Wildflowers and more in bloom at the Wildflower Center

For Garden Bloggers Bloom Day let’s go to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center here in Austin. I visited on Sunday with family who were in town, hoping to see some bluebonnets. We saw a lot more than that, including these beautiful pink flowers that resembled apple blossoms. Does anyone know what native Texas shrub or tree this might be? Update: It’s a Texas crabapple, also known as Blanco crabapple (Malus ioensis var. texana). Thanks for the ID, Linda/Patchwork Garden and James Smith!

Texas bluebonnets spilled through grassy meadows like spring-fed streams.

They also popped up in surprising places, like this green roof atop the admissions booth.

Swagged from the orange-toned stone walls in the entry garden, ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) added its orange trumpets.

In the Hill Country Stream Garden, pink penstemon raised its cerise signal flags.

A closer look

The yuccas were blooming too, sending spears adorned with creamy, bell-shaped flowers into the sky.

At the edge of a woodland garden, scarlet buckeye (Aesculus pavia) was putting on a big show.

A closer look

A wider shot is nice too.

I missed the label for this swath of pale-blue salvia, but the delicate flowers showed up nicely en masse.

Another soft scene, with no flowers to speak of, but I did admire the mixed textures of grass, maidenhair fern, and yucca.

Wild foxglove’s pale flowers (Penstemon cobaea) are held above glossy, green leaves.

And another crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) drapes over a wooden fence in the Texas Mixed Border Homeowner Inspiration Garden.

I love that rich color, and so do hummingbirds.

The Demonstration Garden was abloom with people, checking everything out…

…like fiery orange California poppy.

We climbed to the top of the observation tower, where I saw a green valentine in this bristly prickly pear pad.

Glowing like coals in a banked fire were the extravagant blooms of claret cup cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus).

A closer look

Finally it was time to head out. As we walked through the parking lot to our car, I spotted sunny yellow wildflowers at the edge of the lot…

…and completely covering the ground in a water retention basin.

A few Indian paintbrush were scattered throughout as well.

What a beautiful spring scene! To see my paparazzi pics of the great horned owl nesting at the Wildflower Center, which I posted yesterday, click here.

I’m joining other bloggers for the Bloom Day meme with this post. Visit May Dreams Gardens to see what’s blooming in other gardens around the world on this date. And don’t forget to join me tomorrow for Foliage Follow-Up!

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

36 Responses

  1. Khabbab says:

    I love your bignonia vines, they grow very well here in my hot climate. California poppies are looking great. Must have been a exciting trip to that Wild flower center in Austin.

  2. Rose says:

    So beautiful! My daughter is in Austin this week for a conference, and my other daughter who lives in Dallas is joining her later this week. Wish I could have gone along–I’ve always wanted to see the Lady Bird Wildflower Center. Love the Texas bluebonnets, and I can see why the hummingbirds love the crossvine. Happy Bloom Day!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I hope they have a wonderful visit, Rose. Are they into gardens? Will they be going to the Wildflower Center? There’s also Zilker Botanical Garden. —Pam

  3. I am embarrassed to say I have never actually seen Texas Blue Bonnets………..Stunning!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      No need to be embarrassed about that, Maryanne. I hope you get to see them in person one day. They’re a lot smaller than out-of-staters expect, but a whole field of them is impressive. —Pam

  4. commonweeder says:

    We loved our visit to Texas in Bluebonnet Season – but it was COLD that year. The bluebonnets didn’t seem to mind.

  5. Beautiful. I really need to take a day and go over there, while it’s all in bloom.
    Could your first photo be crabapple? My mother had one, and I think the bloom looked like that. There is a wild one.
    Happy Bloomday.

  6. Astra says:

    Did you really manage to get out without a few must-haves from the Plant Sale? :)

  7. James Smith says:


    I believe the the flower you asked about is a Blanco Crabapple.

  8. Wonderful! Thank you for the tour. I was especially happy to see the California poppies. I miss them!

  9. Thanks for the visit to one of my very favorite spots in Austin. The Lady Bird Wildflower Center is an amazing place.

    This seems to be ‘Tangerine Beauty’s’ year. Mine is going wild also. Love those blossoms.

  10. TexasDeb says:

    Austin proud and don’t care who knows it.. : ). Pam, thanks for helping show off what is without question one of the finest “gardens” in our area.

  11. Shirley says:

    All those blooms are so beautiful. I passed up Tangerine Beauty crossvine at the nursery today and now I know I must get one on my next visit. There’s one on the neighbor’s fence that is a traffic stopper right now. What a great way to hide a fence.

  12. Jenni says:

    Bignonia capreolata is amazing. Your shot of it densely packed along the wall was stunning. I can only imagine what a treat it is to see the hummers enjoying it as well. Happy GBBD :)

  13. Ally says:

    I’m embarrassed to say I stood right in front of that admissions booth last week and never noticed the blue bonnets on top. Thanks for pointing that out as well as a few plant id’s I was curious about. We’re so lucky to have such a gem here locally.

  14. peter schaar says:

    I was there Friday for the members’ plant sale and saw most of those blooms. The bluebonnet roof garden is the coolest, and the Crossvines are as beautiful as your pics show them. Thanks for giving me a repeat visit!

  15. Mary says:

    Wow, the Wildflower Center is even lovelier than it was two weeks ago when I brought my girls. Thanks for posting pics and identifying the Blanco Crabapple–I think we had seen that one, too, and didn’t know what it was.

    The penstemons are so charming, we’ll have to make it over there while they’re still in bloom.

    That crossvine really is a stunner, and I love that it’s evergreen, too–there’s a fence in my backyard that needs some dressing up, so I’ll keep an eye out for it. Do you happen to know if it tolerates part shade?

    Thanks for the beautiful photos!


  16. Lee says:

    I think the blue salvia is lyre-leaf sage, but I’ll double check today. It sounds like we might need to label that crabapple. Lovely photos!

  17. Jenny says:

    I also noticed the Blanco crabapple tree in flower when I was there. Never have noticed it before. I wonder if the hard winter played a part in that. It made me wish that I had made an attempt to plant some trees like this on my lot.

    • Jenny says:

      I think there is a label on the crabapple Lee because I remember looking myself for an identity and that was how I learnt what it was.

  18. Kris P says:

    It’s clearly the right time to visit the Wildflower Center! I love those bluebonnets on top of the admissions booth – that was a stroke of genius on someone’s part.

  19. Hannah says:

    I grew up in Texas, the roadside wildflowers there are spectacular! The Wildflower Center stone settings really show them off like jewels. Bignonia is a house eater, which really delights the hummingbirds! Your photos are wonderful.