You somehow get the feeling, as soon as you walk through the entrance to the San Antonio Botanical Garden, that you’re in for a treat. Despite it probably being the hottest day of our trip to Texas, we couldn’t pass up the chance to see this magnificent display of plants and flowers, especially since it was on our Chicago Botanic Garden membership reciprocal list.
Just the sheer novelty of seeing cacti growing outside rather than in a greenhouse was well worth braving the scorching temperatures. The Garden covers some 40 plus acres and was first opened to the public in 1980.
The Garden is a remarkable place to see nature in all its diverse splendor and makes a wonderful living classroom in which to learn about the conservation of these magnificent plants and their natural habitat in what can sometimes be a harsh and unforgiving climate.
Every turn in the path provided a new and awesome landscape, so strange to our eyes, accustomed as we are to our usual bill of fare here in the Midwest. “Look but don’t touch” was definitely the order of the day when it came to many of these prickly characters.
We took in this view overlooking the city of San Antonio on our way down the path to even more garden delights that I look forward to sharing with you in the next post.
I add this interesting little footnote regarding wildlife; I had hoped to see lots of lizards and suchlike running around the Garden, especially in the more natural areas, but surprisingly we didn’t come across anything which was a bit of a disappointment. The only lizard we saw during our trip to Texas was this one, I suppose you could call him a lounge lizard, basking on a chair by the pool back in Houston.
Those of you who follow my posts regularly are aware that it’s highly unlikely that I will knowingly or willingly go inside anywhere where birds are flying about. I had a suspicion that there might be birds in The Domes at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park but we had made the trip specifically to visit there and thankfully the domes are so huge that, after poking my head round the door to make sure it was safe, it became apparent that any winged inhabitants were, at least for the time being, staying well out of the way.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t very much aware that there were birds nearby. I could hear them. But there was just so much to see and photograph in The Desert Dome that after a while I became a lot less nervous.
The Desert Dome was the last of three conservatories to be completed at Mitchell Park and was opened to the public in 1967. Cacti and succulents from Madagascar, South America, Africa, Mexico and the American Southwest are featured in appropriate settings and the variety of plants in this dome is simply astounding.
Despite keeping a wary eye open for any birds that might be about, there were thankfully no close encounters. Does that mean that I would cheerfully enter an enclosed space where there are birds flying free in the future. It’s extremely unlikely, but never say never.
For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Unlikely
We had, initially, been disappointed upon our arrival at the Chicago Botanic Garden to find that only one section of the greenhouse was open to the public. I’d forgotten about preparations for the upcoming Orchid Festival in February. Apparently we were the only ones that weren’t aware of this since we were on our own, wandering around among the cacti. This turned out to be a good thing as it’s usually quite busy in there during the winter months and, not having to feel obliged to move along and make room for other people, I was able to take my time and capture plenty of images. Having driven all the way to the Garden I wasn’t about to go home empty-handed (photographically speaking.)
If you follow my blog on a regular basis you will know that I don’t spend too much time reading labels and notices when I’m taking pictures so I can’t tell you what most of these plants are called, other than to say there were a lot of spiky things and succulent things.
There were a lot of lovely flowers too, that helped to brighten an extremely gloomy day, although I really shouldn’t complain about the weather as it’s been an exceptionally mild winter here in the Chicago area so far.
Please join me for another walk around the greenhouse in winter in a future post and thanks for stopping by.