November 26, 2015: Thanksgiving in Dallas
October 17 - November 2, 2015: Our Fall Trip to Florida
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November 15, 2015
Guy Blair Visits Dallas
We Visit the Dallas Arboretum Fall Festival


Prudence and Ron have come up to Dallas for a few days to visit Nancy and Karl, and as we have done before, we've invited Guy to stay with us instead of at Nancy's house. Today, Sunday, Fred, Guy and I are going to make our second trip to the Arboretum's Fall Festival- this time with someone who hasn't seen it before. There was an album page for our visit in late September, and if you have already been through that page, you might find this one a bit repetitive, although it features pictures of Guy while the visit in September was just Fred and myself.



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. When Fred and I go there from the house, as we are doing this afternoon, the northern route is most direct.

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.

The three of us had some breakfast at the Original House of Pancakes and then actually took Northwest Highway across town to Buckner Boulevard, which we took south to Gaston Avenue. Then we came back southwest to the main Arboretum entrance. We usually make a circular transit of the entire Arboretum each time we visit, and we will do that today. We'll start out on the Paseo del Flores- the main walkway through the Gardens- which we'll take all the way to the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the east end of the property. Then we will work our way back to the entry through the northern part of the gardens.

So you can follow us on our tour through the Gardens, I'll use a series of garden diagrams. On the first one, at right, you can follow us on our way along the Paseo del Flores and back to the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. When we get there, I'll show you a separate diagram of that new attraction. Then, I'll repeat the diagram at right for our trip back to the entry.

On our way to the Children's Garden, we'll make the following stops:

1.   Trammel Crow Entry Plaza
2.   America's Selection Trial Garden
3.   Paseo del Flores
4.   Garden of Memories
5.   Pumpkin Village
6.   Paseo del Flores
7.   Red Maple Rill
8.   Lay Family Garden

The Paseo is the main walkway through the gardens. It begins at the Arboretum Entry, where during the Fall Festival there is a display of fall plants as well as pumpkins and gourds. The Paseo leads past the display gardens, where there is always a lot of color, and then past the Pumpkin Village. I might point out that the Fall Festival really ends shortly after Halloween, although the Pumpkin Village remains up on past Thanksgiving. But as I pointed out in September, the Arboretum begins allowing patrons to buy and carry off many of the pumpkins and gourds beginning on Halloween, and so the displays are somewhat depleted by this time.

We'll take the Paseo all the way back to the Children's Garden, and then we will work our way back to the entry through the Lay Family Garden, the Red Maple Rill, the Woman's Garden and the Jonsson Color Garden. This circular route will give Guy the full tour (even though he has been here with us before during "Dallas Blooms!", the Arboretum's Spring event.

With that bit of orientation in mind, we can look at some of the many pictures we took on our visit today.



At the Arboretum Main Entry

Some years ago, the Arboretum constructed a new main entry pavilion (1); it now consists of a large plaza with a couple of fountains enclosed on three sides by a gift shop, restaurant, the actual entry and an education building.

Guy in the Entry Plaza

When you come through the members' entrance you are at the top of this plaza with the gift shop and restaurant to your left and an information station and the education building to your right. The plaza opens up in front of you. You can leave the plaza via the Paseo del Flores ahead of you on the right or you can take the walkway down to the Fern Dell and the west end of the Jonsson Color Garden that is found on your left past the restaurant.

When we were last here, at the height of the Fall Fesitval, there were huge displays of pumpkins and gourds in the middle of and all around the entrance plaza. Now, however, almost all of them were gone, replaced by seasonal flowers. I got Guy and Fred to pose by some of those fall flowers.

We took twp other pictures here in the entry plaza, and there are clickable thumbnails below for them:



Along the Paseo del Flores

From the entry plaza, we turned right to walk down the beginning of the Paseo del Flores which is, at this point, a flagstone walkway that goes alongside the Education Pavilion. During the Fall Festival, there were row upon row of pumpkins and gourds but now they were all gone.

Immediately adjacent to the Trammell Crow Educational Pavilion is a special area of the Arboretum officially named "The All-America Selections Trial Garden". "All-America Selections®" is an independent, non-profit organization that tests new varieties of flowers, plants and vegetables and then introduces only the best garden performers as "AAS Winners". The AAS organization has designated some 100 gardens across the country- most of them in arboretums, botanical gardens or at universities- as official AAS Trial Gardens, and as we walked down the Paseo we passed the Dallas Arboretum AAS Trial Garden(2).

Passing the trial garden, we came to an intersection in the walkway (3) where you could look over towards the Jonsson Color Garden and the Arboretum's main lawn. We could see something we hadn't expected- one of the "Twelve Days of Christmas Carousels" that adorn the Gardens for the Holiday season. I hadn't expected that they would be up so soon, but as it turned out, the Arboretum was in the midst of erecting the complicated structures. Some were pretty well finished, but we saw others where just the framework was up or the site was still being prepared.

In the picture at left, taken from a different vantage point, you can see one of the carousels over on the main lawn near the portcullis of the DeGolyer House.

It was a bit of a surprise to see the carousels were going up, and you'll see some other pictures where they appear on this page. Although I did an exhaustive web page about them on our visit last year with Ron, Prudence, Karl, Nancy and Guy, I did take a few other pictures of them today.

A short distance away was a completed carousel, although it was not yet activated. If memory serves this was The First Day of Christmas- the partridge in the pear tree. When activated, the inside of each carousel moves, usually in a circle, to illustrate each day of the popular carol. And through a loudspeaker, each plays a different Christmas carol sung by a different famous artist. If this is indeed the carousel for the 1st day of Christmas, then this is the carousel that actually plays that song.

Also at this stop (3) is a new fountain; it is not ornate, nor is it very large, but it offers a nice place to sit and contemplate the gardens around you. It is actually part of the Garden of Memories, which consists of the fountain and this small garden. It was given to the Arboretum a year or so ago by a patron in honor of another family member.

We continued along the Paseo a short distance to our 4th stop- right by the carousel illustrating the Twelfth Day of Christmas- " Twelve Drummers Drumming". I might point out that the carousels are so arranged so that, beginning at the installation for the first day of Christmas, visitors can make a big circle through the gardens by going up and around the Jonsson Color Garden, past the DeGolyer House and through the Womans Garden and then around the rest of the gardens before returning along the Paseo del Flores to this carousel. We were able to get right up next to this carousel, so I took a close-up picture of the twelve drummers so you could see what the interior of one of these carousels was like.

Then we crossed the Paseo into the area set aside for the Fall Festival's Pumpkin Village.



Pumpkin Village

The Pumpkin Village is undoubtedly the main attraction of the Fall Festival; it is always a hit with kids and offers a lot for their parents as well. There are two aspects to Pumpkin Village that draw visitors. The first, of course, is the absolutely gigantic collection of pumpkins and gourds.

Each Fall, the Arboretum brings in many thousands of pumpkins and gourds for its Fall Festival. Some are used as decorative borders, both in Pumpkin Village and elsewhere in the gardens. Many of the pumpkins are gathered together in Pumpkin Village in one huge collection that awes visitors with the sheer number of large orange pumpkins. Kids can wander through the huge collection, sit on the hay bales and have their parents photograph them. Sometime in October, I think, the Arboretum begins allowing visitors to purchase the pumpkins.

The pumpkins, along with a huge variety and huge number of other types of gourds, are also used as decorative elements not only here in Pumpkin Village but also throughout the gardens. Some of those remain well into November, but on our visit today, most of them are gone, associated as they are with Halloween and Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving, the traditional opening of the Christmas season, just over a week away, the gardens are being transformed from pumpkins to carousels.

The other use to which the pumpkins are put is as a construction material for building a series of structures adjacent to the pumpkin display; these structures are collectively referred to as Pumpkin Village. Each year, the structures are different; a year ago it was fairy tales, and this year it was the western frontier.

From a distance, it looks as if the structure walls are just stacked pumpkins, but a closer inspection reveals how the structures are actually built. To see how, click on the two thumbnail images below to see a picture of myself and Guy in front of the "Post Office" and then a closer view of the structure itself:

You can see that the pumpkins and large gourds are actually sitting in metal holders, and are put close enough together to give the impression that the pumpkins are just stacked into walls.

On either side of the post office structure there were what are supposed to look like wanted posters (as you would have seen in a frontier building. They are actually photo ops, as you can stick your face in from the back while someone takes a picture from the front. Mostly for kids, we went ahead and did it anyway, and so I have pictures of each of us (click on the thumbnails below to view):

The Pumpkin Village is a really neat area, and the Arboretum does a lot of work each year to make it special. At one point while we were here, I stood in one place and took a series of eight pictures, scanning across the area. I then stitched them together into a single panorama. Here, in a scrollable window, is that panorama:

And just in case you are interested in what the eight separate pictures looked like, I have put thumbnails for them below:

We enjoyed showing Pumpkin Village to Guy, and I think he thought it was pretty amazing. Although we've been to the Arboretum before with Guy, I am pretty sure this was his first time at the Fall Festival.

At right you can see Fred and Guy in front of the "Sheriff's Office," another of the pumpkin constructions here in Pumpkin Village, and below is a player for the movie I made as I was wandering around the Village:

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Completing our visit to the Pumpkin Village, I have three more pictures to include, and clickable thumbnails for them are at left. The first is another visitor to the Village, the second is a Texas map constructed out of pumpkins and the third is a horse and carriage (that I think was supposed to be a frontier carriage but was actually repurposed from last year's Cinderella coach.



Along the Paseo del Flores

From the Pumpkin Village, we went back out onto the Paseo and continued along it to the Lay Family Garden and, beyond that, the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden.

Back out on the Arboretum's main walkway (6), this picture of Guy and Fred on the Paseo del Flores looks east in the direction we will be heading. We walked on down past the top of the Red Maple Rill and the Magnolia Allee where there is a nice fountain (7) at the top of the water feature that runs down through them. That's the fountain in the picture at left.

Here are clickable thumbnails for two more pictures of the area where we stopped to enjoy the fountain:

We didn't end up going down into the Maple Rill or the Magnolia Allee on our way to the Children's Garden, but we just hung out around the fountain. I think when we come back from the Children's Garden we'll walk through both of them. As it turned out, another of the carousels had been set up adjacent to the entrance to the Magnolia Allee, so I walked over to have a look at it. It turned out to be the carousel for the Eleventh Day, and contained eleven pipers piping.

This is a nice area along the Paseo, and I made a movie that you can use the player below to watch:

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We continued our walk to the end of the Paseo (8), where we could look into the old entry to the Lay Family Garden which is now a huge bed of flowers; that's the picture at right.

Then we walked around the south side of the Lay Garden to come to the entrance to the Rory Meyers Garden.



In the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden

The last time we brought Guy to the Arboretum was at one of the hottest times of the year, and so we didn't come into the Children's Garden, which had been open for more than a year by that time. But today, with the weather cool and cloudy, we've come in to take a look around.

At left you see us at the entry to the Children's Garden. And to follow us through this garden, here is a diagram of it, marked with some of the stops we made.

From the entrance (1) where Fred got this picture of Guy and myself, we took Guy across the circular area at the entrance where misters play over the visitors in the summertime, and down the stairs to go underneath and behind the waterfall cascade that comes across the roof above you to fall in a sheer, shimmering, unbroken curtain into the pool below. This is a fun place to come, and a cool one in the summertime. While we were here, I used my camera extender to take a picture of the three of&us, looking through the curtain of water behind us. Notice how you can see through the water, but what you see is very rippled.

We walked through the rear of the waterfall and then down a winding walkway to a point just above the Discovery Center. From here, we could look back at the waterfall where we just were, and you can see that view in the picture at left. At this level, you can actually walk out onto the roof of the Discovery Center, where there are more plantings, and where I made the movie that you can use the player below to watch:

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I also took a couple of pictures from our perch on top of the Discovery Center, both looking out across the Adventure Garden:

This is part of the Texas Skywalk that leads from where we are now to the tower in the middle of garden. There are stairs there down to the exhibit areas.

You can see the tower at the end of the Skywalk behind us, much of the garden and White Rock Lake in the background.

As I said, we were on the roof of the Discovery Center, so we took Guy down to have a look inside. It is a pretty amazing structure- particularly for what is ostensibly a facility (the Arboretum) devoted to horticulture.

The Discovery Center contains a working planetarium. Unlike others, projections are made onto the globe in the center of the room, rather than onto the ceiling. The globe can display anything- from star maps to Earth's weather patterns.

Outside the planetarium, there is a large room that is half working laboratory, with constant demonstrations, and half research facility with networked workstations.

From the Discovery Center, we went outside and began wandering around this level of the garden. On the west side of the Adventure Garden are a number of educational exhibits and interaction stations interspersed with small beds of different kinds of plants (4).

In the picture at left, you can see Fred and Guy along one of the walkways through these exhibits; you can see little alcoves off on either side of the walk; each contained some kind of interactive learning exhibit- perhaps a kaleidoscope with an exhibit about how they work or a sundial with explanatory material about them. There were, of course, little plant beds as well.

Here are clickable thumbnails for some of the pictures we took as we were wandering through these outdoor exhibits:

In the middle of the Adventure garden to the north of the Discovery Center is a large lagoon (5). On one side is a walkway with exhibits and things that kids can do (like shoot water cannons to make mobile sculptures move) that leads to the Texas Tower in the center of the area.

On the other side of the lagoon is a raised platform that runs the length of the kidney-bean-shaped pond, and on that platform are more activities for kids of all ages. There are things to try, things to move and things to just touch; everything is designed to engage the kid in the learning experience. Here are more views of this area as we approached the tower:

We took the stairs up the Texas Tower which brought us to the beginning of the Texas Skywalk; that would eventually lead us back to the roof of the Discovery Center. The view from up here (6) was pretty neat- especially looking back towards the entrance:

I made a movie from up here, and took another picture looking down at the lagoon and its exhibit areas. You can use the player at left, below, to watch the movie; the picture is on the right:

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My Movie Taken from the Top
of the Texas Tower

We walked back along the Texas Skyway to the level of the Discovery Center's roof garden, and then back up the winding pathway to the entrance to the Adventure Garden. Just off to the side was one of the entrances back into the Arboretum proper- a walkway into the Lay Family Garden.

Before we continue back through the Arboretum, here at right is another copy of the garden diagram on which I will mark the stops we made.



The Lay Family Garden (1)

The entrance back into the Arboretum from the Adventure Garden brings you into the back of the Lay Family Garden. The original garden was given by Mimi Lay Hodges in 1989 to honor Herman W. Lay (of Frito-Lay fame). The garden was renovated by the Lay family in 2014 thanks to gifts from Mimi's daughters. (That is the same family that donated the Lay Family Organ to the Meyerson Symphony Center.)

The path back into the garden brings you around through an artificial waterfall and grotto. The waterfall is very nicely-done, and in the rock walls behind the falls there are actual fossils- mostly amonites from Lake Texoma- to give the walls an authentic look. There are benches where you can sit down and look through the falls to the rest of the Lay Garden.

The renovation kept other aspects of the 1989 garden- including the four curtain wall falls and the koi ponds. I went through the grotto and walked a bit further down the walkway, and then took a series of five pictures which I put together into this panorama of the Lay Garden:

You can see the grotto on the left, and the Adventure Garden is beyond the big tree across the koi pond. The curtain-wall falls are in the structures right of center.



The Red Maple Rill

One of the newer gardens here in the Arboretum is the Nancy Rudchik Red Maple Rill. This garden begins at a water feature just off the Paseo; that water feature is the beginning of a very picturesque stream that flows downhill through an artificial watercourse. The stream is lined with red maples, and is very colorful in the Fall. At left, below, is a picture of myself and Guy with one of the maples right up near the Paseo. Beside it are five clickable thumbnails for a series of pictures we took as we descended from the water feature at the top of the Rill all the way down to the water feature at the bottom from which the water is pumped back up to the top. Click on the thumbnails to see the individual pictures.

    This picture has Guy and Fred by the beautifully-constructed water feature at the top of the Rill (2). You can see the beginning of the watercourse behind and below them.
    From the water feature at the top, we circled around and took the stairs and walkway down along the side of the watercourse, heading to the bridge that crosses the stream about halfway down.
    When we reached the bridge across the stream (3), we stood in the middle and looked at how well they had constructed the artificial stream to look quite real. From the bridge you can look back up to the water feature or down to the bottom of the Rill- which is the view in this picture.
    We went on across the bridge where the walkway and stairs continue down to the bottom of the Rill, passing behind the Performance Lawn which, along with the Alex Camp House, separates the Lay Family Garden from the Red Maple Rill. This view looks back at the bridge.
    We have come out at the bottom of the Rill (4), and this is the very pretty little waterfall that takes the stream down into the pond from which it is recirculated back to the top by the Paseo. The Rill is one of the nicest spots in the Arboretum.



From the Rill to the Woman's Garden

From the bottom of the Rill, we walked west past a water feature called "The Grotto" (5), which is a very pretty little recirculating waterfall. It is a great place for pictures, and in season we often see Hispanics here taking pictures of their daughters for their Quincinera. Here is a picture of the stream above the pool.

Continuing on towards the Woman's Garden, we pass through a small area dominated by a stone overlook called The Pulpit (6). Here, in this area, we came across another of the Twelve Days of Christmas carousels, and this was the first one that was actually in operation- being tested, I think. Because it was working, I made a movie of it, and you can use the player below to watch the "Eight Maids a-Milking":

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We walked up the walkway to come out at the east end of the Woman's Garden, and there we found yet another carousel.



A Woman's Garden

The Woman's Garden is about ten or fifteen years old, now, I think, and has always been one of the nicer gardens here. It is geometrically arranged, with an infinity pool at the east end and a stairstepped fountain at the west end where it opens onto the Jonsson Color Garden.

This carousel was the "Seven Swans a-Swimming", and it, too, seemed to be complete and in operation (7). Even though this isn't a page on which I indended to focus on the Christmas display, since we were here I made another movie, and you can use the player below to watch it:

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I mentioned above that the Woman's Garden was very geometric, and you can easily see what I mean in the picture I took from the top of the steps leading to the Jonsson Color Garden (8) where I was looking back across the Woman's Garden at the carousel we just saw. You can see that picture here.



The Jonsson Color Garden

In the Jonsson Color Garden are five of the carousels (days three through six, I think), and when they are set up here, the Arboretum also does some landscaping around them, as the Color Garden is basically just a huge, three-lobed lawn with flower beds on either side of the walkways.

As soon as we came up from the Woman's Garden, I took a picture looking across the Color Garden at some of the flower beds and carousels. From a few steps into the Color Garden, I took another picture looking back at "Six Geese a-Laying" right at the entrance to the Woman's Garden, and you can see that picture here.

As we began walking along the outside north walkway around the Color Garden, I made a movie, and you can use the player below to watch it.

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Towards the end of the Color Garden near the Fern Dell we came to the last of the carousels in this area, the Three French Hens. I actually didn't see the French Hens in the enclosure, or hear any music, so no movie here. Before we left the Color Garden, I took a couple of additional pictures as the overcast thickened:

We really enjoyed bringing Guy over to the Arboretum today; it is always a pleasure to take visitors through the Gardens. The membership certainly has been worthwhile.

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

November 26, 2015: Thanksgiving in Dallas
October 17 - November 2, 2015: Our Fall Trip to Florida
Return to the Index for 2015