Quiet Garden

Situated near the center of Weatherford, Chandor Gardens is an enchanting oasis.  Weatherford is a smallish town 25 miles west of Ft. Worth with a population in the high 20,000’s.   Away from Interstate 20, it remains a traditional West Texas community with small local businesses, older homes, and a family oriented atmosphere.  The edge of the town along the Interstate 20 Hwy. has new strip malls sporting all the main chain stores strung along the highway creating the buzz of a big city.

chandorpaintingThe Chandor Gardens were designed and constructed by Douglas Chandor, an English artist who painted famous people on both sides of the Atlantic.   Several of these still hang in the National Gallery.  The above picture shows him in his studio with his painting of his wife on the left of the photo.

Ina is the reason he came to live in Texas.  The low cut gown shows her bare back.  He claimed her beautiful back that he first saw in that gown at a party was what first attracted him.

Chandor had come to the US because although his work was renowned, he wasn’t making much money and hoped for better prospects here.

houseWhen he proposed to Ina, her only stipulation was that they live in her hometown, Weatherford.  He agreed, with the requirement that he have an expansive garden.

stairsBeing from England, he could not have possibly known what gardening in barren, hard land would entail.  Work began in 1936 with picks, shovels, dynamite, and mule-drawn plows in a cow pasture full of the usual West Texas rocks.

pinkflowersOver the years, he created lush gardens with many different plants.  Not sure what this lovely plant is.  The flowers look like snapdragons.

nudeThe garden design today has many secluded areas with mostly shade plants.

fountainMany fountains and ponds are the original ones designed and created by Chandor, himself.  The above fountain has glass bottle bottoms cemented in place in the center fountain and along the base.  No one knew that the glass used was from bottles until a recent renovation and cleaning of the statue.

harrisonpaintingbychandorChandor had a faithful gardener, Alphonse Harrison who worked along with him.  Harrison’s hard labor helped make the gardens possible.  Chandor painted his portrait and hung it in his home at a time when that was not acceptable.

bridgeBridges constructed of different materials provide pathways over small streams.  This one may be from a later day when the gardens were refurbished.

succulent3In a few places, succulents show the true native environment.

pondAn Interesting walkway crosses this pond.  The stepping stones are set atop stone pillars anchored in the ground.

pond2This view shows that same pathway from the opposite side.  One of the major plants in the original gardens was wisteria vines.  They cover this pergola made from native tree trunks.  The wisteria vines had become invasive and most were removed in recent years.

openingSome of the devices Chandor used to guide people through the garden were gates, architecture doorways, and pathways.

frogpotsAnother reason these gardens are so inviting is the unusual statuary placed throughout.   Plants with different textures and colors also add interest.

gateA gate leading to a perimeter path.  There’s much more to explore.  My next post will show more of this beauty tucked away from the traffic.

“There is always music among the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”   Minnie Aumonier

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