Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lady Bird Day

I'm often good and sometimes lucky.  One of the lucky bits came last week when the SA Life editor for the San Antonio newspaper offered an assignment to write a short piece about the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. 

Of course I said yes; barely restrained myself from asking how much I had to pay for the privilege. 

Denny and I have been members of the Wildflower Center for years.  We joined the first time we visited.  I believe in Lady Bird's vision of nature's beauty as essential to life.  

We live a ways away so we don't go to the Center often.  I hadn't been since the members' plant sale last fall.  And I didn't wander then, just immersed myself in the plants and tried to figure out how to get everything into the back of the car.  

So I was tickled to spend most of this past rainy Sunday at the Wildflower Center.  I visited with one of the horticulturalists, a fellow Hill Country resident, who knows the plants and how to grow them.  Then I wandered the winter-sere garden.  And lapped up the lagniappe of outdoor sculpture.  

I came home damp and refreshed.  With 150+ pictures.  My excuse was that the pictures would refresh my memory for the article.  And it was the last day of a five-month outdoor sculpture exhibit, so I wouldn't get another view.  And my blogfriends would want to see the garden, even in winter and rain.

Walking from the parking lot, the path led to a sculpture in front of a stone pillar.  

Sitatunga, by artist Dan Pogue.   Power, myth and light.

When I went past at the end of the afternoon, I caught a movement from the corner of my eye.  Sitatunga.  I swear.


Further down the stone walkway, water tumbles from the wall into a water garden pond.

The Center has Demonstration gardens with 23 themed beds.  I focused on the Hummingbird bed.  My article hits print in mid-April when migration will be in full swing and gardeners want to plant new flowers.  I'm hoping more habitat for the birds, more joy for the gardeners.

The plot looks a little sad now but the plants will shoot up as the days warm.  The garden includes perennials Flame acanthus, Turk's cap, Coral Honeysuckle (on the arbor at back), Red salvia (greggii and coccinea), Crossvine (also on the arbor), Prairie verbena, Big Red Sage (Salvia penstemonoides), Texas Betony, and Red Yucca.  

I was tickled.  We have them all at home.

Carolina jessamine bloomed nearby.  I wondered if hummingbirds were attracted to the tubular yellow flowers.  Probably not, the nectar contains alkaloids.

The Hill Country creek garden felt like home, with plants and trees I see in our woods.

A native grass prairie had a peaceful look.  In another month the grasses will green and wildflowers shine.

Before I left, I refreshed at the Cafe.  It tasted as good as it looks.

If you've never been to the Wildflower Center, treat yourself to a day.  If you haven't been for a while, go back.   

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, TX.  (512) 232-0100.  For more information, visit

Words and photos by Kathleen Scott,for her blog Hill Country Mysteries. Copyright 2009-2010.


  1. What a lovely post with nuggets of poetry like woven in like this bit: "I wandered the winter-sere garden. And lapped up the lagniappe of outdoor sculpture."

    So glad the newspaper gave you this assignment!

    x0 N2

  2. I doubt I'll be stopping by anytime soon, but I wish I could!It looks lovely.

    Super-cool that the paper gave you the article to write - I'm thinking that you might be the very best person for the job that they could have found!

    Looking at that 'dead' plot of ground and dreaming of all the beautiful blooms that are just *about* to shoot up for the happy little hummingbirds really makes me grin!!! C'MON SPRING!

  3. LOVELY! Congrats on the assignment, and thank you for sharing this beautiful place with us. How lucky you are to have access to such a marvelous location. And it looks like your spring is WAY ahead of ours. Please send it up to Michigan soon :-)

  4. Kathleen,
    It looks like a lovely place. Thanks for sharing your photos.

    Hug the cats for me.

    Love, SB

  5. What a beautiful place to visit. I love gardens that are also beautiful even in winter. I love the water feature...

  6. Sounds as though you aren't the only lucky one in all this - the folks in SA will get a good dose of the Center courtesy your words (will they use your images too?). Hopefully it will inspire trips up I-35 to see for themselves and many more members, to boot.

    I always let too long go between visits there and am only waiting now for Late April/Early June pollen respite to venture out for another nice long meander.

    Perhaps you'll share a link to your article when it hits the stands?

  7. Congratulations on your assignment. I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job. I was interested to hear about the hummingbird garden and happy to note that I already have a couple of those plants in our garden.
    I think you're right, hummingbirds aren't attracted to caroline jessamine. I used to have one years and years ago. The bees loved it, but we never saw a hummingbird anywhere near it.

  8. Lady Bird Johnson is an unsung hero. I think of her every time I see wildflowers planted beside a highway.
    Thank-you for this.

  9. Congratulations.
    Isn't it grand, doing what you love, doing what you were meant to.

    You gift life well.


My readers are all geniuses. Can't wait to see what you have to say.