March 30, 1996: At the Mesquite Rodeo
March 9, 1996: Lowery Evans' Birthday Party
Return to the Index for 1996

March 24, 1996
A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum


Today, Sunday, Fred and I have arranged to take Prudence and her sister Nancy to the Dallas Arboretum and afterwards have some dinner together. There have been pages devoted to visits to the Arboretum before, and there will be many more as well; many of these visits are timed to take advantage of "Dallas Blooms!", the Arboretum's Spring event. Each year, there is a theme for the event, and this year it is "Alice in Wonderland", which will account for many of the literary references made real with flowers and foliage that you will see in today's pictures.


Getting to the Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum is not too far from where I live over on Inwood- I'd guess about six or seven miles as the crow flies (see the map opposite)- but you can't get there as the crow flies because White Rock Lake is in the way. So you can either go through town and wind your way around the south end of the lake or you can take Mockingbird over around the north side of the lake. Today, Prudence and Nancy came to my house and then we just took Mockingbird over to Buckner Boulevard to Garland Road and the Arboretum.

In this closer view, you can see the south end of White Rock Lake and you can pick out the bike trail that hugs the lake shore almost all the way around. At the south end is White Rock Lake Dam and spillway, which takes the overflow water and sends it under Garland Road to continue on down to the Trinity River.

The bike path used to cross the top of the dam, but for one reason or another, the bike path was rerouted a year ago, and now it goes through some parkland and playing fields south of the dam, across the spillway, up Garland Road for a ways, and then back north along the lake shore.

You can also see a closer view of the Arboretum in this picture, and can begin to pick out some of the pathways through the gardens.

Finally, in this close-up of the Arboretum itself, you can see most of the major features- including the parking area just off Garland Road, the new administrative buildings, the restaurant and gift shop (all right near the parking lot) and, off in the middle of the gardens, the DeGolyer house (the former residence of the family that donated the land for the Arboretum to the Arboretum Society.

You can also see the maze of pathways that criss-cross the gardens.


The Layout of the Dallas Arboretum

As you are probably already aware, I have a penchant in this photo album for tying together our pictures with other elements- such as maps, aerial views and various diagrams- so you can get a feel for where we were when a particular picture was taken. In addition to the map and aerial views above, I want to include a diagram of the Dallas Arboretum on this page, and on it I will mark some of the locations where pictures were taken and add some captions so you can tie our position in the Arboretum to the picture narratives. Here is that diagram:

The Arboretum opened in 1984, and has been expanding and growing ever since. Originally, the 66-acre plot created with the donation of the DeGolyer Estate and the purchase by the city of the Alex Camp House adjacent, contained only a few small gardens; much of the rest of the property was as yet undeveloped. By the time we purchased a membership in 1993, about half of the property had been developed into a series of themed gardens. This development continues. The diagram above, a version of which you will see or have seen on every album page devoted to a trip to this wonderful attraction, is a diagram current in 2013. At least two of the gardens marked on it- "A Womans Garden" and "The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill" did not exist on today's visit. (The woman's garden would open in stages beginning next year, and the Red Maple Rill would not exist until 2011.) But we can still use the diagram, for the main layout of the garden has remained the same.


Pictures From Today's Visit

We parked the car and entered the Arboretum through the main entrance. (The entrance shown on the diagram above did not exist in 1997; there was a small entry station south of where the new entry plaza, gift shop, restaurant and educational buildings are now.)

Me, Nancy, Prudence and Fred on the Paseo

Although not the first picture we took this afternoon, this tripod shot of the four of us taken near the DeGolyer house is a good introduction to the rest of them. The attraction here, of course, was this beautiful area of tulips, and we took a couple of pictures here.

Most of the current Arboretum was once part of a 44-acre estate known as Rancho Encinal, built for geophysicist Everette Lee DeGolyer and his wife Nell. Mrs. DeGolyer's interests included her extensive flower gardens. The DeGolyer Home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1976, the DeGolyer estate has formed the largest portion of the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. The addition of the adjoining Alex and Roberta Coke Camp estate increased the size of the grounds to sixty-six acres.

The 21,000-square-foot Spanish-style DeGolyer Home was completed in 1940; you can now tour the house, which overlooks White Rock Lake and the Dallas skyline. There is also a small cafe in the house. As I mentioned above, though, the new visitors center would not open for another six years. Named for Dallas developer Trammell Crow, the center consists of a gift shop, meeting room, gazebo, and a patio area overlooking White Rock Lake.

We actually took a couple of pictures of ourselves here; I agree with Fred that if you're taking a picture of a group of people, it's wise to take a couple of them. You will almost always find one that looks better for one reason or another. My pick of the two is the one above, but you can also see the other one here.

I actually took our first picture just inside the entry when we happened upon the first of many floral and foliage creations with the "Alice in Wonderland" theme. So I stopped to take a picture of Prudence, Fred and Nancy underneath the Cheshire Cat. The cat was made of some kind of ivy, although the teeth were added on!

Prudence and Nancy

On this particular outing, I wanted to take a good many pictures, partially because I wanted Prudence to have a selection that she could use on her home page on the Internet when she gets around to developing it. As usual, when I take lots of pictures, I don't do the discriminating job that I should with each one. But then professional photographers do the same thing; they count on a few gems among the large number of rejects. The same happened today; I got some really excellent shots like the one at right, with nice smiles from both girls and a pretty nice background.

Here are clickable thumbnails for two more pictures of the girls, each taken individually, and each using an array of yellow tulips as a background:

When we got our pictures back, I discovered that Fred had been taking a picture of me taking a picture of Prudence and Nancy, and I thought it made an interesting addition to this page. Also along the Paseo Prudence took this picture of myself, Nancy and Fred near the Camp house.

Prudence and Nancy at Tea

I think the picture at left of Prudence and her sister having tea with the Mad Hatter is an excellent one. It was spoiled at the time with someone in the background, but since I'm creating this page in 2015, I have the tools to "Photoshop him out", which I have been careful to do. Prudence (and Nancy) liked this picture as well, and Prudence eventually used it on the World Wide Web "home page" that we created for her next year.

As I said, there were figures from Alice and Wonderland throughout the garden, and we took the time to use many of them as photo ops. For example, here is Prudence with the Queen of Hearts. Were I Fred, I could tell you just what the flowers are behind Prudence; but, since I'm not, I can just admire their beauty. Below are clickable thumbnails for a couple more of our "photo ops":

We also made a stop back in the Lay Family Garden (which used to be at the extreme east end of the Arboretum before the Rory Meyers Children's Garden was constructed on the last of the Arboretum's vacant land). In this garden are the three curtain waterfalls, one of which you can see behind me in the picture Fred took of me in the Lay Garden. As we worked our way around through the Lay Garden and then between the Camp house and White Rock Lake, Fred got a nice picture of me overlooking White Rock Lake. All during the afternoon, clouds had been building in the west, and we were a bit worried we might get rained on. But at least things were a bit cooler on this particularly warm day for March.

Azaleas in the Jonsson Color Garden

The rest of the pictures we took today we took in and around the Jonsson Color Garden. This is a three-lobed garden west of the DeGolyer Estate and north of the Fern Dell. The north side of the lobes of the garden is lined with azaleas, and they are a riot of color when they are blooming- as you can see in the picture of me with them at left. The daffodils certainly were pretty, too.

I really like azaleas; when they are in bloom they have so many flowers that it's a bit overwhelming. I recall that they were very, very common all around Charlotte, North Carolina, when I lived there. Fred says they are a pain to grow here, though, as they have to have their own beds of pine bark and mulch. Also, during the ten months of the year that they don't bloom, they are just green bushes. Still, I would consider taking out the plantings in front of my house, putting in the right kind of dirt and mulch and then planting azaleas; after all, all my stuff is just green anyway.

We always take a stroll along the walkway on the north side of the garden. The azaleas are on the outside of the walk, while inside are seasonal flowers and plants that don't need special soil or mulch. Quite often, tulips are what we find the most of.

Prudence and Tulips in the Jonsson Color Garden

In this area of the grounds are the most spectacular plantings, including most of the azaleas. It seems that azaleas bloom at different times, depending on their variety, so one needs to return frequently throughout Dallas Blooms to see the various ones. Today, there is a beautiful variety of flowers; Fred certainly picked the right time to come. I think the picture of Prudence amid the white tulips is a nice one.

We took more pictures here of the azaleas and of each other, and I have put clickable thumbnails below for the best of these:

The Arboretum always does a great job on its landscaping, and it's always a pleasure to wander through. That's why Fred and I got a "family" membership- so we could go when we wanted.

You may wonder about that last picture. Every once in a while, I get the urge for a humorous shot, but I should learn to resist those urges. I think what I was going for here is obvious (if it is not, please do not ask me to explain it to you), but it just turned out looking a bit stupid. Anyway, we had a great walk around the grounds. Later that evening, we did dinner and a movie, and then went back to my place for coffee.

Another enjoyable afternoon and evening.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

March 30, 1996: At the Mesquite Rodeo
March 9, 1996: Lowery Evans' Birthday Party
Return to the Index for 1996