The last day of the GWA symposium always involves seeing gardens off the beaten track. For the first two years I attended, I didn’t take the extra trip, but the last two I have, and I didn’t regret it. These are the jewels the convention planners couldn’t get to because of time and space. For Dallas, if you took the half day trip, you saw some additional Dallas gardens. I went on the full day excursion and saw several Ft. Worth beauties, including the 109-acre Ft. Worth Botanic Garden, which is the oldest botanic garden in Texas. Its center was a rose garden built in the 1930s on the pattern of Versailles (not unlike our own rose garden at Will Rogers in Oklahoma City.) Unlike the other tours, we had plenty of time to wander and think about our photographs as we toured, which is known throughout the world for its Japanese garden.
After lunch, we visited my favorite garden of the tour, the Hallman house. Although all of the owners were gracious, Mrs. Hallman was the nicest garden owner I’ve ever met. Because we enjoy the same garden style (although mine is cottage and hers more formal), we had plenty to discuss, and she was kind enough to stroll the garden with us just talking about gardening. We all had a lovely time.
She studied with Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter, and her property shows her enthusiasm for the English formal garden style. Ralph L. Duesing designed garden additions which blend seamlessly with the original house and garden architecture. Jerry Malzahn designed the new plantings. Mrs. Hallman’s home was built in the 1930s, and if you peek beyond the large gates, you’re rewarded with a view of a formal circular courtyard. This, and the brick walls are original to the home. Behind the red brick home, which looks like it was built yesterday, is another terrace and a formal knot garden, and beyond, a greenhouse.
We talked about greenhouses (which I want to add to my potager) and how she would like to build a vegetable garden in the sunny portion of her yard near the knot garden.
I know I keep writing “beautiful,” but it was. You almost couldn’t take a bad photograph, and I worked hard to capture the essence of this peaceful retreat.
Surprisingly, there weren’t many roses, but instead, swathes of green boxwood hedges enclosing a variety of plants including even a few vegetables. A lot of the garden is shaded by large trees. That and disease problems may have limited her decision to use more roses. I bet if she used R. ‘Carefree Beauty’ she’d like her.
I enjoyed all the gardens that day, but some just touch your heart, and Mrs. Hallman’s touched mine.