The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden attracted more than 979,000 visitors in 2018. We will look at the arboretum’s beginnings and top attractions, as well as how it grew to become one of the world’s top arboretums.
Comprising more than 66 acres of gardens, the Dallas Arboretum includes two properties that previously belonged to the Camp and DeGolyer families. It is the former home of Alex Camp and Roberta Coke Camp, whose marriage united two prominent Dallas families.
Roberta Coke Camp was a philanthropist who supported local charitable organizations. Architect John Stubb designed Alex Camp House, maximizing its stunning views of White Rock Lake. It is a fusion of English Regency, Latin Colonial and Art Deco architectural styles, and is one-room deep throughout, lending a light, airy feel to the building, which offers
stunning views of the surrounding gardens.
Constructed in 1939, the DeGolyer House was the home of Everette DeGolyer and his wife, Nell Goodrich DeGolyer. Everette DeGolyer was a geologist who revolutionized the local oil industry, engaging seismographs to help prospectors find oil. The couple’s former home is a 21,000-square-foot, 13-bedroom property built in the Latin Colonial style, featuring seven baths, seven chimneys, five fireplaces, and a 1,750-square-foot library.
Architects Burton Schutt and Denman Scott designed DeGolyer House, which has both central heating and air conditioning. Prior to the DeGolyers’ purchase, the property was a 44-acre working dairy farm known as “Rancho Encinal.” It is featured on the National Register of Historic Places.
The arboretum stages a variety of annual events.
Early Morning Walks—In June, Early Morning Walks take place, allowing members to enter the park as early as 7 a.m. and enjoy the peacefulness of the gardens in the early morning.
Summer at the Arboretum—Summer at the Arboretum, which runs from May 25 to July 31, is a summer festival that offers families an opportunity to enjoy picnics, concerts, and stunning sunsets over White Rock Lake.
Celebrate the Children—On October 15, Celebrate the Children will take place, marking the return of sculptor Gary Lee Price with his new collection of hand-crafted bronze sculptures capturing the joy and innocence of childhood.
Summer Camps—The Dallas Arboretum stages summer camps to inspire the next generation of gardeners in environmental stewardship, providing hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) exploration to spark their imagination and interest in nature.
Christmas in July—On July 25, Christmas in July will take place. Presented by Popbar, the event features gelato demonstrations and activities that include decorating a gingerbread house. The arboretum celebrates the nation’s independence over the course of two weekends in July, presenting some of the best food trucks in Dallas. Visitors can enjoy root beer floats, $2 hot dogs, and complimentary beer samples. The 36th Infantry Division Band will attend the event in 2019, playing patriotic classics with some jazz, and contemporary musical surprises. Emporium Pies will sell its award-winning pies and stage a cherry pie demo, while Eddie the Eagle will present story time in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
The Dallas Arboretum facilitates cutting-edge horticultural research.
The Trial Gardens were specially created as part of the arboretum’s expanding research efforts to grow and evaluate many different plant species. Data gathered in the arboretum’s trials is incredibly valuable to local plant retailers, growers, and home gardeners.
The arboretum trials up to 5,000 plants every year from more than 150 breeding companies. The Trial Gardens facilitate cutting edge horticultural research, as growers seek out heat-tolerant plants that can thrive in the harsh North Central Texas climate.
The 2018 Plant Trials Field Day took place on June 27, 2018. Awards were presented in the acclaimed Trial Garden program, providing valuable feedback on which plants survived through late 2017 to spring 2018. Prize winners included Benary Seed’s Whopper Rose Bronze Leaf Begonia, Ball Seed’s Zahara Double Raspberry Ripple Zinnia, and Suntory’s Sundenia White Dipladenia.
The Dallas Arboretum offers free tastings.
A Tasteful Place is a 3.5-acre kitchen, garden, and pavilion dedicated to growing fresh, sustainable food. There are three free tastings every day, with cooking demonstrations making the most of seasonal produce.
A Woman’s Garden features a variety of sculptures, as well as fountains and water features. It is the perfect spot for taking photos, with its infinity pool and stunning backdrop of White Rock Lake.
The Boswell Family Garden, which was created in 2004, features rose gardens and a gazebo, as well as Magnolia Allee and an octagonal fountain.
Dr. George Boswell enlisted Warren Johnson, a well-known landscape architect, to create the garden as a Christmas surprise for his family. The gardens are particularly beautiful in the late spring and mid-fall, when the roses are in bloom.