door sits Our Lady of La Tina, a mosaic Madonna in an old bathtub.

La tina means bathtub in Spanish, Lucinda likes to point out, and the folk art shrine adds to the Mexican flavor of her garden. Lucinda grew up in the border city of El Paso, and her garden owes much to the culture of Mexico, where she’s been a frequent traveler.

Fearless with color, Lucinda painted her house purple and golden yellow, creating a colorful backdrop for plants and a folk-art collection of children’s chairs. A wood-slat awning adds rustic tropical style.

In another corner, St. Francis presides over a potted begonia and fragrant star jasmine vine.

El Jardin Encantador reads a carved gate that opens up to a dining deck. Behind the purple umbrella sits Lucinda’s she-shed, a comfortable space for writing or relaxing.

The grape wall of a detached garage makes a vibrant backdrop for stacked buffet tables wrapped in festive oilcloth. Potted aloes line the upper table, and colorful stools offer additional seating for parties.

As does a cedar rocker. A rustic curio cabinet displays a few treasures.

A carved-wood Madonna hangs over the door to the writing room.

In the very back, against a turquoise wall (the rear of the garage), stands Lucinda’s tequila cantina, ready to serve up her favorite spirit.

An outdoor shower allows for quick clean-ups after a day of gardening — or a night of tequila shots!

Now let’s explore the equally colorful front garden. A small brick patio substitutes for lawn, with room for a cushioned loveseat.

Along the gravel driveway, handsome terracotta pots perched on stone blocks display yellow daisies and other flowering plants.

Sitting here you’re surrounded by flowers, and well screened from the street by shrubby roses, rosemary, and Jerusalem sage.

I believe the pretty, variegated pelargonium is ‘Vancouver Centennial’. Lucinda says she found it at Shoal Creek Nursery. The notched leaves echo the pot’s trim detail and zigzag pattern of the seat cushions.

Two types of pelargonium for twice the red-flowered fun.

Under a ginkgo, a green shade garden is brightened with cool yellow snapdragons.

A scrolled purple chair and froggy birdbath make fun accents amid the plants.

Lucinda etched the name of her beloved cat, Sancho, into a prickly pear pad. Smashed cascarones on the sidewalk tell a tale of Easter fun by neighborhood children, who love to visit Lucinda’s garden.

I love to visit Lucinda’s garden too! It’s always colorful, creative, and welcoming, and so is her purple casita.

Inside, on the dining table, which was beautifully decorated for Easter, a wreath of cornhusk flowers cradled a rainbow assortment of cascarones.

And gleaming silver spoons reflected a star-shaped agave chandelier. The serape tablecloth and sequined mini-sombreros added more colorful Mexican style.

Lucinda’s world is always festive and always beautiful. My thanks to her for another lovely visit!

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