Monday, March 26, 2012

Totally Texas -- Dallas Arboretum: pretty as a picture

Dallas Arboretum

8525 Garland Road


Between huge crowds for the Dallas Blooms festival, a traffic-blocking marathon race, and drought-busting rains, yesterday afternoon (March 25) was the first day I’d made it to the Dallas Arboretum for a couple of weeks. So it was nice to check the public garden’s website, and learn there was relief from at least one of those issues. The Arboretum’s new rainy day policy offers another day of free entry if rain falls during a visit.

It comes just in time for the climax of the Arboretum’s annual spring festival, Dallas Blooms. The festival continues through Easter Sunday, April 8. And though there are special activities for the next two weeks (see the site for complete schedule), you may want to avoid the crowds by getting the family out for a spring photo opportunity before the final day.

Unless the weather is truly inclement, the grounds will be packed on Easter. I write this from experience. Although the people-watching can be as fun as the flower watching, if your aim is a portrait of children or grandchildren without crowds passing between them and the camera, go early.

Yesterday, the tulips were still surprisingly strong, although some were passing their peak. Best spots for pictures with close-up tulips were in shady areas, such as a bed in the Palmer Fern Dale full of luscious lemon sherbet-colored tulips with fringed petals.

For backgrounds, the tulip beds around the main lawn between the fern dale and the DeGolyer House still look great, especially when viewed across grass so green it almost hurts to look at it.

The up and coming show, of course, is the azaleas -- pink, white, red, and even orange-flowered. Some beds are in full bloom now. There’s even a small planting of Texas’ state flower, the bluebonnets, in the Dry Bed. With a frame of yuccas and agaves, it makes a great picture. Be sure the children sit or stand on the paved walkway in front of the flowers, not on them. Agaves have thorns.

Or picture anybody you love at the “Small Houses of Great Artists” playhouses, such as the Monet-themed garden and bridge illustrating this post. If you can’t get there before Easter, the playhouses will remain in place through the end of the year. There are several others, but the boys particularly loved back and forth over the little bridge with this one. The Calatrava’s not the only bridge in town!

If you need help making your pictures as perfect as your visions, see the Arboretum’s adult education offerings on photography and painting at its website. I’m looking forward to a lecture later this month from Allen Rokach, photographer for both Southern Living magazine and the New York Botanical Garden.


Note to my British readers -- Thanks! You’ve now looked at these posts more times than viewers from the Netherlands. But can you beat the French? I’m baffled but delighted at how many times readers from France view this blog.


  1. That sounds wonderful. And here I am another UK reader. I like the rainy day visit again policy. *laughs* we couldn't implement that over here. Too expensive.

    1. Thanks, Deborah. And congratulations -- I saw your name on Duotrope this week -- again!

    2. Oh, that's so great that you noticed me. Thanks, Melissa.