Planning a trip to Austin seemed a bit odd at first as the hotel is just over an hour from my house and I've been traveling between the two cities since childhood. There were still a number of decisions to make. Parking at the hotel is expensive so we decided Neal would drive me up. Driving presented its own challenges on what to take (pillow or boots?) and what to leave behind. There's plenty of room in the car but I would still need to get all that stuff up to the room and store it all day Sunday after checkout. I brought my boots and left the pillow. In retrospect I should have brought the pillow too.
When I was a kid it seemed to take all day to drive between Austin and San Antonio.
In a way it still does. With that in mind it's going to take a lot of photos to share the trip up to Austin before the Fling even begins.
We'll start in my driveway with Yucca Rostrata planted last year and blooming for the first time. I paused to take this in case I got homesick or anyone asked about my garden.
Now on to Austin. First stop was The Natural Gardener, a Fling Sponsor and local nursery, where we were to have lunch on Friday in the big "Revival Tent." I usually head toward the Hill Country style garden just below the tent.
Thinking it might rain during our Fling visit (it poured) I tried to get photos of what we would see the next day.
It's always a treat to visit The Natural Gardener and I noted everything looked especially nice on this day before our scheduled tour.
Owner John Dromgoole's ride. I saw him getting into a vintage red truck several years ago so that's a clue this is probably his car too.
After the Hill Country Garden I usually walk over to the Labyrinth.
The staff was busy fluffing as if they were expecting lots of important visitors.
So we walked on through to the Willie Nelson tribute garden.
The guitar's name is Trigger and you can't quite see it from here but there's a worn spot just below the sound hole.
I don't usually like tire planters but this rustic scene caught my eye.
Enchanted Walk is new to me and an improvement over walking back to the front entrance along a service road.
Artfully designed bug hotel.
Metal version of our ubiquitous grackles
The back gate with red wagons used for carts at the nursery is certainly cool.
Plants! They always have an awesome selection.
Lots of cool stuff for the garden.
Herb garden designed by Lucinda Hutson whose garden we were to see later in the weekend.
Some areas are left natural with wildflowers.
A favorite stop in any season is the Butterfly Garden
I see something new each time like these cute caterpillar hedges of Dwarf Yaupon hollies.
A good way to dress up a fence.
Butterfly chair in the butterfly garden. Get it? Sometimes cliches are mandatory.
Back to the nursery which is always fun to visit.
My favorite spot is the ever-changing perennial section where all manner of special native plants are sure to turn up.
We received a nice coupon for 20% off any one item the next day and I seriously considered an agave but it seemed to hard to carry on the bus and up to my room so I selected a Euphorbia rigida instead. Nice selection though.
A practically constructed bridge that wouldn't be too hard to copy.
Hill Country pond and waterfall surrounded by colorful plants is a nice way to end our tour.
The Natural Gardener is just off 290 on the south side of Austin and fairly convenient as a day trip from San Antonio. It's a fun place to walk around and enjoy their extensive display gardens.
I'm so glad I got these photos before the rain to show you how it would have looked. This was just my first stop on Thursday and the Fling hasn't even begun yet!
More Fling fun on the way in future posts.