Construction and Installation

The Hartman Prehistoric Garden covers 1.5 acres at Zilker Botanical Garden, and was built at a cost of $800,000. The garden includes: a 45,000 gallon system of 4 ponds and a large waterfall; one pre-existing and two constructed limestone cliffs; an eight foot tall and thirteen foot long bronze sculpture of an Ornithomimus dinosaur sculpted by John Maisano of the Texas Memorial Museum; a proposed six foot bronze sculpture of a prehistoric turtle by the same artist; a shelter; a small garden of petrified wood; stone benches and bridges; crushed granite pathways; and a large collection of plants that have evolved since, or are very similar to those of, the Cretaceous Period. The Austin Area Garden Council has raised 70% of the total funds, 50% of which have been donated as a challenge grant from the Hartman Foundation. Brian Larson of the Larson/Burns Landscape Architecture firm has donated much of his time in planning the garden. Project manager is Bill Wilmont of L and R Construction. Horticultural consultant and volunteer coordinator is Craig Nazor. The process of preparing the land and creating a lush tropical garden is a long one. Countless hours have been donated by loyal volunteers, including volunteer construction crews. To provide a glimpse into this vast undertaking, Craig Nazor photographed all stages of construction, and we include a sample of images in our construction journal.

The driving force behind the project has been Claudette Hartman, whose energy, commitment and vision have been an inspiration to everyone involved. As chair of the steering committee for the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, she has provided the leadership to assure the Garden's completion. The Garden will offer a glimpse into the distant past, and will encourage Austinites of all ages to learn more about the rich natural history of central Texas. The Hartman Foundation has provided the community of Austin with a long-enduring gift through their generosity of funds and spirit.


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