Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Garden Blogger's Fling, Austin
This is the first post of about 10 posts about my recent trip to Austin, Texas. I was fortunate enough to join some 90-plus fabulous garden bloggers for the 10th annual Garden Blogger's Fling. It began in Austin in 2008 and has been in a different city in the US and Canada since. It's a four-day, whirlwind tour of what any given city has to offer in the form of public and private gardens and nurseries. It is an amazing opportunity for social media friends with like minds to meet in person, share stories, tips, meals and a drink or two. It's a chance to see a different part of the world through the eyes of gardeners and to find common ground and to make new friends.
This, the wildflower center, was our first stop and the one place that I was familiar with as I use their incredible online database often for plant research. It was the one place I was so looking forward to seeing above all else, if anything for my love of wildflowers. It was the one day that the deluge arrived. The skies darkened, thunder rumbled overhead and we were literally flooded out of the gardens, forced into the gift shop. I heard estimates of 3 to 4 inches of rain in the shorter part of an hour. My image of warm fields with a light breeze, excellent lighting and floating dots of color on the horizon went down the drain. I, among others, was caught out in the trails a long way from the center with not a dry spot on me. Literally. The camera was from that point on put away. I was in the gift shop with 90 others shopping for whatever dry clothes they offered. I found a pair of socks with cacti on them. It was something.
Before this all happened, I managed about a half an hour of exploring in the outer research trails. I never did reach the heart of the gardens. No matter, I'm posting what I saw all the same. Here is my recount of my abbreviated visit to this amazing place. I will be back.
It's an amazing legacy left by its founders, Lady Bird Johnson and Helen Hayes.
After entering the courtyard, I decided to explore the whole thing so went towards more meadow plants and a research trail, foregoing the more formal gardens to my right to save them for the end of my visit. Little did I know I would not have a chance to see anything but the research trails.
Cirsium brevistylum or clustered thistle.
Opuntia ellisiana. I know it looks spiny, but those little "spines" are actually quite rubbery. I must seek this plant out.
Dalea bicolor var. argyrea or silver prairie clover.
While I am disappointed that we did not have better weather, I am grateful for the opportunity to see it at all, especially with a group of an abundant amount of enthusiasm. It's a wonderful resource for landscaping ideas, education, exploration, demonstration gardens and restoration work. The staff is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable and I would love to pick their brains. It's a testament to how beautiful native plants really can be a shining example of how something emotionally tied with such heart and soul to a specific place has been not only restored, but celebrated.
I really hope I do get back there someday, perhaps with Facilities Manager. I think he would really appreciate Austin and all it has to offer. I sure did. It was an amazing trip with fantastic company. The organizers did an outstanding job herding us cats and it all went as smoothly as can be. I am very happy to have seen Austin, well - at least the garden-ish parts of it. For music and food, I'll need another week and FM.
That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Many more Austin Garden Blogger's Fling posts to come, they will be in chronological order. Thank you so much for reading and until next time, happy gardening!