Field Trip: Dallas Arboretum

We traveled to Texas last week to help a friend sort out her landscape design for her new home. While there, we took in the sites including the Dallas Arboretum. It gave us a chance to see what’s growin’ on in Texas between thunderstorms.

North Texas is still suffering from drought, I am told, but the Dallas area was lush and green from plentiful spring rains. I was curious to see what plants grow well in Texas. The Arboretum helped answer that question.

Ground rules include "no campfires" at the Arboretum.

Ground rules include “no campfires” at the Arboretum, among other things.

We didn’t know what to expect, but this sign started off the fun. At the ticket booth was another sign indicating that “horseplay” is not allowed. Gotta love Texas!

We wandered without a map and found ourselves immediately where we needed to be: a low-water demonstration garden with native and drought-tolerant plants for Texas gardeners.

Cobweb Spiderwort is an unusual and macabre water-wise plant.

Cobweb Spiderwort is an unusual and macabre water-wise plant.

Texas Sage is one of many sages that do well in Texas.

Texas Sage is one of many sages that do well in Texas.

Red Yucca was found all over Dallas-area landscapes.

Red Yucca was found all over Dallas-area landscapes.

The Arboretum was abundant with color. Impatiens, salvias, and purslanes like this one:

Yellow and orange/red purslane makes a good ground cover.

Yellow and orange/red purslane makes a good ground cover.

We also saw more Japanese maples that we ever thought possible. I would never have expected that in Texas. The other prominent focus of the Arboretum was the water feature. So many fountains and waterfalls throughout the gardens, representing much of Dallas itself, I suppose. Most corporate buildings downtown had fountains in front of them.

Waterfall and koi pond make a cool rest stop on a hot day.

Waterfall and koi pond make a cool rest stop on a hot day.

We took refuge in this grotto to get away from the humid 90° heat. It wasn’t until we sat down that we noticed the artistry overhead.

Under the waterfall is a manmade cave with geodes and sculpted fossils.

Under the waterfall is a manmade cave with native rock, geodes and sculpted fossils.

Back out in the sun, we found colorful patches like these:

Black banana, ornamental millet and salvias put on a great show.

Black banana, ornamental millet and salvias put on a great show.

Evolvulus 'Blue Eyes' is a beautiful ground cover I wish we could grow here.

Evolvulus ‘Blue Eyes’ is a beautiful ground cover I wish we could grow here.

One of two All American Selections trial gardens on the property.

One of two All American Selections trial gardens on the property. Marigolds, impatiens, leeks, basil and more flowers were test-grown in this garden.

More ornamental millet and annual color abound around the children's garden.

More ornamental millet and annual color abound around the children’s garden.

We saw fish, birds, insects and even a turtle on our way:

A turtle rests on a rock near a waterfall.

A turtle rests on a rock near another waterfall.

Perhaps my favorite place had almost no foliage at all. A Woman’s Garden gave us a chance to peak out onto open water and enjoy a moment of contemplation.

Infinity pool and sculpture garden make the Woman's Garden a peaceful place.

Infinity pool and sculpture garden make the Woman’s Garden a peaceful place.

Woman's Garden fountain with formal hedges surrounding.

Woman’s Garden fountain with formal hedges surrounding.

We shun water features here in Los Angeles, so it was refreshing to see an abundance of them somewhere that has received more than 15 inches of rain this month so far (so I was told by a local).

On our way out, we spotted what we think is a Red Leaf Indian Peach tree. It bore no sign, but it did have fruit:

We think this is a Red Leaf Indian Peach, which we'd never seen before.

We think this is a Red Leaf Indian Peach, which we’d never seen before.

Gorgeous! While the Arboretum lacked a vegetable garden for our Gardenerd ilk, and wasn’t divided into regional gardens as we’re accustomed to here in LA (like the Japanese, Australian and Cactus gardens of the Huntington), it was still a wonderful cultural experience. We saw at least three quinceañera photography shoots happening while we were there, along with families playing together on wide swaths of open space. If there’s one thing Texas has plenty of, it’s space.

Visit the Dallas Arboretum website for more details and the individual gardens.

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One Response to Field Trip: Dallas Arboretum

  1. Robin Satz says:

    WOW!! Great information about drought tolerant plants!! I will definitely use this for my landscaping!

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