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Plant Focus

Quercus peninsularis
A Red Oak (Section Lobatae) endemic to inland ranges of northern Baja California, Mexico

Oak Open Days in Texas

Event Date: 
Thursday, 12 October 2023 to Monday, 16 October 2023

The event will feature visits to important oak collections in three gardens in Texas, as well as other attractions in Houston and a tour of southwest Hill Country. 

Participants may attend any of the activities in the itinerary and will be responsible for their accommodation and transport. Depending on demand, a rental van may be provided at shared cost. Entry to each garden will be free for IOS members. Follow the links below to learn more about each venue. Please write to tours@internationaloaksociety.org if you wish to participate, indicating which days you plan to attend.


Thursday, October 12 (half day)

Houston Botanic Garden
Houston Botanic Garden (courtesy HBG)

Described by Condé Nast Traveler as "a lush oasis", 132-acre Houston Botanic Garden opened in September 2020.  It features an impressive range of plants that reflect various Texas Gulf Coast habitats, from coastal prairie to woodland glades, as well as from other subtropical parts of the world. It is located on the site of a former golf course with mature trees that include Q. virginiana, Q. stellata, and two impressive Q. phellos

Friday, October 13

Visit The John Fairey Garden, Hempstead 

John Fairey Garden
Oak Berm, The John Fairey Garden (courtesy TJFG)

Established by John Fairey in 1971, The John Fairey Garden (formerly Peckerwood Garden) is an extraordinary preservation garden on 39 acres near Hempstead, Texas. The garden is widely acclaimed for the originality of its design, its education and conservation programs, and its exceptional collection of over 3,000 plants, including many endangered and rare plants from Mexico, North America, and Asia. The breadth and quality of the living oak collection at The John Fairey Garden, presently numbering approximately 90 taxa, has garnered universal respect. Most of this collection are from Mexico and Texas, with the remainder from other areas of the US, Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Saturday, October 14

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin

Lady Brid Johnson Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (tripadvisor)

Spanning over 284 acres, this stunning center offers a captivating display of over 800 species of Texas plants in their natural habitats. It is also designated the official state botanic garden and arboretum of Texas. The 16-acre Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum features a diversity of Texas trees, including a Texas oak collection, which currently contains approximately 25 species of native oaks.

Sunday, October 15

San Antonio Botanical Garden, San Antonio

San Antonio Botanical Garden
San Antonio Botanical Garden (tripadvisor)

This expertly tended, 38-acre garden complex boasts diverse plant collections and beautiful gardens showcasing native Texas flora, including oaks. The Texas Native Trail features three distinctive and diverse ecological regions of Texas: the Hill Country (Edwards Plateau), East Texas Pineywoods, and South Texas.

Monday, October 16

  • Tour of SW Hill Country

    A day trip through the hills and valleys of Medina, Uvalde, Real, Edwards, and Kerr counties.  The Texas Hill Country west of San Antonio is an area rich in natural beauty and botanical diversity.  This section of the Edwards Plateau consists of limestone hills rising above 2,000 ft elevation containing many upland oak species and isolated populations of Pinus remota (Texas pinyon pine).  Spring-fed canyons and clear streams dissect the terrain and provide habitat for mesic species including Quercus muehlenbergii and towering Taxodium distichum (bald cypress).  The trip will be led by Phillip Schulze, Arboretum Manager at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and will include stops at public and private locations and many back roads in between.  Oak species to be encountered include Q. fusiformis, Q. laceyi, Q. buckleyi, Q. marilandica var. ashei, Q. muehlenbergii, Q. vaseyana, Q. stellata, and Q. sinuata var. breviloba.  The tour will begin and end in San Antonio.  Participants should expect a full day on the road.

    We anticipate renting a van for the tour; rental and fuel costs would be shared among tour participants.
  • End tour back at San Antonio



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