Friday dawned with raindrops on the car — but that was just because the dewpoint was WAY up there! With a forecast for 92º we set our sights for the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
Botanical gardens seem to me to be infinitely variable. They are harmonious compositions to the creativity of nature and of man. I learn a lot about each locale by learning about the plants that grow there, and I learn a lot about the culture of a community by the gardens that they support.
LOL — that may be why we chose to become members of the Missouri Botanical Gardens for a few years, instead of the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee. Now, of course, I have talked about supporting the National Butterfly Center which is a work very much in progress.
Still, a garden — whether it’s a community “botanical” garden or just your neighbors plot of land and a few flowers — is a very personal thing. It’s not just about the climate and what can be grown, it’s about the personality of the creator, the willingness to nurture something to fruition (something I’m horribly lacking in), and a sense of the future — being able to look into the future and see the mature form of tiny plants!
SABOT is, quite obviously located in a very dry area. There are controls on water usage in this land of extreme contrast. And in 2015, when last we were in San Antonio there was serious flooding. Yesterday while snooping around town we saw flood gauges in a few areas. Near the Quarry Market there was a 20 FOOT flood gauge! And it’s a bit humbling to be driving along on a road and see a flood gauge that starts with the zero point on the road surface and watch it tower over you 20 feet in the air!
Needless to say going from drought to draught, from dessert to flood, is going to do interesting and curious things to the resident plant life is an understatement! I’m sure those conditions do a lot to determine the long term development of plant life in an area! The ability of plants to adapt to new conditions is one of the great marvels and mysteries — to me. Some people might need satellites and space exploration to marvel — I marvel when I walk out my back door (or now, “side door”)
SABOT’s gardens are a testimony to plants in an extremely challenging environment — perhaps that’s part of what I love about the garden.
It is currently midway through a major capital expansion and one small section of the garden is under re-construction — along with the normal noises and dust that construction causes. None of which inhibits you from enjoying the sights and sounds and aromas of nature.
My native Northern/Wisconsin gardens might have extreme winters to deal with but at least things tend to stay in the same place and aren’t being rushed down river very often. As a Northerner turned Southern Resident I’m still caught up in all the little details about plant construction; nurture and pruning; soil types and their impact on what we see growing. Our hopes to have a little garden around the house are currently challenged even in the basics of what soil we have — or don’t have — and what we may need to do to improve it. So, as “gardeners” we’re really starting at ground zero.
Like most gardens, SABOT has little “rooms” in which they demonstrate or display various gardening facets. For us one of the most interesting is a series of test plots illustrating home gardening — and the impact of various water intensive styles.
There are areas within the garden for community use and education. The day we were there they had been doing a week long summer camp for 3 to 5 year olds — We ran into the a couple times during the day and the staff were doing a wonderful job and the kids — well, turn a bunch of little kids loose where there’s grass, flowers, fish, and little lizards and you’re bound to have a good time! Or they will. Or EVERYONE will!
Trip Advisor says that people on average spend a couple hours here. We snooped around for about 3 on this first visit. We didn’t see everything we wanted but our tummies were calling out and because of the construction the restaurant at the gardens is temporarily closed. By the time we ate and rested a while in an off site restaurant we decided we’d best save our feet for trudging around the Lavender festival the next day and called it quits. We may return Sunday depending on how the festival goes and whether we want to return there, or perhaps come back to the gardens.
Admission is reasonable. It’s part of the AHS reciprocal program so members in other gardens can visit for free.