Barr Mansion is USDA Certified Organic

Archive for the ‘Gardens’ Category

Gardens in Bloom: October

Posted on: November 1st, 2012 by Adele No Comments

One of our favorite blooms from the garden right now is Ageratina altissima — which is more commonly known as White Snakeroot.  Its tiny, delicate white blooms are in full force and are attracting loads of butterflies…

Thanks to our head gardener and horticulturist, Amy Jones, for sharing (and for keeping this plant so happy!).


Interview with Amy Jones, Our New Horticulturist

Posted on: August 27th, 2012 by admin No Comments
We’ve recently had to hire a new gardener and we found more than we bargained for with the amazing Amy Jones.  Read our interview with Barr Mansion’s newest gardener, horticulturist, and fourth generation farmer.  We are so excited to have her join the family and can’t wait to see the beautiful transformation of our grounds!
How long have you been a gardener and what is your experience with gardening, landscaping, botany, etc?
I have been a gardener and horticulturist for as long as I remember. I was the kid who made my mom wait for me to cut roses in the morning before  grade school so that I could take them to my teacher. I also remember pulling weeds from the lawn for fun or at least without be asked.  I grew up vegetable farming and consider myself a fourth generation farmer, albeit without a farm at present, although the mansion will substitute nicely.  I worked on the  family farm since at least age 12, if not earlier, and from 2000 to 2009 I developed, with my family, and manager our family farm market and a 20 acre vegetable garden. I attended Texas Tech University for undergrad and grad school studying horticulture and all it’s nuances, microbiology, pedology, entomology to arboriculture and greenhouse management. I have been involved in horticulture in so many ways from landscape management and design, floral design, interior plant maintenance and they are all a labor of love. I would say my professional experience envelopes 21 years.
What brought you to Barr Mansion?
The Barr Mansion was ready for me at the same time I was ready for her. I look forward to cultivating the gardens and bringing exciting and inspirational design and color to the property.
What are your favorite Texas native plants?
I have always loved the Burr Oak Quercus macrocarpa and when it comes to a field of wildflowers one without the others would be “not fully dressed.”  I had about 2.5 acres behind a former home and never sowed a seed and over 10 years had 25 genus reappear. It was exiting to see the unfolding of a low grass prairie. This doesn’t even include all the beautiful prairie grasses. I can’t say enough about a beautiful buffalo grass Buchloe dactyloides lawn!
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I think initially it will be bringing the soil into balance with the delicate microcosm necessary to grow a diverse and lush garden. When the soil is healthy it really facilitates a license to grow almost anything in it’s proper season.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I am enamored to be part of the symbiosis of a garden, the rise and fall of seasons and the fruit and flower shared through my cultivation and partnership with nature.

Summer Garden Feature: Pride of Barbados

Posted on: July 30th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Thinking of having a summer wedding in Austin, but worried that it sounds like a recipe for dead plants and uncomfortable guests?  Never fear, our gardens are beautiful year-round with native plants that are adapted to different seasons.  Furthermore, our beautiful Artisan Ballroom, featured in the background of the above photo offers a glass walled view to the outside, making the space feel airy and open, without also being exposed to the outdoors.

The Pride of Barbados, a tropical bush with lovely red and orange flowers blooms in the summer and fall.  This deciduous shrub/small tree is, in fact, a true tropical beauty; it’s the national flower of Barbados.  Thankfully for our grounds, it is also very well suited to the climate in Central Texas.

Photo courtesy of Steven Noreyko Photography.

We’re Hiring: Organic Gardener

Posted on: July 20th, 2012 by admin 5 Comments

Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom is looking for a gardener to keep the gardens beautiful and sustainable. We are developing gardens that integrate organic vegetables with ornamentals.

Our vision from the beginning has been to build the most ecologically advanced, energy efficient, consciously designed, sustainable gardens possible. We use
the organic standards as the foundation with permaculture principles guiding the process.

Duties and skills would involve:

  • Knowledge of USDA National Organic Program to maintain organic certification
  • with Oregon Tilth
  • Knowledge of organic products/inputs
  • Good organizational skills
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficient computer use
  • Effective research skills
  • Passion for organics and a desire to get dirty
  • Knowledge of plant varieties
  • Experience installing and maintaining ornamental gardens
  • Implementing water –wise irrigation practices
  • Working with owner to expand, evolve and design new ideas

Duties would not involve:

  • Mowing
  • Weed Eating
  • Owning or operating any heavy equipment

Hours are 40 hours/week and pay is commensurate with experience. Send resume and cover letter to

Gardens in Bloom: May

Posted on: May 10th, 2012 by Adele 1 Comment

We took these yesterday, between rain storms…   Who knew we’d have such a wet spring??

Gardens in Bloom: April

Posted on: May 1st, 2012 by Adele 3 Comments

For those brides curious about when exactly the pecan tree leafs out, or when the roses will be blooming…  we give you:  Barr Mansion in Bloom, April Edition!

April 2nd


April 6th


April 17th


April 30th

Gardens in Bloom: March

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012 by Adele No Comments


And of course the best part is that our grounds are certified organic.  For this last photo, I followed the aroma of rosemary and peppermint to find our head gardener, Brandi Blaisdell, ridding our gardens of any unwanted bugs with non-toxic essential oils.

Gardens in Bloom: March

Posted on: March 3rd, 2012 by Adele No Comments

We just couldn’t help ourselves…. Here’s a few more photos (from yesterday morning) of what’s blooming in our gardens right now.

Gardens in Bloom: February

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by Adele No Comments

Had to share these photos from our gardens.  The mountain laurels are in bloom, and they smell amazing!  We couldn’t resist clipping a little bouquet for the office…

Gardens in Bloom: February

Posted on: February 13th, 2012 by Adele No Comments

All this cold, rainy weather excites my anticipations for a verdant and stunning spring.   Of course our gardens are far from bare even in February; take a peak below at the highlights from the garden this week….


And finally: do you recognize these little sprouts?   We’re going to have amazing bluebonnets this year!