San Antonio Botanic Garden
April 17, 2011
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.
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.
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.
Rocky Mountain High, part 2….taking time to smell the flowers
September 30, 2010
The Saturday departure date of my recent trip to Denver allowed me to sneak in a little garden time amid all the beer, breweries and Great American Beer festival. Part one of this trip report focused on all that, this part is all about the Denver Botanic Garden.
I’ve followed (and purchased) the books by Lauren Springer for some time – beginning with The Undaunted Garden. (And find it fitting that she married another one of my favorite garden authors, Scott Ogden, and together have a company called Plant Driven Design). The interest in Lauren’s writing introduced me to the Denver Botanic Garden, which has held a spot on my must visit list for far too long.
Really far too long. What a delightful and inspiring garden. The current special exhibit is an installation of Henry Moore sculptures placed throughout the space. (Click on any of these images to bring them up in a larger format)
Shortly after entering the garden, I was wow-ed by the long double perennial/mixed border allee. Just stunned.
I could have spent hours in just this area, which made even more special by the sound of music flowing from the private event (looked and sounded like an Indian wedding) in the formal garden just past this area.
This wasn’t the only spot within the gardens set up for a private event. The South African Plaza was set with chairs, and had signs warning it would be closed later in the day. Tho’ it was the containers that caught my eye here.
Wine Country Trip: Part 3 Gardens
August 27, 2010
Recently returned from a 5 day trip to the California wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties. This was a personal/pleasure trip with professional overtones (and perks), as my husband is “in the trade”. Splitting the trip review into 4 sections:
Part 4. Biking
The gardens at Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville have been at the top of my list of must visit and re-visit gardens for some time. When Adolf Heck bought Korbel from the Korbel family; he and his daughter restored not only the Korbel family house, but also the gardens. Close to the house are some formal bed areas.
Old garden rose aficionados know that OGRs are a mainstay of the gardens, particularly around the old homestead (my old CompuServe friend and rosarian, Rosemary Simms, raved about the varieties in this garden). Unfortunately, mid-August is not prime rose season. There were a few blooms sprinkled throughout the property, including an all time fav of mine, the Hybrid Musk, Buff Beauty.
Because we were fortunate enough to be guests of Korbel and staying on property, I had leisurely access to the property – both around the Korbel homestead and throughout the winery grounds. The area around the vineyard house, where we were staying, provided a small glimpse of what was to come.
Most of the grounds are not a formal garden, rather they contain mixed borders – an incredible mix of perennials, annuals, flowering shrubs, evergreens and trees. Throughout paths and walkways invite you to explore.
Just down the path from the vineyard house was what appeared to be the gardener’s office and nursery area. On my early morning stroll through the grounds, saw ample evidence of the crews needed to maintain Korbel in such beautiful and impeccable condition.
Can you imagine being able to do your morning walk/run through this grand scenery?
The pool area is fun to visit, shaped like a wine bottle, surrounded by gardens and areas for entertaining.
In addition to the roses, other plants are repeated throughout the property. Dark leaved dahlias, agapanthus, hydrangeas, and surprise lilies ( lycoris?)
The Korbels originally purchased the property for it’s lumber to fuel their cigar box business. Remnants of this time and the lumber town provide a charming feel as you wander the gardens. The brandy tower built by Fredrick Korbel as an exact replica of the brandy tower he saw outside his cell during his days in jail under Hapsburg rule in Czechoslovakia.
While I may have had insider’s access to wander the grounds, the public has a not to be missed opportunity for garden tours, offered in season Tues-Sun at 1 and 3 pm. I’d call ahead to ensure a spot! Korbel Cellars: well worth the 13 mile scenic drive out River Road, for both the champagnes and the gardens.
We had a laugh here, when I told my husband if he ever decides to erect a statue in my honor, he had better *not* place it behind a bed of marigolds. Yuck.
Moving from the purely ornamental to the functional, but still highly beautiful, while riding the bikes into Yountville for lunch, we stumbled upon the kitchen garden of the French Laundry. Impeccable. Proving that vegetable gardening can also be art. And making me want to eat at this restaurant the next time we visit – no matter what it takes!