After the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, my grandma and I went to check out The Natural Gardener, a very impressive garden center and teaching facility, tucked away on the southwest outskirts of Austin. The offered an educational class a few days before that I came across online, but didn’t manage to attend – but it peaked my interest enough to want to visit the facility itself – and I’m really glad we did!
“The Natural Gardener is one of the most beautiful and unique garden centers in the world. It’s like a candy store for gardeners, but non-gardeners love it, too. It’s a fun, beautiful, educational destination for everyone. Bring the whole family to The Natural Gardener- even the dog! ” — TNG Webpage
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and The Veloway Park
While in Austin, my grandma recommended we go see the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. My dad had taken my little brother and I years ago, but I can’t remember that visit – so I felt like it was the first time going to the center, especially with all the funding, improvements and expansions within the past several years.
“The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the official state botanic garden and arboretum of Texas. The Center promotes its mission to inspire the conservation of native plants through its internationally recognized sustainable gardens, education and outreach programs, research projects, and consulting work.” — LBJWC Webpage
REI Round Rock was hosting a survival seminar called, Prepare for the Unexpected: Urban Emergency Preparedness, which I was really excited to attend. So I made the drive from Bastrop, TX, to Round Rock for the presentation that evening. When I arrived, I was really impressed to see the design of the REI Round Rock building on the outside, and was in for a big surprise with what I was going to see on the inside!
“Patrick Dougherty, a North Carolina-based artist, is known for creating whirling architectural sculptures from locally-harvested saplings. Dougherty and a team of over 200 Pease Park Conservancy volunteers constructed this site-specific installation using Baccharis neglecta (Roosevelt Weed) and Ligustrum, an invasive species, gathered in and around Austin. Yippee Ki Yay was privately funded by donations made to Pease Park Conservancy and was formally approved through the City of Austin’s Art In Public Places program.
Dougherty says of his inspiration for the sculpture, “We didn’t build a cathedral, instead we borrowed its corners,” referring to the Spanish-Colonial style architecture he encountered during his time in Austin. The sculpture consists of five repeated corner shapes that can be explored through the maze-like passageways they create and the multiple viewpoints from their many entrances and windows. With the title, he also gives a nod to Texas cowboy culture that is much beloved across our state. The installation will remain on view for several years before being dismantled to be used as mulch in the park.” — Pease Park Webpage
The second week while I was in Austin, my grandparents returned home, so I went on excursions with my grandma. Our first planned stop was Zilker Botanical Garden (ZBG)in Austin’s Zilker Park!
My grandma took my adopted cousin there a few weeks beforehand to see the Woodland Faerie Trail, a seasonal feature built by residents and children along some of the garden paths, so grandma didn’t get to see the entire garden grounds and was excited to go with another one of her grandkids!
Below is a picture of the main offices, event space and visitor’s center for the garden grounds.