Passing through a gateway in a limestone wall, visitors find an al fresco foyer opening onto the Theme Gardens, the most extensive exhibit of native plants at the Wildflower Center. Twenty-three separate theme beds demonstrate just a few of the infinite varieties, uses and adaptations of plants native to Texas. The various beds, some of which change according to season, showcase many different types of native plants, from ground covers and cacti to grasses and edible plants.
These gardens demonstrate specialized planning and techniques all well within the reach of the weekend gardener. Specialties, or “themes,” include attracting butterflies, using water and rock features, or protecting plants from voracious deer, among others. Visitors can glean inspiration for using the beauty of regional native plants in their own gardens.
What You’ll See in These Gardens
- A shady arbor, wrapped in vines and dotted with benches, running alongside the garden beds
- A collection of our staff’s favorite native plants for Texas gardens
- A moonlight garden, displaying night bloomers best tended in the cooler evening hours
- Beds with plants suited to different regions of Texas
- A garden demonstrating which flower shapes and colors attract certain pollinators
- An educational tribute to “Wilderness Walkers,” intrepid botanists of this rugged region
- A fiber and dye garden, displaying plants with parts and pigments used in creating clothing, food and shelter
- A garden featuring three common plant families — Fabaceae, Scrophulariaceae and Asteraceae — that introduces guests to the concept of a botanical key and how to use one
- The healing garden, featuring plants used by Native Americans and early Hill Country settlers for treating injuries and ailments
- A deer-resistant garden, with plants less appealing to Cervidae palates
- Examples of using different types of ground cover and mulch for practical and decorative reasons
- A wildlife pond
- The colorful hummingbird garden, planted with species that attractive the jewel-colored flutterers