A Texas garden designer invites neighbors-and complete strangers-to share small tokens of friendship through her garden.
Photo: Ralph Anderson
The first sign of welcome is her arched garden entry, inspired by the bell carillon from First English Lutheran Church in Austin. Jill worked with Austin stone designer Berthold Haas to design and construct it from an eclectic mix of materials—and trinkets—including old brick, cut limestone, glass, shells, fossils, statues, marbles, and even Mr. Potato Head. Some of the personal treasures she included were collected by her family, while others were gifts from friends and neighbors. Jill decided to carry this theme out to the street. Just beyond the arch, she started leaving gifts for anyone passing by or visiting her garden. The idea caught on, and now friends—and sometimes total strangers—reciprocate by leaving treasures there for her. Hot Wheels cars, baubles, and plastic dinosaurs—the trinket exchange evolves daily.