Location: 8617 Garland Road, Dallas, TX
Size: 66 acres
Official Opening Date: 1984
Opening in 1984, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are considered fairly young compared to many of the nation’s arboreta though planning efforts began as early as the 1930s. Consistently ranking as one of the top destinations in the U.S to see spring blooms with an amazing Chihuly exhibit that ran to the end of 2012, my visit in January was ill-timed, however, enjoyable nonetheless.
The 66-acre grounds began with the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society’s (DABS) acquisition of the 44-acre DeGolyer estate, known as Rancho Encinal, located along the shores of White Rock Lake in East Dallas. The existing 4.5-acre gardens around Everette Lee and Nell DeGolyer’s Spanish Colonial Revival-style house was designed by landscape architects Arthur and Marie Berger. In 1980, DABS raised enough funds to purchase the adjacent 22-acre Camp Estate.
The arboretum and gardens are also the site of extensive horticultural research and has hosted numerous educational program, mostly aimed at children. The Arboretum has a 65-member Board of Directors, 75 full-time paid staff members, 32 part-time paid staff members, and more than 400 year-round volunteers.
The grounds are made up of a variety of gardens and landscapes, such as the DeGolyer Gardens, the Red Maple Rills and the Sunken Garden. An outdoor concert stage, picnic areas, and even a set of kid-sized replicas of dwellings and other structures depicting prairie life in the “Texas Pioneer Adventure,” are also located on the grounds as well.
Though many areas of the grounds weren’t in bloom and thus, less spectacular than they would normally look–such as the arching crepe myrtle allee–there was still a lot of variety on the grounds, particularly made interesting by the varied topography on site such as that at the winding red maple rill. Perhaps to make up for the lack of color, there was a surprising abundance and diversity of pansies throughout the gardens. However, I’d love to return some day in the spring.