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Letting nature nurture you

Even when the bluebonnets aren’t in bloom, Margaret Duncan says local residents can enjoy beautiful flowers year round at the Dallas Arboretum.
Duncan is a volunteer at the 66-acre facility which hosts year-round events surrounded by beautiful plants just 30 minutes from Ennis. She spoke to the Ennis Rotary Club on Tuesday.
Duncan said the climate in North Texas makes the Dallas Arboretum an ideal place for flowers that bloom all year round. The Arboretum boasts a large collection of azaleas, which are very hearty and in bloom for much of the year. During the summer, crepe myrtles are in bloom. Chrysanthemums come out in the fall.
“We call it the Diamond in Dallas,” Duncan said of the Arboretum.
Spring is just around the corner, and the Dallas Arboretum celebrates that time of year with their annual festival, Dallas Blooms. The event will take place March 7 through April 12 and Duncan said it would include 450,000 spring bulbs and 3,000 azaleas. The event is the largest outdoor floral festival in the Southwest, and has been named one of MSN’s Top Ten Places to visit in the spring.
“We always tell the gardeners that they are really artists, with the way they put things together,” Duncan said.
Special events during Dallas Blooms include Storybook Playhouses Exhibit, Artscape (March 21 and 22) and Garden Gallery Exhibit. An Easter Weekend Children’s Concert will take place Friday, April 10.
The Dallas Arboretum features several different gardens, including the McCasland Sunken Garden, the Lay Ornamental Garden and A Woman’s Garden. A Woman’s Garden has a fountain designed to symbolize the life of a woman, Duncan said.
“This is the only garden in the country that is truly dedicated to women,” she said. “It was planned by women and funded by women.”
The Dallas Arboretum sits on the banks of White Rock Lake. The land was once part of two different estates. The DeGolyer family owned 44 acres now occupied by the Arboretum, and the Camp family owned the other 22 acres, Duncan said. After both Nell and Everette DeGolyer passed away, their land was left to Southern Methodist University. When SMU decided they couldn’t use the land, it was sold to the city of Dallas in order to build the Arboretum. The DeGolyer house still sits on the property and is used by the Arboretum. Later, the Arboretum expanded when it acquired the 22 acres formerly owned by Alex Camp.
The DeGolyer house was built to look like it was 100 years old, and is modeled after a Mexican hacienda. It was built without removing a single tree, Duncan said. The house is recognized by the Texas Historical Commission and the National Register of Historic Homes.
The Dallas Arboretum hosted 350 weddings in 2008, had 81,000 children participate in school programs and had visitors from 47 different countries, according to Duncan. Currently, plans for a seven-acre garden in the Dallas Arboretum are in the works. It will be called the Roy Meyer Children’s Adventure Garden. The cost for the project is $13 million and construction is set to begin in 2010.
The Arboretum has three main objectives: horticulture, education and research, Duncan said. The Dallas Arboretum, with the help of the Texas A&M system, maintains trial gardens.
“We’re considered to be the experts in hot weather planting,” Duncan said. “In Texas, you never know how things are going to grow.”
The grounds of the Dallas Arboretum are entirely wheelchair accessible, Duncan said. The Arboretum has a paid staff of 60, of which 30 are gardeners. There are 375 people who volunteer at the Dallas Arboretum on a regular basis.
For more information about the Arboretum, visit www.dallasarboretum.org. For more information about becoming a volunteer, call 214-515-6561.
“Please come to the Dallas Arboretum,” Duncan said. “Let nature nurture you.”
The Ennis Rotary Club meets Tuesdays at noon at the First United Methodist Church.

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Posted by on Feb 20 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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