A little blogger road trip...

Thirteen Austin-area bloggers gathered bright and early this morning for a road trip down to San Antonio.

Our agenda: First, a stop at the Madrone Nursery, then on to the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and then a visit to the Antique Rose Emporium.

Come along with me, won't you?
This giant tree is actually a Bottlebrush tree, whose bloom you see above.
It was a perfect day for garden oggling. Sunny, slightly breezy and warm, but not hot. The climate in San Antonio is slightly warmer and more tropical than Austin, and several of us had a discussion about the increased use of tropical plants in San Antonio gardens. These Monarchs were having lunch while we walked around.
The Garden has a Cycad conservatory with many different species, like this Dioon edule.
There was also an arid desert exhibit. I found this one fascinating, but sadly, it wasn't labeled. And I simply neglected to get the names of some plants, because there was so much to see.

There were several varieties of Orchids tucked in around the large Cycads in the conservatory.
This was some sort of Crown of Thorns variety.
This Mexican Giant Turk's Cap was stunning. You clearly can't get the scale of these gorgeous blooms, but they were huge compared to the more common variety.
Due to San Antonio water restrictions, none of the water features in the garden were on. Even bone dry, this is a beautiful hardscape fountain.
We were stunned by these beautiful Papayas. Their wispy yellow blooms and these engorged fruits with massive leaves caught our attention right away. I wonder, could we grow them here in Austin?
Above and below are photos of the bloom of this unique Butterfly Agave.

No label on this guy either. But we did laugh about the extra spines all across the face of these Agave leaves -- as if the traditional spines along the edges weren't enough to deter anyone from getting too close!
These geese were hanging out by the lake, waiting for some bread being tossed out by the family in front of us. What a great place to live!
There were many beautiful grasses throughout the Garden.
The pairings of plants were so well done - around every corner we saw yet another vignette worthy of photographing.
I loved this little understory-looking tree. Its common name is Lucky Nut, or Thevetia peruviana. I have just the place for one of those!
I think this is Agave Victoria Regina.
Big-*** Agave! (That's the Latin name!)
We saw some huge Weeping Cypress trees and discussed how much easier they would be to grow than a Weeping Willow, but with the same cascading foliage and effect. Pam of Digging, Eleanor of Garden of E, and Jenny of Rock Rose go in for a closer look.
We all took this photo. We were fascinated by these sparrows perched on this grass, eating the seed heads.

The giant Bugs exhibit was at the garden today -- the praying mantis was my favorite.
No, this isn't a Sedum -- it's a Pacific Chrysanthemum. Several bloggers loved them and came home with them after we found them for sale at the Antique Rose Emporium.

Had to get a photo of this one -- Agave Havardiana!
It was like an Gardener's E-ticket ride today. Next post, the Madrone Nursery and Antique Rose Emporium.