We went to the Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas last spring and were "underwhelmed" by the paucity of its offerings. The trees there were obviously not "second growth" but probably third, or even fourth "growth." So we searched around for greener pastures, so to speak, and found Garvan Woodland Gardens a mere 6 miles from Hot Springs. The drive itself is quite relaxing as it takes you through a lovely rural area.
The Garvan Woodland Gardens consists of 210 acres of land that were completely clearcut in 1915. In 1956, the owner began planting thousands of plants and trees. The result, in 2019, is beautiful. Admission for adults is $15 and you can ride the entire gardens in a golf cart for $15 per person. If I ever go back again I just might make use of that golf cart, especially to get out to the Hixon Nature Preserve on Lake Hamilton. The Garden owns 4.5 miles of shoreline on Lake Hamilton and as a result allows visitors a chance to see over 100 types of birds.
Pictured below is the beautiful Bridge of the Full Moon. This is located within the 4-acre Garden of the Pine Wind which has 300 varieties of Asian ornamental plants including 40 giant-flowered tree peonies. This "garden within a garden" also features a Koi pond, several little waterfalls and one that is 12 feet high. It must be spectacular to visit when the azaleas are in full bloom.
We were there in late April and there were only a few tattered blossoms still holding on. If you are hoping to catch the azaleas in full bloom check the "what's in bloom" feature on their website. An additional feature of these Gardens is the Anthony Chapel, which I thought was spectacular. The use of glass in the walls and the ceiling and its setting in the woodland creates a special blend of Nature and religion. The chapel can be accessed without paying the admission fee to the gardens. It is closed when a wedding is taking place.
Much appreciated by us was the fact that each person is allowed to bring in one dog to the garden as long as it is on a non-retractable leash. Located at 550 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs, Arkansas it is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and the month of January.
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.
1 - 3pm
A Walk in the Woods
423 N. Main St.
Photographer and editor Ruthie Rosauer will be on hand to autograph copies of her book, THESE TREES. The book, a compilation of 140 trees photos paired with poems, has been described as "A gorgeous book, a heart-opening photo collection."