One of my favorite public gardens is Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, TX. The travel time from our house to the gardens is two and a half hours, so it’s an easy day trip.
Originally, the gardens were private and the result of the dream of one man. He and a hired hand did most of the construction. An Englishman, Douglas Chandor, married a Texas gal who wanted to live in her hometown.
Work on the garden began in 1936. Chandor was a renown portrait artist, who painted presidents, famous people, and a queen. He brought that artist eye to the garden that he labored on for many years.
Chandor built the Chi-Ling fountain using statutes found in New York city, Coke and 7 Up bottles, colored marbles, and his handmade ceramic tiles. Because the original fountain was crumbling apart, restoration was completed this year re-using as much of his materials as possible.
Chandor was enchanted with China and Asian art and styles. I don’t care for the
Buddhas, but his use of water and rock is admirable. He embedded marbles in the Buddha Niche and decorated the rock walls with lotus blossoms created with cut rocks. Water pours out of the blossoms.
The work of one man is enjoyed by many visitors. Just thinking of all those years of back breaking labor, as well as continuing with his portraits of the famous is overwhelming. It’s a good thing he spend half of each year in New York painting.
The city of Weatherford now owns the estate and keeps up the gardens. Quite a chore for a small town.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton