The appeal of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens is not only in its floral arrangements but in its historic structures, dazzlingly contemporary architecture, and wandering native trails. There are even dog-friendly events designed to let you and Fido smell the roses together. Visually, though, the garden’s centerpiece is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory, a complex of structures dominated by the glassy greenhouses that look like so many fractured icebergs tossed up on a Texas hillside; paradoxically, they shelter tropical palms.
Much more modest cabins in adobe, limestone, and piñon pine, each representing a Texas ecological region, dot the landscape. And the grand Sullivan Carriage House, a reconstruction that involved meticulously taking apart an historic structure once located Downtown and carefully reassembling it here, currently marks the entrance to the gardens. This is destined to change, however, as construction already underway to create a new entry point, focused on teaching gardens and an outdoor kitchen, will reorient both the physical entrance and the gardens’ educational priorities.