Sunday, October 11, 2020

Great Gardens of the South

Lovely water features can be found in all the featured gardens.
This one is in Garvan Woodland Garden in Arkansas.

Fall and spring are magical seasons for gardens, so now is a good time to plan your visit to enjoy a bonanza of blooms at one of these public Southern gardens. Even better, they provide lovely floral displays and programs throughout the year, so you can visit again and again.

Tulips are a specialty in Garvan
Woodland Garden.
Garvan Woodland Gardens

One of only eight woodland gardens in the U.S., this 40-acre landscape is located on a peninsula on Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It began as a private garden in 1956 by Verna Cook Garvan and opened to the public in 2002.  

Garvan laid out each section, carefully marking every tree that needed to be removed, choosing each new plant, and selecting its location along four and a half miles of wooded shoreline. Many of her original tulips and roses are still part of the design. 

The  glass-walled Anthony Chapel is a striking feature of Garlan Woodland Garden.
Other highlights include dramatic waterfalls, four unique bridges, and the Anthony Chapel, which overlooks the lake and soars 57 feet into a tree canopy allowing spectacular seasonal views through its glass ceiling and walls.
Specialties: Daffodils from February-March, tulips March-April; nationally recognized Japanese Garden. Special holiday exhibits and plein art painting festivals.

Best time to go: The Tulip Extravaganza, features 10,000 tulips in a multitude of hues in March.  More than 100,000 other flowers, including daffodils, hyacinths, azaleas, and dogwood blossoms spread under a canopy of southern pines and ancient oaks.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Mirror Lake at Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Alabama.
 Famous for a spring time explosion of azaleas, Bellingrath Gardens, located 20 miles southwest of Mobile, Alabama, also features camellias in winter and chrysanthemums in November.  In December, three million twinkling lights transform Bellingrath Gardens and Home into a glowing wonderland. Other attractions include Asian American Garden, Mirror Lake, Conservatory, Butterfly Garden, Chapel, and Boehm Porcelain Gallery.

Azaleas bloom on the Great Lawn
at Bellingrath Garden.
Bessie Bellingrath initially built the garden that borders on Fowl Lake at an old fishing camp. Friends urged her to share the beautiful space, and the Garden attracted 4700 people the first day it opened to the public in 1932. After her death in 1943, Walter Bellingrath, who made his fortune bottling Coca-Cola, honored her memory with water features, additional plants, and paths to showcase the natural beauty of the area. 

Specialties: Blooming flowers year round, Bellingrath home, and Southern Belle Cruise on the Fowl River

Best time to go: 250,000 azaleas burst into glorious color from mid-March to mid-April, with a multitude of spring flowers providing the chorus.  Spectacular roses from April to December; Magic Christmas in Lights and festival in December. Combine with a tour of the home or cruise for best value.

Tyler Municipal Rose Garden
Texas has outstanding gardens, too. Thousands of visitors arrive in Tyler each October for the annual Rose Festival, held in the largest rose garden in the country.  But the 14-acre city park also features many flower and plant varieties in every hue year round.

Beautiful rose varieties come into full bloom for the annual
October Rose Festival in Tyler, Texas.
More than 38,000 rose bushes displaying at least 500 different varieties turn this site into an elegant landscape. Paths meander through the Garden, past sculptures, benches, and water features. Specimens range from tall grafted rose trees to tiny miniature roses.  In between are dozens of varieties of hybrid teas, grandifloras, shrub roses, climbing roses, and much more providing an amazing panorama of color.  Because the garden is an All American Rose Selection (AARS) test garden, visitors come all year to take notes on fragrance, color, and form of the newest varieties as well as old favorites.

New varieties of roses are tested and the best are selected for awards
in Tyler Municipal Rose Garden
Specialties: Roses!

Best time to visit: Spring and fall. Gardens are free. Fee for museum. Special fees apply during Rose Festival

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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