The Dallas Arboretum’s holiday activity roundup

With so many presents to buy, cookies to bake and out-of-town guests to entertain, you might need a break. And with so much going on at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden this holiday season, we thought we’d give you roundup of happenings so you can schedule that respite accordingly.

Visit The 12 Days of Christmas gazebos. Experience the Arboretum’s brand-new, one-of-a-kind Christmas exhibit, on display throughout the garden through January 4, 2015. The exhibit features an elaborate collection of 25-foot Victorian gazebos filled with charming costumed characters and whimsical animals straight out of the beloved Christmas carol. Each gazebo is encased in glass and extravagantly decorated on all sides to provide a 360-degree visual experience. The figures and animals dance and move, and festive holiday music helps bring the characters to life.

The garden will come alive in the evening during the 12 Days of Christmas Nights special illuminated showings. Guests will have the rare opportunity to stroll the garden at night as they view The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit and enjoy Victorian-inspired carolers and special holiday refreshments on December 26, 27 and January 2-4, 2015. Purchase your tickets today.

Check out The 12 Days of Christmas Passport in the Children’s Garden. Find all 12 stops in the Children’s Garden to discover interesting tidbits and fill in your passport. Daily from 9AM to 5PM through January 4, 2015.

View the Byers’ Choice Ltd. Caroler figurines in the DeGolyer House. The lavishly decorated DeGolyer House is filled top to bottom with Byers’ Choice Ltd. Christmas Caroler figurines. Kim and John Semyan generously donated this abundant private collection for display at the Arboretum.

Visit Santa and his reindeer in the garden. Enjoy visits with Santa, the reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4PM. The reindeer will make one last stop at the Arboretum before Christmas on Tuesday, December 23, from noon to 4PM. Don’t forget your camera!

Make a reservation for Holiday Tea. Complete your Dallas Arboretum experience with a delicious three-course tea set amid the festive trappings of the DeGolyer Tea Room. Tea service begins with a demitasse of select soup, followed by a second course of assorted tea sandwiches and a third course of sweet treats. Also included are scones and clotted cream, jam and seasonal tea selections. Price includes general garden admission, so be sure to allow time to enjoy the scenery. Reservations are required. Seated tea is available to guests 13 and older. Private tea service and teas for more than eight people are available upon request. For questions or to make reservations, please call 214-515-6511.

Leave it to the Arboretum to provide holiday cheer, tea to warm our bellies and fun activities the entire family will enjoy. This holiday season may just be the best one yet!

A winter bloom preview

When fall begins to make way for winter, what blooms can you expect to see in the garden? Even with the temperatures falling, you can always count on the Dallas Arboretum to have bright blooms and splendid colors on display.

We sat down with Dave Forehand, Dallas Arboretum’s Vice President of gardens, to find out what flowers, foliage and vegetables we’ll get a chance to enjoy this coming season.

Q: Are there any new winter flowers or plants we can expect?

A: Dinosaur kale is one that we haven’t planted widely before, and this year we have beds full of them. It’s a beautiful blue-green color and grows to about 3 feet tall. Though all our ornamental kale is edible, this one in particular has a long history of culinary use.

Q: What is your favorite winter bloom to see around the Arboretum?

A: A poll of our Horticulturists will give you quite a varied answer. Cardoon is definitely one of our favorites. This winter perennial comes up in early autumn, gives you spectacular silver foliage all winter and eventually grows quite large, blooming in late spring with a large purple thistle-like flower. We like our winter foliage since the landscape is otherwise relatively bare, though we do love the fact that pansies and violas come in such a wide variety of colors and flower sizes.

Q: What blooms can we expect to see this winter?

A: We started planting our early winter color at the beginning of November. Believe it or not, some of our flowerbeds don’t get planted with bulbs—only annuals—so we like to get those planted before we get started on our big winter transition. So far we have: pansies, violas, snapdragons, dianthus, kale, swiss chard, erysimum, foxglove, columbine, cardoon, mustard, dusty miller and salvia argentea in the garden.

Q: How long does it take to plant the winter blooms?

A: It takes us about two to three weeks to plant early winter color and change out all of our containers in November. After Thanksgiving, we deconstruct our Pumpkin Village and then get started with bulbs. Over the years, we have honed our bulb planting down from a month and a half to about 15 workdays, give or take some bad weather days. That means we plant about 500,000 bulbs and 120,000 winter annuals with about 40 staff members in a short amount of time. Needless to say, we are very organized and efficient.

Q: Are there any blooms that do well in both the fall and winter? If so what are they?

A: That’s a tricky question since you can start planting pansies pretty early in the fall. The trick is to get them in the ground once the really hot temperatures have subsided. Otherwise they can tend to get leggy, or overgrown, quickly. Our hot weather can hold on for a long time here and then turn really cold, really fast.

Nine steps for planting spring bulbs

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This winter, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden team will be busy planting nearly 500,000 bulbs. These same bulbs will be enjoyed by all when they transform into beautiful tulips and daffodils during Dallas Blooms, February 28 through April … [Continue reading]

Part 1: Behind the Scenes with The 12 Days of Christmas Designer Tommy Bourgeois

Dallas Arboretum 12 Days Nighttime copy

  The Dallas Arboretum will be transformed into a scene straight out of Victorian times when The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit opens November 16. We sat down with Tommy Bourgeois, Dallas Opera production designer and creative mastermind behind this … [Continue reading]