April 1-4, 2013: A Visit to San Antonio
February 28 - March 17, 2013: Our Spring Trip to Florida
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March 31, 2013
A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum for
"Dallas Blooms!"


Today, Fred and I are going to go to the Dallas Arboretum to see the annual spring festival- "Dallas Blooms!" The event is timed to catch the spring flowers and trees at their best, and we always like to wander through the garden when it is a riot of color.


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.

We usually make a circular transit of the entire Arboretum each time we visit, and we are going to do the same today to try to ensure that we see everything. I know that is probably not important for you to know where in the gardens each of our pictures were taken, but I always think it is interesting to let you follow along with us on a map or diagram. Below is a large diagram of the Dallas Arboretum, with our general route marked in yellow and the major gardens noted in red.

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.


Ginsburg Plaza

From the parking area, we crossed the driveway, went through the Member's entrance and came into the Arboretum proper. The Ginsburg Plaza is the entry point for the Arboretum; it is situated between the restaurant, gift shop and educational center.

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In Ginsburg Plaza

Standing in the middle of the plaza, I stopped to make a movie looking around the area, and you can watch that movie with the player at right. The Arboretum always maintains a wide variety of flowering plants around the plaza, perhaps to "bowl you over" right away. We took a number of good pictures of these floral displays, and you can use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at them:


The Palmer Fern Dell

Following our usual, generally circular route through the gardens, we went around the west side of Ginsburg Plaza, down some steps and arrived at the west end of the fern dell.

The Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell, designed by Naud Burnett, is an enchanting mini-garden located on the south side of the Jonsson Color Garden. More than 90 varieties of ferns, camellias, witch hazel, azaleas and mature trees border a meandering brook. The Palmer Fern Dell is a welcome oasis during the summer months as a micro-fine mist system regularly envelops the garden.

Of course, at this time of year, the summer heat hasn't arrived to make the misting system absolutely necessary; though warm today, it is certainly not hot.

Tulips in the Palmer Fern Dell

The Dell is usually shady and cool when the trees are fully leafed out, but today there was a good deal of sun. This enabled us to take some pretty good pictures of the tulips and azaleas here (like the picture of the yellow and white tulips at right). Use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at some of these pictures:

The Fern Dell was really beautiful today; later in the summer, when the blooming flowers are gone and the ferns reign, it will be an oasis of coolness on the hottest days.


The Jonsson Color Garden

The Jonsson Color Garden is a broad, lawn in three ovals, and each oval is surrounded by interlocking walkways. The are shaped flower beds at various locations along the outside of the ovals; these are always planted with colorful flowers of the season, and on the north side of the garden are a wide variety of azaleas. The center of the lawns is pretty much open, and is a great place for picnics or for families with kids.

Our usual route is to come around out of the Palmer Fern Dell, turn west and walk around the western end of the Color Garden. Then we walk along the north side of the three ovals.

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The Jonsson Color Garden and Main Lawn

From the west end of the Color Garden, I made a movie looking east across the area, and you can watch that movie with the player at left.

As we do that, the large, kidney-bean-shaped flower beds are on our right, inside the ovals, and the beautiful azaleas are on our left, on the outside of the three ovals. Below are clickable thumbnails for some of our pictures of the azaleas, which were just a couple of weeks past their prime:

From the same vantage point at the west end of the Color Garden, Fred made his own movie, panning across the amazing display of tulips that were planted in the kidney-shaped beds along the north side of the lawn. You can watch that movie with the player below, left.

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Tulips in the Jonsson Color Garden

Walking eastward along the top of the Jonsson Color Garden, Fred took a number of excellent pictures of the flower beds on our right, and you can use the clickable thumbnails below to see some of them:

We walked all the way around the top of the Color Garden to its east end to the DeGolyer House. In one of the beds nearby, the permanent sculpture is in a sea of tulips. I took my own pictures as we walked along, and you can use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at them:

I also tried my hand at stitching together a series of pictures into a panoramic view, and a couple of them turned out well. Below are two panoramic views of the Jonsson Color Garden:


The DeGolyer Pergola/A Woman's Garden

At the east end of the Jonsson Color Garden is the DeGolyer House, and just up some steps from the garden is the pergola, the porch that you can follow around to the Woman's Garden.

The pergola was adorned with white wisteria (very unusual), and from the porch we got very nice views of the Color Garden. Use the clickable thumbnails below for some views of the pergola and the garden from here:

We walked around the porch to head down into The Woman's Garden.

The Woman's Garden is a relatively new area of the Arboretum- a large garden that has been created in the area between the DeGolyer House and White Rock Lake. 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.

The main entrance to the garden is through the portal at the northeast end of the Jonsson Color Garden; this brings the visitor to the top of a stairstepped water feature that leads down into the garden. Small channels of water surround the plain grass center of the area. But there are also steps leading down into this garden from the DeGolyer House.

The focus of this garden is not on flower plantings, but on the water features and pools that adorn it, so it looks pretty much the same year round. For that reason, we didn't take any pictures here, but just continued through the garden to its east end where there is an entrance into another new area- the Red Maple Rill.


The Red Maple Rill

The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill is one of the Arboretum's newest gardens.

The Red Maple Rill, which opened on October 6, 2011, has a much different beauty than the areas where colorful plants are found. With its gentle slope downhill from The Paseo de Flores to White Rock Lake, and with its shaded artificial stream, it's almost as if you aren't in Dallas anymore, but in the mountains somewhere.

The main design elements include a new entry off the Paseo de Flores, plus a large gathering plaza. A meandering creek with numerous waterfalls flows down the hillside, ending in a large pond and some other water features. 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. At the crossing there is a small plaza, which is a great place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the Rill.

“The most impressive feature is a fabulous collection of over 80 varieties of 200 Japanese Maples,” commented Dave Forehand, Vice President of Gardens. “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 Red Maple Rill increases the Dallas Arboretum’s collection of Acer species and cultivars to over 120 varieties. Not only is this garden a beautiful serene oasis along the Paseo, but is also a horticulturally important garden with an impressive collection of Maple species and cultivars.

Below are clickable thumbnails for some of the other pictures that Fred took here in the Red Maple Rill:

But its theme is the Japanese Red Maples, not colorful flowering plants. So even though our main focus today was on the "blooms," it was hard not to take a good many pictures of this beautiful, tranquil part of the Dallas Arboretum. Below are clickable thumbnails for some of my own pictures taken in and around the Red Maple Rill:

We actually left the Red Maple Rill from the entrance to the Paseo at the top of the hill. While we were still in the entrance plaza at the top of the hill, I took a series of pictures to stitch together into a panoramic view. When Fred appeared in the first of the pictures I took as I was swinging around, he then moved in the same direction I was turning, and so I caught him again (and a couple more times after that). So when you use the scrollable window below to have a look at this panoramic view, you'll understand why he appears in the same picture four times:


Lay Ornamental Garden

The Lay Ornamental Garden is a favorite place of ours, not in small measure due to the three waterfalls that form its backdrop.

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. The garden also is home to a collection of bronze wildlife figures nestled throughout it; these were donated by the Trammell Crow Family.

In the Lay Ornamental Garden

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 which, in a not-so-odd turn, is part of PepsiCo- Herman Lay's first employer. 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.

Below are clickable thumbnails for some of the pictures we took today in the Lay Ornamental Garden:

The Lay Garden is currently the northeast end of the Arboretum, but when the new Children's Garden opens this fall, the Arboretum will be extended further northeast along the shore of White Rock Lake. In some of the pictures we took on one new walkway along the east and northeast sides of the Lay Garden you can see the construction barriers that are still up for the Children's Garden.


The Test Gardens

One of the things Fred usually likes to to here is to wander though what are called the "Test Gardens," where the Arboretum tests out new varieties for possible inclusion in the landscaping.

The Test Garden

The Test Garden is located just south of the Paseo de Flores, near its eastern end, so we make just a slight detour to walk around it. It is actually pretty itself, with all the colorful plants laid out in long rows.

Below are clickable thumbnails for a few of my pictures of these test beds:


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, designed by Luis Santana, runs from the Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion to the Alex Camp House and the entrance to the Lay Ornamental Garden.

In front of the Alex Camp house is the the circular Fogelson Fountain. The fountain was donated by the late Greer Garson in memory of her husband, Buddy. This fountain and its pool have appeared in many pictures in the past. Walking the Paseo back to the entrance is extremely pleasant; below are clickable thumbnails for some of the pictures Fred took along the way:

The Arboretum usually has something special for kids- whether it be treehouses, or storybook houses, or artist houses. The Gardens have changed out the houses again, and this time they are explorer's houses. These houses are usually situated just south of the Paseo de Flores, spaced from the Alex Camp house to the Display Garden near the entrance. We got a chance to see all six of the houses, and I want to include pictures here of each of them.

You can look at these pictures by clicking on the small pictures below. Each house also had a display sign where you can learn about the explorer(s) involved; to read those signs, just click on the "Display Sign" link below each of the small house pictures. (Don't forget to close the various popup windows when you're done with them.):

Hernan Cortes
Display Sign

Lewis & Clark
Display Sign

Juan Ponce de Leon
Display Sign

Captain James Cook
Display Sign

Marco Polo
Display Sign

Admiral Richard Byrd
Display Sign

As we continued along the Paseo de Flores towards the Gardens entrance, I took some additional pictures that I think are worth including here. You can use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at them:


The Display Gardens And Ginsburg Plaza

We continued our walk back towards the entrance plaza, first passing the Display Gardens- an area of arc-shaped gardens that are always full of seasonal flowers and plants.

On the map earlier, you could see that the Display Garden is just inside the Arboretum entrance- right by the administration buildings. It is almost always colorful, and if you will click on the thumbnails below, you can see some of the pictures we took today:

Here in the Display Garden I got the idea to try another very wide panorama; this one required eight pictures, and you can see it using the scrollable window below:

This brought us back to the Ginsburg Plaza and the entrance to the Arboretum.

The Arboretum was at its best today, as it always seems to be during "Dallas Blooms!" You can use the clickable thumbnails below to see the last few pictures that we took here in Ginsburg Plaza:

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

April 1-4, 2013: A Visit to San Antonio
February 28 - March 17, 2013: Our Spring Trip to Florida
Return to the Index for 2013