May 2-18, 2012: Our Cruise to Europe
March 4, 2012: Dallas's Calatrava Bridge Opens
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March 24, 2012
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.

Although we usually make a circular transit of the entire Arboretum each time we visit, our primary purpose today is to have a good look at the new Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill, an area devoted to maples and water features that is situated between the Woman's Garden and the performance stage and lawn. As I have done for other visits, I have put a large diagram of the Arboretum below so you can see where we are:

I'll divide up today's pictures by garden, and with each group you'll find a little inset map with our current location marked. So let's head off on our walk through the Arboretum today.


Entry and Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion

Membership in the Arboretum has been one of the best things we've done; it is always an experience each time we visit. Flashing our membership cards, we enter from the parking area and find ourselves in a pavilion surrounded by the Education Center, the Gift Shop, the Display Hall and the outdoor restaurant. There is a waterfall here that you have seen before, and always a welcoming floral display. There are clickable thumbnails below for the two pictures we took here:


The Jonsson Color Garden

The Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden nestles gracefully on 6.5-acres and is planted with more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas. Designed by Naud Burnett, the garden blooms lavishly in the spring with daffodils, tulips and dogwood. Summer brings canna and caladiums and in the fall, the garden is lush with chrysanthemums. The azaleas are spectacular when they are blooming, as you can see here and here.

The Jonsson Garden actually surrounds the infinity-symbol-shaped Main Lawn, which is an almost completely open space where visitors often spread out picnic blankets while children play. On the northwestern side of the western "lobe" of this space there is an arc-shaped bed that demonstrates gardening methods for this part of Texas, and offers advice on seasonal plants one might use. On the northeastern side of both "lobes" there are beds of seasonal flowers which always offer an amazing display. Today, they are dominated by tulips.

When we visit, we usually go around the western end of the Fern Dell (which we didn't visit today) and then around the north side of the main lawn along the banks of azaleas.

We always take lots of pictures as we walk along through the Jonsson Color Garden, and today was no exception. You can use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at some of the pictures that Fred took of the azaleas, tulips and other plants:

At the eastern end of the main lawn, there are steps leading up to the pergola at the west side of the old DeGolyer house. (The DeGolyer's actually lived on this property until their death, when they donated the house and land to establish the Arboretum.) There, we found a new sculpture that we hadn't seen before. Then we followed the walkway out from the northeast end of the Jonsson Garden to enter the relatively new Woman's Garden.


The Woman's Garden

This 1.8-acre formal garden, which opened to national acclaim in 1997, was a gift to the Arboretum by its Women's Council. Designed by landscape architect Morgan Wheelock, it is comprised of several small garden "rooms". The dramatic focal point is a reflecting pool that provides a water-on-water view overlooking tranquil White Rock Lake.

At left are clickable thumbnails for some additional pictures taken in the Woman's Garden.


The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill

On October 6th, 2011, the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill (a "rill" is a downward sloping shallow valley, usually with a creek running through it) opened at the Arboretum. It has become one of our favorite places in the gardens. Below are clickable thumbnails for some pictures of the rill:

The main design elements include a new entry off the Paseo de Flores, plus a large gathering plaza at the top of the rill. This plaza, where Fred is standing has two in-wall fountains and a view down the rill. A meandering creek with numerous waterfalls flows down the hillside, ending in a large pond. About halfway down the hill a stone bridge crosses the stream, connecting the paved walkways around the Rill with the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn and the Magnolia Allee.

The most impressive feature is a collection of over 80 varieties of Japanese Maples. Two hundred trees are planted up and down the stream with an understory planting beneath the canopy. An especially large weeping Japanese maple nearly 100 years in age anchors the center of this new garden area. The rill is a horticulturally important garden with an impressive collection of Maple species and cultivars. Below are clickable thumbnails for some of Fred's views of this new garden:

I made two movies here in the Maple Rill, and you can watch them with the players below:

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The Meandering Stream in the Maple Rill
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A View of the Plaza and Maple Rill


In the Lay Ornamental Garden

The 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. It was designed for Mrs. Amelia (Mimi) Lay Hodges in honor of her husband, Herman Lay. One small surprise in the garden is a collection of bronze wildlife figures nestled throughout; these were donated by the Trammell Crow Family.

Both the Lay and Trammel Crow families are major participants in Dallas philanthropy. Trammel Crow began as a small property owner and Realtor, and his companies expanded to become a leading name in office rental properties and new construction nationwide. Herman Lay, who died in 1982, began as a Pepsi-Cola bottler in Mexico, and expanded into snack foods in the 1950s. His name is currently one-half of the famous Frito-Lay snack empire. Both men and their families have also been involved with the Morton Myerson Symphony Hall. The Trammel Crow family continues to sponsor concerts, and a branch of the Lay family donated the huge pipe organ that is the pride of the Myerson.


The Paseo de Flores

The Lyda Bunker Hunt Paseo de Flores, known simply as the Paseo, is the central walkway of the Dallas Arboretum. This meandering pathway begins at the Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion, and concludes near the circular Fogelson Fountain at the entrance to the Lay Garden. The fountain (no picture today) was donated by the late Greer Garson in memory of her husband, Buddy. We did take some pictures along the Paseo, and there are clickable thumbnails for them below:


The Trial Garden Beds

Fred likes to stop off at the trial beds to see what new plants he can find that the Arboretum is testing for use in the gardens. He often gets ideas for plants he can also use. Our location and a couple of pictures are below, along with clickable thumbnails for some additional views of the trial gardens:



The All-American Trial Garden

Up near the Trammel Crow Pavilion there is another trial garden, this one exclusively American varieties of popular bedding plants. The garden is nestled under a number of dogwood trees. It was as colorful today as it always is; there are clickable thumbnails below for some of the pictures I took of the bedding plants there:


The Artist Houses

In the area of the garden between the Crape Myrtle Allee and the Trammel Crow Center, south of the Paseo de Flores, is an area that is not planted in gardens but given over to seasonal exhibits and special constructions. In the Fall, this is where the huge display of pumpkins is located.

Over the years, the Arboretum has hosted various display exhibitions. One year, there were fanciful tree houses scattered throughout the gardens; another year there were huge wooden insects. More recently, there were fairytale houses in this area. Since the fairytale houses, there have always been four small buildings in this area, but their theme and decoration changes over time. Mostly for the kids, they are still interesting enough that adults can enjoy them.

The theme at the moment is "Famous Artists." The Arboretum has picked four famous artists and decorated each house as one would imagine would suit that artist and his or her style. Kids love to run around inside them (which is perfectly fine) while the adults can read the informational signs that are more their speed. Let me show you these current artist houses. For each one below, you can click on its small image to see a larger view, and you can click where indicated to read the sign that describes it.

The Pablo Picasso House

You can read the informational sign if you click here.
Fred took a couple of pictures inside the house, and you can see them here and here.


The Georges Seurat House

You can read the informational sign if you click here.


The Vincent Van Gogh House

You can read the informational sign if you click here.


The Claude Monet House

You can read the informational sign if you click here.
Leading to the house, there was a charming little bridge over an artifical pond;
you can see the bridge here and here


We enjoyed the walk through the garden today, and I am sure we will be back soon for another visit.

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

May 2-18, 2012: Our Cruise to Europe
March 4, 2012: Dallas's Calatrava Bridge Opens
Return to the Index for 2012