The new state of the art CHEF teaching kitchen in the Goldsbury Foundation Pavilion will serve as communal space to disseminate information regarding growing and cooking veggies and fruits. Enrique Bonilla, The Paisano.

San Antonio Botanical Garden unveils interactive expansion to the public this weekend.

 

As urban society becomes further industrialized there’s not a day that goes by without concrete, steel and electronics.

For those of us looking to escape the concrete desert that is the city, San Antonio Botanical Garden is an oasis in our ever-expanding city.

Located near the northeast side of downtown, SABG has grown massively since its groundbreaking ceremony in 1976.

This year it will grow an additional eight acres.

“In 2013, we started what we are calling Phase 1,” says Executive Director of the garden Bob Brackman as he walks through the new road leading to a new parking lot which was added to the park’s footprint.

Brackman and associates have spent considerable energy and thought into every piece of the park that has been added over the past four years.

The new parking lot coined “parking garden” was designed with the surrounding environment in mind.

Low impact development design for this parking garden means water that runs off into the surrounding flora in the area is slowed down and captured to percolate into the soil rather than shifting into the drains.

It is with this environmentally friendly and sustainable energy ethos that the rest of the expansion was created.

A short walk through the parking lot leads to the beautiful, yet inconspicuous new entrance facility.

The Halswell Welcome Building is a beautiful mimic of the quarry canyon walls of south Texas; the architecture is quiet and low impact.

The awning allows for guests to remain outside under shelter without having to enter into a conditioned space only to return outside again.

Wood for the majority of the expansion is a gorgeous sinker cypress reclaimed from the swamps of Louisiana and Florida after short 300 years.

“We wanted to have the buildings subordinate to the landscape,” says Brackman, “Typically you would have a prime consultant as the architect and the landscape architect working underneath the architect. We did the opposite. We wanted the landscaping to sing the loudest.”

Once inside the Mays Family Display Garden gives new meaning to the word color through the new family of plants added to the already massive pallet of the garden.

Perennial plants, like Tecoma, Red Yucca and Lantana, meet visitors at the entrance with year-round vibrancy.

The H-E-B Exploration Stations enclosed by hafele style glass doors to the right past the entrance is filled with monitors and literature full of information, history, classes and conservation efforts as related to garden.

Just beyond this structure lies the 34-bed culinary garden filled with edible cultivars of beans, basil, citrus trees, fig trees and many others.

Adjacent is the CHEF (Culinary Health Education for Families) teaching kitchen, which acts as an outdoor classroom where people can see, smell, taste and learn about what’s in the garden.

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The kitchen is powered by 99 solar panels as well as a 29,000-gallon cistern that captures rainwater to source the Culinary Garden in rhythm with the rest of the park’s sustainable energy mentality.

 

SABG plans to unveil its newest expansion Saturday Oct. 21, 2017.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for San Antonio’s immersive new gardens takes place at 9:30 a.m.

The event is free for SABG members and $9-12 for general admission. As the sun sets, the Moonlight in the Garden of Good and Evil thematically delves into the world of folklore for the grand opening’s after party.

“We’ll have a haunted lake, so that will be an interesting experience; people can take a walk around the trail that’s around the lake, and we’ll have some surprises out there,” ambiguously mentions Connie Swan, Marketing director of the garden.

Tickets are $35 for general admission. The garden promises expanded growth A.K.A. the unveiling of Phase 2 by March of 2018.

If you find yourself curious with time to spend downtown, make your way to 555 Funston Pl. to see the lush botanical garden growing in your own backyard.

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