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Sunday, November 8, 2009


On Saturday a group of Austin bloggers drove down to San Antonio. First stop was Madrone Gardens in San Marcos. I was unaware of this garden until Lee at The Grackle mentioned his visit the previous week.

Owned and operated by Dan Hosage, Madrone is a native plant nursery..... with a difference. You had better know your plants because there are no labels on any of the containers. We spent a some time walking with Dan and then we scattered looking at the various pots picking them up and asking each other "do you know what this is? " It was a bit of a guessing game.

However, most of us managed to find something we just had to have and many of us left with a swamp bay plant. I still have to do research on exactly what I bought.

We continued on our way to the Botanical Gardens in San Antonio.

The gardens gave a very tropical feel on first entering. Lush growth under the large trees.

We all recognized the Cranberry hibiscus, Hibiscus acetosella, we had seen in Eleanor's garden.
In Austin we all need to add some fall color to our gardens and this one would do the trick, either in a pot or in the ground.

Children would certainly delight in seeing the larger than life insects displayed around the garden.

My favorite was the giant spider seen in the East Texas Pineywoods area.

Several theme gardens highlight plants in a particular habitat.

In the Japanese garden, it didn't seem to matter that there was no water in the central feature. The blue river rocks still gave the impression of water.

As ever, the bamboo fencing, which demonstrated several different forms, was magnificent.

In the Garden for the Blind. Low walls made the plantings available for touch.

There are several enclosed exhibit rooms where the climatic conditions are controlled in order to support a number of different habitats.

The exhibit room was filled with exotic leaf forms and orchids.

There was a great deal of interest in this tree from of Euphorbia. I did look at the tag but my memory didn't retain the name. Should have photographed the tag.

It reminded us all of the pointsettia, which is also a Euphorbia.

I loved the combination of plants in this pot. When it comes to pots this olive jar shape is my favorite.

Children had clearly been at work here. A large mural depicts life in different areas of the jungle.

In the Kleberg Desert Pavilion we all spotted the flower on this Huernia. I can see why they named this the Life-saver plant, Huernia confusa.

The Palm and Cycad pavilion.

The Fern Grotto.

Finally the gardens have designed a Water Saver Exhibit. Above is an example of the typical American front garden. Each one of the following gardens gives suggestions on how to design and plant a garden for low water use.

The Spanish Courtyard.

The Cottage Garden

The Manicured Xeriscape.

The Texas Hill Country Garden

The Wildlife Garden

After leaving the Gardens our final stop of the day was at the Antique Rose Emporium, before heading home to Austin.
Thanks Pam for organizing a really great outing. Happy planting garden bloggers.


  1. I enjoyed seeing your (David's?) perspective on the garden. You noticed things I didn't even see, though we both liked the bamboo fence and euphorbia flower.

  2. Beautiful photos! So cool they have the water saver exhibit. Thanks for including photos of it.

  3. Thanks for a nice trip through de ja vu Jenny. That shot of the Sago with is so interesting. I'm glad you got the little houses, I'm not sure I took any pictures of them.

  4. First, thanks so much for letting me carpool with you guys!

    I'm so glad you got such a wonderful shot of Dan Hosage. I was so busy trying to drink in all that he was saying that I never got my camera out.

    The same was true at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens--I spent so much time talking and rushing from one plant to the next like a disoriented bumblebee. I think after I read everyone's posts, I'll be able to return to the garden and really focus looking at it.

    I especially like the photo you took in the palm and cycad pavilion and the texture of the trunks of the palms. I also loved that bamboo fence enclosing the Japanese garden.

  5. You sure chose a lovely day for this trip, Jenny - looks and sounds like everyone had fun and your photos make me want to get back to the San Antonio Gardens!

    It's interesting to see Madrones and its leader - heard about this unusual place from one of the Divas of the Dirt.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. Looks like you all had a fun day.
    Thanks for sharing with us all.

  7. It looks like you guys had a great time. I so wish I could have made it. Your pictures do make it a little more bearable though.

    I noticed on Pam's blog that several of you got Chrysanthemum Pacifica. That was the plant I was suggesting you get on your last post but mis named it Geranium Pacifica. I must of had a brain fade from helping the neighbor lady carry all her's in for the winter. Glad you found one, you will like it.

  8. Great garden and you all look like you are having such a good time.

  9. Jenny, gorgeous photos! I LOVE the water saver exhibit; I might have to make a trip just to see that. I could have gotten some great design ideas. It would be fun to see what they have growing there in the winter, too. Sorry I missed it, and seeing you and David both.

  10. Hi, Jenny. That was a great trip. It is fun looking at all the beautiful posts. You got some great shots!

  11. Jenny, I'm so glad to have met you and David. It was a great trip, and you captured it so well in your photos, including ones of areas many of the rest of us overlooked!

  12. Iris and Diana and Get Grounded- I was really interested to see the water saver exhibit because when I give tours at the WFC I am almost embarrassed to show them ours. They would not encourage anyone to go native. I know they talked about adding a facade of a house to make them look more realistic.
    Bob- Yes I took note of your suggestion and agree with you that this is a great plant. I saw it at a friends garden and liked it when low growing. I will look out for some 4" pots. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Thanks everyone, whether you were on the trip for the first time or a repeat look.

  13. What a lovely tour. I've been to the S.A. Garden many times and especially enjoyed the various Texas habitat areas. But the water saver area is new since I was last there and I think it looks really great. Shows some good imagination and shows that the average homeowner could do it too.

  14. It's great to discover these landscapes so different for my.
    The sculptures of insects are really impressive and the Japanese Garden is very beautiful.
    Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Spanish courtyard and I think is an excellent idea to show different styles of low water use.

  15. Hello!

    I didn't know about Madrone Gardens in San Marcos! My Mom and I would love to visit so I'll be calling her to plan a trip. :)

    The tree you mentioned that reminded you of a Poinsettia is one of my favorites at the SA Botanical Garden. It's Euphorbia punicea and is from Jamaica and is also known as the Christmas Spurge or Jamaican Poinsettia (I think).

    I've never seen the Huernia in bloom!! I want to go just to see this in person. :)

    Also, the water saver exhibit has always been something I've been interested in and some day I would love my backyard to be named a Best of Texas Backyard Habitat by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department! :) Still striving for that - need to order the buffalo grass, hehe.

    Why wasn't there any water in the Japanese Garden?

  16. Jean- I haven't been to the gardens for 10years. i remember the first time I went how much i enjoyed it. I won't leave it so long next time.
    Yolanda- So glad you stopped by. San Antonio is the perfect place for courtyard gardens. They have a milder climate than Austin. papaya were on the trees and oranges.
    biologie- Are you close to Austin and San Antonio? Couldn't decide where you are located. There are strict water restrictions here because of our hot dry summer. All the fountains were dry and the only water features allowed were ones with wildlife. Madrone nurseries is by appointment only but Dan is very accommodating.

  17. Looks like a wonderful trip. And what a great teaching tool to actually show the same little house with all the different potential kinds of gardens. Great resource for folks in your area.

  18. Linda-You name came up in conversation when we were in the Japanese garden. Pam talked about your Japanese fencing. I must hunt through your blog to see the post . I'm sure the little house gardens will be inspiration to a lot of gardeners.

  19. Wonderful shots, Jenny! I'm so glad I was able to meet you and your husband. Have a lovely trip!

  20. I have been enjoying everyone's photos. You guys are amazing photographers.

    I had so much fun with you all. Thanks so much for stopping by.



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