I had some time to kill before the Austin Pond Society meeting and decided that as the meeting was going to be held in the Zilker Gardens Meeting Room, I would walk the grounds and take as many pictures as I could find of interesting subjects.
It is a beautiful place to walk around and if there are any complaints at all, it is that everything seemed to be uphill or at least the majority of the walking was. Of course there was an equal amount of downhill but that was the easy part and you don’t notice that. At the very start of the walk, the first thing I encountered was a grass snake about three feet long. It startled me but I watched it slide easily away into the undergrowth. Such is the peaceful nature of the gardens.
There is a clever system of ponds and streams starting from the very top of the hill all the way to the bottom. The ponds have many water lilies and large Koi and one could spend a lot of time just admiring them. The gardens have many interesting plants and cultivated growth and everything is so well cared for. Near the bottom, there is an Cretaceous area dedicated to time long past when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. There is a sculpture of an Ornithomimus, one of the whose footprints were found on the grounds. In the same area are fossilized wood and other things from time of long ago on show with a very tall and very impressive waterfall.
It seemed that every turn in the path led me to something new and wonderful. The Gardens are divided into areas although one area runs so smoothly into the next. Many of the areas are named for the people who donated for the construction and upkeep. For example, the Hamilton Parr Memorial Azalea Garden, the Isamu Taniguchi Oriental Garden, the Mabel Davis Rose Garden, the Hartman Prehistoric Garden and the Douglas Blachly Butterfly and Trail Garden to name a few.
The range of plant selection is quite extraordinary and must take a lot of upkeep. Continue walking and you will come across an old log cabin that is a one-roomed school-house built around 1866 and another building next to it is another old log cabin which was actually a one-roomed home-built 1840. Both are originals. Not too far from them is a rebuilt Blacksmith shop surrounded by old machinery of days gone by. For sale in the Gardens shop are metal articles that were made in this blacksmith shop.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in the garden taking these pictures and was a little sad that it was meeting time, my original reason for being there. I plan on going back and spending more time in these beautiful gardens as I didn’t cover it all. I got to most of the major areas. The cost is very cheap at $2 per Adult and a $1 per child. People over 65 get in for $1 and it is a very cheap way to spend a couple of hours and very educational.
For a link to their website for more information, go to http://www.zilkergarden.org/index.html or for a map of the gardens, go to http://www.zilkergarden.org/gardens/mapgardens.html
I tried to capture as many pictures as I could and have them for you below.
Below is a map of Zilker Gardens. This one is hard to read but it does give you an idea of the size of the gardens. A full size one can be obtained from the Gardens or from the web site at http://www.zilkergarden.org/gardens/mapgardens.html