Cozy Chandor Gardens

Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, TX, was originally a private space that is now owned by the city park system and is open to the public.  Its size is small compared to most public gardens but full of interesting nooks and crannies.

Since it’s two hours away from us, we visit about once a year.  Like most gardens, it’s constantly changing.  This concrete bowl is new.  The surrounding beds are full of annuals.

The bold midday sun makes it all look artificial and blurs the edges of the Snapdragons.

The small tufts of purple flowers is Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), a native to Caribbean islands that requires warmer winters to be perennial.

All the annals make a bright welcome.

A sidewalk from the entrance leads to the ticket office in the main house.  This little cherub sits on a wall where there are steps down to the next level of the garden.

The house was the home of the Chandors, owners and creators of the buildings and gardens.

The purple twinges on the Agaves reflect the purple ground cover.  The green Mondo Grasses line the walkway.

I heard the garden horticulturist explain to a group that the agaves were lifted out and stored in a green house during the winter.

This garden was established in the 1930’s, so the large, mature trees provide lots of shady areas.

Oakleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) need mostly shade and lots of warm weather.  They are native to US southeast, which is perfect for them.

This man made-waterfall is especially impressive when one realizes the time frame of the construction and the lack of heavy equipment available.

Water Irises line the edge of the water pool, and a rose bush grows to the side of them.

The abundance of different varieties of trees and shrubs create cozy, protected spots.

Different levels of the garden provide interest.  I don’t know if these were natural or created.  Flowers are tucked into small and large spaces.

Mr. Chandor was fascinated by the Orient and used Japanese statuary throughout the garden.

Several varieties of Japanese Maples were planted.

One of my favorite features is this side entrance gate.

It was a gift to Mr. Chandor from a friend.

Looking through the gate beckons one to unknown treasures inside.  Entering opens that trove that gardeners love.

The next post will show other parts of the garden.  Thanks for visiting.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”   John Quincy Adams

Garvan Gardens, Part 2

Garvan Gardens outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a serene, calming place.  Because there were few people visiting that day, it seemed like we were alone in forest far from civilization.


garvangardensmmSome workers were constructing this exhibit out of brush.  This art installation by W. Gary Smith is to last for a year.


garvangardensnn Miniature fairy gardens created in pots are a current fad, but this Fairy Garden was built using tree stumps.


garvangardensooEach one stood about 3 or 4 feet tall.

garvangardenspA small patch of Oxblood or Schoolhouse Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) make an impact statement.

garvangardensppVery tall Pinks or Dianthus in a semi-shady spot.

garvangardensqThe Children’s Garden entrance is below this metal twig looking bridge.

garvangardensqqEverything we saw in this part of the garden is mostly rocks to climb on and secluded small areas to explore.


garvangardensrrThe boulders were intriguing with the quartz in the stones forming sharp ridges.  Over time, the rock, whatever type it is, has eroded, while the quartz remained intact.

garvangardenssSome of the Children’s Garden might be intimidating to young kids.


garvangardenttBack on the main trail …

garvangardentttwe continue past this small pond with water Iris.

garvangardenuAlthough this peacock was alone, his loud mating cries broke the silence of the forest.  Guess he just wanted some attention.

garvangardenuuAnother pergola leading to a grassy area surrounded by flowerbeds.

garvangardenuuuAlliums towering above other flowers, like these Pansies.  I really wanted some Alliums and tried them once, but they didn’t come back the next year.  Don’t really know what the problem was.  Too hot, too cold, soil too alkaline?

garvangardenvMore Dianthus

garvangardenvvDelphiniums, maybe?

garvangardenvvvJust outside the Chipmunk Cafe were several miniature trains at different levels circling around a tree.

garvangardenwwwAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel with construction similar to the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I think this chapel was built in 2006 while ThornCrown opened in 1980.

garvangardenxThe wood is southern yellow pine.

garvangardenxxAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel.  Lovely setting.

There is a separate building for wedding party members with a bridal changing chamber.  It can be rented for an additional cost.

garvangardenxxxThe whole intent of the design with 55 feet tall windows is to have full view of the surrounding woods.  The handcrafted scones are made of oak.

garvangardenwwHeading to the parking lot takes us past more trees and bushes.  This looks like Coral Honeysuckle.

garvangardenwBeautiful bloom on an Oakleaf Hydrangea (‘Hydrangea quercifolia’).

Thanks for reading our visit to Garvan Gardens.

“The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination.”  Thomas Church

Late Spring at Dallas Arboretum

A morning at the Dallas Arboretum at any time of the year is always a treat.  Their spring plantings are especially nice.

dallasarborThese Cleomes (Cleome hasslerana) with the common name of Sparkler Mix were much prettier than this picture shows.

dallasarbor2Much of the vegetation at the gardens are shade plants.  Therefore, I do not know the name of many of them, so I’ll just show the pictures.  I live in a world of direct sun.  Picture a child’s drawing with the sun rays reaching the ground.   The Death Star, as I’ve heard it called, nukes us in the good ole summertime.

If you know the names of any of these plants, for shade or sun, I’ll love to hear from you.


dallasarbor4The tree with the fuzzy clump on the end of the branches got my attention.

dallasarbor5Now, if I ever do live where there is shade, I definitely want one of these Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea Quercifolia).  In Texas, that usually means places with lots of humidity (ugh).   Dripping wet with sweat most of the year is not fun.

dallasarbor6But I do love these bushes.

dallasarbor8This is one of those small ornamental trees that I think I should know the name of, but can’t remember.

dallasarbor7Very genteel looking.

dallasarboraThere are always large expanses of the same flowers at the gardens.  Look beyond the red at the floral Peacock in the background.

dallasarborbThis large grassy area is often used for special exhibits.  The people on the left give size perspective.  The girl on the right and her family are getting photos taken to celebrate quinceanera.  In the Mexican and Latin American culture, this is the coming out or debut of a 15 year old girl into society as entering adulthood.

Pictures of her in a hoop gown and a huge family party are parts of this tradition.  It’s not uncommon to see several girls and their families being photographed at these gardens.  Perfect setting.

dallasarborcThe beak of the two peacocks are metal cones and the crest feathers are real peacock feathers.

dallasarbordVery nicely done.


dallasarborfThe opening between these two concrete pillars lead into a small reflecting pond and sculptured hedges.



dallasarboriThese grayish pines seem out of place to me.  In the background is White Rock Lake.

dallasarborjThe deep red flowers of these Red Yuccas are bolder than the varieties with a coral red blossoms.  Very striking.

dallasarborkOccasionally, some plants have an identification sign.  These pink flowers are listed as Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia comensii).

dallasarborlConeflowers, maybe?

dallasarbormThe 22 acre Camp estate above was added in 1980 to the original 66 acre grounds of the DeGolyer estate to complete the present size of the Arboretum.  The DeGolyer house and estate were acquired in 1976 for the gardens.

dallasarbornThis seems a strange combination of plants.  But everyone’s taste is different.

dallasarborpThe Millet is an interesting plant that is not seen often in our area.  Maybe because it’s not available or doesn’t do well here?

dallasarborqThere is a test garden area which was confusing to me because there were many well know plants there.  Maybe they were new varieties.  Once again, I feel like a guided tour would have been helpful to a plant novice, like me.

dallasarborrSalvia Sallyfun Snowhite Danziger (2011) on the label.

dallasarborsAs we leave the Arboretum, there is a container with a purple thriller, probably a salvia, a pretty white lacy spiller, and a begonia filler.

dallasarbortA serene scene provided by Heliotrope ‘Scentropia Dark Blue’ (Heliotropium arborescens): purple flowers and Euphorbia ‘Diamon Drost’ (Euphorbia hybrida) : the white ones.  Information provided on labels.

dallasarborvBegonias in abundance.

dallasarboruHope you have a chance to visit gardens near you for a plant fix, if you need one, like me.  Although my preferences have shifted the last few years to native plants, I still enjoy the lushness of gardens that require water and more water.

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”    Winston Churchill

Secret Garden

Originally named White Shadows, Ina Chandor changed the name of the gardens to Chandor Gardens to honor her husband after his death.  Douglas had been the dreamer, creator, and worker of this enchanting place.  It was his passion.

waterfallSeveral waterfalls transport one from an arid climate to a cool, lush place.

succulentwhiteSucculents grow tucked into the rocks.


redrosesKnock-out Roses and other hardy plants grow among water loving plants.  Today the garden is in transistion with more drought tolerant plantings.


fishThere’s a good sized pond filled with carp.  Chandor seemed to be fascinated with oriental objects and designs.

pinksPentas or starflowers or Egyptian Star Clusters are planted in several places throughout the gardens.

oakleafhydrangea3On the other side of these trees is an Oak Leaf Hydrangea.

oakleafhydrangea4They love mostly shade.

minglionsThese two Asian lions are just one example of Chandor’s use of oriental decorations.

queenelizabethEleanor Roosevelt commissioned Chandor to paint Queen Elizabeth in 1952.  She posed in Buckingham Palace for eight hours in one day and the painting was done.  This portrait was a gift to the British Embassy in DC.

This was to be his last work as Chandor died two weeks after returning to Texas.  See the two previous posts Quiet Garden and Intimate Garden to learn more about this garden and his painting career.

When Ina Chandor died in 1978, there were no heirs, so the property lay unattended for 20 years before a local couple brought it.  They took on the tremendous task of restoring it.  They eventually sold it to the city of Weatherford, Texas.  Today it is under the management of the city parks division.

yellowpompom2This small Golden Ball leadtree (Leucaena retusa) is in the parking lot.  It’s in a good spot since they are very drought tolerant, can withstand reflected heat, and naturally grow on dry, rocky slopes.  It is also somewhat protected from strong winds, which can snap the brittle trunk.

yellowpompomA bright golden-yellow puff gives a happy welcome or a come back to see us ending.  Chandor Gardens are an example of planting as a gift for the present and for the future.

“The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep.”  Edgar Watson Howe

Clark’s Gardens

My last post featured Max and Billie Clark who founded the Clark’s Gardens near Mineral Wells in a most unexpected spot.  They turned a mesquite filled pasture into a lush and inviting garden.

csawThis is a Tesmec 1000 rock saw.  It does exactly what it’s name indicates.  It cuts into mammoth rocks underground.  These were first used to lay copper cable and now for fiber optic cable.  A similar type was used to cut the rock on our land to bury telephone lines.

Mr. Clark did not invent the rock saw, but he improved it.  So the company he and his wife founded became successful.  They poured much of that money into these gardens, which are 80 percent endowed by the Clarks’ personal investments.  The rest is supported by gate income.

cstatue2The walking paths lead through shady areas, like this one.  Full sun gardens for roses and irises are beyond the wooded area.

cpetuniasOn this particular day, only a few type of flowers were blooming.  These are petunias.

cnandinaA Nandina with berries.  In Texas, this has become one of the maligned shrubs recently.  I’m not sure why.  I had a couple in the DFW metroplex and they grew and were healthy.  Our yard here has too much sun for that type of shrub.

chydrangaOak Leaved Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) were growing with a little dappled sun.  They are more prominent in the southeastern part of the country.  Wish I had shade for these beauties.

cfountainMany events keep this place busy on most days, especially week-ends.  Besides weddings, festivals and celebrations for holidays or bloom seasons occur periodically throughout the year.  Check out their website

The energy level for the special days is high with huge crowds.  Those are fun.  But for this visit, we purposefully chose a quiet day so we could meander alone and enjoy each scene without crowds.

cflowersThis might be Lyre-leaf Sage. I don’t really know.

Many native plants and other plants that have adapted to dry conditions prosper.  The gardens have also been used for different plant studies including one for Earthkind roses with Texas A & M and one for unnamed hybrid roses with the American Rose Society.

ctrain4Miniature train tracks circle and intertwine around an octagonal building.  Through openings, some of the tracks enter the building.  On this day, about ten trains were zipping along.

ctrainSome tracks are elevated about 2 – 3 feet above eye level.


ctrain3Other tracks are low on the ground and viewed from walkways and small walking bridges.

ctrain6Inside the train building a replica of the town of Mineral Wells depicts actual buildings.  The court house is shown here.  Train tracks run in front of this set-up.

ctrain5The most famous building in Mineral Wells was and is a large posh hotel.   In the far left of the picture, you can see part of the Baker Hotel or “Crazy” Hotel.  The hotel opened in 1925 with 400 rooms and 11 stories, plus another section on the roof with 50 apartments.  The third well in town was drilled at the hotel site.

BakerhotelWhy such a huge, lavish hotel in a small town out in the middle of nowhere?

It’s partially explained by the nickname of the hotel.  The name “Crazy Hotel” comes from a story about a woman with mental problems, called the crazy lady by the town kids.  She drank the water at the hotel and was cured.  So the word spread about the healing waters.

The citizens of Mineral Wells had been anxious to cash in on their natural resource of mineral waters.  This rumor helped fulfill their dreams.

Many people traveled there for the baths.  It was a happening place and brought prosperity during the 30’s.  But the real boom came after Ft. Wolters was built just outside of town.  So the early 40’s were the heydays.

At the end of the war when Ft. Wolters closed, so did the hotel.  Then Ft. Wolters reopened as a helicopter base.  For a brief time the Baker Hotel reopened and hosted the Texas Republican conventions in 1952 and 1955.

It’s been on the market for decades now.  Some stores operate on the ground floor and some retirement apartments for assisted living are available.

A grand old, aging lady is just a part of history now.  More than you wanted to know about that?

ccouplestatueBack outside at Clark’s Gardens, another statue of a romantic young couple.

cbaldcypressA tall Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) grows beside one lake area.   Watchful attention is needed not to trip on the Cypress knees growing around the tree.

ccampfireSome statues present every day vignettes.

cswan2Aahh, the quiet peaceful scene of a swan  What is it about them that is so enchanting?

cswanFarewell to Clark’s Gardens.  It is so much more than these pictures show.  A great half day or full day of enjoying nature.

“An addiction to gardening is not bad when you consider all the other choices in life.”  Unknown