Down the Garden Path, Zilker Botanical Garden

May 2011 issue—

President's Message
Gardening in the Heat of Summer – NOT!
Gardening with Bambi
Austin Daylily Society Annual Show & Sale
Austin Bonsai Society Annual Show & Sale
Austin Pond Society Annual Tours
Children's Garden at ZBG
New Book for Central Texas Gardeners
Events at a Glance
Walk of Friends

President's Message
Water-wise Gardening: Making Better Choices

Zilker Garden FestivalAs Texas endures one of the most severe, prolonged droughts* since the drought of record – 1947 to 1952 – it should come as no surprise that the theme of this Down the Garden Path E-Newsletter is water-wise gardening. The City of Austin prides itself on being a "green city", encouraging us through its Grow Green programs and the Watershed Protection Department to conserve and protect our precious water supply. For gardeners, it's not an option—it's an obligation!…Read more »

Gardening in the Heat of Summer – NOT!

hot temperatureHere in Central Texas, summers are our most stressful season of the year – unlike our northern neighbors who declare winter to be their season of distress for gardeners. Temperatures from June through October can easily exceed 100 for long durations. Added to the strong sunlight intensity, low humidity, and peak drying conditions, gardening activities are stressful for the gardener and the plants! Here are some survival tips:

1. STOP FERTILIZING: With the exception of potted plants which lose nutrients every time they are watered (frequently in summer), most garden plants go into protective dormancy to survive the heat and drought of summer conditions in Central Texas. There are some that thrive on the high heat, but they are in the minority. Fertilizing during these stressful conditions encourages new growth which is the opposite of what the plant is trying to do during dormant periods. Read more>> 

Gardening with Bambi

BambiGardening with deer is a love/hate relationship.  We love living among and seeing wildlife, BUT, "stay out of my garden"! Why are deer such a problem to gardeners? Destruction of their natural habitat has led to their adaptation to our suburban environment. Overpopulation results. Deer will eat anything when hungry enough. Male deer's antler rubbing damages and can kill young trees.
Understanding deer is part of the resolution to this problem. Their primary food is tender broadleaf plant leaves, twigs, and branches, but not grasses. They are territorial and have habitual traffic patterns that they follow within their area. The hungrier deer get, the more difficult they are to control. Summer and early fall tend to be a period of food shortages. Deer are naturally curious to sample new plantings. Read more>> 

Austin Daylily Society Annual Show & Sale

DaylilyThe Austin Daylily Society hosts its annual show and sale on Saturday, May 21st, 1-5pm. The judged show, accredited by the American Hemerocallis Society, will showcase cut specimens of many different types and sizes of daylily blooms -- a parade of color! Enhancing the show will be twelve floral designs featuring daylily blooms, created by local designers. Educational information, literature and expert advice will be shared. A selection of daylilies will also be for sale. 
Visitors are specially invited to amble through the Daylily Display Beds located along the front fence just to the west of the main entry gate of Zilker Botanical Garden. The planting, donated and maintained by the Austin Daylily Society, will be in glorious bloom on May 21st! Come and bring a friend! Read more »

Austin Bonsai Society Annual Show & SaleBonsai

Austin Bonsai Society, now in its 40th year, is having its annual show of members' trees on May 28-29th in the Garden Center at Zilker Botanical Garden. There will be raffles and demonstrations as well as one of the largest displays of Bonsai in the South. From ancient Elms to stately Bald Cypresses, come see how this special art creates a fantastic world that can often fit in your hand! Read more>> 

Austin Pond Society Annual ToursPond tours

The 17th Annual Austin Pond Society Pond Tour will be held on Saturday, June 11 (North) and Sunday June 12 (South) from 9am until 5pm. This is a great opportunity to see a variety of ponds and gardens.  Advance tickets will be sold at several area garden centers for $15 and at tour ponds on the days of the event for $20. Read more>> 

Children's Garden at ZBGBook: Creating a Drought-Reisitant Garden in Central TX

For eight years, the Western Trails Garden Club has maintained the Children's Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden. This past harsh winter had nearly destroyed the plants embedded on the dinosaur which was left from the DinoLand event. The wrought iron archway, decorated with green foliage, leads visitors past a giant lizard stretched out by snake plants growing near the gravel surrounding the claws that reach for the shrimp plants. Beyond the giant oak and elm trees with bird of paradise, mountain laurel, and butterfly bush is a replica of a dinosaur in the form of a topiary filled with Sansevieria, succulents, purple and chartreuse sweet potato vines, Rosemary, spider plant and Iris. Read more>> 

New Book for Central Texas GardenersBook: Creating a Drought-Reisitant Garden in Central TX

The Travis County Master Gardeners Association and The Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Travis County announce the release of a new book…

"Creating a Drought-Resistant Garden in Central Texas"
It's all about water-thrifty gardening in central Texas!

Central Texas is a wonderful place to live and garden. It also can be a challenge to keep plants healthy and happy when the weather turns hot and dry. The Travis County Master Gardeners Association has harvested a bounty of advice, facts, lists and tips specifically for gardeners who are dealing with the challenges of drought and dry weather. It is possible to create a beautiful garden while saving a precious natural resource – one drop of water at a time. Help is in your hands. Read more>> 

events at a glance

Saturday, May 21
Austin Daylily Society Annual Show and Sale

Saturday-Sunday, May 21-22
The Heart O' Texas Orchid Society Show and Sale

Saturday-Sunday, May 29-30
Austin Bonsai Society Annual Show & Sale

Saturday-Sunday, Jun 4-5
The Garden Club of Austin's Flower & Vegetable Show & Plant Sale

Saturday-Sunday, Jun 11-12
Austin Pond Society Annual Tour

Saturday, Jun 18
Educational Workshop - Rain Gardens, Travis County Master Gardeners

See the full calendar>> 

Walk of Friends

Walk of FriendsDONATE A BRICK TODAY! Order forms are available at the Garden Center or can be downloaded from the web site at:, click on Support and then Walk of Friends.

It's easy! Select the size of brick you would like, choose your message and return the form with your payment. For more information, contact Sandra Holt at 512-345-3164, or visit
Read more »

Sign up for Austin Notes

Sign up for Austin Notes, the City's dynamic e-mail update system and get news about Austin neighborhoods, parks, road closures, and more. Read more>>

KLRU's Central Texas Gardener

This weekly gardening show is a rich source of information for Austin and Central Texas gardeners. Check out their weekly show schedule for topics & air times, the "To Do List" for monthly gardening tasks, and much more...

Visit the CTG Blog

Yelp starsRead reviews from visitors to Zilker Botanical Garden on Yelp.com4 ½ stars out of 5 makes our garden sing!