By this morning, you could tell that the hectic pace of the Garden Writers' conference was taking its toll from the noise level on the tour buses, more subdued than that of the first two days. Our enthusiasm for the five very different gardens remained undiminished, though. Since my energy is amongst those that are flagging, I'm going to make this brief, sharing only one picture from each garden with you tonight.
The Gibson garden in East Dallas was created by the late wife of the owner, who maintains the garden in his wife's memory.
When the Dallas school district cut funding for the teaching gardens at Stonewall Elementary, the parents and community partners stepped in to provide that funding. Each of the nearly 600 children in the school has responsibility for one vegetable plant in the garden, nurturing it from its planting through its harvest, and each child maintains a garden journal of their activities and observations in the gardens. The scope of this garden is both breathtaking and inspiring: it covers perhaps a quarter of the school's property. Because it was so difficult to capture an overview of the gardens, I chose to show you a single Okra blossom instead.
The Rister-Armstrong garden was a captivating melding of formal English garden design and heat-tolerant plantings in a small space reminiscent of some viewed in Buffalo. One owner is a former buyer for Neiman-Marcus: his talents were evident both in the garden and in the lavishly but comfortably decorated home interiors, which the owners opened to us as well.
The Bertram garden was my favorite of those we saw today for the owner's use of found objects (including rusty stuff) and the mosaic works scattered throughout the property. His funky and eclectic artist's sensibility made me smile.
Heavily wooded, the Patterson property was a serene green oasis and a restful stop after the livelier garden that came before.
Our final stop was the garden of landscape architect David Rolston, the vision behind the Patterson garden. Water features are interspersed throughout the landscape. Coupled with his flowing borders of shrubs, evergreens, trees, ornamental grasses and groundcovers, his garden was another calm and contemplative venue at the end of a hectic morning.