September 24 - October 1, 2011: A Trip to New England
August 24-27, 2011: Prudence's Birthday in San Antonio
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September 17, 2011
A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum


Today, Fred and I along with our friends Mario and Steve have decided to go over to the Arboretum for their annual Fall pumpkin festival. Usually, we go just before Halloween, but the four of us have a week-long trip scheduled to New England next week, and then Fred has a visit to his Mom's to do and then we are going to Florida in the middle of October. So this was the best time to go- a good time as it turned out since the festival had just started and the number of pumpkins (they sell them throughout the festival) would be at their maximum. We had breakfast at the Original Pancake House on Lemmon Avenue on the way to the gardens.


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.

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.


Our Walk Through the Arboretum

Fred and I have been to the Arboretum more times than I can count, and you may well have seen some of the other photo album pages that detail our visits here. We have even been specifically to the Fall Festival a number of times.

For our walk today, I've prepared a large aerial view of the gardens and marked the locations where we took our pictures today. Most of the pictures we took were in and around the Fall Festival, but I have marked the other locations as well. I have put this large aerial view in a scrollable window at left. (The upper left corner of the image is White Rock Lake, so if you will scroll down, the actual Arboretum will come into view.)

Our visit began at the entrance to the gardens which, in the aerial view, is at the bottom left. So scroll all the way to the bottom to follow us along. You can return to this scrollable window as often as you wish to see the general route we took.


Members Plaza

We began in the area just inside the entrance- the Plaza. Here, a great many pumpkins and gourds of all kinds and descriptions had been placed. Click on the thumbnails below to see six of the best pictures we took here:

We took a couple of other pictures here on the plaza just for fun, and you can have a look at Fred hiding among the pumpkins here and another picture of the pumpkins here.

Pumpkins on Parade

Just about the entire border of the plaza area was lined in pumpkins and gourds, and I thought I'd walk along them an make a movie.


Jonsson Color Garden/Main Lawn

From the plaza, we went down a short flight of steps to the garden entry and the walkway that leads down into the Fern Dell. This is an area along an artificial stream that is constantly misted, thus allowing lush vegetation and ferns to grow even in summer. We cross a bridge and then come up to the south end of an area called the Main Lawn. From here, you can look across the southern end of White Rock Lake towards downtown Dallas (although you can see downtown better from the area on the hill above the bandshell). Here at the south end of the main lawn begins a long, curved walkway that completely encircles the lawn- which is one of the central foci of the gardens, and extremely busy in the Spring and Summer when the azaleas and other flowers are in full bloom. You can see a picture of me here at the south end of the main lawn here.

The four of us continued our walk around the main lawn heading north to come to the entrance to one of the newer areas of the Arboretum- the Woman's Garden.


A Woman's Garden

Here, we stopped to photograph two sculptures, and you can have a look at them here and here. Our path led us through the two levels of the Woman's Garden and then on a winding path up and down some steps.


The Boswell Family Garden

Coming up from the Woman's garden, we come to a long flight of steps that leads down into the Boswell Family Garden. Here, there is a rectangular lawn surrounded by a walkway and benches- some in sunlight and some shaded by the large magnolias nearby. It is indeed a quiet, contemplative place. The whimsical feature of the garden is the water feature and sculpture of two youngsters in a playful pose. (You can see the sculpture in the picture at left.)

I recall once years ago when Jeffie came to the garden with us that she and I got up on the sculpture and imitated the pose of the two bronze figures. You may have seen that picture already in this album.


The Lay Ornamental Garden

We walked back up to the Paseo, the main walkway through the Gardens, and back to the entrance to the Lay Ornamental Garden- just past the Camp House.

Just inside the entrance to this garden is an interesting fountain, actually more like a ribbed bowl with water flowing gently down the sides. It is in a grove of large crepe myrtles, and is a nice spot to sit and relax, shaded as it is. Here, Mario and I stopped to relax and chat while Steve and Fred caught up with us.

The Lay Ornamental Garden contains beautiful beds of all kinds of flowers and shrubs, many of which bloom at different times of the year, so there is always something to see. Fred took a couple of flower pictures today, and you can see them here and here.

The (Herman) Lay Ornamental Garden is a 2.2-acre Texas cottage garden, filled with hundreds of perennials and a dynamic falling water curtain set against native limestone walls (see picture above). Click the thumbnail images at right to see some additional views of the water curtain. Just below the limestone walls there is a lily pond that also contains small Koi. And just beside that is another water feature, this time a tiered waterfall, that falls into another pond that has much larger Koi. Lastly, there is a collection of of the year, so there is always something to see. Fred took a couple of flower pictures today, and you can see them bronze wildlife figures nestled throughout the garden, these donated by the Trammell Crow Family. Fred took some additional pictures of the lily pond and Koi ponds, and you can have a look at them by clicking on the thumbnails below:


The Fall Festival

Leaving the Lay Ornamental Garden, we walked back out to the circular walkway in front of the Camp House; this is the northern terminus of the Paseo- the main walkway through the Gardens. We walked along back south towards the entrance, took a detour through the test gardens so that Steve and Fred could have a look at what the Arboretum was experimenting with, and then wound around Toad Corner (the four water-spouting toads that you've seen before) and back to the Paseo. Walking a little further along, we came to the Fall Festival off to our left.

The theme for the Fall Festival is usually the beloved fairy tale Cinderella, due to the obvious pumpkin tie-in. Characters and story elements appear in various forms throughout the Festival. There are houses that appear to be built of pumpkins, there is an elegant pumpkin carriage, and one house that served as the venue for Cinderella's fifteen minutes of fame- when hers is the only foot delicate enough to fit into the glass slipper.

Take a look at some of these very well done and fanciful story elements as imagined in pumpkins and gourds by clicking on teh thumbnail images below. (One of the pictures takes us outside the Fall Festival to one of the permanent kid's structures that sit between the Fall Festival area and the entrance buildings.)

I borrowed Fred's camera to make a nice, long movie as I wandered around the Fall Festival looking at the pumpkins and gourds, walked through some of the structures and generally looked all around the area. Watch it with the player at right.

The afternoon at the Fall Festival at the Dallas Arboretum was enjoyable, as always.

You can use the links below to continue to the album page for different day.

September 24 - October 1, 2011: A Trip to New England
August 24-27, 2011: Prudence's Birthday in San Antonio
Return to Index for 2011