February 26 - March 2, 2016: A Visit to San Antonio
December 29, 2015 - January 18, 2016: Our Winter Trip to Florida
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January 29, 2016
A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum


On Friday, January 28th, Frank Roberts and Joe Wells came up from Leakey to Fort Worth so that they could get some papers from the courthouse there, and the next day, Saturday, they came over to visit with us in Dallas. On Saturday, the four of us went to the Dallas Arboretum- one of many, many visits for Fred and I but a first for Frank and Joe. That night, we took them to the Dallas Symphony, again, something we do frequently but a first for them. On Sunday morning, our friend Lou joined us for breakfast at the Original Pancake House before Frank and Joe left to head on back down to Leakey.

This page will be devoted almost exclusively to our visit to the Arboretum, although in the last section there will be a few pictures taken at breakfast on Sunday.


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 four of us actually took Mockingbird Lane all the way across town and across the bridge at the top of White Rock Lake 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 by going across the north side of the gardens and back to the Lay Family Garden. We will probably just show Frank and Joe the Rory Meyers Children's Garden but not go in. Then, we'll return to the entry along the Paseo de Flores, stopping in the test gardens, at the Frog Fountain and the Crepe Myrtle Allee and at the Test Gardens before returning to the entry.

So you can follow us on our tour through the Gardens, I'll use the diagram of the Arboretum that is on their website (although I've simplified it a bit by removing a lot of markers for places not important to our visit today. On this diagram, I'll mark the individual named gardens that we visited, which were:

1.   Trammel Crow Entry Plaza
2.   Palmer Fern Dell
3.   Jonsson Color Garden
4.   A Woman's Garden
5.   McCasland Sunken Garden
6.   Seay Magnolia Glade
7.   Rudchik Red Maple Rill
8.   Lay Family Garden
and the Paseo de Flores

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



At the Trammel Crow Entry Plaza (1)

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.

To get to the entry plaza, one walks down towards it from the parking lots. On days like today, when the gardens aren't crowded, you can park close by, and there is a set of stairs that leads down to the entrance. At the bottom of these stairs there is a water feature, and it is always a good place to stop for an initial photo, an example of which, showing Joe, Frank and Fred, is at left.

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.

Fred got a nice picture of me, Joe and Frank around the side of the entry plaza near the little outdoor cafe (see picture at right). We are facing White Rock Lake. We also took some other pictures around the plaza and looking out across the lake towards downtown Dallas:

(Click Thumbnails Above to View Full-Size Pictures)

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; we chose to visit the Fern Dell and the Color Garden next.


The Palmer Fern Dell (2)

The Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell displays more than 90 varieties of ferns, camellias, azaleas and mature trees; these all border a peaceful brook, which winds throughout this enchanting mini-garden. The Palmer Fern Dell, designed by Naud Burnett II, is located adjacent to the Jonsson Color Garden. This tranquil spot is a welcome oasis during the summer months due to the micro-fine mist system that regularly envelops the garden.

We went down to the Fern Dell from the Entry Plaza, and then walked through it on the path that traverses it along the artificial stream that runs down to a pool and the bottom and is recirculated.

Here are more of the pictures I took as we were walking through the Fern Dell and up into the Jonsson Color Garden:

Click On a Thumbnail to View the Full-size Picture


The Jonsson Color Garden (3)

The 6.5-acre Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden, also designed by Naud Burnett II, features large, sweeping beds of seasonal flowers and plants and is located along the northwest part of the gardens; it features three sections divided by walkways with another walkway surrounding the entire garden.

At left you can see Joe and Fred (with Frank partially hidden) on the north side of the Color Garden down by the pool at the bottom of the Fern Dell. The Color Garden is home to more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas; these border the Color Garden on the north and south and bloom lavishly in the spring. Along the interior side of the walkway are seasonal plantings such as daffodils and tulips in the spring, a vibrant display of bananas and tapioca plants in the summer, brightly colored chrysanthemums in the fall.

Here are a couple of the other pictures taken in the Jonsson Color Garden:

Ornamental Kale in the Color Garden

It was way too early for the azaleas to be blooming, and when they aren't, the Arboretum plants the interior beds with plants and flowers appropriate to the season.

The DeGolyer House Seen from the Color Garden

This view looks from one of the walkways that trisect the Color Garden eastward towards the pergola at the west end of the DeGolyer House. Pansies have been planted for the winter.

Down near the Fern Dell, there is one interior garden called the Waterwise display, donated by Region IV of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association. It provides a location for home gardeners to learn how to install and manage a low-water landscape.


A Woman’s Garden (4)

A Woman's Garden is a gift from the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. This serene and nationally acclaimed garden features terraced walkways and exceptional views.

At the Entry from the Color Garden to A Woman's Garden

Phase 1 of this 1.8-acre formal garden was designed in 1997 by landscape architect Morgan Wheelock. A Woman’s Garden is comprised of several smaller outdoor garden "rooms" including the Pecan Parterre and the Poetry Garden which features a sunken garden of roses. The Majestic Allee where visitors can view White Rock Lake just beyond a dramatic reflecting pool.

Phase 2, which opened to the public in the spring of 2006, was designed by designed by Morgan Wheelock and executed by Warren Johnson. It boasts alluring features such as a native Texas limestone bridge, a 140-foot hanging garden, and a wellspring surrounded by towering Dawn Redwoods. These two beautiful gardens were designed to celebrate the strength, courage, creativity and nurturing demeanor of women.

We spent most of our time up in the first part of A Woman's Garden; I guess I rarely think of the second phase as actually being part of it, as it seems to be more in the vein of the Red Maple Rill nearby.

Frank at the Top of A Woman's Garden

When you come into the garden from the Color Garden through the twin pedestals in the background, you are greeted with the stairstepped fountain that you can also see behind Frank. It feeds two rectangular pools in the center of the area.

The Pools in A Woman's Garden

Looking the other way from the previous picture, you can see the rectangular pool in the middle of the garden, and the infinity pool beyond. Fred and Frank are heading to the Poetry Garden.

Flowers in A Woman's Garden
(Picture at left)
These are foxglove, I think, and they were in a bed alongside the walkway over to the Poetry Garden.




(Picture at right)
Between the level area of A Woman's Garden and White Rock Lake, there is another series of gardens one level down. This is the enclosed Poetry Garden. There is a garden of boxwoods and statuary left of it and a walkway through some knarled trees to the right. The stairs down to the Poetry Garden are around to the right.

The Poetry Garden

At the Infinity Pool in A Woman's Garden

The infinity pool is at the east end of the upper part of A Woman's Garden, and there is this picture frame affair with a very, very zoftig female form in the center. It is a favorite picture-taking spot.

The Infinity Pool in A Woman's Garden

Fred has gone around the south side of the pool to get a look back at the rest of us by the "picture frame" and sculpture. That is White Rock Lake in the background and the city of Dallas beyond.

At the Infinity Pool
(Picture at left)
Here is Joe at the sculpture by the infinity pool. That's White Rock Lake in the background.




(Picture at right)
As I mentioned above, there is another part to the Woman's Garden, and at the east side of the infinity pool there is a picture-frame archway that leads to this second portion.

Walkway to Phase II

When you walk through the archway in the last picture, you are entering into the second phase of the Woman's Garden. Here, one first encounters a beautiful shady walkway to a bridge over a narrow watercourse.

A Woman's Garden II

Here we are on the walkway that begins at the arched exit from the first phase of the Woman's Garden.

The Woman's Garden II Bridge

We are on the bridge that arches over the watercourse running through the second phase of A Woman's Garden.

The Woman's Garden II has a couple of other named features that we visited, and you can see them on the garden map above. At the north side of this area of the garden is Orchid Hollow. It is an area the size of a golf green that has a water feature- which is actually the pool at the bottom of the watercourse that begins in The Grotto. We stopped here for a while, I took a picture and movie; they are below, with the movie player at right:

Following the watercourse that ends in the Orchid Hollow, you can walk south until you reach the area called The Grotto. Here, you find the source of the water in a series of fountains and pools. It is also a great place for picture-taking and movie making. I took a picture of the guys here (below, left) and made a movie of the water feature (player below, right):


The McCasland Sunken Garden (5)

The 2006 contribution of Tom and Phyllis McCasland, the McCasland Sunken Garden, is evidence of their commitment to the continued expansion of the Arboretum. The garden, designed by Warren Johnson, has a central aisle, lined with Italian jardinières, which leads down a series of steps towards a sunlit grass court surrounded by seasonal plantings.

At the top of the garden, there are stairs leading down to a water feature and a bronze. The Chico y Chica de la Playa sculpture and accompanying fountain provide a tranquil setting for the many weddings that take place in this secluded garden.

Here are three other pictures that we took here in the Sunken Garden:

Click on a Thumbnail to View

We left the Sunken Garden by ascending the steps on its south side, heading towards the Red Maple Rill and Magnolia Allee. Just at the top of the steps, I asked Joe to pose twice as I took a picture of each end of the Sunken Garden. Then, after he went on, I took one more picture of the middle of the garden, and then stitched them together into this:


The Seay Magnolia Glade (6)

Along with her husband Austin, friend of thee Arboretum Pauline Neuhoff wanted to dedicate a quiet and special garden to honor her mother, and the beautiful Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade was the result. The garden features lush green grass, beautiful white blooms and the peaceful sounds of running water.

At the top of the glade, there is a meandering waterway and picturesque lily pond amid a collection of beautiful flowers. The waterway comes down to the most intricate fountain in the Arboretum, and it has become a favorite place for us to stop and take pictures and movies. It is a soothing space with incredible scenery and the sounds of birds chirping and the bubbling rush of the fountains’ water.

I made a short movie while we were standing here, and you can use the player at left to watch it. Designed by Landscape Architect Warren Hill Johnson, the glade takes on different colors and textures throughout the year, but with the significant color within to be varied plantings of green and white. Framed by the 45-foot magnolias of the Dallas Arboretum’s Magnolia Allee, the glade is gently enclosed by 35 new ‘Teddy Bear’ southern magnolias. Butterfly Japanese Maples, large white flowering camellias, loquats and many others add to the palette of interesting horticulture within this peaceful garden.

At the east end of the allee there is one more circular fountain and an archway that leads through to the Red Maple Rill.

A Flower at the Magnolia Glade

The color theme in the magnolia glade is white- the color of the magnolia blooms in spring.

The Circular Fountain Plaza

The fountain and plaza are surrounded by trellises and climbing vines- except for now, when an employee told me they were changing out the vines as the old ones had gotten entirely unruly.


The Nancy Rudchik Red Maple Rill (7)

The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill opened five years ago, and quickly became one of our favorite stops on our visits to the Arboretum. This two-acre garden features a stream and a collection of over 80 varieties of signature Japanese Maples planted along it.

At left are Joe and Frank on the walkway down to the bridge that crosses the stream flowing through the Red Maple Rill. This stream has quickly become a favorite stop for Fred and I; it is so well done that it appears quite natural.

This premier addition to the Arboretum was designed by Rowland Jackson. Key design elements of the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill include a new entry off the Paseo de Flores and a large gathering plaza that overlooks a re-circulating creek and numerous waterfalls. Opened in fall 2011, this charming area also includes a series of paved walkways and a stone bridge connecting the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage to the Magnolia Allee. An especially large weeping Japanese maple, nearly 100 years old, anchors the center of the garden.

We took a number of other pictures in and around the Red Maple Rill; here are some of them:

Detail of the Rocky Streambed

All the rock was brought in to construct the streambed, and it did not take long for vegetation to get a foothold.

Looking Towards the Rudchik Performance Stage

There is a walkway along the Rill's stream that has a series of stone platforms overlooking the performance stage.

The Red Maple Rill Entry Plaza

At the top of the Rill is this entry plaza; the water for the stream gushes out from below it. Two wall fountains flank the overlook down the streambed.

Looking Down the Stream Through the Red Maple Rill

This is a view from the edge of the entry plaza overlook; you can see the first half of the streambed down to the bridge that crosses it about halfway down.

We left the Red Maple Rill to go to the east end of the Arboretum to walk through the Lay Garden. On the way, we passed in front of the Alex Camp house; this home was donated by the Camp heirs to the Arboretum, which had already acquired the DeGolyer home just to the west. Both these buildings serve as both museums and event venues.


The Lay Family Garden (8)

The Lay Family Garden (formally known as the Lay Ornamental Garden) is a 2.2-acre garden filled with hundreds of perennials and woody plants. The Lay Family Garden provides visitors with a newly-interpreted garden at the northeast end of the Arboretum property (not counting the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, which is further northeast).

At left is a view of much of the Lay Family Garden, taken from the new "fossil waterfall" and looking back southwest across the Lay Garden and to the Alex Camp house.

Behind me is a new feature of the Lay Garden- a walk-behind waterfall. This waterfall feeds the large lily and koi ponds here in the Lay Garden, and it is interesting in that there are actual fossils embedded in the stone walls of the waterfall. Here are some other pictures we took in and around this attractive water feature:

(Click on the Thumbnails Above to View)

The recent renovation of the Lay Garden, at which time the fossil waterfall was added, required a good deal of thought in that the original footprint of the garden was the limiting factor. The pathways leading to the garden and the actual entrance had to be reworked. Three new entrances now feed into the garden from the Paseo extension linking the Camp House Circle with the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The Arboretum preserved the former entry courtyard, but it has now become a pocket garden and more of a destination than a passageway. Maintained and reworked were the large lagoon for aquatic plants, a stream with three weirs and the Koi pond.

I made two movies here- one of the fossil waterfall and the other of the Koi pond; you can use the players below to watch them:

Here are a couple of pictures of the Koi swimming around in their pond (and being fed by passersby):

We left the Lay Garden via the new entrance off the Paseo.


Along the Paseo del Flores

As we walked along the Paseo from the Lay Garden back towards the Arboretum entrance, we made a side trip down the Crepe Myrtle Allee to Toad Corners.

Toad Corners is a group of four huge toad sculptures that are actually fountains, shooting streams of water out of their mouths into the center of the square where a drain recirculates the water. It is a favorite place for kids. It is at the south end of the Crepe Myrtle Allee, a long walk of arched crepe myrtles which, when they have their leaves and are blooming, form a tunnel of flowers. Here are some pictures of the toad fountain and of the allee:

(Click on the Thumbnails Above to View)

At the north end of the Crepe Myrtle Allee, where it meets the Paseo, there is a little water feature- a small bubbling fountain with some bronze tadpoles submerged under the water. Joe got up on top of the fountain's enclosure so he could get a picture looking down into the water at the tadpoles; you can see him doing that here. We took some other pictures around this area and on the way back to the entrance, including some early blooming flowers. Here are some of those pictures:

A Fountain Along the Paseo

There are a number of fountains along the Paseo, including this one recently donated to the Arboretum. It's intended as simply a place to stop, rest and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.

The Tadpole Fountain

This is the view looking directly down into the little tadpole fountain from above. It is the picture that Joe took earlier.

At the Tadpole Fountain

Here are Joe, Frank and Fred.

The DeGolyer Home

As part of its initial land purchase, the Arboretum acquired the former private home of the DeGolyer family. It is now open four tours and also used for benefits and other events.

We enjoyed visiting the Arboretum today; it was Frank and Joe's first time here, and we liked guiding them through it. This was the major item on our agenda for this visit by Frank and Joe up here to Dallas, although we did have dinner that night after watching Cloud Atlas together.


Saturday Morning Breakfast

The next morning, Saturday, we invited our friend Lou to join the four of us for breakfast at the Original Pancake House. I brought my phone along and took a few pictures and movies during breakfast. While not particularly interesting, I want to include some of them here. To begin with, I took one good still picture of Joe and Frank.

I also made two movies just for the heck of it, and there are two movie players below for them. If you watch the left-hand movie, you'll hear Lou, Joe, Frank and Fred discussing some plant-related topic. But I started to fixate on the little girl back along the wall. All throughout that video, she is absorbed in her phone- just like a teenager. In the right-hand movie, I tried to zoom in on her as she seemed to be showing the adult how to do something. I thought this was cute- at least before our waiter got in the way.

After breakfast, Joe and Frank headed back down to Leakey, while Lou, Fred and I went home to watch a movie. We enjoyed seeing Joe and Frank, and would like to do so more often.

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

February 26 - March 2, 2016: A Visit to San Antonio
December 29, 2015 - January 18, 2016: Our Winter Trip to Florida
Return to the Index for 2016