Saturday, October 11, 2014


Those people running Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center? They're some smart cookies! Every fall they conduct a multi-week class called Native Plant U. Last year Outdoor Woman signed up for it. This year my hubby did. By the end of the classes, every student has a mile-long wishlist of plants they just gotta have. Then, just a week or two later, the Wildflower Center hosts their annual native plant sale, where you can get all kinds of plants not usually found at your average garden center, for very reasonable prices. Plus, if you are a member of the Wildflower Center, you can get into the sale a day early, instead of having to deal with the general hoi polloi on Saturday. So, of course, Hubby signed us up for a family membership!

The sale wasn't to open until 1:00 yesterday but by noon we were done with lunch, so we decided to go on early and just wander around for awhile. Our first hint of impending doom was that, not only was the parking lot already full, we had to park about a mile down the road and trudge back. Our second clue was that, unlike us, almost everyone trudging along with us was pulling their own cart or wagon, brought from home. Third clue? This:

Apparently this wasn't going to be quite the "intimate" preview we were expecting. Luckily for me, sweet hubby volunteered to stand in line so I could go explore the newest addition there at Ladybird, which he had already seen.

I tell you what, if I was a young mother living anywhere in Austin, I would find some way to get a family membership to this place. I can't think of anywhere better to hang out with ones kids and other mommas, getting exercise, exploring, having picnics -- pretty much year-round here in Texas! Well, unless it's 90+ degrees out. Like it was yesterday.

You've got elevated bridges to cross, teepees to play in, felled trees and giant bird nests to climb on...




photo ops...

not to mention shady picnic areas, exercise equipment, indoor displays, classes, shopping, and a cafe! What more could a family want?

When I got back to the line it had tripled in size. We still had a few minutes to wait, so I offered to hold hubby's spot while he ran to the restroom. So, of course, they opened the gates as soon as he was out of sight, aaaaand, I had to let everyone go ahead of me. Boy was he ever surprised when he came out!

After that it was every man for himself -- everyone frantic to get their hands on some rare plant of their dreams, before it was sold out! Fortunately, I only had one thing on my list...

this beautiful gray mallow, with cheerful orange blooms. I think it will be an excellent addition to my terraced Cantina Garden, don't you?

UN-fortunately, Hubby had about 30 things on his list, no cart, and only two hands. So he parked me in one spot, and scurried around until he had three cardboard flats full of plants parked by my feet. Now picture the two of us trying to get those three flats, filled with heavy plants, from ticket-writing station, to cashier, to loading station and finally, to our miles-away-truck! (did I mention it was 90 degrees out?)

Last night, on Facebook, I discovered that Outdoor Woman had been there too. When I told her we probably should have consulted with her before setting off on this adventure, she had this to say:

"We've got it down to a science. NEVER go in the first hour when the cars are parked out to MOPAC. Take your wagon. Don't obsess over the plants that are already sold out - things I've never heard of, and I find myself wondering... I missed out! Did I want that?"

NOW she tells us!

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