I woke up this morning with a plan to go to the Zilker Botanical Garden which is part of the multi-acre Zilkes Park in the southern section of Austin. It’s the only place I definitely wanted to see while here. I love gardens and have seen some the finest the world has to offer including Keukenhof, Versaille, Longwood Gardens, Chicago Botanical Garden, James Rose’s home and the one I created at my mother’s house. I headed off with my trusty rent-a-car and GPS and was almost there and then I missed the turn. “Perform a u-turn as soon as possible” came out of the GPS. So I did. Then I missed the turn again. “Perform a u-turn.” While trying to turn around this time I happened down a narrow street along a large park and on my right was a wonderful little hidden gem, the UMLAUF Scupture Park and Garden.
I parked my car and wandered in . Technically the park is closed to the public on Tuesdays but the woman who was at the visitor’s center told me I could roam around the garden for a while a private tour was in the building. My lucky day. I saw some of the most wonderful, yet slightly satanic sculptures. I don’t know anything about the park and have yet to research it on line, but there was a clear religious undertone to the works displayed although not the holy side of religion but rather the devilish side. The sculptures were wonderful and the garden nicely kept. It was peaceful and quiet and a wonderful place to be lost. After about an hour wandering around I headed back off to Zikler. The woman at UMLAUF gave me no fail directions and I found it easily enough.
I parked my car and spent the next two hours roaming through cool and dark rows of bamboo in the “Oriental Garden” and sat and watched some of the biggest koi that I have ever seen swim around the little pond filled with water lilies and fallen leaves. After enough contemplation I headed into the formal rose garden. Although the roses were not in full bloom, the grandure and scent were obvious. There was such stark contrast between the free flowing Eastern design and the rigid and formal beds and geometric patterns of the Western design. Find your own way and see what you see versus hey look at me. Both were beautiful and comforting in their own way. My preference though was the free flowing, unassuming just methodical way of the East. The final garden to see was the Prehistoric garden where much to my disappointment they did not grow dinosaurs but rather it was filled with ferns and giant plants.
What a wonderful way to spend the day…but now it’s time to get ready to go to work.