April 24, 2016: Tom and John's Going Away Party
March 9-28, 2016: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
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April 10, 2016
A Visit to the Dallas Arboretum


 

We visited the Arboretum last just a few days before we left for Florida in early March. Now, in April, we hope that the azaleas and other flowers will be putting on a show, and we also hope to find and photograph the other bronze sculptures that we missed last time. We have asked Steve and Mario to join us, and we have arrived at the gardens in late morning, intending to have lunch after our visit.

 

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 morning, 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.

We 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 may go in the Rory Meyers Children's Garden but possibly not. 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 All America Selections Garden 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.   Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell
  3.   Jonsson Color Garden
  4.   A Woman's Garden (Phase 1)
  5.   A Woman's Garden (Phase 2)
  6.   Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace
  7.   Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden
  8.   Nancy Rudchik Red Maple Rill
  9.   Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade
10.   The Alex Camp House
11.   Rudchik Performance Stage and Lawn
12.   Lay Family Garden
13.   Arboretum Test Beds
14.   Paseo de Flores
15.   AAS Trial Gardens

I hope you find the diagram useful; if you have been to the Arboretum, you can use it to relate our visit today to your own, but if you haven't, perhaps it will add to your appreciation of one of the nation's most beautiful botanic gardens.

 

NOTE: The Great Contributors Sculpture Series

The current exhibition at the Arboretum is the series of eight bronze sculptures by Gary Lee Price entitled "The Great Contributors". In Mr. Price's own words:


             "Great contributors are just like you and me: ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. As you come upon these eight "Great Contributors", as I have named them, spread across the Arboretum's lawns and gardens, think of them as theey would want you to: as regular men fortunate to have played a notable role in our history, our lives, and in our world. We invite you to enjoy them!"             

We made a point of stopping at each of the eight sculptures on our way through the gardens today, and in the section of this album page devoted to each garden in which one of the sculptures was located, there will be a sub-section at the end of that garden's pictures for the particular sculpture and the pictures we took of it and/or with it.

With all this introductory information out of the way, let's set off on our tour of the Dallas Arboretum this afternoon.

 

At the Trammel Crow Entry Plaza (1)

Our first encounter with late spring flowers occurred before we even got to the Arboretum entrance. Along the walkway from the parking area, we encountered a beautiful bed of white Knockout Roses that Steve wanted to stop and smell. Then we went in the Members' Entrance to the entry plaza.


Opened in 2003, The Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion and Entry Plaza welcomes visitors to the breathtaking surroundings of the Dallas Arboretum. Built with native Texas limestone and wood and copper sheathing, the structures here in the Entry Plaza serve as the gateway to the gardens. Upon entering, visitors encounter the Scott K. Ginsburg Family Plaza and Junkins Fountain, which are always enveloped by seasonal flora.

The Plaza is surrounded by the information booth, classrooms, offices and facilities on your right, and the gift shop, meeting rooms and the cafe on your left. I think that one of the best times of the year for the Plaza is during the Fall Festival, when the entire plaza and the fountain are bordered by gourds and pumpkins of every size and description.

On the north side of the plaza, near the cafe where we came later to have some lunch, there was a sign announcing the next addition to the Arboretum- a vegetable garden. That is where Fred took the picture at left. I also took a picture- of the sign- and you can read the sign here.

We headed off to the right of the sign to the stairs down to the Fern Dell.

 

The Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell (2)

When you come down the stairs from the Crow Entry Plaza, you are on a walkway that leads across a bridge to the Jonsson Color Garden. That bridge crosses the little artificial stream that begins at the top of the Fern Dell which is to your right and ends in the pool on the left side of the bridge. From that pool, populated with koi and turtles, the water is recirculated.


The Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell

More than 90 varieties of ferns, camellias, azaleas and mature trees border a peaceful brook, which winds throughout this enchanting mini-garden.

The Palmer Fern Dell, designed by Naud Burnett II, is located within the Jonsson Color Garden, on the south side of the main lawn, but we always think of it as a separate garden. This tranquil spot is a welcome oasis during the summer months due to the micro-fine mist system that regularly envelops the garden.

Here are a few of the pictures taken in the Fern Dell today:


(Click Thumbnails to View)

 

The Great Contributors: Benjamin Franklin

We encountered our first "Great Contributor" here in the Fern Dell. The sculpture was along the walkway that runs between the Jonsson Color Garden and the Palmer Fern Dell.


Benjamin Franklin
 

 


Each of the sculptures was sponsored by an individual or organization. You can read the sponsor plaque for Mr. Franklin here.

In the artist's words:

             "Franklin is surely one of America's most famous symbols of democracy, innovation and enterprise. I created Ben wearing one of his most famous inventions, bifocals, and in his hand is a copy of Poor Richard's Almanac, also his creation. In his left hand, he holds a key, symbolic of his significance in opening the doors to America's independence, electricity and many other aspects of our everyday life. You will enjoy Ben once you meet him!"             

Fred also took a picture of me sitting with Mr. Franklin, and while not so good as the picture above, can be seen here. From Mr. Franklin's sculpture we walked across the lawn of the Jonsson Color Garden to have a look at the azaleas.

 

The Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden (3)

Designed by Naud Burnett II, the 6.5-acre Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden features large, sweeping beds of seasonal flowers and plants. It is located northeast of the entry plaza, down a series of steps and across a bridge at the bottom of the Fern Dell. It has three sections, with a walkway all around the perimeter and two walkways through the middle of the acreage.


Part of the Waterwise Display

From the Trammel Crow Entry Plaza, we went down to the Fern Dell and walked along its north side to the Franklin sculpture. Then, while the other three guys crossed one of the walkways through the middle of the Jonsson Color Garden acreage to the north side, I went back down to the bridge that we'd crossed to come around to the north side of the Color Garden that way.

Just after you cross the bridge and begin walking along the north side of the Color Garden, you are passing an area the Arboretum calls "The Waterwise Display". This large, kidney-bean-shaped bed, donated by Region IV of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, provides a location for home gardeners to learn how to install and manage a low-water landscape- something of prime importance in this part of the country.

I know it doesn't look as if water is an issue today; certainly North Texas has set records for rainfall this spring already. But just as night follows day, by June and July the rains will have stopped and gardeners will be trying to keep their plants alive through the long, hot Texas summer, so this display, and the information available on the Arboretum website can help.


Azaleas in the Jonsson Color Garden

It seems that most times, when we come to the Arboretum, we follow the walkway along the north side of the Color Garden; I suppose this is because most of the azaleas are on the north side of that walkway and this is a good way to see them when they are in bloom. We were just a bit early for them in early March, but now, a month later, the hundreds and hundreds of different azalea varieties here in the Color Garden are just passing their peak. We took quite a few pictures of the various varieties; here are some of them:

(Click Thumbnails to View)


Earlier this year, "Dallas Blooms!" having just begun, the gardens sported mostly daffodils and tulips (and we still ran across a rogue tulip or two), along with the remainder of the pansies and ornamental kale and some other blooms that have made it through the winter. The azaleas are the big draw about now, and later the summer will bring a vibrant display of bananas and tapioca plants, and autumn will usher in brightly colored chrysanthemums. No matter what time of year it is, though, the Arboretum does a great job of labeling the various plant varieties, although that can sometimes lead to label overpopulation.


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I think that the Color Garden is always very, very beautiful, but it is no more so than it is during Dallas Blooms!. The Arboretum does a great job, even during the winter, of having plenty of color for visitors to see, but when the azaleas put on their show in the late spring, the Jonsson Color Garden is awash in hues from white to purple.

As we were walking along the north side of the garden, I made a short movie. While it isn't all that great, you can use the player at left to watch it.

We continued walking along the north side of the Color Garden, wandering off occasionally if we saw some brightly-colored azaleas blooming or just to get a look at White Rock Lake. From a couple of spots along the northside walkway we stopped for a photograph, and here are a couple of examples:


Mario, Steve and I

The DeGolyer House

The individual pictures are pretty, of course, but creating more panoramic views shows the Jonsson Color Garden off to even better advantage. I tried my hand at an unusual 360° panorama. Standing at the north end of one of the walkways across the acreage of the Color Garden, right next to one of the little islands that contain crepe myrtles and seasonal flowers, I took a series of pictures. I began with the view west along the north side walkway (where I asked Fred to stand), panned around through north and one of the benches along the walkway (where I asked Fred to sit) to the east along the same north side walkway (where I asked Mario, Steve and Fred to stand). Then I continued panning clockwise from east to south and back to west. When I got back to the west view, Fred had moved and some other visitors were on the walkway heading away from me. I put these eight pictures together into a panorama that shows the walkway to the west twice with different people walking on it, and which shows Fred a total of three times. It is one of my more interesting panoramic views, and you can use the scrollable window below to have a look at it:

We continued our walk along the north side of the Color Garden until we reached the entry to A Woman's Garden- at the northwest corner of the DeGolyer House.

 

A Woman's Garden (Phase 1) (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 Dallas garden features terraced walkways and exceptional views.


One entrance to A Woman's Garden is through the gateway from the Jonsson Color Garden, located at the northwest corner of the DeGolyer House. When you go through this entrance, you are greeted with the view at left into Phase 1 of this 1.8-acre formal garden. This phase 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.

To go through this first phase of A Woman's Garden, we usually head straight down the water feature that you can see behind Steve and walk all the way to the infinity pool way at the far end in the distance. Sometimes, we turn left at the base of this first water feature and walk out to a balcony that overlooks the Poetry Garden, and other times we might turn right and climb the steps up to the DeGolyer House patio.

But this time, we will do something a bit different. Just inside the entrance gateway you will find an Empress tree beside a short walkway that leads to the left and down into the Pecan Parterre, and we followed that walk. From the Parterre, we headed east (the same direction we would be going on our usual route) through the lower-level Poetry Garden and then along a below-grade allee through some knarled trees. At the far end of that walk, there are stairs back up to the main level and you are right beside the infinity pool.


The Pecan Parterre

A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level surface, consisting of planting beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, separated and connected by gravel pathways. Beds may be edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging and may or may not contain flowers. As you can see at right, the Pecan Parterre fits that definition (and the garden is so named because right in the center is the largest pecan tree on the Arboretum grounds).

French parterres originated in 15th-century gardens of the French Renaissance often taking the form of knot gardens. Later, during the 17th century Baroque era, they became more elaborate and more stylised. The French parterre reached its highest development at Versailles; this inspired many other similar parterres throughout Europe- and perhaps, on a tiny scale, here at the Arboretum as well.

In addition to the pecan tree and the shaped hedges, the Pecan Parterre has another interesting feature. It has the largest grouping of foxglove that I have seen anywhere. I saw the plant for the first time years ago on a roadside in Oregon; the Arboretum is the only other place I can recall seeing it all.


Foxglove in the Pecan Parterre

Foxglove are quite pretty, and it may be overkill, but here are some more views of it taken in and around the parterre:

(Click Thumbnails to View)


We wandered around the border of the parterre and then followed the walkway east into the Poetry Garden. You can also view the Poetry Garden from the balcony up on the main level of A Woman's Garden, and we more often do that than come down here into the garden itself.


The Poetry Garden

At right you can see a view of the Poetry Garden. The entrance from the Pecan Parterre is in the background of this picture; I am actually standing in the archway on the east side of this little enclosed garden.

On either side of the archway under which I am standing there were some interesting flowers and trees, and you can see Fred's pictures of flowers here and of the tree here.

If you compare this picture with the one taken from the balcony (which is above and at the left in this picture) you won't see the tall statue and pedestal, for in this view they are out of the picture to the right.

As I stand in this archway, there is a set of stairs to my left that lead up to the balcony I've been talking about. White Rock Lake is to my right and directly behind me is the walkway that leads through some knarled trees down towards the area below the infinity pool that I mentioned earlier. Here are a couple of pictures we took down here on this walkway:

We walked east along the walkway, and eventually found ourselves at the base of the stairway up to the infinity pool. Like I said, we usually don't come this way, we walk along through A Woman's Garden up on the main level the main level. I like the garden for its symmetry, which is easy to see when you look in from the Jonsson Color Garden. There are benches to sit and relax and, of course, two commanding water features.


The Stairs Up to the Infinity Pool

Looking Back the Way We Have Come

Next, we ascended the stairs back up to the main level of A Woman's Garden, and of course found ourselves right by one of the "picture frames" on either side of the infinity pool. You can see it in the picture of the stairs above, left.


Quinceañeras At the Infinity Pool

A common sight in the Arboretum, pretty much year round, are young girls having photographs made for their Quinceañera. This Spanish tradition, also called "fiesta de quince años", is a celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday, marking the transition from childhood to young womanhood. The celebrations today vary significantly across countries; celebrations in some countries, for example, have taken on more religious overtones than in others. From what we can see, the extent of the celebration is limited only by the family's financial resources.

At the bottom of the stairs, and at this end of A Woman's Garden Fred found some other plants to photograph. I don't know what they all are, but you can have a look at them below:

(Click Thumbnails to View)


From here, we walked through the picture frame on the other side of the infinity pool into the second phase of A Woman's Garden.

 

A Woman's Garden (Phase 2) (5)

I had not realized it, but when you exit from the area by the infinity pool heading east, you are actually entering a second phase of A Woman's Garden; I actually always thought it was a different garden altogether.


The Pulpit (A Woman's Garden Phase II)

This area is most a small lawn, and at the south side of it is an overlook made of Austin stone called " The Pulpit" because it resembles one like you might see in church. I posed on it as if I were addressing "my people" like Juan Peron or somebody.

The walk from the infinity pool passes in front of and below the pulpit, and it heads to other areas of the Arboretum- Orchid Hollow and the McCasland Sunken Garden. Along this walkway there were some late tulips are a couple of spurs that lead out to an overlook for Orchid Hollow, and here we found some pretty Spring plantings. Here are more of the blooms we saw around this area:

(Click Thumbnails to View)


I, of course, went around by a side walkway to get into The Pulpit where there are excellent views. Here, I not only found excellent views, but also a dedication plaque. As for those views, here are three of them:


Straight-Ahead View from the Pulpit

View Left Back Towards Phase I

Exit Left Towards the DeGolyer Gardens

Being up here in The Pulpit is interesting; I don't know that I recall ever following the walkway that leads up here before. You can see the route I took to get here in a picture I took looking back towards the east end of A Woman's Garden; to see that photo, just click here. I actually wasn't sure where everyone else had gone, but I thought I heard them up by the DeGolyer House behind me, so I took the exit to my right to get there. Along the path I made movie, and when I came out onto the lawn by the DeGolyer House I spotted yet another young woman having a Quinceañera photo taken.


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A Quinceañera

 

Lunch on the Lula Mae Slaughter Dining Terrace (6)

When I came up to the DeGolyer House from The Pulpit, I looked around for Fred, Mario and Steve, but didn't see them right away. I did look for them off to my left down the walkway to the McCasland Sunken Garden, but I didn't see them there. I looked off to my right to see if they were at the DeGolyer House Restaurant or perhaps sitting on the DeGolyer House patio nearby. They weren't at either place, so I walked ahead out to the Paseo de Flores- the Arboretum's main walkway.


On the Paseo de Flores

When I got to the Paseo, I saw the three of them heading off in the direction of the Crow Entry Plaza, and when I caught up with them, I learned that we were going to go ahead and have a bit of lunch before seeing the rest of the gardens. That was fine with me, and so we headed off.

As we walked down the Paseo to the west, we were passed the open area where various attractions, including Pumpkin Village in the fall, are placed; you can see my picture of that area, with Garland Road outside the fence, here. On our right, as we were walking along, was the entrance to the DeGolyer House.

(Click Thumbnails to View)


Of course, there were always beautiful blooms to look at, particularly when we approached the American Selections Trial Gardens. We took a couple of pictures there on our way past, but since we paid the Trial Gardens an extensive visit on our way out of the Arboretum at the end of the afternoon, I'll put them with the many more we took then.

Just past the DeGolyer House entrance, I thought I would try my hand at another multi-shot panorama. So I took a series of pictures beginning with the view west along the Paseo, panning around to the north and ending with the view east. As I was taking the pictures, there were a group of people walking by, and as it turned out, one of them got into the panorama more than once. Here is that picture, so wide that I had to put it in a scrollable window:

Eventually, we got back to the the Trammel Crow Entrance Pavilion and went around to the Slaughter Dining Terrace. Here, you order your food at one window and pick it up at another. Then you can choose a table on the patio to sit and have your meal. When we were done, we headed back out along the Paseo, passing another of The Great Contributors on the way.

 

The Great Contributors: George Washington

President Washington was located on the north side of the Paseo just opposite the American Selections Trial Gardens.

Each of the sculptures was sponsored by an individual or organization. You can read the sponsor plaque for President Washington here.

In the artist's words:

             "How do you sculpt "The Father of Our Country"? Peace-loving farmer or general in uniform, rising to his countrymen's need? A man over 6 feet tall, Washington's reputation and character were even taller than he. Nothing would have pleased him more than if his famous sword could have been formed into a peaceful plowshare during his lifetime. When you see him, think on his leadership and his role in our lives."             

 

The Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden (7)

Located within the DeGolyer Gardens, this classically designed pocket rose garden contains over 200 Hybrid Tea Roses of 16 different varieties.


The Trellis in the Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden

This beautiful space truly comes alive during Dallas Blooms in the spring and Autumn at the Arboretum in the fall.

With hundreds of blooms, the Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden creates an incredible backdrop for many an intimate wedding held in this charming space.

The Rose Garden is is also a common backdrop for Quinceañera photo sessions.


When the photo session was over, I got the idea to lay down on the grass in the circle under the trellis and try to put together a panoramic view of the trellis overhead. This did not work out well, but I did get a nice view of the center of the trellis. You can see that view at right.

Below is the photo shoot:


 

The Nancy Rudchik Red Maple Rill (8)

From the Rose Garden, we continued east along the Paseo de Flores, past the Crepe Myrtle Allee and on to the entrance to the Red Maple Rill.


At the Top of the Red Maple Rill Stream

Here are some other pictures from the Rill:

(Click Thumbnails to View)


The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill is a two-acre garden that boasts a fabulous collection of over 80 varieties of signature Japanese Maples planted along an artificial stream. (Personally, I think the stream is probably the Arboretum's best attraction and certainly its most intricate and engaging water feature.)

Key design elements of the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill include a new entry off the Paseo de Flores and and a large gathering plaza that overlooks a re-circulating creek and numerous waterfalls. In the picture at left, I am standing just below that gathering plaza, right at the top of the stream. I thought I would make a movie from here:


(Mouseover Image Above for Player Controls)

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.

 

The Great Contributors: Claude Monet

The artist was located just between the Red Maple Rill and the Performance Stage, so we walked over to have a look and take a few pictures.

Each of the sculptures was sponsored by an individual or organization. You can read the sponsor plaque for Monet here.

In the artist's words:

             "Monet, a French man who took his love for his country, gardening, and painting to heart, is credited as the Father of Impressionism. He delighted in painting 'en plein air' that is outside, so his presence at the Arboretum is a natural tribute, to Monet and to those who find the Dallas Arboretum's glorious gardeens wonderfully artful."             

 

The Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade (9)

Along with her husband Austin, Pauline Neuhoff wanted to dedicate a quiet and special garden to honor her mother. The beautiful Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade is now officially open to the public and features lush green grass, beautiful white blooms and the peaceful sounds of running water. The garden carries a meandering rivulet of water throughout, ending in a beautiful twisting fountain with photo opportunities at every turn. There are a number of ways into this garden area; we came out the walkway from the Red Maple Rill, and walked next door on the Paseo to the Magnolia Glade.


The Magnolia Glade features a meandering waterway and picturesque lily pond amid a collection of beautiful flowers.

Visitors, families and photographers can often be found in this soothing space enjoying the incredible scenery and the sounds of birds chirping and the bubbling rush of the fountains’ water.

Designed by Landscape Architect Warren Hill Johnson, the glade will take 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. It was also the site of another in the series of Great Contributors.

 

The Great Contributors: William Shakespeare

The Bard was located in the Nancy Clements Seay Magnolia Glade in the area where the winding stream is. In fact, William and his bench were positioned in a small space created where a walkway cut across one loop of the stream. Following our map, we walked from the Rill over to the Glade to have a look.

Each of the sculptures was sponsored by an individual or organization. You can read the sponsor plaque for Shakespeare here.

In the artist's words:

             "Shakespeare's writing introduces us to royalty and ragamuffins, philosophers and fantasy figures, all with instincts and aspirations just like ours. My instinct when sculpting this life-size Shakespeare was to create him as a man whose instincts, imagination and skills brought hundreds of characters to life, as real today as in his time. What might he say of me?"             

Befor we left Shakespeare, Steve and Mario wanted a picture of them posing with the sculpture, and so I obliged. You can see that picture here.

 

The Alex Camp House (10)

From the Magnolia Glade, we went back out to the Paseo to continue east towards the Lay Family Garden which is the easternmost part of the Arboretum (not counting the Rory Meyers Children's Garden). As we walked, we were able to admire more of the flowers in bloom:

Along the Paseo, I passed an interesting trio sitting on one of the benches alongisde the walk. Eventually, we came to the end of the Paseo, at the fountain in front of the Alex Camp House.


The Alex Camp House is an 8,500-square-foot home, which sits atop a gently sloping hill providing a stunning view of White Rock Lake. It was designed and built by well-known architect John Staub, and was completed in 1938. Both Alex Camp and Roberta Coke Camp were from prominent Dallas families, and Roberta was a generous philanthropist who supported local civic and charitable organizations including the symphony, art museum, ballet and her church. The house is a harmonious combination of Latin Colonial, English Regency and Art Deco styles. It is one room deep throughout, creating three exposures for all living and bedrooms.

The acquisition of the Alex Camp House was a major element in the evolution of the Arboretum. The Arboretum was incorporated in 1974, and in 1977 the grounds of the DeGolyer Estate, which the city purchased from SMU, became the official location for the Gardens. By 1980, the Arboretum organization had raised enough money to purchase the 22-acre Alex Camp House, which is adjacent to the DeGolyer Estate. With the 66-acre parcel now complete, the City of Dallas and the Arboretum organization signed a contract for the creation of the first gardens, which opened to the public in 1984.

 

The Great Contributors: Mark Twain

We found Mark Twain sitting on his bench beside the circular fountain in front of the Alex Camp House at the end of the Paseo. The fountain is surrounded on three sides by cypress trees, and Twain's bench was on the west side of the fountain.

Each of the sculptures was sponsored by an individual or organization. You can read the sponsor plaque for President Mark Twain here.

In the artist's words:

             "My initial decision was to begin a series of sculptures honoring the 'Greats' with Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His remarkable sense of humor was a good starting point. 'I have never let my schooling interfere with my education', Clemens once said, and I believe him."             

 

The Martin Rudchik Concert Stage and Lawn (11)

From the Mark Twain sculpture, we followed one of the entrances to the Lay Family Garden. This entrance begins along a walkway just east of the Alex Camp House. Along this walkway were more beautiful blossoms:

Once past the end of the house, we could see the Lay Family Garden off to our right, but first we had another sculpture to visit- this one located at the top of the lawn above White Rock Lake.


The Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn provides an outdoor performance venue for up to 65 musicians in groups such as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Richardson Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Wind Symphony. Choral groups, small ensembles and individuals also perform here in the Arboretum's own venue.

The primary goal in the design of the performance stage and lawn by Milton Powell and Partners, was to locate the stage and shape the existing topography to create a natural amphitheater without disrupting the present vista from the Camp House to White Rock Lake. The stage is sized to accommodate a temporary 40' x 40' shade canopy with overhead lighting and provides for a temporary guying system for wind loads.

Additional features of the amphitheater include lawn seating for 2,100 patrons, three "Special Event Balconies" where temporary tents can be rented to groups of 35-40 guests, preservation/lighting of existing Pecan trees in the immediate area, and provision for lighting and sound systems. To provide an ADA accessible walkway descending 27' from the existing Paseo to the stage, a 5% sloped winding sidewalk was constructed in shapes recalling musical notes. Additionally, at appropriate nodes along the walkway, circular cast stone seat pods inscribed with musical quotations have been installed.

 

The Great Contributors: The Wright Brothers

We found the Wright Brothers at the top of the natural amphitheatre; this was the only "Great Contributor" sculpture with more than one human figure, and also the only one where any human figure was not sitting or reclining on a bench.

In the artist's words:

             "I have always been fascinated with Orville and Wilbur Wright. These tightly-knit, unassuming, Dayton, Ohio brothers and bicycle shop owners, with their practical knowledge of maneuverability and control, changed the course of history. Their study of engineering and their ingenuity freed mankind from an earthbound existence. I chose to depict Orville and Wilbur on the ground, approachable in nature, yet airborne in their thoughts and vision of the future."             

 

The Lay Family Garden (12)

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. This garden lies at the northeast end of the Arboretum proper, just to the east of the Alex Camp House; beyond it is the new Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. Main features are the trio of waterfalls, the lawn and circular water feature, the koi pond and Grotto Falls.


The recent renovation of the Lay Family Garden changed the traffic flow (in addition to the creation of Grotto Falls). An exit from the Lay Garden to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden needed to be created; this supplemented the walkway that in effect extends the Paseo de Flores (which actually ends in front of the Alex Camp House) all the way to the new Children's Garden. Visitors can go behind Grotto Falls to this new exit. New entrances to the Lay Garden were also made, to replace the kind of convoluted entrance that used to exist. One of these is beside the Alex Camp House and the other comes in off the walkway to the Meyers Garden.

The Lay Family Garden is the easternmost garden in the Arboretum proper; the only part of the Arboretum east of it is the relatively new Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, a six-acre enclave of exhibits, play areas and plants of all kinds, plus a "Discovery Center" with interactive displays, laboratory demonstrations and a small planetarium.

One thing that didn't change in the renovation, though, was the diversity and profusion of plants and flowers. Here are some of the plants and blooms we saw today:

The Lay Family Garden has more water features than any other here at the Arboretum. In addition to the winding watercourse, there is a pond for aquatic plants, the three curtain waterfalls, the new Grotto Falls and a koi pond. There is a pedestrian bridge over the koi pond, and visitors like us often stop to see the colorful fish in the swirling water below. Fred and I each made a movie standing on this little bridge, and even though they are quite similar, I have put players for both of them below:


(Mouseover Image Above for Player Controls)

(Mouseover Image Above for Player Controls)

The Lay Garden's newest feature is Grotto Falls. Visitors can walk behind the actual waterfall or relax on one of the stone benches behind the falls. Embedded in the walls of the "grotto" are a number of fossil sea creatures; most of these actually came from the area around Lake Texoma. After walking behind the falls, visitors can either continue around the lily pond to the limestone waterfalls or they can take the new exit through the hedge and find themselves right beside the entrance to the new Children's Garden.


Grotto Falls (Looking West)

A Walk Behind Grotto Falls
(Mouseover Image Above for Player Controls)

One of the most popular features of the Lay Family Garden has always been the native limestone walls with waterfalls cascading from them; these are directly across the large lagoon for aquatic plants from the grotto falls. We took quite a few pictures back here in the Lay Family Garden; it is an interesting place. You can see some of these pictures below:

 

The Great Contributors: Albert Einstein

Back here in the Lay Family Garden, we found the sculpture of Albert Einstein. As with eight of the other nine human figures, he was sitting on a bench, inviting visitors to sit with him.

Each of the sculptures was sponsored by an individual or organization. You can read the sponsor plaque for President Mark Twain here.

In the artist's words:

             "Einstein once said, 'Imagination is more important that knowledge.' At a time when knowledge is critically important, he reminds us of the other valuable approach to life. I invite you to sit with this man- this genius- and let your imagination roam."             

From the Lay Family Garden, we walked back out to the circle in front of the Alex Camp House to head down the Paseo de Flores back towards the Arboretum entrance.

 

The Arboretum's Test Beds (13)

The Dallas Arboretum has two areas where plants are tested (and where starts of various varieties are grown). At many botanical gardens, these areas are not open to the public, but here in Dallas they are. One such area is just south of the Paseo de Flores and somewhat west of the Alex Camp House, and we almost always make a stop there.


As we were strolling down the Paseo towards the test beds, I spied an empty tram (they are usually used to ferry VIPs and/or folks with disabilities around the gardens, but there was no one in or near this one so I hopped in and had Fred take a picture. Can you figure out with President I am supposed to be?

Here at the Arboretum, the test beds are for both in-ground and potted plants, and the beds are five long rows of flowers of various types, organized by type and by color. Above them are hanging pots, and off in their own area are the pots as you might see along a walkway or on a patio. Of course, with so many plants, the area is a riot of color almost all year round, and Fred always likes to stop to see if there are varieties of flowers he is unfamiliar with.

Adjacent to the long test beds are some rectangular ones where more shrub-like plants and flowers are tested; some of these beds are in shade so that quality can be evaluated as well. The Arboretum is quite good about labeling everything, so if Fred finds something he likes he can jot it down for further investigation.

Everything was so colorful today that Fred and I (well, mostly I) took a great many pictures. We took pictures of the beds and of the individual flowers in them, and you can see that there was a wide range of bright colors and flower types. Have a look at as many of these pictures as you might wish:

Actually, Fred didn't only photograph the plants. His eagle-eye spied another non-human visitor to the test beds, and he used his excellent telephoto setting to get a nice picture of the visitor. The flowers and blooms here in the test beds were just beautiful today.

(Click Thumbnails to View)

For my part, I wandered around with everyone else, and did my share of candid photography. I thought I got one nice picture of Steve and Mario here at the test beds, and you can have a look at it here.

It seems as if every time we come here to the test beds, I try to put together a panorama covering one entire bed from end to end. Sometimes, I try to use the panorama feature of the camera, but standing in front of the center of one of the beds and panning from end to end has never worked; it takes too long or the resulting panorama is severely bent, with the far ends being too small. Other times, I try to take a series of pictures of the bed as I walk along and then stitch them together. But it always seems that the perspective messes with the stitching program. Today, I took another 13-picture series and tried to stitch it automatically, but again, it didn't work. So I did it manually. It took some time, adjusting the perspective of the individual pictures so that they would marry up, but for once the end result was worth it. In the scrollable window below, you can walk along one of the more colorful test beds, end to end:

If you are curious, here are miniatures of the thirteen pictures whose large sizes were stitched together for the panorama above:

From the test beds, we made a quick stop at Toad Corners and then walked down the Crepe Myrtle Allee and back to the Paseo, turning and towards the entrance.  

The Paseo de Flores (14)

From the test beds, our stroll back to the Arboretum entrance followed the Paseo de Flores- the main walkway through the Gardens. There are always floral displays along the Paseo as it passes the DeGolyer House, the site of autumn's Pumpkin Village and the main entry to the Jonsson Color Garden.

This circle is at the intersection of the Crepe Myrtle Allee and the Paseo; it is always planted with seasonal flowers and plants.

This is one of the only examples of "sculpted" trees in the Arboretum. I am not a fan of this type of decoration, but least it isn't a topiary.

Commonly referred to as simply The Paseo, the Lyda Bunker Hunt Paseo de Flores is a meandering pathway serves as the central walkway of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. It is lined with benches and on nice days most of them are usually full with folks just admiring the color around them.


Designed by Luis Santana, the path begins at the Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion and concludes near Fogelson Fountain, which was donated by the late Greer Garson in memory of her husband, Buddy, in front of the Alex Camp House. An extension of the walkway leads around the southeast side of the Lay Family Garden to reach the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. Along The Paseo, visitors can stop for photo opportunities and fun at the Magnolia Glade, the Crape Myrtle Allee, the Toad Corners Fountain, the Shadow Garden and the Pecan Grove.

There is a lot to do and see along the Paseo. There are food kiosks and two cafes, the DeGolyer House and other facilities. Near the Entry Pavilion is another set of trial gardens.

Of course, at this time of year, both sides of the Paseo are lined with flowers, and I think that many visitors, particularly those who find it difficult to walk great distances, just stroll the Paseo from end to end, and look off on either side to the various gardens and other named features. We certainly enjoyed our stroll back towards the entrance and the AAS Trial Gardens. The Arboretum always does an amazing job of floral color coordination.

 

The AAS Trial Gardens (15)

Just before you get back to the Trammel Crow Pavilion, you pass another set of test gardens on the left. These beds are part of a nationwide network of trial gardens run by All-America Selections. In North Texas, there are many environmental challenges that make selecting the right plants crucial to successful gardening. Although most catalogs and books provide information about plant requirements, many of these descriptions are based on growing experience in northern states.


Dallas has weather conditions that require resilient plants. Our winters can be mild, but we occasionally experience sudden sharp drops in temperature. We ask a lot of our ornamental plants, as they must also tolerate periods of too much rain or no rain at all and extreme temperatures in the summer.

The trial garden is part of the All-America Selections program; a non-profit organization encourages gardens in different areas of the country to undertake these programs, and the information gleaned is shared through that organization with garden clubs, garden centers and the public.

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Use the arrows in the bottom corners of the images to move through the slideshows. Track your progress with the index numbers in the upper left of each image.

The Trial Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum were created for the purpose of expanding its research efforts and providing information to the public. The focus of the trial program is to grow and evaluate many different plants in the drastic climate of the Metroplex and North Central Texas. Information generated from the trials is provided to commercial plant producers, retailers and home gardeners. Between 3,000 and 5,000 plants are trialed yearly from over 150 plant breeding companies.

The plants and flowers here were as beautiful as in the Test Beds we stopped at earlier, and I have put a number of the images from the Trial Gardens in the slideshow at right. As usual, use the "forward" and "backward" arrows in the lower corners of each picture to move through the images, and track your progress with thd index numbers in the upper right.

Enjoy!

 

The Great Contributors: Abraham Lincoln

We found the last of the eight "Great Contributors" diagonally across from the Trial Gardens in an area known as the Val Late Garden of Memories. In this small pocket garden near the portico of the DeGolyer House, there is a serene fountain, an open lawn and a small performance stage. It was here that we encountered today's only musical performance.

Each of the sculptures was sponsored by an individual or organization. You can read the sponsor plaque for President Mark Twain here.

In the artist's words:

             "I created the towering 6'4" Lincoln in the moments of repose and reflection immediately before delivering the Gettysburg Address. These may be the most memorable and powerful 272 words ever uttered. Abe loved people. He had an inviting smile, a hearty laugh and an immensely thought-provoking and inspiring way of talking. You'll enjoy knowing Abe."             

This turned out to be the only performance in the gardens today, and so in addition to my picture of the lawn where the Lincoln sculpture was located, I made a short movie of the performer.


The Val Late Garden of Memories

(Mouseover Image Above for Player Controls)

 

Some Final Pictures

From the Lincoln statue we all four walked back to the Crow Entry Plaza. While I was waiting for the others who were in the gift shop, I was just enjoying the afternoon.


I happened to notice a young woman apparently being fitted with a wedding dress right in the middle of the plaza. She was not a Quinceañera; she wasn't Hispanic, her dress was way too subdued for a Quinceañera, and there were no photographers around.

I couldn't quite figure out why someone was apparently making or marking alterations right out here in the open, and so it was kind of an interesting sight. Interesting enough that I took a picture. I hope the young woman doesn't mind that it is here on my album page.

I thought her elegance was eminently photographable, but it wasn't until the four of us were leaving and I got around behind her. That's where the really interesting picture opportunity opened up, and I just had to take another picture to use as juxtaposition for the first.

We enjoyed our day here in the Arboretum immensely. We got lots of good photographs, and were able to visit all eight of the "Great Contributors" sculptures. Sadly, the scaled-down replica of the Monet sculpture was not yet on "95% off" clearance.

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



April 24, 2016: Tom and John's Going Away Party
March 9-28, 2016: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
Return to the Index for 2016