Monday, February 18, 2008

Hartman Prehistoric Garden

Copyright © 2007-2008. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

After finding out from the orthopedic surgeon that my son will need spinal surgery this summer, we decided to take a break from our worries and visit the Hartman Prehistoric Garden within the Zilker Botanical Garden.

In 1992 dinosaur tracks were found on this site. They were mapped and preserved. Plants were chosen for the garden that would have been there at the time of the dinosaurs like this Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)...

What a wonderous waterfall...

My son was excited to find some ammonites...

And we could see something staring at us from across the water as well...

Hard to believe anything could eat these various types of Sagos (Cycas), but we're told some dinosaurs found them quite yummy.

We finally found something blooming as we walked by this Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum)

Uh oh! Cool footprints!

My son went to investigate...

"Do you see anything?"

"What's that you say, dear? It's an Ornithomimus?"
Okay, so he's all about reading the plaque. I'm just glad the creature wasn't alive.
Ornithomimus was 12 foot long and 7 foot high. That's one big turkey. Yikes!

Where's Jeff Goldblum when you need him?

Back to reality...

The winding stream was singing beneath these green branches.

The petrified forest was awesome.

Up close we could still make out the bark of the trees.

The birds and spider webs in this iron gate are amazing.

A purple water lily peeked out of the reflecting pool.

While these annuals popped with color, reminding me that it's time to plant some of my own.

"All my hurts my garden spade can heal."-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, almost...

Copyright © 2007-2008. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a wonderful tour through the dino garden. It does take you back some.

I wish better health for your son and a successful surgery.

Dawn said...

Thank you, Lisa at Greenbow,
It was very interesting to see so many plants that lived so long ago. My son was over-the-moon, of course.


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Last year when I was quite upset, I ended up at the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, too--although it's not a place I normally visit. I found it very soothing, maybe because it is so different than the rest of's like entering some space-time warp. It seems to transport one to another dimension.

Your photos are great.

Hope that everything works out with the surgery. Is it going to be after school is out?

Pam/Digging said...

Gardens do have the power to ease our worries. I'm glad you enjoyed this one with your son. My kids always enjoy it too.

kate said...

Now this looks like a wonderful place to visit. I haven't heard of this part of these gardens before.

It sounds as if it was a good thing to do ... I hope that everything goes well with your son's surgery.

Diana said...

Thanks for the lovely photographic tour of the gardens. I can't believe we haven't been! We've been to Zilker a ton, all parts of it, but not this one. So thanks for inspiring us. I hope it brought you some solace and wish you the best for your son.

Libbys Blog said...

Wow! That looks like a tremendous place to visit, it seems full of my kind of plants!!!
Green with envy here!!!!! lol!

Mary said...

Dawn, I'm glad to hear from you again! I've been checking in here and wondered where you have been.

That's a beautiful place you visited. The waterfalls are spectacular. What a nice place for your son to see!

One of my daughter's high school friends and swimming teammate had surgery for scoliosis when she was 16, back in 1998. No body cast. She was home for a just a few weeks after, then went back to school. She had friends carry her books, etc. And it seemed in no time, she was back 100% and in the pool again - ready to compete a few months later!

Since then, I'm sure the surgery has improved even more. I wish him well.

Dawn said...

Thanks MSS,
'Soothing' is a great descriptive word for the Hartman Prehistoric Garden. I like the garden because it looks so tropical and reminds me a lot of Florida as well. The dinosaur theme made my son happy which was a huge plus.

Unfortunately his surgery has been bumped to early August which means he'll may miss the first few weeks of Fall semester while he's recovering.

Hi Pam,
This was our first visit to that portion of Zilker. It really is lovely.

Thank you, Kate,
And welcome! Yes, it was just what we needed that day for certain.

Hello Diana,
I hope you'll get a chance to visit the gardens soon. Your little one should enjoy it. And thanks for your kind wishes.

Hi Libby,
I still think your Red Banana plant looks spectacularly tropical and fun! So there, too.

Dear Mary,
Yes, the waterfalls are impressive. I think I read that they have over 40,000 gallons of water recirculating in that garden. I love the sound of rushing water over stone.

Regarding scoliosis surgery: Luckily they don't use body casts much anymore. Those were 'normal' for those of us who had the surgery back in the Dark Ages though. Heh.

I'm very glad to hear that your daughter's friend was up and around so quickly. Hopefully my son will heal as fast. Since he's also autistic -- albeit high functioning -- it rather complicates matters.

I do appreciate all your kind words and good wishes.

Thank you,

kate said...

Thanks for visiting my blog - I just added your blog to my links. My son is also a high-functioning autistic - life has its definite challenges, but also lots of rewards too!

Kathryn and Ari said...

So nice to meet another Emerson fan! I really enjoyed your images of the prehistoric garden: what a lovely place!

Gail said...


You don't know me, I am new to blogging but have been meaning to get to your blog to see another suburban gardener turn her yard into a earth friendly, wild life friendly place.

The Hartman Prehistoric Garden looks like a lot of fun, a place my now grown up son would have loved.

Thanks for sharing all the photos and for the lovely Emerson quote.


Annie in Austin said...

Hi Dawn,

What serendipity to see your post! We brought our out-of-state family to the Hartman last week - they'd seen it in 2002, when it was still very much a work in progress. Back then the plants were much smaller and you could see across the whole garden. It's really filled in over the years and our family enjoyed the new experience.

Along with your other blogging friends I'll wish your son good luck and the best possible outcome for his surgery.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Julia said...

I've just come to your site through the Nature Blog Network - thank you for posting so many lovely photos of Hartman Prehistoric Garden! I'm a British palaeontologist, trying to grow her own prehistoric garden, and I happened to visit with a few colleagues in October 2007, during our annual conference. We loved it. It's great seeing it still looking marvellous in the winter.

Hope all goes well with your son's surgery. He'll have to save up all his dinosaur books (or get some new ones) for his recovery period!

A wildlife gardener said...

Oh, I do hope your son has successful surgery. What a beautiful park to take him to. Our sons loved dinosaurs and we still have a loft full of their treasures. they did projects, collected little ...and large...models, sticker books, and visits to the museums. But I am going to email them this post as they would love to have paid a visit there. I think the petrified forest is just awesome :)

ONEDIA said...

wow, I didn't know that park existed. We would have loved that as a road trip when we lived in College Station in the 90s. Love ammonites...I like to use small ones in jewelry designs.

Dawn said...

Hi Kate!
Thank you for the add. Life is full of both pain and joy; we just have to look for our joy where/when we can find it. :-}

Hello Kathryn & Ari
You have definitely found an Emerson fan in me. I also enjoy Thoreau. There's something about those idealistic Transcendentalists that makes me smile.

Welcome Gail!
The Hartman Prehistoric Garden seems to capture everyone's imagination. The fact that the fossils were found at the very site is quite impressive and gives one a glimpse into the past. It's well worth visiting.

Dear Annie,
Thank you for your good wishes, my friend.
I'm so glad your family enjoyed seeing how well Hartman Prehistoric Garden has filled-in. We hadn't seen it before so had nothing to compare it to.

Welcome Julia,
So glad you dropped by. I think it's a brilliant idea for a palaeontologist to grow her own prehistoric garden. I look forward to seeing how yours turns out.

Thank you for your kind wishes regarding my son. He loves his dinosaur books. One of his favorite activities is to cross-reference certain species in various books to find more information. He'll definitely receive more dinosaur books before, during & after his surgery, no doubt. :-)

Thanks Wildlife Gardener,
Yes, I would never have been clever enough to have thought of a dinosaur garden. It seems to be a perfect 'kid garden'; though there are plenty of adults who love it too.

Hello Onedia,
Yes, ammonites are lovely, aren't they? I have several in my study. They have very pleasing shapes. I once saw some ammonites and fish fossils imbedded into a kitchen backsplash and have dreamt of having something like that someday as well, but haven't had the guts to do it yet. Maybe someday.

Thanks again to all of you for your kind words regarding my son. His spinal surgery is now scheduled for the first week of August. Though I have not met most of you in real life your good wishes mean a great deal to me and sincerely I thank you.


Tyra in Vaxholm said...

What a fantastic place, I wish I could go there.... thank you for sharing! Great movie, it's still exciting after all these years.