Say “yes” to engagement photos at the Arboretum

With much anticipation, we have had the brightest blooms of the spring season here at the Dallas Arboretum, though while many couples  look forward to the blooms, they are also focused on something else: their weddings.

But before the “I dos” are said and the rice is thrown, there are engagement photos to be taken. More and more, couples are choosing outdoor venues to capture the occasion, especially during the warmer months when the flowers are in full bloom, providing a colorful backdrop and picture-perfect natural light.

The Arboretum is just such a venue. Thousands of couples get their photos taken here every year amid the gardens’ romantic landscapes and lush greenery. In case you’re anticipating capturing your own engagement moment here at the gardens, we have a few ideas for you. Here are some of the most popular, picturesque spots for your engagement photos:

Crape Myrtle Allee

With its arched, expansive bowers of mature crape myrtle trees lining its Pennsylvania brownstone pathway, our Crape Myrtle Allee provides an impressive backdrop for pics of you and your spouse-to-be. From the natural sunlight dappling through the branches to the popular “frog fountain,” Crape Myrtle Allee is one of the Arboretum’s most beloved features and provides a perfect setting for a reflective stroll captured in time. 

A Woman’s Garden

A gift from the Women’s Council of Dallas, this serene and nationally acclaimed garden features terraced walkways and exceptional views. Here, there is a bounty of settings in which to memorialize the moment, such as a native Texas limestone bridge, an alluring 140-foot hanging garden or a wellspring surrounded by towering dawn redwoods. You’ll also spy an expansive vista of White Rock Lake from the edge of a dramatic reflecting pool, making for an idyllic photo op. 

The DeGolyer Pergola

A top pick for intimate wedding ceremonies is a popular spot for engagement pictures as well. The DeGolyer Pergola boasts a breathtaking arbor overhung with vines. Underneath is a gorgeous shaded walkway, where couples have the flexibility to be shot in a variety of candid or posed ways.

While these are the three most popular spots for happy couples to pose, the Arboretum’s 66 acres gives couples the freedom to explore many other settings, including:

The Jonsson Color Garden, which features azaleas, crape myrtle trees and beautiful spring color, courtesy of our world-famous tulip display.

The McCasland Sunken Garden is surrounded by stone staircases, topiaries and gorgeous flowering beds, and makes for a serene place to stage your special moment.

So when spring and love is in the air, make use of the Arboretum’s colorful and inspiring scenery to memorialize one of the most special milestones of your life. (Speaking of, did we mention we also host weddings? Well, we can save that for another post.) Congrats to all you lovebirds! Hope to see you soon. Visit our Enchanting Engagements board on Pinterest for other ideas on locations in the garden for your photo shoot. 

Image Credit: Enchanting Engagements Pinterest Board

Ready to take your engagement photos at the Dallas Arboretum? Make sure you follow our non-commercial photography guidelines. Call 214-515-6615 for more details.

 

Family bonding at the Arboretum

With the recent emergence of spring, the time has come to leave behind the dreary winter weather and head outdoors. But make sure to bring your little ones with you. In addition to the beautiful gardens, there are activities for families to enjoy Mondays, Tuesdays and every day, really.

Mommy and Me Mondays are a fantastic way for moms and their kiddos to get a little bonding time while taking in the Arboretum’s natural beauty. The group meets Mondays from 10AM to 2PM in the Arboretum’s Pecan Grove. Activities include a petting zoo, face painting, nature art and Kindermusik classes.

Tiny Tot Tuesdays provide another day to enjoy some mommy-kid time. You’ll find many of the same activities from Monday, including face painting, a petting zoo, nature art and Kindermusik. You can join in the fun at Pecan Grove. Make sure to bring your camera along to snap some photos of your little ones! 

After enjoying the festivities, head over to the 8-acre Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden to take advantage of the age-specific galleries, beautiful views and innovative displays where you and your kids can learn about life and earth sciences through interactive exhibits.

Both Mommy and Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays are free with general admission and will run every Monday and Tuesday throughApril 15. In case of rain or inclement weather, check the website or Facebook page the morning of to see if the events will be moved indoors.

The Arboretum hosts family-friendly activities every day of the week. They include:

Experiments and Mysteries: Exploration Center – Plant Lab

Through April 20: weekdays at 10AM, 1PM and 3PM; weekends at 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 1:30PM and 2:30PM

Children can analyze two different milk samples to decide which milk comes from an animal and which comes from a plant. Kids can also take part in a new CSI-inspired mystery, which teaches deductive reasoning. Experiments are complimentary with admission to the Children’s Garden.

Nature Puppet Show

Through April 20 (weather permitting): weekends at 10AM, 11AM, 2AM and 3PM

Children’s Garden guests are invited to watch the puppet show How Stumpy Got His Name. The nature puppet show stars Stump the Tree and several animal friends. The play is appropriate for children third-grade and younger, though all are welcome.

Learn About Birds

Through April 20

Look through the scopes on the Oasis and the Energy Tower to see the migrating birds on White Rock Lake. Visit the 9,100-square-foot Exploration Center to watch “See the Unseen,” a spin browser that captures details of a hummingbird in flight, pollen on a bat and more. Discover what birds are lurking through the Wildlife Blind in the Texas Native Wetlands. Identify various birdcalls and bird and animal tracks along the Dripping Springs Trail. 

Exciting and educational programs are also available throughout 2014 as part of the Year of the Children’s Garden initiative. Presented by respected professionals in the field of nature and chaired by exceptional community leaders, these custom events and programs highlight the unique educational offerings of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

The Joy of Science presented by University of Texas at Dallas: Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

Saturday, April 12: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Science professors and students will invade the Children’s Garden on April 12 to bring the Joy of Science to life. Look for a Physics Circus as well as activities in Geosciences, Robotics, Biology, Neurosciences, Chemistry and STEM. The Joy of Science program is free of charge to paid guests of the Children’s Garden.

You can call the Arboretum at 214-515-6500 for any additional information. Admission to the Children’s Adventure Garden is an additional charge.

Celebrate cherry blossom season at the Arboretum

It’s haru time! The Dallas Arboretum is partnering with the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth to celebrate both the beginning of spring (aka haru) and the centuries-old custom of hanami. Hanami is a Japanese custom that literally translates to “flower viewing.” As its name suggests, the tradition centers on enjoying a flower’s beauty, particularly the sakura or cherry blossoms, which are just beginning to bloom in the garden.

The beautiful pink-tinted flowering of the cherry blossom has been celebrated for centuries in Japan, and this year the Arboretum has about 150 sakura trees that are beginning to bloom. The blossom viewing celebration has been rescheduled to take place Sunday, March 23, from 12:30 to 2:30PM.

Visitors are invited to enjoy a traditional Japanese hanami experience and to bring their own picnic lunch and dine underneath the beautiful blooms while listening to live music from both koto (floor harp) and shakuhachi (Japanese flute). In addition to the music, there will also be family activities such as calligraphy, origami and coloring.

Hanami dates back to the Heian Period, when flowers were used as a metaphor for life—beautiful yet fleeting. The blossoms themselves typically last about 10 days, so a chance to see them in bloom is a short-lived opportunity.

Once the celebration is over, return to the gardens to view the stunning landscapes you might have overlooked, and enjoy all nature has to offer.

The Hanami celebration is free and takes place in the Jonsson Color Garden. Regular parking and admission prices to the Arboretum apply. See below for event details.

Stage program:

12:30–1PM Shakuhachi music by Stan Richardson

1–1:05PM Welcome remarks by Steve Mullen

1:20–1:50PM Shakuhachi music by Stan Richardson

2–2:20PM Choral music by Cosmos Japanese Women’s Choir

Furoshiki demonstrations:

1:10 and 1:50 PM

Dallas Blooms Celebrates 30 years

With the recent (and much-welcome) return of warmer weather, it seems like all of Dallas-Fort Worth is looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors. If strolling in near-perfect temperatures through impressive gardens filled with thousands of blooming flowers sounds like your definition of a good time, you’re in luck! February 22 marks the opening of the Dallas Blooms festival at the Dallas Arboretum. 2014 also happens to be the 30th anniversary of the floral-filled celebration. Come watch the blooms of the garden begin to unfold. Check Facebook to find out what is currently in bloom throughout the festival.

Last year, more than 140,000 people attended our annual festival, and this year’s event will be bigger than ever. The theme is Birds in Paradise, and one of its key features is the return of the Arboretum’s beloved peacock topiaries.

This pair of giant peacocks top 13 feet tall, each with long tails flush with a variety of flowers that will change throughout the spring. You can find the peacocks standing proudly in the Jonsson Color Garden, crowned with real peacock feathers.

In keeping with the Birds in Paradise theme, there is also an exhibit of birdhouse-themed playhouses for the young (and young at heart!) to explore. The life-sized playhouses are designed by local architects and will give learners an opportunity to explore a variety of fun bird-related interactive lessons.

Of course the real stars of the show are the blooms themselves, including one of the largest tulip displays in America. There have been more than 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs planted in preparation for this year alone, including tulips, daffodils, pansies, violas, poppies and thousands of other annuals and perennials.

“Dallas Blooms is the Southwest’s largest floral festival, with both local residents and out-of-town visitors who come to enjoy the breathtaking gardens,” says Brian Shivers, Dallas Arboretum board chairman. USA Today agrees, and has named Dallas Blooms one of the “top 10 things that make you say ‘ahh.’”

If you haven’t had your fill of outdoor adventure, be sure to stop by the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, reopening on February 22. In case you weren’t able to explore it during its inaugural year, the children’s garden encompasses several galleries, with age-specific activities in a matchless setting the entire family will enjoy.

Dallas Blooms opens February 22 and runs through April 6. Onsite parking is available for $10. Admission tickets are only $5 at the gave between February 22 to 28 to watch as the beauty of Dallas Blooms begins to unfold in the garden. Regular Arboretum admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children ages 3 to 12. Admission to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is not included.

 

 

 

A winter walk through the garden

Even though Dallas is technically still in the middle of winter, beautiful skies and a taste of warmer temperatures have been coaxing residents out of the house and into nature. And there’s no better place in the city to get some fresh air and appreciate Mother Nature at her finest than the gardens at The Dallas Arboretum. Plus, now through January 31, admission at the gate is a mere $5, so not only can you spend a pleasant day outdoors, you can get a great deal in the process.

In A Woman’s Garden, visitors can admire several varieties of flowering plants already in full bloom. Besides Sweet White Dianthus and Viola, behold the delicate beauty of the Bridal Wreath Spirea and the picturesque Upright Japanese Yew trees.Though spring is just around the corner, there is still an abundance of plants and flowers blooming in the gardens right now. Lining the walkway through the Lynda Bunker Hunt Paseo de Flores (known as The Paseo) is a profusion of pansies, including Nature Ocean and Panola Lilac Shades, as well as flowering ornamental kale such as Coral Queen, Dynasty White and Redbor. 

Over in the Water Wise beds, which feature low-water-use plants such as succulents and Texas natives, guests can meander through impressive varieties already in season, including Whale’s Tongue Agave, Winecup, Mexican Honeysuckle, Desert Spoon, Desert Willow and a giant Spanish Bayonet.

The mist covering the Eugenia Leftwich Palmer Fern Dell gives the impression of a mystical fairy forest due to a micro-fine mist system that envelops it. In mid-January, it’s lush with dense green ground cover such as Autumn and Holly Fern, Chinese Fringe Flower and Cast Iron plants.  

And of course our famous Crape Myrtle Allee is always a must-see on any visit to the gardens. Even if it’s a little chilly in the shade, there is a sense of calm among the overhanging trees. Take in the gorgeous scenery with the crisp blue skies peeking through.

Some other gardens worthy of a winter stroll include:

· The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill

· DeGolyer Gardens

· Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden 

Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous or just want to take advantage of the unseasonably warm winter weather, you could take a long, brisk walk through the longer loop of the gardens—or several loops to get the full experience. More athletic-minded folk are welcome to extend their route to the White Rock Lake path. One full circuit is just over 9 miles, so you’ll have plenty of time to bask in the great outdoors. 

No matter what your ultimate goal is when you visit the Arboretum, you’re welcome here any time of year for a dose of nature, right in the heart of Dallas.

Be sure to visit now through the end of January, as admission is reduced to just $5 at the gate for non-members. For questions, call us at 214-515-6615.

Welcome to a new year at the Dallas Arboretum!

It’s a new year, and we’ve resolved to branch out and bring you a brand-new blog to keep you updated on the latest happenings at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Though we’re in the middle of the coldest part of the year here in Big D, we’d be hard-pressed to refer to it as the dead of winter. There’s still plenty happening on our 66-acre garden grounds, and allium, hyacinth, saucer magnolia, alyssum, Iceland poppy, snowbells, viola and winter honeysuckle are still in bloom.

Even if the holiday decorations have been taken down, and Santa has come and gone, you can still enjoy a seasonal treat with our Friendship Tea, served through February 21 at Restaurant DeGolyer. To make reservations, call 214-515-6511 or email teas@dallasarboretum.org.

And we’re already gearing up for our annual Dallas Blooms Festival, which runs February 22 through April 6. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the event, which features more than 500,000 blooming spring bulbs, including tulips and daffodils, as well as thousands of annuals and perennials and, of course, our world-famous cherry blossom trees and azaleas.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but talking about spring at the Arboretum, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention our Cool Thursdays Concert Series. Pack your picnic basket and blanket and settle in for performances by national cover bands, including The Official Blues Brothers Revue, produced by Judy Belushi Pisano and Dan Akyroyd, and more. Plus, enjoy culinary offerings from the area’s best food trucks.

Artscape, our annual juried fine art and craft show, is another must-see. There will be plenty to spy and buy, as well as demonstrations, workshops and, naturally, food.

Obviously, there are many good reasons to turn over a new leaf and visit or join the Dallas Arboretum this year. So welcome, visitor, and stay tuned for much more coming soon!