Sunday, April 17, 2011

San Antonio Botanic Garden

I'm a huge fan of garden touring, be it private gardens, urban gardens or official Botanic gardens. I work this into my travels whenever and wherever possible. On my late March trip to San Antonio, I spent the afternoon at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. When I left Milwaukee we still had snow on the ground, so spending a few hours wandering around plants with flowers and trees with leaves was a much needed tonic for my soul.

The Botanical Garden is laid out on 38 acres with the most formal areas closest to the entrance. You enter through a carriage house, which includes an interesting looking restaurant and a nice gift shop. Restrooms are in the carriage house and in locations around the gardens.

Looking at the garden map, I decided on a clockwise circle around the garden, allowing me to explore all areas. Immediately on entering I was wowed by a stand of poppies in full bloom. I am a huge fan of poppies, but have never been successful in establishing them or growing them from seed in the masses I saw here.

Past the poppies were the formal gardens and the rose garden. Early roses were blooming, but I'd guess I was about a month early for peak spring bloom. I was quite taken with one unmarked rose with multi hued flowers (changing from a red bud through multi to yellow mature flower). Reading the label on  'Zephrine Drouhin' (in bud, not flower) I was reminded of how much I loved this nearly thornless, sweet scented beauty in my old garden.
 Just past the formal garden was an area called the Watersaver Lane. An exhibit of 6 small "houses" each landscaped in a theme with notes about water and fertilizer required to maintain these. I loved the concept, but wish the wording on the waste of water and chemical need of a typical American lawn was spelled out even stronger.
Continuing around the path were more wild, natural areas planted in natives designed to mimic the East Texas piney woods and the South Texas hill country. Once past this area was the Childrens Vegetable Garden. This was one impressive teaching garden.

 The Botanical Garden has a series of conservatories which surround a sunken garden area. 
 Next up was the fountain area and the Japanese Garden. I smiled at the rubber duckies in the fountain, but was told by an employee there were only there for spring break. In fact, she was removing them while I was there.
Interesting sculpture was doted all through the gardens, the most memorable being the chair tree.

The Botanical Garden is about 4 miles from the downtown/Alamo area. Timing forced me to take a cab out to the gardens ($18), however, the garden is easily accessible via the number 7 bus which runs hourly to and from the Alamo area. I was able to take advantage of the bus ($1.50) for the ride home. So glad I made it to the garden, and hope to visit again in another season.

This is the second part of my San Antonio trip report. The first part focuses on the Riverwalk area. It can be found here.

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