June 7, 1997: My Mom Moves to Dallas
March 15, 1997: Lowery Evans' Birthday Party
Return to the Index for 1997

April 6, 1997
A Visit to the Arboretum with Jeffie


Today, the Arboretum in Dallas is right in the middle of "Dallas Blooms!", the yearly spring flower extravaganza. We try to go every year, and this Sunday we are going to take advantage of our membership and take my niece, Jeffie, along with us.


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, we just took Mockingbird over to Buckner Boulevard to Garland Road and the Arboretum.

Of course today we stopped by my Jeffie's apartment on McKinney to pick her up, but then we went up US 75 to Mockingbird and then followed our normal route to the gardens.

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.

Today we met Jeffie for breakfast at the Original Pancake House on Lemmon Avenue, and then took her over to the Arboretum for the Dallas Blooms festival. The day was wonderful- just a bit warm but certainly pleasant. There were lots of people out there on such a nice day.

We usually make a circular transit of the entire Arboretum each time we visit. We start at the entry, go around through the Fern Dell and around the main lawn and the Jonsson Color Garden, and then work our way back to the Lay Family Garden at the east end of the Arboretum, coming back to the entry along the garden's main walkway, the Paseo del Flores.

Below I have put a copy of the Garden Map from the Arboretum's website, and on it I have marked some of the locations where we took pictures today.
(NOTE: I am writing this page in 2015, and the Arboretum has maintained a website for many years. But at this exact time in 1997, the Internet and World Wide Web are still in their infancy, comparatively speaking, and I am not at all sure that the Dallas Arboretum had a website yet. After all, Google itself won't be incorporated until next year.)


The Jonsson Color Garden

To begin our trip through the Arboretum today, we came in through the entry plaza (actually, in 1997, the entry was a bit south of where the new plaza and gift shop and educational buildings are) and worked our way around the west side of the Fern Dell and out along the north side of the Jonsson Color Garden. It is here that most of the beautiful azaleas in the Arboretum are located.

Most of the azaleas in the Dallas Arboretum are situated along the northside walkway around the Jonsson Color Garden. These pathways by the beautiful azaleas are among my favorite places at the Arboretum- particularly when they are a riot of color as they are now. At left is a nice picture that Fred took of Jeffie and I among the azaleas.

In addition to the azaleas here, there are also flowering pears and other trees. I got a nice picture of Fred and Jeffie by the dogwoods in bloom. The azaleas are also bordered by other flowers and plants; here, you can see some of the beautiful azaleas fronted by multicolored anemones.

There were lots of people here admiring the riot of color that azaleas give you in the spring, and we got lots of good pictures. I got a nice one of Jeffie and Fred by the azaleas and anemones, and a bit later on I found and photographed some unusual orange azaleas. That particular color is unusual, as is seeing azaleas in more of a tree form, rather than as low bushes. The colors of the azalea flowers were just wonderful, and both Fred and I took a number of pictures of them up close. You can click on the thumbnail images below to see some of them:

By the way, Fred took the time to photograph the anemones carefully and close up, and you can see a very nice picture of a double anemone flower here.

We continued around the north side of the Jonsson Color Garden until we came around by the portcullis at the west end of the DeGoyler Mansion. I supposed this is still part of the Color Garden, but since we stopped here to take quite a few pictures of some of the other flowers in bloom, I've labeled it differently on the map above. One nice picture I got was of Fred and Jeffie with azaleas, tulips and ornamental pear trees near the DeGolyer Mansion, and you can see that picture at right.

The plants and flowers here were amazingly beautiful, as I think you will agree if you see some of the pictures that we took here by the DeGolyer Mansion. Click on the thumbnail images below to see some of these wonderful floral displays:

From here, we came over to the Paseo del Flores, the main walkway through the gardens, and we walked eastward. On the diagram above, you see that there is apparently a rectangular garden north of the mansion, but the diagram I used is a current one, and that garden, now called "A Woman's Garden", has not been constructed yet.


The McCasland Sunken Garden

Coming around the south side of the DeGolyer Mansion on the Paseo del Flores, we left the walkway to stroll through some of our favorite areas of the Arboretum.

First, we took a walk through Magnolia Alley, which is a walkway flanked by 45-foot magnolia trees. At the east end of the Allee is a beautiful fountain, where I stopped to take a nice picture of Jeffie and Fred.

Then we came to the McCasland Sunken Garden. Actually, in 1997 this area was simply The Sunken Garden. It was not until 2006 that Tom and Phyllis McCasland donated the money to renovate and upgrade this garden. The design, by Warren Johnson, features a central aisle, lined with Italian jardinières, that leads down a series of steps towards a sunlit grass court surrounded by seasonal plantings. At those steps is the Chico y Chica de la Playa sculpture and accompanying fountain, which provide a tranquil setting for the many weddings that take place in this secluded garden. I've always liked the sculpture, so I prevailed on Jeffie to help me duplicate it. Fred took our picture as we did so, and that is the picture you see at left.

We left this garden by the steps at its eastern end, which lead to the lawn above the performance stage. As we ascended the steps, I got the idea for another staged picture (which I tentatively titled “Holy New York Public Library, Batman!”). I got Fred to take our picture as we hammed it up, and you can see that picture here.

From the sunken garden, we wandered across the top of the performance lawn, past some bronze deer sculptures (where Jeffie and I posed for another hopefully humorous picture) and then walked through the Lay Family Garden (where there are some neat waterfalls).

From the Lay Garden, we came back west along Paseo del Flores, passing the Alex Camp House (the other structure donated to the Arboretum by its owner way back when) and then angling off through the Test Gardens. These are long beds where the Arboretum tests plants and flowers to gauge how well they will do in the Texas climate. Often, they discover that the plants can't deal with the summer heat, our frequent dry spells, or even our relatively mild winters. But everything is labeled, and Fred likes to look and see how things are doing.

Just west of the Test Gardens is the Crepe Myrtle Allee- a long row of giant Crepe Myrtles that runs from the Paseo to the Frog Fountains. The Frog Fountains are four gigantic frogs with water spouts coming out of their mouths, with the water landing in the middle of the four, draining down and then being recirculated. It is usually full of kids in the summer who like to play with the water, or go under the arcs of water or whatever.

In the spirit of trying to be funny with my niece along, I had Fred direct me to a pose that I intended to make appear as if I was the one spouting water. It wasn't perfect, but you can see the result at right.

From the Frog Fountains we walked through the Allee and back up to the Paseo, and then turned back towards the entrance plaza. Near the Paseo there is a shady lawn, and we passed a couple of adults seemingly asleep in the warm afternoon. I wanted a picture that would make it look as if Jeffie had waved her arms and caused them to fall asleep. It was pretty lame, but you can see the result here.

The Arboretum is just about plants; a few times each year, there is some sort of ongoing exhibit in the gardens. One year it might be treehouses. Another year might be nursery rhymes. At Christmas, it might be carousels. On our last visit here with Prudence and Nancy, the theme was Alice in Wonderland. You will see quite a few of these exhibits in later years of this photo album (or perhaps you already have). As they do each year, there is a different theme during Dallas Blooms. This time it is a space theme, with figures named for stars, constellations and planets. Each installation had a cute name, like "Pluto’s Petunia Partners" or Saturn's Snapdragons. These are for the kids (as are many of the exhibits that we have seen and will see).

At right are Jeffie and Fred with a robot figure, that particular installation being right in the middle of the Paseo. I took pictures of each of the figures we ran across (although I'm not sure we saw them all). At one point, I found a pair of weird sunglasses laying on the lawn, so I put them on to add some whimsy to a few of the pictures. Below there are clickable thumbnails for the pictures that I took:

A half hour later we found ourselves back at the entrance. I think Jeffie had a good time this afternoon; I know that Fred and I did. And I appreciated having someone along with a sense of humor who helped me indulge my own.

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

June 7, 1997: My Mom Moves to Dallas
March 15, 1997: Lowery Evans' Birthday Party
Return to the Index for 1997