Paradise in Ridglea Hills 5

Jenn Kautsch’s garden endows her home and neighborhood with everyday beauty.

Gardening offers a singular crop of joys, with memories that can prove as precious and fleeting as a rare bloom, a scent on the breeze, or a bird’s momentary perch. Most gardeners, especially those who emphasize the ornamental, can attest to the satisfaction of getting everything “just so,” if only briefly. In Texas, our climate presents unique challenges and thrills for the home horticulturist. With dedication and hard work, one can get practically anything to grow; but keeping it alive is a whole other story.

Because of this, a true showpiece Texas garden is worthy of even more respect and admiration. These testaments to a home gardener’s dedication can brighten an entire neighborhood, and render benefits that extend far beyond the boundaries of one yard. Residents of Ridglea Hills can appreciate one such garden at the home of Jenn Kautsch. What began five years ago has grown — with the help of guidance from Archie’s Gardenland — into a stunning presentation of perennial beauty.

“I grew up with a mom who gardened,” says Jenn. “We lived on two acres and always had a ton of gardening projects. It wasn’t my thing until I moved to Ridglea Hills near Archie’s, though. Now I have the time and space, and people can actually see my yard.”

Armed only with her experience from childhood, this mother and independent consultant for DoTerra essential oils dove headfirst into a home gardening project that grew by leaps and bounds. Her approach can serve as an example for others; her colorful, verdant results, on the other hand, can stand as inspiration.

“Everytime I went in to Archie’s, I was able to work project by project based on their suggestions,” says Jenn. “Basically, I would go in with a flowerbed picture and tell them how the sun was there, or the soil, or whatever I thought they needed to know.”

Jenn implemented this strategy repeatedly across small areas, until she finally encompassed the whole of her garden space. Drives around the neighborhood provided additional inspiration, and a neighbor also helped with advice and pointers. Through it all, whenever Jenn encountered a problematic area or needed guidance, she could turn to the homegrown experts at Archie’s.

“It was really helpful to bring in pictures and say, ‘I’m not trying to do my whole yard, just this one spot,’” says Jenn. “They helped me bed by bed, picture by picture. What worked has really worked, and come back year after year.”

Establishing a showstopper garden in Texas is much like building a house. To get the foundation and frame constructed requires a lot of labor and general expertise. The gardener must choose an ideal spot that receives plenty — but not too much — sunshine, then ensure that the ground is level and prep the soil.

Next come the supply lines: plumbing, electrical and HVAC in the case of a home; gardeners must decide whether to irrigate, erect fencing, or install raised beds. Though these steps represent the heavy labor, any homeowner — or gardener — knows that the real difficulties come from the finishing details. How to decorate, or what to plant and how.

“There were a lot of challenges over the years,” says Jenn. “Lots of things I planted got pulled up, or we had a sun or soil issue and had to move something. We definitely had some bug issues, and some epic fails like, ‘Wow, that just shriveled up and died. Note to self: don’t do that again.’ Through it all, we’d go into Archie’s with a picture and ask ‘Now what? What do I do?’”

A readiness to accept advice allowed Jenn to overcome every challenge that the weather, climate and insects could throw at her. Though she doesn’t consider herself a master gardener, her outdoor space certainly befits the efforts of a professional. The satisfaction of doing the work herself has made the garden a source of personal pride and contentment.

“Between the back patio and front yard, our garden brings me so much happiness,” says Jenn. “To create a beautiful space just lifts everything, and when people walk by and comment it brings me so much joy. It’s kinda the gift that keeps on giving. Every morning I wake up and am just reminded that life isn’t always new and beautiful, but my garden is.”