Foliage Follow-Up in Zilker’s Japanese Garden

It’s a little early for fall color, such as we get here in Austin. But this Japanese maple at Zilker Botanical Garden is getting a jump on the season.

Red leaves mingle with green

Shades of green still predominate in the Taniguchi Japanese Garden.

I’ve always liked this octopus-limbed pittosporum that clings to a cliff’s edge. It must be really old.

This tiny fern growing out of a hole in a rock has a tenacious power of its own, doesn’t it?

This is my November post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is going on in your garden, or one you’ve visited, this month? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I really appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it. I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Fall flowery goodness at Zilker Botanical Garden

For your Bloom Day viewing pleasure, how about a return visit to Zilker Botanical Garden? Colorful subtropical perennials surround the parking lot, giving visitors a nice blast of color as they walk in. Here’s ever-popular yellow bells (Tecoma stans), with the purple blooms of fall aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) below, a beautiful fall combo for full sun.

A closer look, with what appears to be copper canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) cosmos next to the fall aster.

Masses of red firecracker fern (Russelia rotundifolia) caught my eye, especially as framed by dramatic, tropical-looking leaves. Lush, water-loving plants are not my area of expertise, but maybe someone reading will know what those leaves are? Update: It’s Alocasia macrorhiza. (Thanks, Peter!)

I bet the local hummingbirds love the firecracker fern.

A small lily pond at the edge of the parking lot contains this Japanese lantern, which looks especially pretty with the yellow bells glowing behind it and pond-loving dwarf papyrus (Cyperus haspens) in front.

In the butterfly garden, toothleaf goldeneye (Viguiera dentata) mingles with a pale-flowered aster.

I grew skeleton-leaf goldeneye (Viguiera stenoloba) in my former garden but have never tried the toothleaf (V. dentata), sometimes called sunflower goldeneye. I suspect it may do OK in part shade, since I’ve seen it thriving in Tait Moring’s woodland garden. I should give it a try. Anyone know where I can find it for sale?

Pollinators like it too!

I’m joining Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with this post. For more Bloom Day posts from gardens around the world, visit May Dreams Gardens and check out the links in the comments.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Garden of the dinosaurs: Hartman Prehistoric Garden

Want to see the original native plants of central Texas? Take a stroll through Hartman Prehistoric Garden at Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden. Designed to resemble a landscape that dinosaurs would have roamed, Hartman represents the late Cretaceous period (which ended 65 million years ago), when the shallow sea that covered Texas began to recede and flowering plants evolved, adding diversity to Jurassic-era, spore-producing plants like horsetail and ferns.

Hartman opened in 2002, and our family visited on opening day. Since then I’ve watched it grow, and I currently consider it the best garden at Zilker. While the other gardens, including the beloved Taniguchi Japanese Garden, languish without much-needed maintenance, Hartman appears to be well maintained and looked great during my late-October visit.

The garden was built to preserve and commemorate dinosaur tracks and an ancient turtle fossil found on the site in 1992. After casts were made of the tracks and fossil, they were re-buried to prevent deterioration due to exposure. Austinites Claudette and David Hartman were instrumental in the garden’s creation. Read Linda Lehmusvirta’s informative article “Where the Wild Things Were” for more on its history.

In the 2-acre garden, a pond stands in for the long-lost shallow sea, the existence of which is evident in the ammonite-fossiled limestone that today forms Austin’s bedrock. Perched on an island in the pond is…

…a life-size bronze of an ornithomimus, the dinosaur whose three-toed tracks were discovered here. Lotus leaves nearly obscure the water at this time of year. I’m making a mental note to visit next summer to see them in bloom.

Against a backdrop of palms, cypress, and cycads, the dinosaur makes a surprising and fun focal point.

Cast ammonites adorn a decomposed-granite path that leads to the pond.

The lushly planted garden holds other surprises, like this lovely orchid vine (Bauhinia yunnanensis).

And flowering ginger

An existing elevation change offered an opportunity to make a natural-looking waterfall. It’s about 15 feet high and spills in a double cascade into a pool.

Jatropha integerrima adds a few spots of red amid a largely evergreen garden.

Under the trees, ferns thrive in feathery splendor.

A canal-like stream runs through the garden, crossed here by a limestone-slab bridge. Texas dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) shows its jazz hands.

Fern? Cycad?

I love the shape and various hues of green.

Palms and ferns and a dinosaur — a dramatic combo

Almost makes you feel you’ve time traveled, doesn’t it?

Cypresses line a broad decomposed-granite path that winds through the garden, like those that line Hill Country rivers today.

Under the trees, bold foliage rules the day.

Like this enormous sago palm

These are awfully pretty too, like gigantic feather plumes: Ceratozamia kuesteriana (left) and Dioon edule (right).

A closeup of the ceratozamia

A female sago “in bloom.” Sagos, which are primitive plants, don’t actually bloom. Males produce a cone, females a ball-shaped megasporophyll. Pollen from the male is dispersed via wind or insects to pollinate the female.

And we’re back at the entrance to admire a large, potted queen sago (Cycas rumphii).

Hartman Prehistoric Garden is an unusual and fascinating garden. Take a trip back in time and see it for yourself, or simply click for my earlier posts:
Hartman Prehistoric Garden is cycad-delic, March 2011
Zilker Botanical Garden: Hartman Prehistoric Garden, October 2007

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.