Texas Tropical Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Botanical Gardens

Blooming lily in the water
Lily at San Angelo Botanical Gardens


Rudyard Kipling claimed that “gardens are not made by singing ‘oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade”, an observation shared by the creators of the botanical gardens that brighten all corners of the state today. Possibly the first botanical garden established in Texas appeared in New Braunfels in 1844, courtesy of Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer, a German immigrant and father of Texas botany, his home and gardens are open to the public. San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden (formerly known as the “Sunken Gardens”) was forged from an abandoned limestone quarry and donated land during the early 1900s. Today, the newly-restored gardens, with their lilyponds and waterfalls, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other gardens like the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Corpus Christi, delight tourists and Texans alike with their showcase of beautiful native plants. In East Texas, the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens provide a living museum for the region’s largest collection of native and cultivated plants. Perhaps one of the most recent additions to the state’s botanical garden portfolio is San Angelo’s International Waterlily Collection located in Civic League Park. The pond-floating lily collection, blooming from April to November, is considered among the premiere collections of lilies in existence and represents the life work of a Lindheimer-like Texan for our times – Ken Landon, who created the state’s official waterlily “Texas Dawn.”

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