Saturday, May 9, 2015

Celebrating National Wildflower Week with Wildflower Center Tour

It's National Wildflower Week and a tour of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a great way to celebrate.  In April my neighborhood garden club headed to Austin for a guided tour.  We had perfect weather and spring wildflowers were at peak, so the timing was perfect.

First though, finally spotting the resident Great Horned Owl near the entrance arch was an exciting moment.  This was my third trip to the center in the last two years and each time I managed to miss her.  Even better was having the right camera lens along to get the shot.  She's on the right peeking under the the curved sotol leaf.

Iris at the nearby pond.

Bluebonnets were in bloom just past the main courtyard.

They're always planted here, along with deep purple winecups.

We had a tour with Doug who presented a detailed history of the center and its architecture.

Jenny of Rock Rose blog also led another part of our rather large group and we enjoyed a visit to Jenny's own garden later in the day.  (Photo below by Janne Aubrey)

Into the demonstration garden area where Scutellaria wrightii was in full bloom.

Touring the Wildflower Center always prompts me to note which ones are currently growing  in my own garden like the Scutellaria wrightii, Dichondra Silver Ponyfoot, and Hesperaloe,

Evening Primrose and Prairie Verbena also grow in my garden but not in combination.  Something to try next year.

Penstemon Cobea, with its cute little glove fingers which I planted last year has returned.

The tank gardens were in fine form full of great native blooming plants.

Stock Tank ponds are fascinating visiting children

I always take plenty of photos of the plants and tags like this Texas yellow star so I can compare with plants I need to ID later.

Since I'm usually here a month later during National Wildflower Week it was a treat to catch the fleeting blooms of crossvine brightening this fence and other parts of the garden.

This bench, which typically blends into the border, is a stand-out when the crossvine is in bloom.

Native Wisteria in bloom.  I'm looking for this one, it's gorgeous!  

Better behaved than the commonly grown asian version.  Crossvine brightens the stone wall in the background.

Art on display in the gardens includes this exceptional stone sculpture which is available for purchase.

More crossvine on an arbor and the spot where we enjoyed our lunch in the courtyard.

Hill Country Penstemon blooms bright.  Mine is a little behind in blooming but it gets more shade.

And now for the main event, Texas Hill Country views and fields of wildflowers

These Blubonnets are a deeper blue than those I grow.

More of those views

Texas Persimmon I think.

On my own for a few minutes after lunch, the San Antonio Tower near the main courtyard beckons.  The website states that the tower evokes the old Spanish missions built along the San Antonio River.  Our guide told us that the tower was originally cut from the construction budget until generous San Antonians raised the funds to complete it.

Wild flowers planted in the stairwell include Four-nerve daisy and Fleabane.  I just love the natural, casual way the flowers are grown in these gardens.

View from the tower.

The path winds over to the Luci and Ian Family Garden which will be featured in another post.

Seeing the Wildflower Center at peak time and with perfect weather made for a very enjoyable day.


  1. Inspiring place to visit. Pam takes us there fairly often. Nice to see another point of view.

    1. I enjoy Pam's views since she lives an hour closer which makes it easier.

  2. Seeing the photos, it immediately jumps to mind how ornamental most of these wildflowers are!

    1. It's quite easy to add native wildflowers to our local gardens since they are so pretty.

  3. Great photos...i love the Wildflowers Center. Might be going there on the 24th of May : )

    1. I know you will enjoy since there's almost always something in bloom or special to see.

  4. What a great treat seeing that Great Horned owl must be! And those crossvines! I can only hope the little crossvine plants that I planted this year grow up to be something spectacular like the ones you caught a glimpse of.

    1. I think they grow pretty fast so you shouldn't have to wait too long. We have Great Horned Owls in our oak trees which we catch quick glimpses of, but seeing that one peeking over the ledge was so special.

  5. It is always fun to see another person's "views" of the Wildflower Center. Different aspects and varying vistas speak to people each in their own way. Thanks for sharing your visit - and all those vistas! So many focus on individual plants when a great part of the genius of these gardens is in the interplay of plants along with those gorgeous "totally Texas!" long views. Happy Wildflowers make for happy gardeners!

    1. Totally Texas views are disappearing so I'm happy a few will be preserved in places we can visit.

  6. Texas Persimmon - yes. But your native wisteria? That would be a great find...the views there, the result from planning it to look structured and natural, always blows my mind.

    (looks really humid, though :-)

    1. It was slightly cloudy and we did encounter a few rain drops on the tour. It wasn't that humid even with the rain and we were quite comfortable all day.

  7. Wow, you combined wildflower and wildlife Wednesday but on a Saturday! You rebel, you! How cool to see and photograph the owl! The crossvine is a stunner and your native wisteria is gorgeous! I thought of you just yesterday as traffic on my homeward commute had come to a stop and I was able to admire the plants growing on the side of the road more thoroughly than one can going sixty miles an hour. Up and down the road were blooming the sweetest plants with lupine-like blossoms and leaves. Much less showy than your bluebonnets but obviously kin. Amazing how this plant has adapted to so many climates. There are even wild lupines in Alaska!

  8. I must have been there right around the same time you were. It was a beautiful spring at the Wildflower Center, wasn't it?


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