Bishop Street Cottage Garden: Mitzi VanSant’s display garden in Smithville, TX PDF  | Print |  E-mail

This garden is designer Mitzi VanSant’s display garden in Smithville, TX. The area covers two city lots for a total area of 135 feet by 125 feet. It is laid out in the English Craftsman style with formal rectilinear lines and then informally planted with many fragrant shrubs, old roses, perennials, vines, and herbs. Many of the sight lines to the garden relate to views out of the windows; the 1929 Bungalow has 23 old-fashioned wooden double hung windows. A 4’ high cedar fence, with pickets cut to reflect the shape of the roofline, surrounds the garden.

There are 7 custom designed rustic metal arbors that take their shape from either the exterior roof line or the two interior arches within the house. Three arches cover entries to the garden, and 4 are set to straddle wide grass pathways that circulate through the garden. All are covered with old fashioned climbing roses and Clematis vines.

Wooden rockers sit upon the covered section of the wide front porch, and allow for viewing of potted plants on the uncovered side. The shady side garden that borders 4th Street is planted as a White Garden, with either white flowers or creamy variegated foliage providing a cooling effect to that southwest exposure.

The garden located on the interior side lot consists of two large lawn panels separated by a large formal herb garden. Old Roses line the outside and inside of the fence, and also enclose the herb and vegetable garden. Rotating plantings of warm and cool season annuals bring extra color to the front of these long borders.


At the back of the garden (along the alley), a series of hedges of Tea Olives (Osmanthus fragrans), Camellias, and Gardenias create athick fragrant evergreen screen and enclosure for the Children’s Garden, planted for Mitzi’s 4 grandchildren. Within the confines of the area are located a sandbox, a large ceramic bowl for water-play, several logs placed as balance beams, a child’s bench, metal lawn table and chairs, and small statue of an infant St. Francis of Assisi.

For a list of plants included in the Bishop Street Cottage Garden, please click here. The garden is located in Central Texas in USDA horticultural zone 8 B, but closely bordering on zone 9 A. The American Horticultural Society Heat Zone is 10. A few plants require protection in winter (Citrus, Mandevilla, Tibouchina).

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 December 2011 15:33

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