The days are getting warmer. After months of dreary weather, Spring is just around the corner. I’m thinking road trip. April and May are great months for chasing Texas wildflowers. Chasing wildflowers can be a whimsical endeavor. That is, your trip is at the whim of the wildflower. Sometimes they like to hide in the Spring.
If you’re looking for a sure thing, Texas has its share of spring garden events.
[Note: this article was originally published in 2009, but dates and links have been updated for the 2016 season. Please verify dates and times on the individual venue web sites before traveling.]
Several of the East Texas events feature big displays of Azaleas, and as a bonus, the dogwoods are also beautiful here in the Spring. Places like Austin and San Antonio are drier and that will be reflected in the gardens. Both of these cities are in the Texas Hill Country. State Highway 16 from San Antonio to Kerrville and on to Fredericksburg is a grand ride in the Spring. The opportunities for side trips from the Austin area are endless. San Angelo and the International Waterlily Collection are the statistical outliers. Never been there, but this might be the year I finally make it.
Call this my Spring drive
2009 2016 wish list. Ordered by approximate distance from the DFW Metroplex. I hope this list inspires some of you to get out and travel.
Dallas Blooms A dazzling spring display of floral color. With 100 kinds of Spring bulb producing over 500,000 blooms plus thousands of azaleas making this the Southwest’s largest outdoor floral festival. (From the Dallas Blooms web site.) A really wonderful display of azaleas and bulbs, and they work hard for the results you see. The place is huge, 66 acres I believe. Wear your comfortable shoes and be prepared to do some walking. Can be busy on weekends.
February 27 – April 10 – Dallas Blooms
Fort Worth Botanic Gardens Many gardens in a single setting near the Fort Worth Cultural District. The Rose Garden, admission free, is quite nice in late March and most of April. I almost always walk through the Perennial and the Four Seasons Gardens when I go there. The Japanese Garden is a very nice walk too. The Conservatory and the grounds around it are nice in Spring. Busy on weekends.
Late March and April – Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
Weatherford Texas Chandor Gardens Chandor Gardens began as the private gardens of well known 20th century portrait artist Douglas Chandor. He converted a rock and cactus covered hillside in Weatherford Texas into a truly outstanding one-man garden. Today Chandor Gardens is operated by the City of Weatherford. The gardens, broken up into distinct garden rooms, combine elements of both Chinese and English gardens. Check their web site events calendar for the Spring Fling event which is usually the first weekend in April.
April – mid-November, see their web site for hours, or call 817-613-1700 to make special arrangements – Chandor Gardens
Mineral Wells Texas Clark Gardens Botanical Park began as a small private garden in 1972 but evolved into a 35 acre scenic and educational facility that opened to the public in 2000. Paths wind among 50 plus gardens embracing native and Texas adaptable plants displayed among lakes, ponds, and waterfalls.
Gardens designed for year-round displays. See the bloom dates page on Clark Gardens’ web site for details. Clark Gardens Botanical Park
Tyler Texas Azalea Trails Each Spring in Tyler Texas, beautiful landscaped yards and gardens abound with colorful blooming Azaleas. Azaleas were first introduced to Tyler in 1929, but it wasn’t until 1960 that the Tyler Chamber of Commerce organized this event and started marking trails. Today there are eight miles of marked Azalea Trails passing by beautiful residential gardens and historic home sites.
March 25 – April 10 – Tyler Azalea Trails
Palestine Texas Dogwood Trails Festival 78th Annual Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration. Parade, Arts and Crafts, Live Music, Festival Food, Car Show, Kidz Zone. Featured area during the Texas Dogwood Trails event, the 200 acre Davey Dogwood Park near Palestine Texas is another attraction.
Last 2 weekends in March, First weekend in April – Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration
Nacogdoches Texas Azalea Trail and the Ruby M Mize Azalea Garden Nacogdoches Texas has an Azalea Trails event each year. Their claim is that they have Texas’ largest azalea garden. The garden is the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden at Stephen F. Austin State University.
March and early April (see web site for details) – Nacogdoches Azalea Trail
Austin Texas Zilker Botanic Gardens Located on 30 acres in Austin it has theme gardens, such as rose, herb and Japanese gardens interconnected with streams, walkways, waterfalls and Koi-filled ponds.
April 2 & 3, 2016, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Zilker Garden Festival
City of San Angelo International Waterlily Collection The city of San Angelo lists 7 Public gardens on their web site. The San Angelo International Waterlily Collection is located at Civic League Park, which is described as the city’s unofficial botanic gardens. I’ve heard good things about the waterlily collection and understand April is a good time to visit. The International Waterlily Collection has been designated by the International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society as a premiere collection of lilies in existence. I have never visited here but it’s on my short list. Do your own research, don’t trust me. I suspect this is one fine garden.
San Antonio Botanic Gardens and the McNay Art Museum San Antonio has plenty of attractions. The botanic gardens are first rate, as I recall. The grounds at the McNay Museum are beautiful and an ideal place for a garden walk or picnic.
Got a better idea? Tell us about your favorite Spring garden spot. Leave a comment below, and I’ll share it!