Whenever Louise and I travel together, there WILL be a garden involved, and our recent jaunt to San Antonio was no exception! We enjoyed the famous downtown river walk, LBJ’s Texas White House and ranch, The Alamo, Fredericksburg and Johnson City, but we found the San Antonio Botanical Garden to be a real Texas treasure!

            The day had been wet and sprinkled on us from time to time, but the sun also came out, so we didn’t mind.  We got in our daily exercise and our quota of fresh air at the same time we gave our eyes something beautiful to regard. I know that botanical gardens in general depend upon their volunteers and funding sources, so sometimes a person has to be forgiving if a path isn’t kept up, or if weeds have reared their ugly heads or necessary pruning hasn’t been done or if identification signs are missing. However, the first thing I noticed was how pristine and well-maintained this garden is. When that’s the case, it’s like giving your eyes a siesta so they can focus better on the beauty. 

            The second thing I noticed was the art interspersed throughout the garden, lovely and often whimsical pieces. For me, gardens and whimsy are a necessary pairing. My favorite pieces here were the giant ants storming the large hill. There were many places surrounding the ants to catch them from a variety of viewpoints. The hill is a great place to catch a glimpse of downtown San Antonio as well. 

My other favorite art piece was a giant chessboard and pergola, which was part of the amphitheater, and four giant Adirondack chairs in primary colors from which to watch the chessboard. 

            Also amazing were the several conservatories, beautiful architectural structures of glass, concrete and metal, comprising the Desert Room, the Tropical Room, the Palm and Cycad Pavillion, the Orangerie and the exhibit hall. Lovely to regard outside and warm, cozy and inviting inside. 

            One of my outside favorites was the fern grotto—rocks and water and green, rather like home, right? Children have their own veggie garden as well. Because we had a limited amount of time to spend, we had to chug right along, through the Culinary Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, the Water Saver Garden, The Sacred Garden, and the Texas Native Trail. We didn’t have time to see the East Texas Pineywoods and Lake, but that gives us a reason to return.

The San Antonio Botanical Garden’s mission is to inspire people to connect with the plant world and understand the importance of plants in our lives and you can see by the variety of gardens available there is plenty of inspiration to be had. The garden is recognized nationally for commitment to outstanding displays, botanical diversity, education, environmental stewardship, and experiences that connect people to the natural world. It’s obvious from our short visit that all that is happening for the 150,000 annual visitors. 

If you visit San Antonio, of course take part in all that the downtown and surrounding areas have to offer, but be sure to put the San Antonio Botanical Garden on your list! 

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