When deciding to visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden, we were hoping to find some big splashes of color in the snow-free gardens of an area where spring precedes the calendar's announcement.
So, being greeted by these beautiful beds of brilliant blossoms was most pleasing.
But within the first few yards of the entrance was the first of a series of unexpected surprises. The botanical garden also could be described as a sculpture garden.
We would later learn that the sculptures were part of the Art in the Garden 2013 exhibit. The exhibit is an annual collaboration between the San Antonio Botanical Garden and Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. The ten sculptures that comprise this exhibit will supplement the Gardens sculptures. Representing sculptors from Chicago International, the Mid-South Alliance, and the Texas Sculpture Group, the exhibit will remain on display for 12 months.
It was a sunny day, but because of the relatively strong wind, it was difficult to take photos of the ever-moving flowers.
Another event that made this walk in the park a bit different was the designation of this day as a Paws in the Park day. There were a number of places that the dogs congregated, and to these observers, it appeared they were quite used to the Garden and seemed to be renewing acquaintances with many of the other canines.
The most interesting (or fascinating or amazing) section of the Garden is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory, which opened in February, 1988. The designer of the futuristic glass project is Emilio Ambasz, an Argentine-born American with a world-wide reputation. His revolutionary design even won a prize before the first spade full of soil was moved at the groundbreaking.
Basically, all of the rooms are sunken in the ground and have a glass roof at least 18 feet above the floor level. The largest glasshouse, the palm pavilion, soars 65 feet at its highest point. This design is successful in San Antonio because of the quality and quantity of sunlight.
Another unique feature is that only the glass roofs protrude above the earth’s surface. All mechanical rooms, offices, and backup areas are underground, allowing for the very clean, uncluttered look of the landscape.
The Conservatory complex features plants from around the world in the exhibit rooms which encircle the courtyard.
Robert and Helen Kleberg Desert Pavilion – This exhibit features plants from the deserts of Mexico and Southern Africa.
Gretchen Northrup Tropical Conservatory – Half of the world’s plants and animals live in the tropical rain forests. Since light is limited, plants must grow tall, grow large leaves, and climb or attach themselves high up in the branches of tall trees in order to reach the light. Cocoa, coffee, and rubber trees all grow in the tropical rain forest.
Palm and Cycad Pavilion – Cycads are relics of the Carboniferous Age (dinosaur times). Palms provide food, shade, building materials, fuel, and clothing for people in the tropics. In this exhibit find Queen Sago (tallest cycad), Lata Palm, and the Coconut Palm.
Ted Sitting Crow Garner
Isaac Duncan III
Jean Jacques Porret
Quite an afternoon--a botanical garden, an art museum, and a tour of award-winning architecture.