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Tanglewild Gardens An austin Texas oasis in the making

Photo above by Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours ©2015.

Tanglewild Gardens is located in North Austin in Texas at the home of Jeff Breitenstein and Skottie O'Mahony. It is a labor of love of that we dreamed up when we were living in Seattle, WA and needed to move to a warmer and less rainy climate. The idea was to start a Daylily hybridizing nursery, but has become a larger dream of a botanical garden. This will be where we retire from the corporate world, but still work, doing what we love — spending time together creating something we can share with friends and family.

The photos below will give you a sampling of what you'll see when you come for a visit. The garden is still in it's infancy. It was started in Spring of 2014, but we have a lot planned in the future. It will never be completed - a garden never is, it just changes and matures.

We have over 1,000 different Daylily cultivars!

What is a Daylily cultivar? Daylilies that have been hybridized and officially registered with AHS (The American Hemerocallis Society). We also have species daylilies (those occurring in nature) and heirloom varieties (hybrids that are handed down over the years, but were never introduced officially). All are wonderful long-lived garden plants.

Below is just a sampling of the daylily blooms you can see in our garden during the bloom season. The season begins in late March, peaks in late May and ends in late June, but we have a few that bloom on and off all year. We even had one that bloomed in January!

We have started to hybridize our own daylilies, meaning that we are cross pollinating the cultivars that we are growing, starting the seeds that mature and growing what we hope will someday be, cultivars worthy of being introduced/registered with the AHS. We also purchase rarer seed crosses online at Daylily Auctions.

We call the daylilies that we grow from seed, seedlings. A seedling can actually be many years old and still referred to as such until it is introduced or culled (thrown away). Typically a hybridizer watches for potential for over three years before they know if it is a worthwhile daylily introduction. Meaning the flower, or the plant itself, is unique in some way, has a strong growth habit, and proves over the years to be a worthwhile garden addition.

Seedling - Starman's Quest (Hybridizer - Burkey, Introduced in 1989) x Apophis (Hybridizer - Mahieu-Burris, Introduced in 2007)

If you have interest in daylilies and want to know more about them. The AHS is a great place to start and is THE place where all Daylily enthusiasts go to learn more about them.

'A to Zebedee' (Hybridizer - Wilkerson, Introduced in 2011)

Starfish Prime (Hybridizer - Murphy-J.P., Introduced in 2013)

'Cheddar Cheese' (Hybridizer -Benz, Introduced in 1995)

Texas Feathered Fancy (Hybridizer - Jack Carpenter, Introduced in 2006)

'Which Way' (Hybridizer - Stamile, introduced in 2005)

Hot Tamales and Red Hots (Hybridizer - Rice-JA, Introduced in 2009)

If you are enjoying the daylily photos and live in the Austin area, we are active board members of the Austin Daylily Society. Join us on the first Thursday of the month (except January, June, July, and December). We meet in the Garden Center at Zilker Botanical Gardens. Refreshments are served at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. We are always looking for new members to share our knowledge and swap plants. You may become a "Hemaholic" yourself — Someone addicted to Hemerocallis, (Latin for Daylily) it is also what a vampire is called, but that story is for another day. LOL

The photo above is what our double daylily bed looks like when it is off-season. Many other plants take over "bloom duty": Cannas (Cannaceae), Datura (Datura ferox), and the brightly colored Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). The Texas Sabal Palm (Sabal mexicana) provides some shade when the daylilies are in bloom.

There's more than daylilies!

Many people think that daylilies are the only thing that we grow, but that is far from the truth. We have hundreds, possibly thousands of other types of plants that we have in the garden and our goal is to one day make this a public botanical garden. Growing plants in Texas has been a learning experience, to say the least, for us.

We moved here from Seattle where you can drop something on the ground and it grows, but in Texas, you are lucky if half of what you plant survives. That said, we have learned from our mistakes and our plant survival numbers are increasing. It is all trial and error like all gardening though. You can't get discouraged, you just need to learn from your mistakes and move forward. You will reap many benefits from it and can share your plants and knowledge with friends.

The Moon Garden

Our Moon or "Paradise" Garden

Photo above by Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours ©2015

We added the Moon or Paradise garden in July of 2015. The photo above shows what it looked like after installation. It looks wildly different now. All of the flowers and plants have white or light colored flowers so that they can be enjoyed by the light of the moon. Many of the flowers are also fragrant, so it is a feast for the senses. This is a place for rest, relaxation and contemplation. The walls are painted black so that the pale-colored flowers can be easily seen against the backdrop.

The Paradise garden is a garden form of Old Persian origin. Originally referred to by a single noun signifying "a walled-in compound or garden"; from pairi (around) and daeza or diz (wall, brick, or shape), Xenophon translated the Persian phrase pairidaeza into the Greek version Paradeisos. The enclosed garden concept is now often referred to as paradise garden due to additional Indo-European meanings of "paradise."

The paradise garden takes some of its character from its original arid or semi-arid homeland. The most basic feature is the enclosure of the cultivated area. This excludes the wildness of nature, (although as the garden ages, it can get a little wild) and includes the tended, watered greenery of the garden that blooms nearly year-round. The commonest and easiest layout for the perimeter walls is that of a rectangle, and this forms one of the prime features of this kind of garden.

You'll find an incredible assortment of plant materials including: trees, palms, herbs, flowers, shrubs, vines and even vegetables in our Moon garden. We do not discriminate with plant materials.
The White Texas Star, Hibiscus coccineus 'Lone Star', H. coccineus alba, puts on a real show in the Summer heat.
The Moon garden has something in bloom most of the year. We have planted everything from Spring blooming Amaryllis to Fall blooming Cannas. There is also a lot of foliage to be enjoyed when things are not in flower.

Photo above by Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours ©2015

As you can see above, we added several varieties of palms to the Moon garden to provide architectural interest and structure. We leveraged the dappled shade of the Live Oak for plants that shy away from the intense Austin heat and to allow further variety of plant materials that enjoy deeper shade, such as some gingers, hosta and coleus.

Above is our back porch and pool courtyard in the background. The garden that you see in this courtyard is about a year old in this photo. With a little money, time, patience and much needed water, it is incredible what you can get to thrive in Austin. This full sun garden above has not been fertilized either, I'm almost afraid to do it is it may take over. The Texas heat and water seems to be all that many of these plants require to grow like crazy!
Come and visit us sometime, fill up at the Tiki Bar in our courtyard and take a long stroll through the gardens.

Special thanks to Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours for the beautiful photos she took of our home and garden. I had to include a few of them in this story as they really captured what we've been creating. If you'd like to see more of Allison's Tanglewild photos, you can visit Twist Tours on Houzz below and contact her for your own project.

Thank you for visiting.

For those of you who might like to know where we get our daylilies and other unusual plants, below are links to some of my favorite places to buy plants online:

Unregistered Heirloom Daylily Fleischel's Black

Unless noted as Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours, all other photos © Skottie O'Mahony

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Skottie O'Mahony
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