Beautiful Botanical Gardens...

Admission Booth w/ a living roof!

My husband and I always seek out botanical gardens to visit whenever we travel... here's the latest one that I'd like to share with you from the Lone Star State of Texas!

We've been going stir-crazy (as I know you have been as well) and were looking for a pandemic friendly activity. I saw a travel show where the host was admiring all the bluebonnets in Texas' Hill Country. As I've never seen them blooming nor seen the bat's mass exodus from the Congress Bridge in Austin (you can catch this in a future newsletter) we flew to Texas.

Baby Owls

Our first stop was the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. We had to walk in very quietly as there was a nest containing two owlets in the arch over the main entrance. Darn if one was totally hiding behind that plant, and the other would turn his/her face around every time I tried to take a picture. So all you can see the back of his/her head and it's tummy!

They were getting ready for a plant sale that weekend, so there were many volunteers weeding, trimming, and re-potting. I so wanted to join in and help! Fortunately we weren't in Austin for the sale, or I would have had to purchase another plane ticket so my new acquisitions could safely fly home with us!

The baby is to the right of the plant

Each garden area led to another with lots of shady areas for sitting and just enjoying the beautiful views. The weather was mild and the flowers and plants were spectacular.

The children's garden area had GIANT nests with of course GIANT eggs to play in, an area with lots of twigs and branches to build your own structure, nest, or to use as a weapon to chase around your sister with! There was also a little building that would fit 3 or 4 kids with children's books to read and borrow (like the Little Lending Libraries in a previous newsletter).                      

If I lived in Austin, I would definitely have a membership as this beautiful botanical garden will show a different side of its character through out the year!

This info is from their website: Gardens, Arboretum & Natural Areas

The Center’s gardens, natural areas and arboretum display nearly 900 species of native plants from many of the major ecoregions of Texas, the most diverse collection of Texas native plants in North America. The Central Gardens include a pollinator habitat garden, a woodland, theme gardens, homeowner design examples and others. The 16-acre Texas Arboretum places an emphasis on the more than 50 species of oaks found in the state. The Luci and Ian Family Garden was developed as a model of sustainable design and provides opportunities for both structured education and informal play and exploration. The Family Garden’s sustainable features earned a 2-star SITES® rating.

Photo by <a href="">Stephan H.</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Stephan H. on Unsplash
You could walk behind the waterfall, and it's pond...

Ecological Research & Design

Ecological research and design at the Center focus on using native plants and sound design to address environmental problems, particularly water scarcity, climate change, and loss of healthy ecosystems. Active projects include studying the impact of prescribed fire on Central Texas ecosystems, combating invasive species, and testing the effectiveness of different native plants and growing media in green roofs designed for arid and semi-arid climates. A signature accomplishment of the research program is the development of native turfgrass, Habiturf®, a resilient and water-saving alternative to commonly used turfgrasses. This product is now commercially available as seed. The Center’s recently patented SkySystem™ is a planting medium developed specifically for growing native plants on roofs in hot climates.

So if you're ever in Austin, please make visiting the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center a must-see!

And now... let's talk about our upcoming Heard's Memorial Garden Tour!       

We are still on the calendar for the last weekend in June. The Tour Guide is being worked on and will be available on our website soon! You will be able to print it out or pick one up at one of our supporting garden centers (also listed on our website).  We've asked our garden hosts to please not provide any beverages or refreshments, so please plan on bringing water with you as well as a portable lunch and snacks because you won't want to miss a garden or two by having to go to a nearby restaurant! We are getting so excited to share our labors of love with you all!

flowed into these little channels...
which were guarded by several life-sized bronze frogs, snakes, and a passing dinosaur or two!
Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Scene from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, part of the University of Texas at Austin - Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Contributed by Cindie Reilly
MLHMGT Board member    

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9681 Flounder Drive
Huntington Beach, CA

No price will ever be put on viewing the gardens. Let your heart dictate and let those who can dig down deep. Each home will have a donation table. Cash or checks will be gratefully accepted.


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