Texas City gardener transforms landscape at her home on the bayou
For the past 30 years, Daisy and Gerhard Meinecke have enjoyed the serenity and natural beauty of their 1-acre haven on Dickinson Bayou in Texas City.
Daisy Meinecke reflects back to what was going through her mind when she first saw the property.
“It had a scattering of mature trees, but not a flower in sight,” she said.
She couldn’t wait to start landscaping the place, she said. And today, it has her signature touches of abundant blooming beds, flagstone pathways, gazebos, koi pond, trellises full of climbing vines, statuary, yard art and soothing wind chimes.
“I grew up in the Philippines in a tropical environment with the ocean as my front yard,” Daisy Meinecke said. “My mother loved gardening, so I inherited that love. When I was a little girl, I put some raw peanuts in a pot of dirt and they grew into a plant, so I knew I had her green thumb.”
She put that green thumb to good use, adding oak, palm, pecan, fig, magnolia and other types of trees. She carved out flower beds, and began a non-stop buying spree, she said.
“I can’t count the times I went shopping for plants and came home with my car filled to the brim with flowers,” she said.
Upon entering the property, you can see her handiwork in every direction. It’s impossible to decide where to look first because beds are evident along the fence line, around the perimeter of the house, in stand-alone bordered flower beds, hugging a birdbath or just mixed within a variety of potted plants.
Bright red oleanders are easy to spot to the left of the entrance. A bed of blue agapanthus, red geraniums and Belinda’s dream roses are to the right, as are several mossy oaks towering toward the sky near the bayou.
“Belinda’s dream roses are very hardy and ideal for our climate,” she said. “They are my favorites.”
A wooden bench encircling a mature pecan tree is an inviting place to sit and listen to the birds sing. A fat pindo palm that Daisy Meinecke planted from a seed 30 years ago is a stately reminder of her efforts.
Not to be missed is Theo’s Garden, named after Meinecke’s 5-year-old grandson, who has always enjoyed hiding among the purple king’s mantle shrubs, loquat tree and honeysuckle-laden arbor.
Multiple beds surrounding the house include yellow esperanza, blue plumbago and salvia, hummingbird bushes, fairy and knockout roses, canna lilies with coral blooms, bougainvillea, lilies in a variety of colors, and so much more.
A red passionflower vine in back of the house is full of scarlet blooms. Nearby are a few of her prized plumerias.
“I had about 20 before Hurricane Harvey,” she said. “Now, I just have four or five, but I will add to the collection little by little.”
Lemon, kumquat, guava and Mandarin orange trees, trellises heavy with vines, purple Mexican petunias and an abundance of blooming plants are nestled closely together.
“I admit that I don’t know the names of most of what I plant,” Meinecke said. “I don’t ordinarily keep the tags, so I just bring home what I like, put it next to something else and it works.”
The part of the yard that’s special to Meinecke and where she spends the most time is down by the bayou, near a rustic wooden bridge that crosses over a rocky pond and waterfall she designed. Water plants float above a few koi skimming the surface, and several seating areas offer an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing moment. Two gazebos and outdoor barbecue area are more indications of her creative landscaping designs.
Angel trumpet flowers drip down lazily toward the ground, Turk’s cap are just starting to bloom and a wooden swing sways in the breeze.
“I had some help with the labor, but the design was all mine,” said Meinecke, who had to start re-landscaping after Hurricane Harvey took its toll in August 2017.
Some of the more than 50 trees on the property were destroyed by the storm.
“It looked like the Mississippi River out here — the entire yard was flooded and our house took on several feet of water,” she said.
Up by 5 a.m. most mornings, Meinecke starts her day working in the yard.
“I often see the sunrise, but the sunsets are magical,” she said. “They look like fire on the water.”