TRAVEL THERE: SAN ANTONIO BOTANICAL GARDEN (SABG)
OK, I admit it. The Dallas Arboretum has me spoiled. That and all the amazing gardens I’ve visited throughout the US and the world. Still this was not my first visit to the SABG, so my expectations were not completely unrealistic. The gardens still managed to underwhelm me.
A Previous Visit
My last visit was back in 2001. I was living in California at the time and came back to Texas to take my parents on a little road trip. We had a blast and the SABG was one of the highlights I remember the Conservatory Gardens were closed at the time due to some kind of maintenance, but I also remember loving the gardens. Mom was a real garden aficionado and she liked it, too.
The Garden Today
The last fourteen years have not been good for the gardens. Gertie’s Garden, the entry area, was sharp looking and well-tended. The Wisteria Arbor was charming. But as we ventured out into other areas, it just looked like the garden had not been loved. Things needed paint; chains were rusty; gardens had weeds and dead flowers – it was disappointing.
The first disappointment was a little Japanese Garden tucked away in a corner. I love Japanese Gardens. One of the things I like is that the good ones always look as if the gardener just finished trimming. Everything looks perfectly manicured. This garden looked as if they’d let the plants go for a while and then tried to trim them back. Things just didn’t fit well.
We went on to the Conservatory, where it looked like half of everything had died and they really needed a good window cleaner to come in and go after the glass panels. Then we headed to The Overlook where the lack of maintenance was even more evident. We blew off the nature trails because we figured if the rest of the garden looked overgrown, then the nature trails would really be wild.
I think the real problem might be M-O-N-E-Y. It takes a lot of it to keep a garden of that scale going, (just ask DABS). So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to go visit the SABG and send them donations. I remember this place as being beautiful. They’re going to have to tear out a lot of overgrown plants and do a lot of replanting to save the charm of the place. They also need to work on the panes of the conservatory.
This wasn’t our last garden of the day and the next one was a pleasant surprise. Come back next week and I’ll tell you about the Japanese Tea Garden at Brackenridge Park. In the meantime, in spite of some negligence, it was a garden and there were still some pretty things to see at the SABG. Here’s some shots I took.