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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Beautiful Garvan Woodland Gardens

 I recently visited my daughter in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she was working temporarily as a Zookeeper taking care of Bears, Cheetahs, Lions, Tigers, Capibaras!  As part of our sight seeing we visited an amazing Botanical Garden run by the University of Arkansas.  Garvan Woodland Gardens was a labor of love developed over many years by Verna Garvan. A successful business woman operating a lumber company and a tile and brick works. Verna Garvan with the help of her employee, Warren Bankson, brought her vision for this lovely property to life.

Today the garden is part of the University program and is the site of ongoing Horticultural training. The masonary on this site is amazing and the bridges are exemplary. The property sits on a peninsula in Lake Hamilton in Garland County near the historic town of Hot Springs. We were lucky to be touring the garden when a large glass exposition was displayed. The glass artist is James Hayes of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Throughout the garden chandeliers, orbs, sculptures and hanging ornaments were set into the trees and planted areas.

 The waterfalls cool the area and give this hot region a lovely respite. The sound of the water
splashing over the gray stones transport you to another calmer, quieter world.
As with many large botanical gardens this one has a variety of special areas including a bonsai and Asian garden, children's exploratory area, perennial borders, woodland trails, and large group areas.
I loved visiting Arkansas and seeing the lush green forests. They are a mix of Conifers and Broadleaf Deciduous Oaks, Maples, Alders etc...
The garden is full of stone and boulders quarried locally and set artistically throughout the grounds. We saw some really cool lizards too.
 The hidden cave below the waterfall is part of the children's exploration area and has a peep hole from above also.

The kids were enjoying being in and out of the water!
Luckily we were visiting on a mild day and the humidity wasn't too bad.

As you know- I love flowers!!!! This is a great example of a perennial border that is not too fussy in its care and water requirements. Notice the classic development of low plantings building to the taller shrubs and flowers at the back. Great design!!
Bonsai are a small world in a container. Meant to symbolize the greater these miniatures bring the woodland to a table or stone top. The Bonsai here were set into their own area in an alcove of large boulders and trees within the Asian Garden area.  Great bridge!

This is a quick visual and virtual trip to this lovely place but if you are in the region make the drive- its so worth it!  We had a wonderful visit.

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