Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, on a dry day...

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (aka the Botanic Garden of Texas) was a much anticipated stop during the 2018 Garden Blogger's Fling in Austin. I think I got in about 45 minutes or so of walking the garden (see that post here) before the sky opened and a big Texas-style rain fell. So when Pam asked me about places I wanted to see during my Austin visit last October, the Wildflower Center was high on the list.

That's Mahonia trifoliolata above and below, a mahonia native to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Read more about it in the excellent LBJ Wildflower Center Plant Database: here.

Unfortunately the always cantankerous Blogger software chose this post to, once again, load my photos backwards. So we begin at the end of my visit and work our way back to the beginning.

I enjoyed strolling the Theme Gardens looking at plants, but also structure. There was a wealth of stock tanks used in wonderful ways.

An overall photo of the Theme Garden area, with the Home Inspiration Gardens to the right and greenhouses to the left. 

There was a plant sale going on near the greenhouses and naturally Pam and walked through. I would have liked to grab a plant, or two, but flying kept me from indulging.

We stood and watched this monarch butterfly flit around for quite awhile. I hadn't seen a monarch for ages.

Here's where going backwards through my photos gets a little complicated. This is the view...

Looking through this slit in...

This wall...

Which was next to these large "birds nests" made from native grape vines...

Which have me thinking back the nest I saw at Flicker Farm on Sauvie Island in Oregon, here—the Oregon version was based ones the owners/gardeners saw at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

There were also stumps for climbing, this being part of the "Luci and Ian Family Garden"—an area I wasn't able to explore on my previous visit.

This is a back-side of the marvelous stone structures you'll see in the next few photos.

Inside the "caves"...

Looking out under the waterfall...

And the waterfall proper view...

Magnificent Yucca rostrata.

What a fun place to explore if you're a kid! (or a kid-at-heart)

If I remember correctly this is a representation of the Colorado River watershed? Or maybe I just made that up? 

Agaves! Large Agave americana. The cold of February 2021 had devastated so many agaves around Austin that was extra excited whenever I saw large plants.

Visiting in October had me appreciating the many structure plants in the garden (like these conifers I can't ID), as the "wildflower" part wasn't really represented that time of the year (nor is it really my jam).

Palms and pink muhly get me every time though!

The observation tower was closed on my previous visit so I was extra excited to climb to the top and see the view.

Bonus, there were plants up there! Yucca pallida...
And happy-n-healthy opuntia.

I imagine at the right time of the year that meadow would be alive with wildflower color.

I loved that there were so many opuntia on the top of the tower.

Beginning my decent back down to ground level...

And looking up from the ground towards where I'd been (or rather was about to go, when I took this photo).

We're back at the entrance to the garden now, and I'm admiring the corner spot where a great horned owl has been known to nest (see Pam's photos here). No owl this time though...

This post wraps up my October visit to Austin, thanks for being a wonderful hostess Pam! I hope to come back soon...

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. You had 45 minutes to check out the Wildflower Center before the heavens opened?! I think I was on the second bus - it started raining as we got off and within 10 minutes I was already getting soaked :( Thanks for sharing this nice dry visit, especially the observation tower.

    P.S. Blogger does that to me at sporadic intervals too. I found a fix that actually works, at least for a time, which I'll send when I find it.

    1. A little more dry-time on that first visit was possible thanks to my being on the first bus and sneaking out of the presentation early!

  2. Another post with fun memories of our Austin garden visits! The unnamed conifer is 'Blue Ice' Arizona cypress. And yes, the water feature in the family garden is meant to represent headwaters.

  3. Looks like a fun place. Those upturned tree stumps remind me of the heptapods in the movie ‘Arrival’.

    1. I haven't seen Arrival, but I was pretty sure I saw the tree stumps move.

  4. The monarch butterflies love the purple mistflower this one is flitting around in your photo! I grow it here in Phoenix to attract them. Love your tour of this garden!

  5. The 'river watershed' representation is visually stunning. I also loved the imaginative corner-planter where the owl chose picked for a nest. Great idea and exectution.

  6. Have heard much about the LBJ. It looks beautiful. Would be great to see when the wildflowers are in full bloom.


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