San Antonio Botanical Garden: Texas Ecosystems and Beyond

May 10, 2015
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San Antonio Botanical Garden

Connecting with the plant world and learning about Texan ecosystems
at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

I like to visit botanical gardens when I travel, especially if the gardens provide information on the local plants and ecosystems. So, when in San Antonio, I headed to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.

flower at San Antonio Botanical Garden

The mission of the San Antonio Botanical Garden is to “inspire people to connect with plants and understand the importance of plants in our lives.” In meeting that mission, the Garden focuses on more than just Texan plant-life. The Texas Trail portion of the Garden provides a look at three different Texan ecosystems.

San ASntonio Botanical Garden chairs

Oversized chairs in front part of Garden

In addition to the Texas Trail, the Garden includes a rose garden, a sacred garden, a water saver garden, a conservatory, a Japanese Garden, an orangerie, a fern grotto, a desert pavilion, a palm and cycad pavilion, cactus and succulents garden, a formal garden, a sensory garden, a children’s vegetable garden and a nature play area. After seeing the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden near the zoo, the Botanical Garden’s Japanese Garden was a bit of a disappointment, but I enjoyed the other exhibits.

San Antonio Botanical Garden Palm and Cycad Pavilion

Palm and Cycad Pavilion

Succulents growing on stone

Succulents growing on stone

San Antonio Botanical Garden Desert Pavilion

In the Desert Pavilion, plants on the left side (left side of photo) are from Mexico, plants on the right (bottom right of photo) are from southern Africa. Plants in the middle (top right of photo) are from both.

Blooms from San Antonio Botanical Garden

Sample of blooms

San Antonio Botanical Garden fountain

Fountain in Garden

My favourite part of the Garden was the 11-acre Texas Native Trail containing more than 250 plant species representing three different ecosystems. Walking the trails in this part of the Garden felt like walking in native landscape far away from the city around us.

Entry to South Texas portion of Texas Trail

Entry to South Texas portion of Texas Trail

In the south Texas region you’ll find dryland trees and thorny brush such as torchwood, Mexican olive, mesquite, Texas ebony and huisaasche.

San Antonio Botanical Garden South Texas Trail

South Texas landscape

Huisaache tree in bloom

Huisaache tree in bloom

South Texas buildings at San Antonio Botanical Garden

The South Texas Plains provide residents natural resources for everyday living. Mesquite posts, mud and hot sun were used to create adobe structures. Jacales (thatch-roofed huts) were made with logs of brush in the 1800s.

San Antonio Botanical Gardens East Texas Pineywoods

East Texas Pineywoods portion of Texas Trail

In the East Texas Pineywood portion of the Texas Trail you’ll find pines, sweetgum, sassafras and other acidic soil-loving woodland species.

Log cabin

This log cabin from East Texas was made from hand-hewn oak, red cedar and cypress.

San Antonio Botanical Gardens

A Hill Country home.
The Friedrich Schumacher family originally built this home in 1849 in Fredericksburg, Texas. The construction technique is called fachwerk or timber framing. It utilizes post oak beams and a mixture of clay, grass and woven willow branches for filler support.

The Hill Country portion of the Texas Trail features live oaks, juniper, Texas mountain laurel, Eve’s necklace, Blanco crabapple, Possum Haw, Uvalde maples and other limestone tolerant plants.

The sound of birds singing and chirping accompanied my walk throughout all three trails. I loved catching glimpses of the bright red northern cardinal.

northern cardinal

Northern cardinal

Texas bluebonnets

A field of Texas bluebonnets.
The state flower of Texas blooms in spring. I saw it outside the Botanical Gardens as well, growing in fields and ditches alongside roads.

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San Antonio Botanical Garden features Texas ecosystems and so much more #Texas #SanAntonio #botanic #garden

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  • Reply
    May 10, 2015 at 8:41 am

    This is one of the prettiest that I have seen. Although I have never been to the San Antonio Botanical Garden, these photos have inspired me to visit when I go back to San Antonio. I love those bluebonnets!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 11, 2015 at 9:31 am

      This was the first time I’d visited Texas in spring and the bluebonnets were a delight. Beautiful to see them in the fields and ditches.

  • Reply
    Janice & George (@SandInSuitcase)
    May 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    We agree with you – that Texas Trail walk looks really enticing. We love wandering through botanical gardens on our travels too. One of the wildest and least manicured is the Vallarta Botanical Gardens in Puerto Vallarta with short hiking trails through natural tropical forest (past tangled vanilla vines) to a river where you can swim. In Kauai, we saw unique outdoor rooms with walls of plants at the Allerton and McBryde – see our post: And then here in our beautiful home city of Vancouver, we have the VanDusen Botanical Garden and all its gorgeous rhodos blooming in spring! Here’s our post on that garden:

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 11, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Janice & George, I’ve not visited the gardens in Puerto Vallarta or Kauai, but I do like VanDusen Botanical Gardens. And I love all the rhododendrons – in the Gardens and throughout Vancouver. There are a couple of varieties that we can grown on the Prairies, but we don’t get the brilliant pink and blue colours I see in Vancouver.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I would never have thought of botanical gardens in the same breathe as Texas. When you get a chance visit the Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The gardens are beautiful

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      Arleen, thanks for the mention of Longwood Gardens. I believe I’ve heard of it from others as well and I will keep in mind for when I get to Pennsylvania.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Donna,

    So dang pretty! And those bluebonnets in a field — like heaven. I have never been, but I could surely spend an entire day in the formal gardens and on the Texas walk.

    Thanks for taking us there,

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Josie, I was so glad I was there in spring time when the bluebonnets were blooming. Delightful.

  • Reply
    Jeannette Paladino
    May 13, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Donna — such beautiful photographs. Thanks for sharing your visit with us. I was in San Antonio end of March for a wedding but had no time for anything else — the gardens or the River walk. Next time. I agree with Arleen, that Longwood Gardens are also wonderful. I’ve been there in the springtime.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks Jeannette. And I’m glad to hear another recommendations for Longwood Gardens – have it on my list now.

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