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Budding Out Festival

Saturday, March 30, 2019


Many specialty plant vendors from around Texas!

(See vendor listing below, updated regularly)

Peckerwood Garden’s own exclusive, ultra-rare plant offerings!

(List will be posted soon)

Landscape materials and gardening supplies!

Art and craft vendors!

Great Food!

Cash bar!

Music performed by:

Hogan and Moss

The Houston Blenders!

…and of course, come stroll among the springtime beauty of Peckerwood Garden’s award winning landscape design and internationally renowned plant collections!

Sponsored by:


  • 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 am: Free VIP access only for Peckerwood Members:
    • allowing exclusive access to the rarest plants in limited quantities from Peckerwood’s plant collections and other vendors (Membership may be purchased in advance here or at the event).
  • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm: General public admission

If interested in becoming a vendor, please download the vendor registration form here.

Plant Vendor list (updated regularly)

  • Zone 9 Tropicals, Houston (Unusual Tropical Plants)
  • Bluebonnet House, Chappell Hill (Flowering and Decorative Plants)
  •, Spring (Carnivorous plants)
  • Jimbo’s Nursery, Santa Fe (Bromeliads and Tropicals)
  • McNeal Growers, Austin (Unusual native and adapted plants)
  • Fern Plantation Nursery, Magnolia (Hardy and tropical ferns)
  • Asian Epiphytes, Houston (Rare Staghorn Ferns, Aroids, and more)
  • Darlene Morris, Tomball (Collector-quality tropical rarities)
  • Old School Produce, Houston (Herbs, edibles, exotics)
  • The Herb Cottage, Hallettsville (Herbs, succulents, decorative hypertufa planters)
  • San Jacinto Stone, Houston (Stone, gravel and decorative landscape supplies)
  • The Cycad Society (Cycads)
  • Tejas Bulbs, Inc, Boerne
  • Native Plant Society of Texas, La Bahia Chapter
  • Texas Bluebird Society
  • Discount Trees of Texas, Brenham
  • Texas Gulf Coast Fern Society, Houston
  • Another Place In Time, Houston
  • Microlife Organic Fertilizer
  • …and more!

Art and other vendors

  • Arts Folly (Hand sewn gifts, sleep masks, and more)
  • Creative Adventures Texas (handmade Fairys and flower dolls)
  • Beaded Dragon Designs (handmade jewelry)
  • Vladimir Fine Art, Houston
  • Pen Morrison, Artist, Houston
  • RPM Concessions
  • The Traveling Spirit
  • Marmalady
  • Angel Wing Arts
  • Cultured Skinbiotics
  • KB Design Jewelry
  • …and more!


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2019 Topics

Peckerwood Garden Lecture Series Topics

Peckerwood Garden Insider Tour Topics

  • September 21, TBD
December 21, TBD
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An Exciting and Productive Seed Collecting Expedition in Central Texas

Bill, Boyce and Tess collecting seed, herbarium specimens, and associated collecting data.

Less than a week after our oak collecting trip through the Trans-Pecos region (see last newsletter), I barely settled in before I was off with a new group of collaborators for a two week journey from the southern “Hill Country” northward to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Organized by Boyce Tankersley from Chicago Botanic Garden through the “Plant Collecting Collaborative” (PCC), other participants were Bill McLaughlin from the United States Botanic Garden in Washington D.C. and Tess Kuracina from Chanticleer.

Peckerwood and Chanticleer have a great history working together, and this was a wonderful resumption of our collaborations. Through segments of the trip, two of the state’s great botanists would join us – George Yatskievych, director of the herbarium at University of Texas at Austin, and Bob O’Kennon from Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth. Our mission was to collect seeds of plants of horticultural and conservation significance for distribution to other participating gardens of the PCC. After the team arrived in Houston, the requisite visit to Peckerwood was in order, and that afternoon we set off for our first site in the southern Edward’s Plateau west of San Antonio. We didn’t get far because Boyce wanted seeds from Texas bluebells ( Eustoma grandiflora), and so off we went to a location near Brenham where I recently saw plants. Fruits were questionably too early for harvest, but our first collection of the trip would hopefully continue maturation in the cooler and be dried later.

George joined us in San Antonio for a quick dinner before continuing on our track for the Gesundheit Ranch, a 1,000-acre piece of botanic and geologic heaven between Sabinal and Concan along the southern edge of the Hill Country. Owned by Peckerwood supporter Caroline Schreiber and family, this remote, well-maintained ranch never fails to surprise me as to its tremendous diversity of plant life. I had never been this time of year and was looking forward to collecting seeds of some things I had seen in flower during earlier visits.

Matalea reticulata in the southern Hill Country near Leakey, TX.

We were treated to a wonderful sunset between the rugged limestone hills as we drove through several ranches to get to the Schreibers’ ranch. Everyone was up early after a night’s sleep in the bunkhouse, and with our coffee in hand the collections began in the immediate vicinity of the dwellings. Though common to many Texans, the group from points beyond was excited to find its first Texas mountain laurel, and seeds were collected. Though common in cultivation, these were of value to botanic gardens that prefer seeds from known wild source, accompanied by GPS coordinates, site conditions, associated plants and additional details making these collections scientifically valuable. We also pressed specimens for drying to deposit in two or more herbaria. I had to laugh when they collected seeds of ball moss ( Tillandsia recurvata), but again, these are of interest to those who come from places where they are not weeds.


Styrax platanifolius at Fort Hood.

Breakfast was supplemented with sampling of Texas persimmon ( Diospyros texana), which seemed to be a hit among the group despite staining their mouths black. We left the ranch headquarters to see a site I remembered from previous visits along a crystal clear stream lined with a variety of moisture-loving plants. Unfortunately the lack of summer rain had reduced the stream to a few stagnant puddles in the lowest areas. The lush ferns I had remembered were mostly shriveled and dormant, but several fronds were collected for their spores. A diminutive yet striking plant drew attention along the stream’s shores. Galphimia angustifolia is composed of a dense cluster of wiry upright stems topped with flowers in various shades of yellow, orange and red depending on their age, particularly captivating when back lit by the sun. Tess already was considering where she wanted to plant this at Chanticleer, and I agreed it should be investigated further for use in smaller gardens.

Festive lighting for nocturnal herbarium specimen pressing at High Hope Ranch near Glen Rose.

My 5-month old truck earned plenty of new battle scars barging through jagged rocky paths overgrown with thorny shrubbery. Eventually we couldn’t go any farther and hiked the rest of the way to a more wooded spot I remember having a nice mix of the powder blue colored Lacey oak ( Quercus laceyi) and the coveted yellow-flowered variant of the red buckeye ( Aesculus pavia var. flavescens). Q. laceyi had plenty of acorns as did Texas red oak ( Q. buckleyi). The buckeyes already had defoliated but still were bearing the large pendulous fruits on nearly every branch tip. We found some Eve’s Necklace ( Styphnolobium affine – formerly Sophora affinis) which appears to be a new record for Uvalde County and perhaps the southernmost record. We drove north to Leakey to have dinner and then visited a stretch of road to the west where we happily collected seed from the abundant cones of Pinus remota. Here they seemed to have had some recent rain, and the roadside was alive with wildflowers, including the beautiful, rather localized Asclepias texana. Another stretch was red with Salvia roemeriana, and one small roadside meadow contained a wonderful mix of S. farinacea, two Solanum species, and Mexican Hats ( Ratibida columnifera) in a variety of colors and forms.


Collecting seeds of a Polanisia sp . in the dry riverbed of the Frio River, Kneuper Ranch.

Along the treeline, Bill found the reticulated climbing milkweed ( Matalea reticulata) bearing its delicately pattered flowers. With dusk approaching, we made a beeline back south as Caroline had put us in touch with Bill Cofer at the nearby Annandale Ranch, home of the famous Frio Bat Cave. Bill had generously granted us access to view the bats emerging from the cave entrance. This is the second largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in the world, with an estimated population in the tens of millions.

The very localized Yucca necopina at High Hope Ranch near Glen Rose, TX.

An undulating ribbon of bats flowed from the entrance for what seemed like an eternity, with hawks periodically diving into the mass for dinner. I’ve seen thousands of bats emerge from other caves, but witnessing millions was quite an amazing experience for everyone. The next day was devoted to exploring the rest of Annandale Ranch, but first we stopped at the neighboring Kneuper Ranch, also owned by Caroline’s family members. A dry stretch of the Frio River passed through here, and highlights collected were Anisacanthus wrightii – abundantly grown in Texas yet surprisingly uncommon in the wild. We found a species of Lycium growing in the shade, a new county record for the genus.


Eryngium leavenworthii at Fort Hood.

In contrast to the Kneuper Ranch, the stretch of the Frio River that passed through the Annandale Ranch had beautifully clear flowing water and was lined with some impressive bald cypress. Though books and some DNA studies claim these are simply a westernmost population of Taxodium distichum, the lack of “knees” (distinctive growth habit) and other characteristics more closely resemble those of the Montezuma cypress, Taxodium mucronatum. Along the shores also grew the beautiful Juglans microcarpa, a native walnut that makes an attractive small tree, and a mysterious willow that doesn’t seem to readily match any of the known species of Salix in this region.

John Roberson’s amazing ranch offered terrific plants adapted to the local sandstone and granite in addition to the panoramic views.

We parted ways with George and spent one last night at the Gesundheit Ranch before some more roadside collecting en route to the Fredricksburg region. There we visited two properties, both owned by acquaintances of Boyce. Being rather dry, we saw lots of interesting things but they lacked seed, so little was collected, but we got a diversity of S. farinacea seeds and plenty of acorns from Bigelow oak ( Q. sinuata var. breviloba). We were all looking forward to our next site, a ranch owned by former Peckerwood board member John Roberson in the Llano Uplift region of central Texas. This geologic feature is an “island” of granite and sandstone among the surrounding sea of limestone that makes up the Hill Country. With a more acidic soil, this is an oasis of plants that tend to prefer less alkaline conditions, and several interesting endemics occur isolated here. On the drive to his ranch, we spotted one of our trip’s targets, Lindheimer’s ironweed ( Vernonia lindheimeri) with its silvery foliage topped with plenty of seed heads that were formerly electric purple flowers.


A sea of Salvia azurea in Cedar Hill State Park.

John and his dog led us around the various habitats on his spectacular ranch. Though mostly shriveled and dormant, the fern and Selaginella diversity was high. Bill was happy to finally find Parthenocissus heptaphylla in fruit, which unlike its abundant relative, Virginia creeper, which bears five leaflets, this species is larger statured and holds seven leaflets which are abruptly jagged toward the tip. Another vine we were pleased to see was Passiflora affinis, but unfortunately without fruits.


John led us into a riparian area with unexpected westernmost populations of more easterly trees like Q. shumardii. The non-Texans in the group preferred the mustang grapes ( Vitis mustangensis) over the semi-ripe fruits of Prunus mexicana and were collecting everyone’s spit-out grape seeds.

A nice Pinus remota with pendulous tips.

Our sights were set on collecting some interesting things known to occur in the natural areas on the Fort Hood property near Killeen. We slammed on brakes when we found our first Eryngium leavenworthii in flower along a back road. It appeared as if someone spray painted the foliage of a thistle royal purple, the intense colors captivated us until we finally collected some seed. Further down the road we found a nice colony of the baby blue Yucca pallida loaded with seeds.


The following morning we went through background checks for security clearance to enter Fort Hood.

A cypress-lined stretch of the Frio River on the Annandale Ranch that held water.

George reconvened with us, and soon we were met by Carla Picinich, a biologist for the military property, who we had learned had been working nights doing deer counts in preparation for the fall hunt quotas. We felt bad that she was going to spend the next two days with us, meaning 48 hours with little to no sleep just to help us access our target species. On the eastern edge of the Hill Country near Waco, the Fort Hood property has several unusual plants we were seeking. One was the easternmost and highly disjunct population of of bigtooth maples ( Acer grandidentatum), second was the sycamor-leaved silverbell, Styrax platanifolius, and another was Croton alabamensis var. texensis. The latter species has leaf undersides colored a metallic silver and has a very strange distribution in a few restricted spots in Alabama and a few sites in Texas.

The maples and Styrax were abundant in the right micro-climates in the Owl Creek Mountains (really hills), but seed was eluding us. Finally we found one specimen of each species with an acceptable amount of seed. A bonus was finding the red-flowered Clematis texensis loaded with seed. The site with the croton was very parched, the wilted plants showing no signs of fruiting this year, but it was exciting to finally see the Texas form in the wild.

Tess, George and Boyce walking among giant bald cypresses near the Frio River, Annandale Ranch.

We bid farewell to George, and aimed toward our next base of operations at High Hope Ranch near Glen Rose, which offers some wonderful guest houses and caters to visiting nature lovers. When owner Sandy Skrei learned of our plans, she invited the local master naturalists and other key folks out to botanize with us and even organized a wonderful dinner with additional enthusiasts from the region. Highlights collected here included the Glen Rose yucca ( Yucca necopina) which is only found in a handful of counties in this region. Near the ranch, we were taken to a significant, and likely northernmost population of Styrax platanifolius that was loaded with seed. It was fascinating to comb through the dozens of individuals displaying a wide diversity of leaf shapes.


The largest Quercus sinuata var. breviloba I have ever seen, with Bill McLaughlin for scale, at Dogwood Canyon Preserve.

Reaching the northerly limits of our expedition, we arrived in the southern outskirts of the Dallas region at Dogwood Canyon Preserve operated by the Audubon Society. Here we met up with Bob O’Kennon from Botanical Research Institute of Texas who had been doing a floristic inventory of this diverse spot. Located in the “cross timbers” region where eastern and western trees mix, the preserve is named after the presence of one of the westernmost populations of flowering dogwood, Cornus florida. We collected abundant seeds of the northerly populations of Mexican buckeye, ( Ungnadia speciosa) in hopes they might be adaptable to other colder locations.


Later in the day we headed to Cedar Hill State Park, where we joined by Sam Kieschnick, urban wildlife biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He took us to a prairie restoration project that was full of fascinating plants, most noticeably a sea of 6-foot tall Salvia azurea in full bloom. Rosa foliolosa was flaunting its red hips, and a large species of penstemon was begging us to take its seeds. Another site that included a wetland restoration project was carpeted by halberd-leaf rosemallow ( Hibiscus laevis). Generally white with red centers, there was considerable variability with some light red to dark purple centers, snowy white to pink blushed petals, and even one with unusual pink “brush strokes.” Seeds were collected to capture the diversity, and I collected cuttings to preserve the more distinctive forms.

Bob O’Kennon gave the group a tour of BRIT, and afterwards we strolled through Fort Worth Botanical Garden with director Bob Byers and explored its significant collection of begonia species and hybrids with Don Miller who oversees the collection. On the way back to Houston, we stopped for some roadside collecting. Boyce, who enjoys bulbs, was happy when I found a stretch of roadside loaded with Habranthus tubispathus, and later Zephyranthes peduncularis. Near Navasota we collected Echinacea atrorubens from a prairie remnant and some Baptisia nuttalliana and B. bracteata seeds to embellish Chicago Botanic Garden’s large collection of this genus. Rounding out the final collections of the trip were some easy access Q. falcata and Q. incana.

Back in Houston, the seeds and herbarium presses were shipped to Chicago for processing and distribution to PCC participants. We stayed up past midnight organizing our field notes for a detailed narrative of the trip before Boyce, Tess and Bill each flew home. A lot of ground was covered interacting with a lot of wonderful people, all resulting in a lot of important collections that will be prominently featured in the collections of a number of U.S. botanic gardens.

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Garden Etiquette

All guests should proceed directly to the office upon arrival.

One of our smiling staff members will have you sign in, offer you water, offer facilities and direct you to the tour start location.

May I bring my stroller, wheelchair, walker or vehicle into the garden?

We apologize that neither paths nor bathrooms are ADA accessible. The paths contain numerous steps and roots and thus unable to accommodate walkers, wheel chairs and strollers. Cars are not allowed.

May I take pictures?

Of course! Take all the pictures you like.

May I smoke?

We are a non-smoking facility.

Where do I park?

Park in the parking area between the soil bins and the highway.

Where are the restrooms?

Three single person restrooms are available: One behind the red door outside the office, one in the office and one in the house behind the office. There are no facilities in the garden.


You will be offered bottled water prior to the start of tour. You may bring your own water. No water will be provided along the tour, though you may carry water on the tour. We do ask that you hold on to the container for the tour duration.


Private groups may consume food in designated areas only.

Touching plants

You are encouraged to experience all the sensory aspects of the garden, such as smelling flowers, feeling leaves and touching bark; however, we ask that you not break a leaf, snap a stem or pick a seed.

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Photography Session FAQ

This FAQ answers the questions of professional and amateur photographers wanting to have a photo session.
Casual photography during a tour or event is always allowed and we welcome you to share them with us and others. We will give credit as you specify for all shared images.
Professionals, please schedule and book a session, do not stray from guided tours and events, we are guided tour only.

What is included?

Power is available in the Garden House only, ceremonies located in the garden will need to plan accordingly.

An optional private tour is included in all sessions and is recommended to familiarize yourself with the garden paths and places you will be working.

Restrooms are available but are limited.

The team may use the Garden House to prepare for the session in the garden.

Drone use is allowed with prior approval. Be mindful of the private residence space and the offices on property.

We have 2 10×30 tents available for rent. No equipment may be used that leaves holes in the garden.

Catering is available at an additional cost. Alcohol may be served but will not be provided by Peckerwood Garden catering services

Catering is buffet style and does not include wait staff.

We are guided tour only; a docent/volunteer will accompany your group. Please ask all guest to be mindful of the protected nature of the garden.

Prohibited items

No vehicles are allowed in the garden; they must remain in the parking area.

We are a non-smoking facility, smoking is allowed only near your vehicle.

Food cannot be cooked or grilled onsite.

There is no podium available.

For the safety of your guests we request that they do not wear high heels. The garden pathways are uneven, sometimes soft, and sometimes narrow. You will be in grass and garden paths not on paved paths.

No display or tents may be used that makes holes in the garden

No damage to the garden, facilities, and the collections included will be tolerated.

Other rules

We are guided tour only; a docent/volunteer will accompany your group. Please ask all guest to be mindful of the protected nature of the garden.

Please do not leave any litter, broken items, or trash in the garden. Containers will be proved for use during your time.

Please be mindful of the unusual collection of plants and understand that no damage to the garden, facilities, or plant collections will be tolerated.

Outside vendors must be approved by Peckerwood Garden.

We welcome the sharing of your images and videos and will share your information with them.

You will be in grass and garden paths not on paved paths. Please do not wear heals and inform other guests.

When can we enter?

Activities related to the rental (including those of the caterers, decorators, etc.) begin during your scheduled rental time.

Are there restrictions on decorations and staging?

All decorations must be placed and removed within the rental time bloc.

Nothing should be attached to walls, trees, or other garden facilities or plantings.

Candles may be used as part of a session but cannot be placed along walkways, porches, or near flammable materials. No other use of fire or fireworks is permitted.

Glitter, rice, birdseed and confetti are prohibited but; bubbles are allowed.

Canopies, tents and other temporary structures that require ground stakes are not allowed. It is the responsibility of the renting party to see that the event coordinator, caterer or the rental company abide by these guidelines.

Can food be served?

Food cannot be cooked on site (such as barbeque) but may be brought in by a caterer or the rental party.

Can I rent a porch?

Yes, the porches surrounding the Garden House are included with the rental of the Garden House. This does not include the porches around the home of John Fairey.

When must rental facilities be vacated?

At the end of the bloc of rental time. Activities related to the rental (including those of caterers, decoration removal, etc.) that continue beyond scheduled rental time will incur a $200/hour charge that will be deducted from the damage/overtime deposit.

The parking lot must be vacated within 15 minutes of the termination of an evening event so our staff may lock the gates. No vehicles may be left overnight. No one involved with a rental, including decorators, may be outside in the gardens after dark.

What about clean-up?

All decorations should be removed and the room(s) and outside facilities left as you found them. Trash and recyclables should be left for disposal by our staff. This does not include large cardboard boxes and food preparation materials which must be removed by the rental party or caterer. 

Is there an additional charge for holding a rehearsal or entering Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation for other planning purposes?

Rehearsals can be scheduled up to one month in advance of the rental at no additional charge. The rehearsal must work around other rentals and events and take place during our regular hours of operation. Please remember that Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation closes at 5 p.m unless specific appointment is made for another time.

Are golf carts available for use?

No vehicles (including limousines, horse-drawn carriages, rickshaws etc.) may proceed beyond the parking area. The bridal carriage may enter the long drive to the area by the residence our our founder John Fairey, but may not leave the drive to enter he garden or grass areas.

Are the gardens Accessible?

No. There is limited areas that provide accessibility. If you use the arboretum, the access is greatest and there will be no stairs or narrow paths to contend with.