Maybe it’s not the best time to visit botanical gardens when the web site for the gardens warns:
“Please take caution while visiting the garden during the extreme heat wave that we are experiencing. Senior citizens, small babies and pets are more susceptible to heat exhaustion. Drink plenty of water before and during your visit. When the heat index is near 100 or above, we do not advise bringing your pets to the garden, as we are witnessing many dogs getting dangerously over heated.”
However, when I have an overwhelming need to get out of the house and be outside, I’m kinda stubborn about it. The dogs get a pass. Sailor has special needs and the last thing we need is for him or Sophie to get overheated. No bueno! My husband does not. In the shade it wasn’t too bad – in the sunny areas it was brutal. Duly noted. So, if you’re planning a visit, try to go on a day when the thermometer takes a little dip.
Swedish Log Cabin
Despite the heat, the botanical gardens were beautiful. We started by walking into the woods and were met with a Swedish Log Cabin in the Pioneer Settlement. Although interesting, we were there to see nature so we moved on quickly. However, if you’re into history you’ll probably be interested in this circa 1840’s cabin that was moved to the site from the community of Govalle in the 60’s.
The next area we encountered was a butterfly garden. And butterflies we did see… Now we’re talking! Pipevine Swallowtails were particularly prevalent during our visit, but there were also some Queen Butterflies.
Texas Spiny Lizard
Once we pulled ourselves away from the butterfly garden, we meandered once again through some woods where we encountered one after the other of these little fellas:
The Texas Spiny Lizard. Kooky cold-blooded lizards – still looking for the sunny spots to sunbathe even when it’s over 100°F outside. We had one living in our own front garden during the spring and early summer, whom we lovingly called Larry. Larry doesn’t come around anymore though. Not sure if he got “got” or whether he moved on to greener pastures once our lawn started to succumb to the drought. I hope he’s still out there somewhere, living the dream.
Anyway… next stop, the rose garden. Did I say stop? I meant go, go, go. Nice flower. No shade. Very hot. Nice flower. Keep moving! Nice flower. No water. Must find shade!
We found some respite from the sun in the woods again and were joined by a family of cardinals. Here’s the proud papa looking fine in red as he kept his eye on us:
It’s funny how water can give the illusion of cool, even for just a moment. Maybe it was mist, maybe it was negative ions being created by the waterfall improving our mood. If such things were allowed, I would have been standing in the waterfall rather than photographing it.
Another creature encounter followed, this time with a turtle who resides at the botanical gardens. Another cold-blooded critter who felt the need to mock us by basking in the sun.
Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden
From there, we moved on to the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden. My favorite part of the 26 acre gardens. The Koi ponds were beautiful, with the most stunning lotus flowers floating tranquilly on their surface.
Although not recommended when it’s exceedingly hot outside, I did enjoy myself at the gardens and would like to go back some time when the weather is not so oppressive. As expected, the various blossoms are gorgeous. The small wildlife encounters are fun. In general, it’s a lovely place to take a stroll and relax (if you are not melting and dehydrating). The botanical gardens are open from 7 AM to 7 PM daily. I imagine being there right at opening would be ideal, weather-wise. Admission is $2.00 for locals, $3.00 for out-of-towners, and $1.00 for children and seniors.