Tag Archives: Bayou Bend

Purple Power

Perhaps these are mountain laurel?

Perhaps these are mountain laurel?

Although pink dominated at Bayou Bend last Saturday, another hue stood out from the light-red crowd here and there.

There were a couple patches of violets.

There were a couple patches of violets.

Let’s hear it for purple! Woot woot!

Small but mighty

Small but mighty

It was a welcome respite, a nice change from the heavy pink overload.

These were growing in a pot on the grounds.

These were growing in a pot on the grounds.

Good thing that pink and purple don’t clash!

Pretty in Pink

These dwarf azaleas look like mums from a distance.

These dwarf azaleas look like mums from a distance.

Three years ago when I visited Bayou Bend, the only stop along Houston’s annual Azalea Trail that interested me, there definitely was a trail.

But no azaleas.

What a bummer!

Pink on pink azaleas

Pink on pink azaleas

Fortunately, our weather has been kinder this winter. So when I once again broke through my 10-mile comfort radius and made the drive into Houston, I was relieved to see lots and lots and lots of azaleas.

Sidebar: I couldn’t help but laugh when a guy said to his wife and friends, “Yep, there are a lot of pink flowers. And just more of the same the rest of the way.”

Buds bring the promise of more beautiful flowers.

Buds bring the promise of more beautiful flowers.

He definitely was right in his assessment: Pink was the predominant color in the gardens.

The bees were busy, as usual.

The bees were busy, as usual.

Whether it bee azaleas . . . .

The little stingers were all over the place.

The little stingers were all over the place.

Or camellias . . . .

Love how the sunlight hit these just right.

Love how the sunlight makes these glow from inside.

Tulips . . . .

I’m not sure what kind of tree this is, but it sure is pretty.

I’m not sure what kind of tree this is, but it sure is pretty.

Or even the budding trees, that lighter shade of red made it seem kind of like Valentine’s Day (in a very feminine way).

The heart looks ghastly!

The heart looks creepy!

I think that Cupid was tickled pink!

Going Whole Hogg at Bayou Bend

Summer snowflakes populate the White Garden.

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!

The Hogg house

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 bend in the Buffalo Bayou

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.

Practical shoes are necessary for navigating the grounds.

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!)

Clio (left), the muse of history, and Euterpe, the muse of music, anchor two of the gardens.

Each of the nine gardens is an interesting entity. Some have statues as a prime focal point.

Diana, goddess of the hunt, with something deer to her

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 Diana fountain

The arcing Diana fountain immediately caught my attention, causing me to snap lots of photos of the shooting water.

Diana fountain from the side (1/1600th of a second)

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.

Diana fountain from the side (1/30th 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.

The Hoggs’ house through Diana’s fountain

This is Diana’s view of the house through her fountain. An unusual perspective!

The East Garden fountain

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.

Lots of whining at this bench!

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 . . .

Snooty deer!

. . . had one clear message written all over their face. Oh, deer! Time to go!!

Camellias—Not Azaleas—Are the Bees’ Knees

Something seems to be missing on this azalea shrub!

Last weekend was the annual Azalea Trail in Houston’s trendy, pricey River Oaks area. I was so excited to photograph the stop at Bayou Bend’s gardens, because I love azaleas. But I wondered if there would be much beauty to look at due to our January freezes.

A few azalea shrubs are early bloomers.

Sadly, there were a lot of bare azalea shrubs that needed at least another week to blossom. But some azaleas were nice enough to make an appearance. Not a lot, but some. And they were pretty.

Fortunately, Bayou Bend isn’t just about azaleas.

Ornamental magnolias were plentiful.

The gardens, instead, were filled with plenty of ornamental magnolias.

Pink camellia

As well as tons of camellias.

A deep pink camellia

The camellia is the state flower of Alabama.

Pretty in pink camellia . . . with more waiting to bloom

The Texas state flower is the bluebonnet.

Camellias even can be two-toned!

But there are no bluebonnets at Bayou Bend (not that they’re in season yet, of course).

Yet another in a long line of pretty camellias

Just lots and lots and lots and lots of camellias.

Sidebar: Can you smellia camellias? I never got close enough to find out! Why? You’ll see in the last two photos.

Star magnolias

Plus a few star magnolias.


And some hydrangeas.

Even without their renown azaleas, the Bayou Bend gardens were alive with color. In fact, they reminded me of the beauty of a Shakespearean quote:

Two bees in (what else?) a camellia flower

“Two bees or not two bees, that is the question!”

Camellias are the bees’ knees!