Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



Spring Abloom

by Julia B. Jones and Kirsten Hahn

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s hard to imagine any beholder not seeing the beauty of blooming native Texas plants. With displays that attract colorful birds and butterflies, these four gardens showcase nature at its most magnificent.
Photo by Sonja Sommerfeld / TPWD

Mast Arboretum • Nacogdoches

Nestled in the Stephen F. Austin State University campus, Mast Arboretum has hundreds of plant species, including many Texas native pollinators. See bee boxes, greenhouses and sculptures while walking around the 18-acre grounds. If you have a hankering for more flora, the East Texas campus also offers three other gardens, including the Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

Photo by Earl Nottingham / TPWD

Barton Warnock Visitor Center • Lajitas

As the eastern visitor center for Big Bend Ranch State Park, Barton Warnock Visitor Center has plenty to offer. The self-guided tour of a 2-acre Chihuahuan Desert garden showcases living examples of plants adapting to the harsh desert climate. Walk the garden to learn more about how the first inhabitants of Big Bend lived off the land. Inside, see Warnock’s herbarium collection of 1,692 specimens.

Photo by Chase Fountain / TPWD

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center • Austin

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is home to 900 native plant species and is recognized as the official state botanical garden and arboretum of Texas. The 284-acre center is well known for its Texas wildflower collection as well as native pollinator plants, which can be explored on multiple walking trails.

Photo by Earl Nottingham / TPWD

Quinta Mazatlan • McAllen

Lovingly branded as a “luxury birdhouse,” Quinta Mazatlan is a 20-acre estate in the heart of the city, surrounded by sprawling, themed gardens overflowing with birds. The adobe mansion and urban sanctuary are part of the World Birding Center.



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