last week, i was traveling in Houston, Texas, and stopped for the garden tour at Bayou Bend. the azaleas were in full bloom, and just splendid. the gardens of Ima Hogg cover fourteen acres of natural woodlands along the Buffalo Bayou in the Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. her love of beauty and flowers is clearly evident in her garden designs. within the gardens is a variety of azalea and camellia bushes, along with flowering trees, such as magnolia, crape myrtle and dogwood.
the southern influence of gardens is showcased in formal gardens, cast iron gates, and fountains. clipped boxwood form the design for many of the garden patterns. the walkways are brick paved, and the wisteria are tamed into perfection.
marble statues become focal points in many of the gardens, with terraced lawns leading the eye to the artwork. many of the statues have musical themes, to accompany ms. Hogg’s background in music.
the butterfly garden was built in 1942, with the brickwork forming the body, antennae, and outline of the butterfly’s wings. there are 350 azalea plants in this garden alone.
we were told that hurricane ike damaged over 300 trees in 2008, but the gardens have recovered nicely. one of the oldest american sycamore trees stands in the gardens and is said to be 115 years old. it is magnificent. if travelling to Houston, don’t miss this garden tour.
the home is also available to tour, and is filled with antiques within 28 rooms. she donated her home and collections in the 1950’s and the museum opened in 1966. just lovely.