Every year for about a week period in Houston the River Oaks Garden club sponsors the Azalea Trail. It’s a series of 7 sites, mainly houses and a church, with very well manicured grounds that hold the most amazing display of azaleas. I went with a good friend who really appreciates the wonder of the garden and these spectacular beauties! We chose to go to Bayou Bend which is the home of the late Ima Hogg, a Philanthropist (died at 93 in 1975). She was the daughter of the first native born Texas Governor (1890). The family’s wealth was the result of the oil industry. She deeded her home, Bayou Bend estate, to the Museum of Fine Arts in 1957.
What a spectacular entrance to the property… a swinging bridge over Buffalo Bayou!
As you walk through the property you are mesmerized by the vibrant color on display. We were able to pass through the bottom floor of the house and viewed two parlors and the dining room. The history of American furniture in the house is fascinating. Ima took great interest in pieces with history and roots native to the area. I’ll bet if you look on the bottom of the plates there are no made in China labels here! The craftsmanship is quite exquisite. You can’t help but appreciate that!
There are volunteers through the property that will give you information and answer questions that you have. The volunteers were mainly very nice looking older ladies dressed in pretty spring dresses. We did ask how many gardeners are staffed at Bayou Bend. The answer we received was 5, which I find incredible. Because there are fourteen acres of land here to maintain. The River Oaks garden club volunteer weeding on Monday’s (there are about 25 of them in this particular volunteer stage of the club). This one volunteer was so cute, she asked if we were offended by some of the weeds that were still showing in the landscaping around the water fountain? I found this particularly amusing. I guess it’s worth while to say the people in River Oaks are pretty well to do. The lady that was telling me this was wearing Prada sun glasses….offended? NO! I’m amazed by how they can possibly keep this many weeds out! There is full appreciation here! The weeding never stops at my house! EVER!
This is Diana Garden which is in direct display from the back of the house where we met the Prada sun glass volunteer lady. We also asked how much they charge to rent the space for an event on the lawn right in front of this fountain. And she said in excess of $50,000…cha ching! Guess we won’t be having any family gatherings here…nope!
Here are a couple of other points of interest…
This is Carla Garden (did I mention there are 9 gardens on the grounds?). Ima wanted to add something whimsical to this garden so she used a carousel piece! It’s only brought out and displayed for the Azalea Trail and it has recently been restored!
As you continue to walk down the path you can’t help but notice the humongous tree! I was told it is a Sycamore tree. The oldest one in Harris county! They even have a rod all of the way to the top and bolted into the ground to protect the tree from lighting!
So there you have it! Bayou Bend during the azalea trail! I’m so thankful my good friend went with me and suggested this site! I learned so much from her and it is fascinating! There are other flowering species here too.. Camellias! We took turns taking a pic in them! Only regret… that we didn’t get a pic together! Thank you Paula for a very enjoyable adventure! You are such a great friend!