Most precious part of Zilker Botanical Garden reflects the spirit of one man

The drawing-rooms of one of the most magnificent private residences in Austin are a blaze of lights. Carriages line the streets in front, and from gate to doorway is spread a velvet carpet, on which the delicate feet of the guests may tread. The occasion is the entrance into society of one of the fairest buds in the City of the Violet Crown.

“Tictoca,” William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), The Rolling Stone, October 27, 1894

Clara Driscoll Sevier, who loved flowers to the point of promoting a rose garden next to the Alamo as more desirable than saving its historic convent walls, found Austin lacking a garden club for women. To remedy this, she invited a group of ladies to Laguna Gloria, her home that is now The Contemporary Austin, to establish one in 1924. O. Henry’s reference to the violet-crowned hills of Austin inspired the name for the new group, the Violet Crown Garden Club.

Annual flower shows were the primary focus of the club until 1946 when members set aside modest seed money of $50 to initiate efforts to seek space in the city’s Zilker Park for a botanical garden. The Violet Crown Garden Club recruited six other garden clubs to join its quest and their persistence finally resulted in the 1964 completion of the Austin Area Garden Center building in what became the Zilker Botanical Garden.

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Four

Picnickers with Pearl Beer in Koehler Park, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. R. San Miguel, UTSA Libraries Special Collections

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Eighty-Three

Emma Bentzen Koehler, December 1915

“Otto’s revenge, this is. I never thought of myself as the vengeful type, but, I must confess, this is the best Christmas present I have ever given or received.”

“Ah, Emma,” says Judge Newton, “I believe it was best expressed in Beowulf: ‘It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.’”

“Maybe, Gallie, that is indeed why this feels so good.”

“Aunt Emma,” says Corwin Priest, “eleven acres along the river is a Christmas gift for all of San Antonio. Otto Koehler Park. Uncle Otto must be kicking his heels together up above us. Is it true that part of that land might be haunted?”

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“Uncommon Greetings” postcard perfect

‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Funky bud vases. I was supposed to be on a mission, but everything else was so distracting – the collective labels it “transcendent junk” – that I’m not sure I would have noticed a bud vase unless I knocked it over accidentally and it shattered it on the floor.

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