Sometimes I feel like a land-locked mermaid far away from the sea. To ease this nostalgia, I created a cozy courtyard with a small fishpond grotto constructed of native river rocks. Whether sitting on the flagstone edge of the pond or at an intimate table for two, it’s a peaceful place to enjoy the soothing sound of water or sip a refreshing glass of Sangría in the company of mermaids.
A whimsical mosaic fish, a collaborative piece by artists Celia Berry and Richard Heinichen, replaces my precious koi, who, unfortunately became a gourmet meal for marauding raccoons. Austin artist Melody Lambert trimmed the native stones with a wave of cobalt mosaics, for a cooling effect.
The Mermaid Garden is a peaceful place for morning tea. My favorite is made with leaves of peppermint and aromatic lemon verbena freshly picked from the garden, brewed of course, in a teapot decorated with mermaids!
I collect mermaids, those alluring sirens of the sea (known as sirenas in Mexico), and many reside in this garden. One of my favorites, a rusty iron mermaid made in Mexico, once lounged on the stone wall above the fishpond next to a silver Maguey (Agave americana), but you’ll soon see she has a special new spot in the garden.
River ferns and Butterfly Iris (Dietes iridioides) add lushness to the edges of the pond, while tall Papyrus sedge (Cyperus papyrus) and lovely white star-shaped Swamp Lilies (Crinum Americanum ) sprout right out of the water.
I recently painted the rough cedar fence enclosing this courtyard a vivid Caribbean turquoise (using rags and brushes dipped in latex paint diluted with water), replacing the original bright coral color (see first photo). What a colorful backdrop for bright orange flowers of Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) and Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) flowers, magenta blossoms of Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus), purple Morning Glories and Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus). Potted palms, Sagos (Cycas revoluta), Firecracker Fern (Rusellia equisetiformis) and the stunning Pride of Barbados (Poinciana pulcherrima) add color and texture.
This picturesque scenario is embellished with seashells, clay pots in shapes of or decorated with fish and turtles, a carved stone cantera Neptune, and even fish chairs. Stepping stones embellished with shimmering turquoise and sea-green glass stones delights guests and young children who leave with the tiny jeweled treasures in their pockets.
A table for two under a bright umbrella provides an intimate setting in this cozy courtyard. I recently created this fun and functional table by inserting an “invisible” plastic liner into a cobalt blue Vietnamese pot, filling it with sand and seashells then covered it with a beveled glass top.
I’ve paid homage to mermaids by creating a Mermaid Altar, using a metal garden arbor draped with Trumpet Vine to form a “nicho”. My Mexican iron mermaid adorned with a seashell necklace now perches on a chair with the moon behind her. Copper troughs at her feet planted planted with Succulents and Sansevieria (Sansevieria trifasciata) growing in blue pots look like plants growing from the bottom of the sea.
Whimsical mermaids are happily at home in my Mermaid’s Garden. What an ideal spot to savor a Sirena’s Splash, a most refreshing tequila spritzer!
A massive Mermaid Rose (Rosa ‘Mermaid), with its 5-petaled, creamy yellow roses, spreads voraciously and requires lots of pruning (beware of sharp thorns!), but provides a glorious canopy for my Mermaid Garden.
Now it’s time for sweet repose…or to swim…at least in my mind…with mermaids!
When you can’t be by the sea
Where would you rather be?
All material © 2014 by Lucinda Hutson for ¿Qué Pasa? Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Gracias!