Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

After the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, I went  into the Dallas Arboretum. It had been many years since I had been to the Dallas Arboretum, so a lot has changed — yet remained the same. This is truly a beautiful destinations not only for tourists, but also locals to enjoy the outdoors, walk among the various plant collections, see the seasonal exhibits, and attend various musical and theatrical events hosted throughout the year.

From the children’s garden, I entered the Lay Family Garden. All around this garden were Hispanic families taking pictures of their daughters in large fancy dresses – likely for quinceañeras.

In this garden was a large koi pond too, which had some beautiful fish that swam around near the grotto’s waterfall. Coming from the interactive children’s garden, this was a nice feature to transition from the fun to the formal gardens of the main arboretum.

“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 set against two amazing water features, the Lay Grotto, which boasts a waterfall and koi pond, and on the other side, another set of cascading water elements under a lush trellis.”

The path continued onto past one of the original buildings in the arboretum, which is on the top of a sloping hill that overlooks White Rock Lake and the pavilion stage at the bottom of the hill.  This is where the Arboretum hosts their musical events and late night summer performances. Not a short distance away were some of the kinetic art sculptures which dance with the wind, these sculptures were scattered throughout the arboretum.

I continued on through various other gardens and landscapes, like the McCasland Sunken Garden, enjoying the well-crafted landscape design and selection of trees, shrubs, flowers and other types of plants.

Walking past the ‘Cafe on the Green,’ I arrived at the Rosemary Haggard Rose Garden. While the roses weren’t in full bloom, you could tell that this was a spectacular garden when the roses are at their best. Among the landscape, there were several varieties and species of roses, and at its height – is likely one of the most photographed spots and place for proposals.

“This classically designed pocket rose garden contains over 200 Hybrid Tea Roses of 16 different varieties, making for a stunning backdrop when the roses are in bloom, coupled with an enchanting opportunity to stop and literally “smell” the roses.”

After the Rose Garden I made my way over to the Trial Gardens and Crape Myrtle Allee. The Trial Gardens were really interesting with a couple hundred varieties of plants – from ornamentals to vegetables – being grown for experimentation purposes.

Passing through a hedgerow, I came to the spitting toad water fountains where children were playing, which was at the far end of Crape Myrtle Allee –  a long pathway encircled and covered by several dozen crepe myrtles. This is also a highly photographed area at the arboretum. (It was hard to walk without stepping into the shot of a photographer or in front of people posed for photos.)

“The Trial Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum were created for the purpose of expanding our 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. These gardens represent the cutting edge of horticultural research into heat-tolerant plants.”

Halfway through my walking adventure in the arboretum, I made it to the Trammell Crow Visitor Education Pavilion, which serves as the limestone constructed main entrance to the arboretum. And just like all my other adventures, I had to be sure to pick up some native seeds – so made a stop at the gift shop and bought a few packets.

After the gift shop I went to the Tasteful Place, a garden, pavilion, and outdoor kitchen that focused on sustainable, locally-grown foods and featured several buildings as venues to host events as well as cooking classes.

“This 3.5-acre, potager garden, pavilion and kitchen is inspired by the movement toward growing and eating fresh, sustainable, locally-grown food. Enjoy three free daily tastings made with seasonal produce, cooking demos and more.”

On the back side of the covered pavilion in the Tasteful Place garden, I made my way along the path to the pond fountain, fed by a stream from run-off higher up in the arboretum along a rock creek bed.

Further along the path were educational signs about proper watering and maintenance techniques for Texas native plants. Past the signage was the vegetable gardens and raised beds. The arboretum grows vegetables and other plants commonly found in gardens, most of which could grow well in the area. (I thought it was pretty neat that the arboretum puts in resources to grow vegetables while also educating guests.)

The next stop on my walking tour was the Woman’s Garden, which features various sculptures and a long infinity pool with a great view of White Rock Lake.

After walking around this area and the lower end of the sloped hill near the performance pavilion stage, I headed back up to the main path and toward the Children’s Garden where I had entered the Dallas Arboretum.

Just like my recommendation for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, I highly recommend visiting the main gardens at the Dallas Arboretum – not only tourists, but locals to really enjoy an untapped destination. Here you can experience beautiful landscapes, native plants, educational cooking classes, and a sense of community through performances and farm-to-table culinary events throughout the year. I also recommend checking out some of the on-site restaurants and cafes for food, and coming here for photo shoots as well as making/remembering big life moments.


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