Although Houston’s Bayou Bend gardens are, naturally, known for their flowers, there’s so much more to this enchanting place. Which is especially nice when there aren’t a lot of azaleas to see!
A little history first: In 1925, the Hogg siblings—Will, Mike, and their sister, the unfortunately named Ima—chose 14 acres of woodlands in River Oaks for their home.
The Hoggs called their estate “Bayou Bend,” because it’s bordered on two sides by a bend in the Buffalo Bayou. The house was completed in 1928, and Ima started working on designing the gardens. Mike married and moved from the dwelling in 1929, while Will died suddenly the following year. Leaving Ima to be the house’s sole resident. She lived, by the way, to the ripe, old age of 93, passing away in 1975.
With nine diverse gardens on the grounds around the house, visitors travel along paths and series of steps to take them all in. It’s a popular place for families to take photos (but no killer tripods allowed!)
Each of the nine gardens is an interesting entity. Some have statues as a prime focal point.
The Diana garden seems like the prime flora area, because it can be seen when you’re standing in line to visit the Hoggs’ house (Ima was an avid collector of antiques; unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside the residence).
The arcing Diana fountain immediately caught my attention, causing me to snap lots of photos of the shooting water.
Once again, I experimented with increasing and decreasing my shutter speed to change the look of the water. Here, I shot with a fast shutter speed of 1/1600th of a second.
When I slowed the shutter to 1/30th of a second, the result almost looked like a painting! How apropos for such a lovely setting.
This is Diana’s view of the house through her fountain. An unusual perspective!
You easily can see how this little East Garden fountain pales in comparison to its Diana counterpart. Yet it works well in the smaller setting at the side of the house.
Unexpected personal touches can be found as you walk in and around the gardens. For example, there are pretty benches for resting, like this one. I dubbed it the “grapes of wrath” bench. I can’t imagine sitting there for long with those uncomfortable grapes digging into my back. I guess this seat encourages visitors to keep moving!
And, as you might imagine, there are woodland creatures here and there around the grounds. Some seemed inviting and friendly, like the deer at Diana’s side, while others . . .
. . . had one clear message written all over their face. Oh, deer! Time to go!!