President's Message, March 2010
In the spring of 2007, Zilker Botanical Garden opened its gates to our 50th annual Zilker Garden Festival. It was a vintage year, marked by memorable moments that raised the benchmark for our future festivals…
- We hosted a series of gardening talks under the big white tent next to the Garden Center. The chairs under that tent were full both days for 10 talks—from local gardening experts to our special guest speaker, Felder Rushing (Slow Gardening – Gettin’ more out of Life, and Texas-Tough Plants for Busy Gardeners). The gardening talks have now become a festival tradition. Check out our festival website to see what novice and experience gardeners will hear about this year.
- We moved the music to a soundstage in the Rose Garden. It was an eclectic mix of Music to Make the Garden Sing!—including a family-style sing-along with one of Austin’s best-loved performers, Sara Hickman. Check out our live music offerings for this year—both Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the rose garden continues to sing!
- The annual Standard Flower Show—with its theme, Through the Zilker Garden Gates—drew curious crowds to the auditorium. This year, the Flower Show will again be a big draw, featuring 37 judged designs and an array of horticultural specimens. With its theme, The Austin Experience, the Flower Show will again entice visitors to head for the auditorium.
- Kids’ Corner continued to be a popular destination for families with little ones. It’s always a photo opportunity—kids getting their faces painted, making butterfly wings and dinosaur masks, building a birdhouse for their feathered friends. And, when kids pick up their Stamping Fan at the entrance gates, visit 5 spots in the garden for a “bug stamp”, then head for Kids’ Corner, they can claim a prize!
- Vendors from Austin and Central Texas continued to fill the garden with white tents, making the festival a one-stop, garden shopping destination. Zilker Garden Festival has earned a reputation for being more than just a plant sale—during the 2-day event, thousands of people enter the gates to buy plants for their home gardens. But they buy much more…birdhouses, baskets, and benches, unique jewelry and ceramic pottery, herbal products and garden-themed accessories. Check out our list of vendors this year—some of your favorites are returning and new ones are joining the fun!
- Food Vendors were busy all day—not just at lunch time! Corn on the cob, ice cream in all flavors, cupcakes, homemade lemonade, chicken on a skewer and pulled pork sandwiches, fajitas and tacos—and who can resist a bag of sweet Kettle Corn? This year, our food vendors make an encore appearance in the Oak Grove, so check out their tasty offerings and sit with your family and friends to enjoy your “picnic” under the shady trees.
- And, of course, our Sponsors and our Volunteers—the list was long and impressive for our 50th garden festival. Many of our old friends returned and new friends stepped up to the plate. Our sponsors continue to support us in so many ways—even in these challenging economic times. And, last but not least, our volunteers. Someone once said, “Volunteers are love in motion!” AAGC garden club members not only put in long hours—and lots of sweat equity planning the garden festival—they also show up festival weekend, with enthusiasm and smiles. Add to the mix our enthusiastic volunteers from the University of Texas (www.UTVolunteer.org), and the garden festival is officially a stellar celebration! Take a moment to read “Thank You to Our Festival Sponsors…and Our Volunteers!” in this newsletter—it’s a good investment of time.
As we go to “press” (now in cyberspace!) with our third online issue of Down the Garden Path, I hope our theme song—Spreading Green for more than 50 years—continues to send the message that going green is the only path we can choose. We welcome you to our 53rd Zilker Garden Festival—it’s a Green Celebration you won’t want to miss!
President, Austin Area Garden Council
Zilker Botanical Garden