Dark and Light Contrasts

Shadows and bright sunlight in the same picture can be too harsh of extremes.  Unfortunately, here in Texas, that’s a reality and difficult to avoid.

The plants in the sun can look more like sculptures rather than living things.  So I’m trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear with these extreme exposures.  Please bear with me.

Chandor Gardens uses many different oriental structures because they fascinated the original owner and builder.

Patterns on the large stepping stones are created by the sunlight breaking through the tree branches above.  The same sunlight creates a white Fourth of July sparkler of one of the hanging Spider Plants.

This rough stone pedestal has oriental statutes standing on flat surfaces.  Not my favorite thing.

The top crossbars on this pergola have curved edges to give it an oriental look.  The red Japanese Maple adds contrasting color with the surrounding greenery.

The long lower area of grass near the original residence was once used for lawn bowling, I think.  Gotta be a bugaboo to mow that, so the modern version is artificial turf.

Looking away from the house gives a sense of how long this sunken spot is.

The dense shrubs and trees provide shade and make it fairly comfortable to be here on a hot summer day.

There isn’t much whimsy in this formal garden, so I was surprised to see this addition.  I personally like little touches like this.

Looks like one of the many sages popular in Central and Northern Texas.  They can take the heat.

Boxwood hedges are used to define areas.

Since this garden is a hundred years old, keeping structures in sturdy condition is part of the upkeep.  This bridge was replaced a few years ago.

Nandina shrubs with red berries have become maligned choices because they are originally from Asia.  Some people consider them invasive.  I feel these accusations are a little strong.  Roses also came to us from Asia via Europe.

There is a serenity about this place that draws us back again and again.

Looks natural and wild but probably requires a lot of work.

Lots of water in small ponds provide a sense of coolness.

Love this curve promenade leading to the house area.  It also makes a grand entrance for brides who are wed here.

As summer heats up, hope you find some soothing cool shade.

“Gardening is about poetry and fantasy. It is as much an activity of the imagination as of the hands.”  by “Centipede” in The Guardian, April 7, 1892

Bygone Eras

Although Christmas has come and gone, I want to show the rest of the Weatherford Candlelight Tour that we attended earlier this month.

tour2weatherfordgThis house was built in the 1920’s but had major renovation in the late 40’s.  The present owners are in the process of restoring with as many original details as possible.


tour2weatherford1These shelves  in the kitchen look original.  It reminds me of older relatives’ homes.  The tiles are obviously recent.

tour2weatherford2How about those prices.


tour2weatherford4A tree full of sweet goodies.

tour2weatherford6This English cottage house was built in the early 1900’s.  It was enlarged and redone in 1989.


tour2weatherfordaDining table decoration ideas seem endless.

tour2weatherford9tour2weatherfordbThis is the headboard in the master.  A small bedroom connected to this room was converted into a large walk-in closet.  We ladies like our modern conveniences and space.



tour2weatherfordeAlong the side of the house by the driveway is another entry – probably from an earlier time.

tour2weatherfordfPoinsettias give some color to the side flowerbed.  Very attractive placement of seasonal flowers with the agave and statue.

tour2weatherfordhThis 1907 house shows the bygone lifestyle of the rich in the area.  There is a carriage house in the back.  This property has been in the same family for 107 years.  The great grand-daughter of the original owner lives here and has displayed furniture and decor from the early 1900’s.

tour2weatherfordiThis greeter sorta looks the part of a gentleman from that period.

tour2weatherfordjStepping in from the front door, there are two parlors, one beside the other.  I’m guessing one was for the ladies and the other for the gentlemen.


tour2weatherfordmThis is one of the chairs that have been in the family since the house was built.

tour2weatherfordnLots of lace has been used throughout the house.  The rose folded napkin is clever.

tour2weatherfordoA nook in the dining room.

tour2weatherfordqA volunteer in a bedroom decorated for a child.  It’s actually used as a guest room.

tour2weatherfordpThis hanging up above the bed is rare antique Normandy lace and serves as a headboard.

Lace was an important factor in 16th-century world trade. The art began in Italy in the early 1500s as a pastime for upper class women. These ladies passed the skill along to nuns, who  meditated while creating the lace.  This also produced income for their convents. The practice spread from convent to convent throughout Italy until, in the late 1500s, the demand for lace products was great enough that private manufacturing workshops were established.

French laces were generally lighter and airier in design than their Italian counterparts, and by 1650, Alencon in Normandy was known to produce the finest and most delicate lace.

King Louis XIV called for the manufacture of vast quantities of lace and the industry grew rapidly.  Every woman in the royal court wore a headdress of Alencon lace.  Alencon lace became known as the lace of queens.

Today, a few dedicated women continue to practice the intricate techniques of point d’Alencon.  Most are descended from the original women who created the lace.  They learned the skills from older family members.

The creation of Alencon lace requires nine complex steps.  In the traditional manner, almost every step is performed by a different lace maker, each with her own specialty.  Final assembly of all pieces of the lace requires the skill of a senior lace maker. She must be an expert in all stitches and capable of blending the work of many hands into an apparently seamless whole.

tour2weatherfordrAt the next house, the volunteers dressed in a zoot suit and a flapper dress represented this1920’s home.  This was a quick walk thru tour with little of the house open to the tour.

tour2weatherfordsIn the backyard, I was struck by this volunteer.  He looks authentic to the old west.

tour2weatherfordtCheery Christmas vulture on top of a shed.

tour2weatherforduI like this little girl water fountain at Chandor Gardens.  Since I’ve posted three times before about these gardens, click here to read more detail about this wonderful place.

tour2weatherfordvOutside the Chandor home angels herald the good news.

tour2weatherfordwA grand dining room that seats twenty.

tour2weatherfordxThis tabletop setting of small owls is used each Christmas in the Chandor home.

tour2weatherfordyThe Pythian Home is a wow castle looking sight.  It was built in 1907 as a home for widows and orphans.  It is still owned and operated by the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization.  It currently houses children temporarily placed there by the court until their parents can care for them.

tour2weatherfordzThe rooms are massive with wide, grand staircases.  The furnishings seem to be original or at least, in that style.  The heavy brocade drapes and satin covered settees invoke a bygone era.  Of course, we only saw the guest rooms reserved for visiting board members.  So I don’t know what the children’s rooms look like.

tour2weatherfordzzOur next stop was the Museum of the Americas. It’s a small building crammed full of artifacts from ancient people groups from South America to North America.  The owners and collectors are husband and wife professors.  It deserves more time to explore than we had left.

Thanks for indulging me on this tour.  I appreciate your time in looking at my posts.  May 2015 be filled with joy and peace for you and your family.

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”  Ben Franklin

Tour of Homes: Final Part

Last on the Weatherford tour was one of my favorite gardens.  The Chandor Gardens house is not usually open to the public, so this was a good time to see it.

tourweatherfordpWe didn’t venture out into the garden.  It was chilly and many plants are brown as a result of several freezes.  Just wanted to see the garland on the bridge.

tourweatherfordhMany of the inside decorations came from the gardens.  These “trees” look like branches that have been flocked.

tourweatherfordiThe tops of these trees had crowns of branches.

tourweatherfordjAlthough it doesn’t show up well in this picture, there are two snowy owls in nests perched on top of two poles.

tourweatherfordkMrs. Chandor was painted by her husband Douglas, a renowned artist.  To read more about their history see Intimate Garden or Quiet Garden.

On the ends of this table are two ceramic dragons.  Chinese decorations are used extensively in the house and gardens.


tourweatherfordmAnother painting by Douglas Chandor.

tourweatherfordnThese glass ornaments stood beside the entryway.

tourweatherfordoEach pole was for sale.  I’m not sure why this artist was allowed this space.

tourweatherfordqThis flowerpot is a good use of an old four wheeler tire.  If I can figure out what kind of paint they used, I just might steal this ideal.

tourweatherfordrThese grasses caught my eye.  So pretty, even dry.

tourweatherfordgThis home tour occurs the second weekend in December.  Different houses are open each year.  A really fun day.

You are a trooper if you read all four posts about the tour.  I really appreciate the faithful who follow my blog.

“Pioneers get the arrows; settlers get the land.”  old saying

Intimate Garden

Douglas Chandor created a garden with many refreshing areas inviting contemplation or just chilling out .  And he did it in a field in West Texas.  See the previous post for more details about the beginnings of Chandor Gardens.

rockypondEven while he worked hauling rocks, constructing fountains and bridges, and planting trees, bushes, and flowers, he continued his life work as a portrait artist.

churchhillpaintingPresident Roosevelt commissioned Chandor to paint the portraits of the Yalta participants.  Stalin refused to pose but sent a photograph.  That project was not finished.  But he did paint the other two men.  The story goes that while he was painting Churchill, who was an artist himself, Churchill got up out of his chair and walked to the painting.  He wanted his midsection made slimmer, so Churchill picked up a paint brush and proceeded to make that change himself.

FDRpaintingChandor’s paintings of FDR and Herbert Hoover are at the National Gallery, while a portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt hangs in the White House.

yellowdaisiesThis looks like a Texas native – one of those yellow daisy looking ones that are so plentiful.

sidewalkThis long stone pathway with letters made from brick was Chandor’s tribute to his wife.  Called Ina’s Walkway, in Latin it says “May this little garden flourish, consecrated to Ina, in the year of Our Lord Edward the Eighth, forevermore.”

redyuccaA native Red Yucca grows in front a pile of rocks.

potmixturePentas grow in a pot with an exotic looking Shrimp plant (Justicia Brandegeana).

waterfall2The house was built on a small hill of four acres.  This allowed Chandor to lower some areas and create different elevations.  The higher levels provided a method to build natural looking waterfalls.  Note the silver ball on a lower ledge.  The falling water spins the ball.

plaqueUnfortunately, this was not to be.  Chandor died at age 55 in 1953 of a cerebral hemorrhage.

pinktreeflowersThese pale pink flowers look like False Foxglove, but I can’t really identify this plant..

lizardThis lizard’s movement were jerky, so he was difficult to photograph.  Periodically, his throat would swell and puff out.  He looks like a Carolina anole.  The extended dewlap is used to attract females and to show their dominance over a territory.  He may have felt threatened by our presence.

oleanderThis plant I know.  Oleander is a great friend to southwestern states.  They grow almost anywhere in the hot sun, no matter the soil.  They are old standby plantings used by the highway departments in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona and probably others.

lordnelsonLord Nelson?  Darwin?  Cute statue.  It’s actually the Mad Hatter.

grapegate3The grape vine gate had been recently repainted.  Love how unique it is.


fountain2Many types of water features provide a cooling and calming atmosphere.  My next post will finish this visit to Chandor Gardens.

“Acquaintance is a degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor and obscure, and intimate when he is rich and famous.”  Ambrose Bierce

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