The Pearl in the heart of Austin: Zilker Botanical Garden

Last Sunday was the first day of Calendar Spring. It’s called Spring Equinox in Chinese twenty-four solar terms, which remarks the equal length of day and night. So where to go to enjoy the last sunny afternoon of our first spring break in America? An afternoon in the sunshine and breeze, surrounded by the new buds and flowers, sounded like the perfect cure for my boyfriend lab fever … so we took off for Zilker Botanical Garden-the pearl in the heart of Austin!

This botanical garden is part of Zilker Metropolitan Park, also very near to Barton Springs. We spent a couple of hours there, enjoying the serenity and verdant setting of this garden. It has several gardens, like Prehistoric, Butterfly, Pioneer Village, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and so on.

Road signs in Botanical Garden

The Prehistoric garden is featured with a sculpture of an Ornithomimus-the dinosaur that left the footprints in this place millions of years ago. There are also different kinds of ferns in this garden to try to restore the environment where this species lived before at that time.

Actually, there were many flowers blooming in the Butterfly garden, but the butterflies hadn’t yet returned from their winter vacation and we didn’t have the chance to feast our eyes on those beautiful creatures. We only saw the lovely butterfly feeder and butterfly-shaped steel chairs. A volunteer was taking great care of the organic vegetables in this little world.

Rose garden was an ideal place for wedding photos! There were several romantic rose arches and a giant brick arch with a wide open grassland in front.

The Japanese Garden had been our favorite, which is Taniguchi’s gift to Austin. I was impressed by the creative design, especially the poetic “Bridge to Walk Over the Moon”-when the moon is high at night, the moon’s reflection follows you as you walk across the bridge. Also, there was bamboo forest, but it’s not the golden time for them now.

The small but exquisite design reminds me of the famous Classical Gardens of Suzhou in China. I’ve learned the famous article about this collection of architecture in our elementary school. It has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage.

“Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the nine gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.” UNESCO Official Website

We had a great time at the botanical garden and may come again when the bamboo and water lily are prosperous 🙂

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