Friday, May 9, 2014

Totally Texas -- Give her a rose garden this Mother’s Day

She’s your mom, right? And you’d gladly shower her with roses this Sunday for Mother’s Day, if only you had enough money. How about, instead of a dozen roses, you give her hundreds--make that thousands--of roses? All for less than the cost of a box of chocolates.

And mom will have an hour or so with her nearest and dearest, and a chance to take plenty of pictures to remember it by.

It’s all at the Tyler Rose Garden, 420 Rose Park Drive (off Front Street), in Tyler, about an hour and a half east of Dallas. When I went by earlier this week, the garden’s more than 32,000 rose bushes were in full bloom.

Years ago, when my daughter was a kid and I was an impoverished graduate student, the rose garden was one of our favorite places to hang out. There’s plenty of room on the grassy walks between the roses for kids to run, even grassy hills for them to roll down, as my grandkids can now attest. (There are also paved walks and ramps.) The garden is open daily from dawn until dark. And it’s free.

Tyler is so proud of its roses that it holds a festival in their honor each October. But you don’t need to wait until then to stop and smell the roses. Entry to the garden is through the Rose Garden Center building, open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 -5 p.m. Or enter through the parking lot gate south of the center, open as long as the garden.

The Rose Garden Center houses a museum of the annual rose festival, including the lavish costumes of rose queens and their courts. The museum is open Tuesday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $3.50 for adults, $2 for children, payable at the center’s gift shop.. For more information and schedule of events at the garden, see

If you enter Tyler on U.S. 69, you’ll also drive past one of my family’s other favorite East Texas hangouts, Tyler’s Caldwell Zoo. And past a cluster of rose nurseries. Most are commercial only, but a few, including the wonderful Chamblee’s Rose Nursery, also have retail outlets. Potted roses in the greenhouses are in full bloom also, as living souvenirs of your visit.

Other rosy venues in North Texas include the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Drive, Fort Worth; and the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas.

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden includes a terraced rose garden, and plenty of rose arbors throughout. It’s open 6 am.- 8 p.m. (basically, dawn to dark). Admission is free. For information and directions, see

The Dallas Arboretum includes a newly redesigned circular rose garden. It’s open daily (except for some fall and winter holidays) from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. This Sunday, it also offers a Mother’s Day concert, free with paid admission. For information about events, tickets and parking, see

(Next Friday, Richardson’s Wildflower! Art & Music Festival)

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