Goblins in the Garden at the Wildflower Center


Please, sir, may I have some more?

On Sunday evening we attended Goblins in the Garden, an annual Halloween event at the Wildflower Center. The city’s little haunters were out in force, and it was fun to see the volunteers running the event dressed in the spirit of the season. The warm weather allowed for thin costumes without coats, though by the end of the evening a chill was in the air. All in all, perfect Halloween weather.

The Big Bugs exhibit is still at the Wildflower Center, so we strolled around the grounds to ogle the wood-and-metal constructions. Some of these insects look quite fearsome on this scale, making me glad not to be bug-sized. Here are some photos from the evening.


A praying mantis dwarfs a young Superman.


The spiraling cistern in the main courtyard (the center uses a system of aqueducts and cisterns to collect and store rainwater from its rooftops) towers over the other buildings. Inside, spooky lights led the way up curving steps to the top, with a large rubber spider dropping down to scare the kids—and a few adults—at the halfway point. Here you can see the outside portion of the stairs to the top of the tower, as well as a giant inflatable spider. In the foreground, in the Meadow Garden, marches one of three Big Bug ants.


In the Demonstration Garden, a diamond of glowing, white Salvia greggii surrounds a large pot.


Ladybug in the Members Garden. Where are those giant aphids?


A quiet path in the Meditation Garden. At this very spot my kids and I once met Lady Bird Johnson. The Hill Country Stream feature was brand-new, and my then-preschooler son was gleefully chunking small rocks into the water. As Lady Bird rolled up in a wheelchair, pushed by her daughter, I became embarrassed about the rock-chunking (messing with Lady Bird’s garden!) and tried discreetly to get him to stop. Being a toddler, he did not. But Lady Bird pretended not to notice and smiled and asked whether we were enjoying the day. I was carrying my newborn daughter in a sling, and Lady Bird asked how old she was. It was a treat to see her in the garden center she founded. She’s a gracious woman who’s done a lot to promote native plants, and I was glad for the chance to tell her what a treasure the Wildflower Center is. But, boy, I wish we had not been caught throwing rocks in her pretty new creek.


Further down the stream


An ant on the march


Gulf muhly grass glowing at sunset


A damselfly in the Butterfly Garden’s pond


A window in a limestone wall opens on a view of the Demonstration Garden.


Assassin bug in the Demonstration Garden.


Do you vant to drink some blood?

Happy Halloween!

8 Responses

  1. Carol says:

    Great pictures of these gardens. Those are big bugs. I’d be moving if I found something like that alive in my own garden. Luckily, the cold winters keep them from getting too big…

    FYI, I had posted on Annie in Austin’s blog that I could not get to your site via the link you published (www.penick.net) but did get in with this url:
    http://penick.dnsalias.net:58089/digging/?cat=5
    I’m glad I figured out how to access your blog because it is quite a site of great pictures and commentary.

    Well, I’m glad you found your way here, Carol. We’re hosting my site, but my computer-guru husband doesn’t know why my domain name wouldn’t get you here. It’s a mystery . . .

    Thanks for writing. —Pam

  2. Laura says:

    Too bad the Big Bugs aren’t a regular feature! I would love a few of those around my garden – love the dragonfly especially.

    Enjoyed your story of meeting Lady Bird – I should think she would be glad to see a youngster enjoying her gardens in a way that only little boys can get away with!

  3. The Wildflower Center looks very cool with the Halloween decor and Big Bugs, Pam! So many of Austin’s Halloween events are too creepy even for chicken grownups! I’m glad to know there were fun things for kids to do. I’d really like the purple spider for my own garden. And I am so jealous that you saw Ladybird, and also very jealous that you saw Luci.

    Carol, doesn’t Pam takes great photos of Austin plants and garden! You can really lose track of time once you start strolling through the archives which could be a wonderful place to go when winter hits! I’m so glad you figured out how to get here.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. […] First Ann Richards, then Molly Ivins, and now Lady Bird Johnson. Goodbye to a beloved First Lady of Austin. […]

  5. […] For a look at the Wildflower Center in other seasons or years, visit my posts: Wildflower Center & Jill Nokes book-signing Winter Wonderland at the Wildflower Center Goblins in the Garden at the Wildflower Center […]

  6. […] the Garden at the Wildflower Center. My kids are too old for it now, but we used to go; in fact, I blogged about Goblins in the Garden in 2006. It’s a fun, not-too-scary, Halloween-in-the-garden event. The Wildflower Center […]

  7. […] mantis. It’s part of the Big Bugs exhibit on display through January 3rd. A few years ago, Big Bugs came to the Wildflower Center in Austin; click for my […]

  8. […] For a look at the Wildflower Center in other seasons or years, visit my posts: Great Horned Owlets Nesting at Wildflower Center This Place I Love So Much Fascinating Faces at the Wildflower Center Sculpture Show Enlivens Wildflower Center in Winter Stock Tank Planters Gone Wild! Wildflower Center & Jill Nokes book-signing Winter Wonderland at the Wildflower Center Goblins in the Garden at the Wildflower Center […]

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