Winter 2013
In this Issue...
The Down Home Ranch
Annual Christmas Trees Display
Celia Pearson - 100 Years Young!
Rosa Godfrey - 101 Years Young!
Club News and Announcements
President's Message
Austin Organic Gardeners - Garden Heroes
Austin Rose Society Judge Wins Major Award
The History of the Violet Crown Garden Club, Part 1: 1924-1954
Zilker Botanical Garden
2014 Zilker Garden Festival
Zilker Botanical Garden September Open House
Events at a Glance
The Chrysalis Gift Shop at Zilker Botanical Garden
The Walk of Friends
City of Austin Newsletters KLRU's "Central Texas Gardener"
Yelp Reviews
«Zilker Botanical Garden Home
Poinsettias being grown at Down Home Ranch
Down Home Ranch
by Steve Blackson, Austin Pond Society
Down Home Ranch sits on 340 beautiful acres east of Austin. As you drive into the Ranch, you can’t help but notice a long row of large greenhouses on the left. Upon entering the greenhouses in the late fall, you will be amazed to see row after row after row of beautiful poinsettias stretching the length of the interior.
The poinsettias are sold to churches and businesses, including 2000-3000 sold to schools for fundraising, and by mail order over the Internet.
If you were to visit the ranch in the spring, you would find the greenhouses filled with Easter lilies and spring color baskets. Chances are very good that if you bought poinsettias for the holidays or lilies for Easter, they were grown by Down Home Ranch.
Poinsettias of all colors
The Ranch also grows other native Texas plants and has begun growing herbs hydroponically. But this holiday story is not about growing plants, it' about the people who grow them.
Annual Christmas Trees Showcase
November 18 through January 2
Town Lake GC Tree
It's that time of the year again... Time for the annual AAGC Clubs' Christmas Trees Showcase.
Each year the AAGC buys the trees and the individual clubs decorate them in a style representative of their club.
Check out the African Violet's tree with all purple decorations... Or the Pond Society's tree swimming with fish ornaments. Then there's the Heart O'Texas Orchid Society's tree covered in beautiful orchids!
Bogonia & Orchid Clubs
The trees will be up in the Greene Room from November 18th through the end of the year. So bring your friends and family for a beautiful little holiday treat.
Celia Pearson - 100 Years Young!
by Wilda Campbell, Docents of Zilker Botanical Garden
"My garden brings me happiness: Working in it and looking at it."
Mrs. Celia Pearson, 100 years old, November 29, 2013
Born 100 years ago, the youngest of three children with both an older sister and brother, Celia Pearson has always lived in East Austin. And for all those 100 years, she has attended the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Her first home with her family was at 1162 Angelina. Celia has owned and lived in her current home for the past 50 years.
Celia looks much younger, hears perfectly, is lean and fit, her eyes are good, her memory is sterling, and she still drives.
Every day she is out in her garden, perhaps to water or just talk to her plants. Particularly, she talks to her ruellia to tell these 4 foot giants to stop growing so tall!
100 years of good health and happiness is worth celebrating and reviewing.
Celia Pearson in her beautiful backyard.
Another Active Centenarian in the AAGC...
Meet Rosa Godfrey - 101 Years Young!
by Nelda Moore, Austin Begonia Society
Rosa Godfrey
Rosa Godfrey is a very active member of the Austin Area Begonia Society Branch and she celebrated her one hundredth birthday last February, first during one of the Austin Begonia Society meetings and then later in the home of her son.
She is a spry young-looking caring woman with a ready smile and a great sense of humor.
Rosa works in her garden at home, where she cooks for herself and does her own laundry, and even works at the Zilker Garden Festival as well!
Rosa was born February 2, 1913, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Usually Betty Godfrey, her daughter-in-law, takes her to church, goes out with friends and family, and at least once a month, they attend the begonia meeting.
Club News and Announcements
President's Message
from Marion Alsup, President, Austin Area Garden Council
Marion Alsup
It's fall - the best time of the year in Austin! It's time to get outside in the garden, and remember that gardening is good for you! Numerous studies have shown that gardening improves mobility, flexibility, stamina and mental awareness. It builds muscle and decreases stress.
We certainly have evidence of that at the Garden Center - two centenarians are active garden club members. Celia Pearson and Rosa Godfrey will gladly tell you how their lives have been enriched through gardening.
Austin Organic Gardeners - Garden Heroes
by Catherine Robertson, Austin Organic Gardeners
Marilyn Finnegan
Marilyn is the gardener in her family. Her love of the garden started early while taking directions from her mother in their vegetable garden.
She has been a member of the Men’s Garden Club and the Xeriscape Club. Marilyn has been in the Austin Organic Gardeners for twenty five years and became a Master Gardener in 2006.
Soil amending, and propagation are just some of the techniques at which she excels. She shared how to take fig cuttings in January and simply split the bottom into quarters about two inches up, spread them and put them in your medium.... so easy!
Marilyn Finnegan
I throughly enjoyed learning about many more techniques Marilyn uses. Fruit trees, tomatoes, spices, radishes, beets, leeks, and flowers are just a few things she provides for her family and friends. The pleasure she receives from growing plants for others is her motivation.
Anne Chorley
Anne Chorley
I called to inquire about Anne raising so many organic seedlings for our spring sale. The twinkle in her voice was clear as she shared memories of her heroes. Anne never tired of hearing her father talk of his love of growing plants and the pleasure it gave him.
It was obvious the time on her aunt’s farm was dear to Anne: recalling the first time she reached the pedals of the tractor and the later driving skills which made her an important part of many jobs. The power of self sufficiency was brought home to her in seeing the use of found objects in the tractor's maintenance.
Anne lived in the United States, England,and Italy, learning different gardening techniques. The years she spent around all the animals and plants led her to a Botany Major and later, to teaching High School, brought her great joy.
The excitement the children experienced growing their own food was one of the reasons Anne quoted for raising the plants for our club; the other was for the promoting of food as a social system. Anne said she wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the experience of growing their own food.
Austin Rose Society Judge Wins Major Award
from Pat Freeman, Austin Rose Society
In October, 2013, in San Antonio, the South Central District of the American Rose Society awarded Don Freeman their "Outstanding Judge Award".
Congratulations Don!
Editor's Note: In this and future issues of "Down the Garden Path", we will be presenting a series of articles on the history of the Austin Area Garden Center and the clubs that comprise the Austin Area Garden Council.
The Violet Crown Garden Club was one of the original clubs who were so instrumental in establishing the Garden Center and creating what we now know as Zilker Botanical Garden. Therefore, we felt it only fitting to begin our series with "The History of the Violet Crown Garden Club".
The History of the Violet Crown Garden Club
Part 1: 1924-1954
Laguna Gloria
In the early spring of 1924, Mrs. Clara Driscoll Sevier called a meeting at her home, Laguna Gloria, on the shores of Lake Austin, for those interested in community beautification. The group decided to form a garden club for that purpose.
Poet O'Henry called Austin "...the city of the Violet Crown", so the name Violet Crown Garden Club was adopted.
This group began setting up the Constitution, Rules, and Bylaws for the new club. They participated in civic beautification and conservation through out the Austin area. For the first 26 years, the club's meetings were held in the Crystal Ballroom at the Driscoll Hotel as well as other areas in Austin.
Clara Driscoll was an avid gardener. She designed the terraced gardens of Laguna Gloria herself over a period of many years, incorporating plants native to the region. She served as President of the new club for four years.
Zilker Botanical Garden
2014 Zilker Garden Festival
Saturday March 29 and Sunday March 30, 10:00 to 5:00
$7 Adults, $3 Children (age5-12)
Zilker Garden Festival attendees enjoying one-stop garden shopping.
For over 50 years, the annual Zilker Garden Festival has been a one-stop, garden shopping destination when spring arrives in Austin and Central Texas. A family-friendly event, the garden festival offers something for everyone:
Zilker Festival Flower Show
  • Annual Flower Show in the Garden Center, featuring judged designs and an array of horticultural specimens.
  • Gardening Talks where novice and seasoned gardeners will enjoy talks from local gardening experts.
  • City of Austin Information tables where you can learn about growing healthy, earth-friendly, sustainable gardens, caring for trees, and using environmentally safe pest management.
  • There are many activities for the whole family to enjoy!
    Zilker Botanical Garden September Open House
    Was held Saturday, Sept. 21
    The Austin Area Garden Council hosted an Open House for the Austin public to learn more about our many garden clubs in the greater Austin area.
    Many of the AAGC clubs set up tables with information and examples of their club's activities.
    Wilda Campbell and Marion Alsup
    at the Open House Welcome table.
    Visitors to the Open House
    Though attendence was a little lower than organizers had hoped for, there was one comment heard repeatly afterwards: members of the clubs had to chance to meet each other and discover more about their clubs.
    So a good time was still had by all!
    Events at a Glance
    November 2013
    Sunday, Nov 17, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Monday, Nov 18 through Wednesday, Jan 4
    Holiday Tree Display in Greene Room
    Thursday, Nov 28
    ZBG Closed - Thanksgiving
    December 2013
    Sunday, Dec 1, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Sunday, Dec 15, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Tuesday, Dec 24 - Wednesday, Dec 25
    ZBG Closed - Christmas
    January 2014
    Wednesday, Jan 1
    ZBG Closed - New Year's Day
    Sunday, Jan 5, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Saturday, Jan 11, - 10 to 12 pm
    Travis County Master Gardeners (TCMG) Educational Workshop
    Sunday, Jan 19, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    February 2014
    Sunday, Feb 2, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Saturday, Feb 8, 10 to 12 pm
    Travis County Master Gardeners (TCMG) Educational Workshop
    Saturday, Feb 15, 8:30 to 4:30 pm
    Rose Workshop
    Sunday, Feb 16, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Saturday, Feb 22, 9 to 12:30 pm
    Herb Society Seminar
    Sunday, Feb 23, 1:30 to 4:30 pm
    Celebrate Urban Birds
    March 2014
    Saturday, Mar 1, 9 to 2 pm
    Austin Organic Gardeners' Plant Sale
    Sunday, Mar 2
    Kite Festival
    ZBG Open but No Parking
    Sunday, Mar 2, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Saturday, Mar 8, 10 to 12 pm
    Travis County Master Gardeners (TCMG) Educational Workshop
    Sunday, Mar 9
    Daylight Savings Times Begins
    ZBG hours: 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    Saturday, Mar 15, 10 to 4:30 pm
    Sunday, Mar 16, 11 to 3:30 pm
    Austin African Violet Society Show & Sale
    Sunday, Mar 16, 12 to 4 pm
    Afternoon in the Garden
    Saturday, Mar 22, 10 to 5:00 pm
    Sunday, Mar 23, 10 to 5:00 pm
    Heart O' Texas Orchid Show & Sale
    Thursday, Mar 27, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
    ZBG Closes at 5:00 pm
    Zilker Garden Festival Setup
    Friday, Mar 28, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
    ZBG Closed to Public
    Zilker Garden Festival Setup
    Saturday, Mar 29, 10 to 5 pm
    Zilker Garden Festival
    Sunday, Mar 30, 10 to 5 pm
    Zilker Garden Festival
    Events scheduled at the Zilker Botanical Garden-Austin Area Garden Center are always posted, and kept updated, on the Calendar of Events page on the web site.
    The Chrysalis Gift Shop at Zilker Botanical Garden
    Where can a visitor purchase post cards, cookbooks, jewelry,
    puzzles, Gatorade, framed prints, and unique gifts?
    Drive to Zilker Botanical Garden and shop at The Chrysalis Gift Shop, where your shopping experience will be satisfied with such great gifts as Remarkable Plants of Texas, The Garden Guide, Food by Design from the Violet Crown Garden Club, New Braunfels Garden Club Cookbook, books about trees, butterflies, snakes, or dragonflies.
    The Chrysalis Gift Shop
    Then there are cool towels, shopping bags that can be stuffed inside themselves to form a ball that can be attached to a purse, tee shirts, very special Austin gifts for the person who has everything, beautiful jewelry, night lights of nature, boxes that look like flowers.
    Bring your birthday child along and let him shop for himself in the children's section for wooden snakes, dinosaurs, puzzles, books, cardinals that sing their song, or perhaps he will purchase a framed nature print for his room. It is all there and some of the items are fashioned here in Austin by Austin artists
    For more information, please visit the The Chrysalis Gift Shop web site...
    Ù Top Of Page

    The Walk of Friends
    Order forms are available at the Garden Center or downloaded from .
    Click on Support and then Walk of Friends.
    It's easy! Select the size of brick you would like, choose your message and return the form with your payment. Contact Sandra Holt at 512-345-3164 for more information, or visit:
    The Walk of Friends
    Austin Notes
    Sign up for Austin Notes, the City's dynamic e-mail update system and get news about Austin neighborhoods, parks, road closures, and more.
    KLRU's "Central Texas Gardener"
    KLRU's "Central Texas Gardener"
    This weekly gardening show is a rich source of information for all Austin and Central Texas gardeners.
    Check out their weekly show schedule for topics and air times, the "To Do List" for monthly gardening tasks, and much more...
    Go to the Central Texas Gardener Blog
    Read reviews from visitors to Zilker Botanical Garden on
    4½ stars out of 5 makes our garden sing!

    "Down the Garden Path" is a publication of the Austin Area Garden Council, Zilker Botanical Garden.
    Contact us at with comments or suggestions.
    ©2013 Austin Area Garden Council, Zilker Botanical Garden