December Events – November, 2008

Late fall brings magnificent reflections to a pond at Clark Gardens Botanical Park near Weatherford. Photo by Steven Chamblee, whose Native Son article in this issue of e-gardens recalls his recent excursion to Clark Gardens.

Austin/Travis County
Get into the spirit at Luminations, Dec. 13-14, 6–9 p.m., at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. You’ll enjoy gardens lighted with more than 3,000 luminarias, 5,000 twinkle lights and hammered copper torches, and listen to music of the season provided by local bands, quarters and choirs (Austin Philharmonic, Austin Children’s Choir, and Austin Banjo Club, to name a few). Admission is free with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank or a gift for Blue Santa. The McDermott Learning Center will feature a display of trees decorated by local community groups and charitable organizations, and the café will offer a special menu of festive holiday items to purchase. Special preview for members only, Dec. 12. Visit

Attend the DinoLand exhibit, which continues through Nov. 30 at Zilker Botanical Garden. The exhibit features 30 scientifically accurate and lifelike models of prehistoric creatures, in residence along the garden’s Escarpment Trail. Admission: $5 adults, $3 ages 3-13. Closed Thanksgiving Day. See details at

Brenham/Washington County
Enjoy family fun and view thousands of brilliant poinsettias at the 18th annual Poinsettia Celebration at Ellison’s Greenhouses in Brenham, Nov. 22-23, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Special sights include six-foot, “Texas-sized” poinsettias and a “Rainbow Poinsettia” holiday tree. Special activities for children. Seminars presented by Jim Johnson, Mike Mariles and Jack Williams. Admission: $2 adults, $1 children. See details at

Corpus Christi
Go Christmas shopping at Kristie Kringle’s Garden Shoppe Open House Dec. 1-2 at the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. Once again Santa arrives with 12 frogs-a-croaking, 11 armadillos, 10 lizards leaping, 9 springing bird bells and much more. Call 361-852-2100 for details.

Plan ahead to attend the third Winter Lecture Series for Texas winter visitors and area residents at the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Wednesdays in January and February, 10–11:30 a.m. Guest speakers will present unique perspectives on regional environmental, agricultural and horticultural topics in the Visitors Center. Admission: $5 adults, $4 seniors, military and college students. Call 361-852-2100.

Dallas/Collin County
Enjoy feasting, then exploration of the Dallas Arboretum, when you attend the Thanksgiving Weekend Sunday Brunch, Nov. 30, in the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall. Seatings at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. Complete brunch menus and prices available at Reservations required. Call 214-515-6610.

Take a garden walk that’s “For the Birds” at Texas Discovery Gardens, Saturday, Dec. 6, 10-11 a.m. Bring the kids or grandkids (appropriate for ages 4 and up), and work on fun projects to feed birds and native wildlife during the big chill. You’ll learn which plants will attract birds all year long to your garden. Walks free with paid garden admission: $3 adults, $2 seniors, $1.50 ages 3-11.

See the fascinating Nutcracker collections of Liz Minyard and Paul Lokey, then stroll the 66 acres of the Dallas Arboretum, Nov. 28–Dec. 31, during the annual Holiday at the Arboretum festival. Special holiday activities include Holiday Tea (reservations required), family photo ops at the Candy Cane Cottage, and festive weekends filled with music, Frosty, Rudolph and more. Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors ($5 on Thursdays), $5 ages 3-12. Parking $5. Go to for details.

Enjoy holiday music performed in a new outdoor amphitheatre when you attend Holidays at the Heard and shop the Artisan’s Market at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Dec. 6, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Children’s activities, photos with Father Christmas and Mother Nature, and much more. Free admission for McKinney residents that day. Visit

Fort Worth
Bring your homemade bird treats for the Birds’ Christmas Tree at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Saturday, Dec. 6, at 11 a.m. One of Fort Worth’s oldest holiday traditions, the free annual event invites children of all ages to make biodegradable bird treats ahead of time and bring them to hang in the Garden’s Grove, providing food for wildlife and a little holiday cheer! Music and entertainment. See details at

Celebrate the holidays at the 7th Annual Moody Gardens Festival of Lights, Nov. 22 –Dec. 31. Open 6-10 p.m. each Thursday through Saturday from Nov. 22 until Dec. 18, then nightly from Dec. 18 through the end of the month. Admission: $3.95. Special passes to other features available.

Houston/Harris County
Buy gifts that keep on giving — native trees and shrubs — at the Winter Holiday Native Tree and Shrub Sale, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Dec. 6–7, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., at the center in Memorial Park. Sixteen different varieties of Texas native trees and shrubs will be available for sale, most in 5- to 10-gallon sizes. Special preview sale for members on Dec. 5. Visit

Johnson City/Blanco County
Attend the 19th annual Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style, in Johnson City, Nov. 28 – Jan. 1, 2009. Described by Southern Living as “the centerpiece of one of the biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail,” the Blanco County Courthouse in Johnson City glows with 100,000-plus lights. Area spectacles include a one-million-light forest at the Pedernales Electric Cooperative Headquarters on Ave. F. Santa arrives at the official lighting of the Courthouse, Friday, Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m. (Visit

Head to Lyndon B. Johnson State Park for the 39th LBJ Annual Tree Lighting and evening ranch tours of the LBJ Ranch on Dec. 21, 5 – 9 p.m. Following the joyful open house at the Sauer-Beckmann German farm, park rangers will lead a caravan of private vehicles to see the Junction School, LBJ Birthplace and the Texas White House decorated and lit up for Christmas. Free. Explore the ranch’s holiday calendar dates at

San Antonio
Venture into “Terrific Treehouses” at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, now through Dec. 7, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and enjoy a Model Train Exhibit in the Lucile Hartsell Conservatory, Nov. 22 – Dec. 14, courtesy of the San Antonio Garden Railway Society. Garden admission: $7 adults; $5 seniors, military and students; $4 ages 3-13. Closed Thanksgiving Day. See details at

Posted by Neil Sperry
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