I was thrilled to have made the Austin garden bloggers' field trip to San Antonio this past Saturday, where we visited the Botanical Gardens and had lunch at the Carriage House Bistro. On the way up, we stopped by Madrone Nursery in San Marcos, meeting its knowledgable and entertaining proprietor, Dan Hosage; on the way back, we visited the Antique Rose Emporium, where San Antonio blogger Cindy Lawrey of A Daily View welcomed us like long-lost friends.
There was sooo much to see and photograph at the Botanical Gardens, including a rose garden, a sensory garden for the blind, a Japanese garden, a large Conservatory displaying everything from desert cacti to 65 foot palms, a Texas Native Trail, and a number of xeriscapes.
By far, my favorite exhibit at the Botanical Gardens was the Texas Native Trail, particularly the East Texas Piney Woods habitat. Don't try this at home, kids, even if you live in San Antonio; as the sign explains, extensive soil modification and irrigation was required to create this exhibit.
The result was stunning: a perfect re-creation of an East Texas lake, surrounded by cypress trees, filled with turtles and ducks.
The light, textures and colors were simply magnificent.
Throughout the exhibit, park benches invited visitors to sit a while and take in the breathtaking view.
I loved the quotation on this memorial plaque.
Right next door was the Auld House exhibit in the Hill Country section of the Texas Native Trail.
If I had the means for a country house, I would want it to look exactly like this.
Another highlight was the Watersaver Lane exhibit, highlighting six different garden xeriscapes, like this Wildscape Landscape.
Next to each demonstration garden was an information panel in English and Spanish with tips for homeowners on how to recreate the look in their own garden.
While some of the demonstration gardens did not appeal to my personal tastes, I appreciated the fact that they would appeal to other visitors who may be wasting water and using chemical fertilizers and pesticides in order to achieve a particular look.
I loved the metal animal sculptures in the Hill Country xeriscape.
The Bexar County Master Gardener representative stationed at the exhibit told me the sculptures had been donated years ago by the artist, whose name she could not recall; the gift shop once had a few for sale, but they are long gone. Pity.
My favorite xeriscape was the Country Garden. If only my front yard could look like this! Now I have a sudden urge to paint my front door and shutters a buttery yellow.
I have oodles more photos, including pictures from Madrone Nursery and the Antique Rose Emporium, on my Flickr page. Thanks to Pam of Digging and Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden for coordinating the trip, to Eleanor of Garden of E and Meredith of Great Stems for driving me here there and everywhere, and to Jenny of Rock Rose and her husband David for toting my plant purchases from San Antonio to Austin -- thank you all for a fabulous day!