Meadows abloom and a swingin’ arboretum at the Wildflower Center


For my third and final post about last Saturday’s visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, I’ll lead with the state flower and inducer of innumerable spring photo ops: the Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis), pictured here with a smattering of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa).


Flower peeping is what visitors were there for (if they weren’t at the plant sale), and there was plenty of it.


Prairie penstemon (Penstemon cobaea), I think


People atop the cistern tower were enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the wildflower meadow. An aqueduct funnels runoff from a nearby rooftop into the center of the tower, which contains a water storage tank.


The upper part of the spiraling stair is on the outside of the tower, pictured here. The lower stair is inside the tower. A landing halfway up offers a view down into the water cistern. It’s pretty cool!


Administrative buildings and surrounding garden


Atop one of the walls is a planting niche containing a sweet combo of bluebonnets and four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa).


Moving on to the relatively new Arboretum, I stopped to admire a silvery-trunked Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana) underplanted with wiry Texas nolina (Nolina texana) in bloom.


More bluebonnets!


On the longer loop trail, you eventually come to a grove of live oaks, from whose branches hang a dozen or more swings, all kinds, from classic board seats (I had a swing here)…


…to seats with safety straps for those who need a little extra help…


…to single and love-seat swinging chairs (I swung here too). There are even a few disk-style rope swings. Now tell me, who could resist stopping for a swing under the oaks?


When they aren’t supplying fun, the Arboretum’s trees offer writhing, spiraling drama…


…or simply a shady resting spot.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this 3-part spring visit to the Wildflower Center. For a look back at the blossoming Family Garden, click here.

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

8 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Just seeing those swings in the garden made my tummy lift as if I was sitting there pumping away. What fun.

  2. TexasDeb says:

    Great post – the colors on those flowers! Big time stuff this Spring and I hope everybody’s getting an eyeful while it lasts. Along about mid-July we’ll need these photos to look back upon and sigh wistfully as we wait out the hot season. And speaking of July heat…

    Man, I miss the fun of swinging back and forth under the shade of a lovely oak tree. That is one opportunity our current situation does not offer and I’m thinking hard now about why not. Creating your own breeze in Texas is one smart option. Why let kids have all the fun!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      We have a swing hanging from one of our live oaks in the front garden, which DH built for the kids when we moved in. Now that the youngest is a teen, it doesn’t get much use, but I still like the mood of lazy summer fun it conveys. —Pam

  3. Another great tour.
    This beautiful place is really a treasure.

  4. Gorgeous trees! Can you imagine what the sight of those bluebonnets must have been in pioneer days?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      With lots more prairie then, it must have been quite something. But without a camera for taking the now-obligatory bluebonnet pictures with the kids or dog, what in the world did those early settlers do in spring?? —Pam

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