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 http://www.wildflower.org/ .
Words and photos by Kathleen Scott,for her blog Hill Country Mysteries. Copyright 2009-2010.