March 22, 2004: A Visit to Gerry Vitale in Chicago
March 4, 2004: A Visit with Greg in Austin
Return to Index for 2004

March 7, 2004
A Visit to the Arboretum


It's Spring at the Arboretum, and a nice cool day, so Fred and I have had some breakfast and have come over to the Dallas Arboretum to enjoy the spring displays.


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. Which way you go depends on traffic, but, since we were coming from the Original Pancake House on Northwest Highway, we could take that right across town and come into the Arboretum from the same direction as from Mockingbird.

White Rock Lake is where one of the long bike trails is, and we have biked around it numerous times.

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.

I don't suppose it's particularly important that you know exactly where we were in the Arboretum when each picture was taken today, but I have obtained a current map of the Arboretum (see below), and I'll try to mark the location of the pictures we took with little yellow numbered stars. This way, you can get an idea of the layout of the gardens and have an appreciation for just how far you can wander around. Membership in the Arboretum has been one of the best investments we've made, for it is always a joy to go there.

We had some breakfast and arrived at the Arboretum just after noontime. Our first stop was the entry area (#1) where there are always a lot of seasonal plants on display. This is done in case there are patrons who can't get out into the gardens themselves; at least they can see a sampling of what is in bloom.

Today, there is a good selection of early Spring blooming plants on display. There was a wide selection, and I was always asking Fred what they were (if I couldn't see a little sign), but he was busy taking his own pictures.

We walked through the entry plaza towards the walkway down to the Fern Grotto (#2). The Fern Grotto has a misting system, since, particularly in the summer, the ferns and other plants have to be kept moist. There is also an artificial pond and stream that runs through the grotto, adding to the feeling of calm, and providing more humidity for the plants. Use the players below to have a look at a couple of movies of the Fern Grotto:

The Fern Grotto

Pond and Stream in the Fern Grotto

As we walked along the walkway on one side of the grotto, I happened to spot a lady in her Sunday best sitting on a bench on the other side of the stream. I thought that the color of her outfit in contrast to the surrounding green was striking, and I took a couple of pictures of her. You can look at those pictures here and here.

We walked through the Fern Grotto to the other end, and then out onto the main lawn (#3) of the Arboretum. The main lawn is actually two large sections. The western section is surrounded by azaleas on one side and the Fern Grotto on the other; it is too early for the azaleas to be blooming or I would have taken pictures of them. The eastern section has azaleas on one side, and the Women's Garden and DeGolyer House on the other. We didn't go down into the Women's Garden today as there was not much blooming there.

But out on the lawn, there were daffodils in profusion, as well as a huge field of purple flowers whose name I have forgotten. You might know what they are if I show you one in closeup.

We walked through the Women's Garden quickly and then past the DeGolyer House to the bandshell (#4). Today there was some kind of performance going on and some people sitting on the lawn picnicking or just listening. I thought this would be a good time to make a movie of the performance lawn, and you can watch that movie using the player at left.

From the performance lawn, we walked through the back garden and stopped at the waterfalls, and then left that part of the Arboretum to follow the main walkway (#5) through the center of the Arboretum back towards the entrance plaza. Along the way, there were two large rectangles planted with what looked like yellow impatiens. I thought I would film a movie and ask Fred what they were so I could capture the answer, and I did that, but when I asked him what was "blooming out," he thought I meant the magnolia tree in the background. You can watch this little movie with the player at right.

We didn't spend as much time here today as we often do, but all in all it was still a pleasant visit.

When we got home, and since I had my camera out, I thought I would record the fact that on my own patio, the Carolina Jasmine was blooming profusely, as it usually does in the Spring. It has started a bit early this year, but from all indications it looks as if the blooming will continue for more than the usual three or four weeks. Anyway, you can watch the movie I made of my Carolina Jasmine with the player at left.

March 22, 2004: A Visit to Gerry Vitale in Chicago
March 4, 2004: A Visit with Greg in Austin
Return to Index for 2004