Monday, April 20, 2009

Trip Report: Spring Festival at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

Last weekend my wife and I drove down to Fort Worth, Texas to visit the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens for their annual Spring Festival.  The festival is held in one of their prized gardens: The Japanese Gardens.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Bridge in the Japanese Gardens"]Bridge in the Japanese Gardens[/caption]

For this post, I have chosen just a small selection of 21 pictures from the 300 photographs that I took on Saturday.  There is a link at the bottom of this post to my full photo album, which I hope you'll view, whenever you have time.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="One of about 8 Japanese structures in the Japanese gardens"]One of about 8 Japanese structures in the Japanese gardens[/caption]

The FWBG is a large complex of gardens, including a conservatory of tropical plants, rose gardens, tree groves, Texas natives, production and exhibition greenhouses, water gardens, a cactus garden and many others.  The Japanese Garden alone is 7 acres, while only being a small portion of the grounds.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) with pink seeds above branches"]Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) with pink seeds above branches[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Rock Garden in the Japanese Gardens"]Rock Garden in the Japanese Gardens[/caption]

The Japanese Gardens are kept by only 3 gardens and a host of volunteers.  I simply can't believe the amount of work that lies in front of those 3 workers everyday.  The grounds are well manicured and a wonderful place to stroll and relax.  I have to admit I spent the whole time snapping pictures, though.  I guess I'll have to go back for another visit.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Striking foliage and berries of Japanese Mahonia in the Japanese Gardens"]Striking foliage and berries of Japanese Mahonia in the Japanese Gardens[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Traditional Japanese dancers performing at the Spring Festival"]Traditional Japanese dancers performing at the Spring Festival[/caption]

For the Spring Festival, there are events throughout the day, including traditional Japanese dancers, Japanese flower arranging, bonsai exhibits and other crafts (such as origami).

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Dutch Iris Ikebana - the art of Japanese flower arranging"]Dutch Iris Ikebana - the art of Japanese flower arranging[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Drooping Bonsai tree on exhibit at the Spring Festival"]Bonsai tree on exhibit at the Spring Festival[/caption]

I was most excited about seeing the Japanese Gardens, the Conservatory and one of the greenhouses - the Begonia Species Bank.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Curator and collection of the Begonia Species Bank at FW Botanic Gardens"]Begonia Species Bank at FW Botanic Gardens[/caption]

The Begonia Species Bank was created to prevent the loss of Begonia species.  Since Begonias are very common houseplants, the true, natural species are at risk of being lost to all of the hybrids that have been created for our viewing pleasure.  The FWBG Begonia Bank is a large collection of Begonias as well as a library and source of information on this very popular plant genus.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Rex Begonia hybrids in the Begonia Bank collection"]Rex Begonia hybrids in the Begonia Bank collection[/caption]

We timed our trip to the FW Botanical Gardens perfectly, arriving on the weekend of the Spring Festival, as well as the annual Forth Worth Orchid Society's Orchid Show and Sale!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Prize-winning orchid at the annual Orchid Show and Sale"]Prize-winning orchid at the annual Orchid Show and Sale[/caption]

This event was held in the Garden Center, which is a very nice building in the center of the grounds, with rooms for meetings and events like this one.  There was one room setup with nice displays of orchids, including ribbons on those which had won prizes.  The range of sizes, colors, shapes and growth habits is just astounding.  I will never get over the diversity of the orchid family.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Another Orchid on display"]Orchid on display[/caption]

In a larger neighboring room there were long rows of tables crowded full with orchids for sale.  The growers had come from as far as the Chicago-area and the plants were reasonably priced.  I found myself walking away with 4 plants - 1 full grown miniature and 3 seedlings.  I'll have to post on those orchids in the next week or so.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="I love the tall petals of this orchid bloom. It looks horned."]I love the tall petals of this orchid bloom.  It looks horned.[/caption]

Attached to the Garden Center is a tropical Conservatory.  It is about 2/3 the size of the OKC Myriad Gardens, which I have visited several times and blogged about here, here and here.  The collection contains quite a few plants from the Marantaceae (Prayer Plant) and Araceae (Aroid) families, which made me very happy.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="One of the many Calathea zebrinas housed in the tropical Conservatory"]One of the many Calathea zebrinas housed in the tropical Conservatory[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="An Aroid that might be Epipremnum pinnatum 'Cebu Blue'"]An Aroid that might be Epipremnum pinnatum Cebu Blue[/caption]

Most of the FW Botanic Gardens are free and open to the public during daylight hours.  The admission price for the Conservatory is only $1!  The Japanese Garden ordinarily costs $2 admission and the other gardens are free.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicaule) in one of the outdoor gardens"]Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicaule) in one of the outdoor gardens[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Overflowing container in the outdoor gardens"]Overflowing container in the outdoor gardens[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Waterfalls in one of the outdoor gardens"]Waterfalls in one of the outdoor gardens[/caption]

You could easily spend a full day exploring the outdoor gardens, or 2-3 days if you really wanted to be thorough.  We spent 6 hours at the FWBG on Saturday and most of that time was spent in the Japanese Gardens and the Conservatory.  We also enjoyed walking around the Perennial gardens and Rose gardens.  The Rose gardens are the oldest part of the FW Botanical Gardens, established by day workers during the Great Depression.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="The Rose Ramp at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens"]The Rose Ramp at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Many different Iris in bloom in the Four Seasons Garden"]Many different Iris in bloom in the Four Seasons Garden[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Lupine were one of my favorite displays of color in the outdoor gardens"]Lupine were one of my favorite displays of color in the outdoor gardens[/caption]

I would highly recommend a trip to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens if you are within driving distance or happen to be in the area for other reasons.  It is a wonderful place to explore and there are so many different things to see.

To see many more pictures from my trip to the FWBG, go to the photo album.

7 comments:

  1. I so envy you - a dream. What a great place and great pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My gosh, what a beautiful Japanese Gardens, and those Orchids are something else. You and your wife must had loads of fun I know I would.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That looks wonderful. Love, love, love the Japanese gardens. I wish I had the space for one!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You've selected wonderful photos to post out of 300! I'm sure it was hard to decide which ones to choose. You are a great photographer. The gardens must have been cool to experience in person! You're back on my followers list again...hope you are having a great day Zach! Jan

    ReplyDelete
  5. You selected some good pictures. I love Japanese gardens so much!

    ReplyDelete
  6. yes, what a garden! i was never at a japanese garden but it's one of the to-do-thing i have on my list :)
    thanks for showing it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Enjoyed the tour! What unique orchids, too. So glad you all could make the trip and enjoyed it so much.

    ReplyDelete