October 1, 2016: The Nasher Sculpture Center & Thanksgiving Square
September 29-30, 2016: Hiking in the Wichita Mountains
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October 1, 2016
Autumn at the Arboretum


We returned from our trip to the Wichita Mountains yesterday, and our friend Guy is going to stay with us for another day or two. Today, Saturday, one of the outings we want to make is to "Autumn at the Arboretum"- one of the Dallas Arboretum's most famous and most enjoyable seasonal celebrations; it is rivalled only by the Spring presentation "Dallas Blooms!". We have been to this event before, and I think that Guy has too, but it is always enjoyable.



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 Trammell Crow Entrance Plaza and then make a circuit through the Fern Dell to the Jonsson Color Garden, through the gardens on the north side of the Arboretum, across the top of the Performance Lawn to the Lay Family Garden, and then back along the Paseo del Flores- the main walkway through the Gardens- with a stop at Pumpkin Village.

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.   Jonsson Color Garden
3.   A Woman's Garden
4.   The Grotto
5.   Red Maple Rill
6.   Performance Lawn
7.   Lay Family Garden
8.   Paseo de Flores
9.   Pumpkin Village

As I said, Fred and I have been to the Autumn celebration almost every year, and in fact Guy was with us just last year when we came in late September. (It is best to get here before Halloween, because after that the Arboretum allows patrons to buy and carry off the pumpkins and gourds.

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


At the Trammell Crow Entrance Plaza

Opened in 2003, The Trammell Crow Entry Plaza welcomes visitors to the breathtaking surroundings of the Dallas Arboretum. On entering the Gardens, visitors enter onto the Scott K. Ginsburg Family Plaza and see in front of them the Junkins Fountain, which are enveloped by a menagerie of seasonal flora. This entryway gives visitors a glimpse of the 66 acres of stunning vistas ahead.

The Scott K. Ginsburg Family Plaza

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

Held over from the summer are eight bronze statues of famous people; you may have seen these on an earlier Arboretum visit this year. Guy had not seen them, though, so we tried to find as many as possible. At left he and Fred are with George Washington. I also made a movie here in the plaza.

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In the Ginsburg Family Plaza

As you can see with all the pumpkins and gourds around, the Autumn celebration is in full swing. Here are a couple of other pictures that I took here in the entry plaza:



The Jonsson Color Garden

From the entry plaza, walked a short way along the Paseo del Flores and then turned to head into the Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell.

Just as we turned off the Paseo, we came across another of the bronzes, and so I asked Guy to sit down on the bench beside the sculpture of Claude Monet. That's the picture you see at left.

Then we continued along the walkway from the Paseo to the Color Garden. This walkway actually goes along the east end of the fern dell. In the 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 actually located within the Jonsson Color Garden. This tranquil spot is much more in demand in the summer; it is then a welcome oasis due to the micro-fine mist system that regularly envelops the garden.

Right along the walkway that runs between the dell and the three-lobed lawn of the Color Garden was a third bronze sculpture- this one of Benjamin Franklin (with Guy), and so of course I had to get a picture for Guy to have.

Then the walkway brought us to the south side of the middle of the Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden. Designed by Naud Burnett II, the 6.5-acre Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden features large, sweeping beds of seasonal flowers and plants.

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The Color Garden is home to more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas, which bloom lavishly in the spring along with daffodils and tulips. Summer brings a vibrant display of bananas and tapioca plants, while autumn ushers in brightly colored chrysanthemums. At one end there is a display donated by Region IV of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association that educates home gardeners on how to install and manage a low-water landscape. I should probably also mention that the Arboretum is already setting up for the next major event- The Twelve Days of Christmas. This event, which begins right after Thanksgiving, features twelve large carousels themed on the classic song. Each carousel moves to a different Christmas song. You have been offered a complete tour of the twelve carousels on album pages from both 2014 and 2015, so go to the indexes for those years if you haven't seen them already. They are fantastic!



A Woman's Garden/Woman's Garden II

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.

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. The main entrance is via a gateway from the Jonsson Color 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.

We came down into the garden and Guy and Fred wandered around while I took some pictures. While I was making my movie, they were relaxing in a corner of the garden by the stairstepped fountain coming down into the garden from the entry. That's them at right.

And here is the movie I made looking around A Woman's Garden:

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Looking Around A Woman's Garden

A Woman's Garden is symmetrical, with the boundaries delineated by straight lines of dwarf boxwood used as a low hedge; the garden is separated from the DeGolyer Estate by a somewhat taller hedge and a sloping bank. Throughout the garden we found beautiful Fall blooms. Down beside the infinity pool there is a sculpture in a kind of frame; I used my selfie stick here, and then went to the far side of the pool to look back at the sculpture.

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 trees. Here in the second phase of A Woman's Garden we found another carousel being readied, and we also walked along the walkway beneath a limestone balcony called "The Pulpit".



The Grotto

The Grotto (also sometimes referred to as The Genesis Garden) sits at the bottom of the second phase of A Woman's Garden, just a short distance from the larger pool at the bottom of the Red Maple Rill. This is always a nice place to come and sit down- particularly on hot summer days. It is also a popular place for Quinceañera photographs (that being the Spanish/Hispanic celebration of a girl's 15th birthday).

I had the three of us sit down so I could take a selfie, and I also made a movie wandering around the pool here in the Grotto:

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At the Grotto

Here are two more pictures I took here at The Grotto:



The Nancy Rudchik Red Maple Rill

The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill, opened in 2011, is one of the Arboretum's premier gardens. Perhaps the most impressive feature of this two-acre garden is a fabulous collection of over 80 varieties of signature Japanese Maples planted along an artificial stream.

From the Grotto, we walked over to the large pool that sits at the bottom of the Red Maple Rill (see picture below). From here, the water is recirculated to the top of the artificial stream. We found an artist here, doing a watercolor of the pool, and she let me take the picture at left of her work in progress.

There is no path that goes up the Rill alongside the stream; instead, one takes a path to the west that leads up by one of the garden's nicest fountains- the Octagonal Fountain- and from there to a walkway and stairs that lead down to a beautiful bridge that crosses the stream midway down its course. We like to stop on this bridge for pictures and to admire the artificial stream- fed by a fountain upstream and just off the Paseo del Flores.

The Rill was designed by Rowland Jackson, and included a new entry off the Paseo de Flores and a large gathering plaza that overlooks a re-circulating creek and numerous waterfalls. The stone stone bridge connects the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage at the bottom of the Performance Lawn to the Magnolia Allee. An especially large weeping Japanese maple, nearly 100 years old, anchors the center of the garden. Here is another picture Fred took of myself and Guy on the bridge.



The Performance Lawn

One of the busiest places in the Arboretum- particularly on nice days- is the Performance Lawn just above the Martin Rudchik Concert Stage. This area is located just northeast of the Red Maple Rill, and is a natural amphitheatre on the hillside that slopes down to White Rock Lake. It is a popular place for picnics, and of course when there are performances going on it can get quite full. To show the sweep of this area, I put four separate pictures together into this panorama:

The artist we found at the bottom of the Red Maple Rill turned out to be just one of many that were in the gardens today. There were three more here at the top of the Performance Lawn, and I got permission to photograph each of them:

I thought the third one was particularly interesting, and I had to move around to get just the right angle for my picture.



The Lay Family Garden

The Lay Family Garden used to be the northeasternmost part of the Arboretum; today, however, the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden lays beyond it, although we didn't visit that garden today. This garden has recently undergone a major renovation. 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.)

Here in the Lay Family Garden we ran across another of the bronze sculptures- this one of Albert Einstein. So as I'd been doing so far today, I asked Guy to have a seat beside him so I could get this picture.

Here are Fred and Guy standing on one of the walkways in the Lay Garden. You can see the area of the three waterwalls in the background and the lily pond just behind them (with the little bridge going over it).

The Lay Garden now has a walkway that leads through an artificial Grotto and waterfall and over to the Adventure Garden. It also has an entrance from the Performance Lawn, of course, and also one to the Paseo. 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.

At left is a close-up picture of one of the three waterwalls in the corner of the Lay Garden; these are also a popular place for visitors and photographers. Today, the Lay Garden had quite a few different blooms in the flower beds and in the lily pond, and Fred took a series of pictures that I've put in the slideshow below. Move through the pictures with the forward/backward buttons in the lower corners:

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I took a couple more pictures here in the Lay Garden before we went back out to the Paseo:

In this picture, Guy is standing on the walkway that leads by the lily pond back to the grotto (which you can just barely see behind him). Through the grotto is the walkway to the Adventure Garden.

Here are Fred and Guy standing by what used to be the entrance to the Lay Garden but which is now a long flower bed with seasonal color. The view looks west out onto the Paseo and to the fountain in front of the Alex Camp House.



Along the Paseo del Flores

We left the Lay Family Garden and got back out onto the Paseo; we were right in front of the Alex Camp House where there is a circular pool and fountain. That fountain is just in front of the old entrance to the Lay Garden which is now a bed of flowers. Here is the fountain and that flower bed.

Placed by the Alex Camp House fountain was another of the bronze sculptures- this one of Mark Twain. Here is a picture of Guy standing behind him. I also thought this would be a good place for another movie:

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On the Paseo in Front of the Alex Camp House

Walking along the Paseo del Flores is always a pleasure, but is especially so during events like Dallas Blooms! or Autumn in the Arboretum. During the Autumn festival, the Paseo is lined with more gourds and pumpkins- sometimes in lavish displays (although sometimes not so much):

So we took the Paseo back towards the Arboretum entrance, making a couple of stops along the way- one on the Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden and another at the Pumpkin Patch.

Most of the pictures from the Paseo are in the slideshow below:
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As usual, you can move through the pictures using the forward/backward buttons in the lower corners, and you can track your progress with the little numbers in the upper left corner of each picture.

I have added some labels to a few of the pictures to make it clearer what you are looking at.

Of course, when we got to Pumpkin Village, we left the Paseo to go wander through this popular autumn display.



Pumpkin Village

The Pumpkin Village is undoubtedly the main attraction of Autumn at the Arboretum; 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 the Autumn in the Arboretum event. Some are used as decorative borders, both in Pumpkin Village and elsewhere in the gardens. Many of the pumpkins are gathered together in an area adjacent to Pumpkin Village in one huge collection that awes visitors with the sheer number of large orange pumpkins. This area is called "The Pumpkin Patch" and was still being filled today.

Kids can wander through the huge collection, sit on the hay bales and have their parents photograph them. In late October, I think, the Arboretum begins allowing visitors to purchase the pumpkins (helping clear them out for the Christmas events that begin around Thanksgiving).

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.

The other use to which the pumpkins are put is as a construction material for building a series of structures adjacent to the Pumpkin Patch; this is "Pumpkin Village". We have been here a number of times, and the theme seems to alternate year to year, with one year being structures from the Western frontier and the next being structures based on fairy tales- which was the theme of this year's display.

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Our pictures from Pumpkin Village are in the slideshow at left; move through the pictures with the usual buttons in the lower corners and track your progress in the upper left. And below you can watch the one movie I made in the village:

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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. 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. I also let my camera make a panoramic view for me:

The Pumpkin Village is a really neat area, and the Arboretum does a lot of work each year to make it special. 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.

October 1, 2016: The Nasher Sculpture Center & Thanksgiving Square
September 29-30, 2016: Hiking in the Wichita Mountains
Return to Index for 2016