Loved the matching bird house.
This was my first visit to Mitchell Lake and the large native plant and butterfly garden on site was a pleasant surprise.
Booths for gardening groups and related businesses were set up near the gardens and center.
Cisterns like this one near the center building are used throughout Texas to hold rain water for use in irrigation.
Native Poinsettia (Euphorbia cyathophora)
Datura wrightii, our native datura. Grows from Southern California to Florida.
Mounds of native asters were in full bloom along the trails. Goldenrod and Asters are a beautiful combination
Gorgeous Maxmilian Sunflowers (Helianthus maxmiliani) standing tall against the blue sky
Golden Ball Lead Tree (Leguminosae Leucaena retusa)
True to the sign, butterflies were out in abundance
Melody took a photo of a butterfly on my hat. The snout butterfly rode around on my hat for several minutes!
This photo is for Greg at Gardening With Greggo. Dr. Calvin Finch, retired extension agent, driving tours around the lake.
Mitchell Lake is one of only two natural lakes in Texas and was used by the Spanish in the 18th century as a water source for livestock. The pipes where the pelicans are lined up keep shoreline erosion to a minimum. We didn't see any alligators although we were told they do show up in the lake from time to time. Alligators are native to South Texas but usually nearer the coast. San Antonio is about 100 miles inland.
It's hard to believe now but Mitchell Lake was used as a wastewater dump by the city until about 30 years ago.
Children preparing for a guided nature walk on the Native Plant Trail, the backpacks provided by the center contain all kinds of fun gear for studying nature.
A trail marker.
Food trucks have taken the place of concession stands almost everywhere now. The back of the big truck (straight ahead) is a barbeque pit--fresh and way better than hot dogs. I had a freshly grilled chicken taco with avocado on a homemade tortilla from the red and yellow trailer. Yummy!
I was delighted to find this newly planted display of native grasses because it's a lot easier to identify them when you've seen them in person than by searching randomly on the internet. So I don't bore those of you who are not into this, I'm presenting all 13 in collage format and will follow up as I identify some of the wild grasses growing in my yard and around the neighborhood.
Glare from the lens is usually unsightly but this rainbow was too cool to pass up!
Large native plants along the road to the lake. On the right the NSA tower is collecting data on invasive species. Ha ha.
Huge Mexican Olive in full bloom
Mexican beautyberry with its darker berries.
The cactus garden was another surprise. Not all of these are native Texas plants, but most of them do well in our climate. The gardens at Mitchell Lake are planted and maintained by volunteers. My thanks to Charles Bartlett (listed on the upper left of the sign below) for his help in identifying plants featured in this post.
Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus), named for its flowers, is a native Texan and just recently added to my garden.
Some are still blooming for fall.
Colorful glass marbles mixed in the gravel, I need to try this a couple of places.
A number of the new pads on this opuntia were shaped like hearts, perhaps because they love this beautiful place.
Mitchell Lake has come back to life in a magnificent way, thanks to the hard work of many local gardeners and the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center volunteers.