Sunday, July 31, 2016

Growing in the Studio

In a little over a month, the work from "The Bayou Botanist" will make its debut in Houston, TX.  The work ranges from large scale paintings to smaller mixed media collages to a ceramic garden. Here is a sneak peak of a few of the pieces to be displayed:
Texas Tapestry, 56" x 72," Acrylic on Canvas, 2016
Fern House, 26" x 33.5," Gouache on Paper, 2016
Stacks, 44" x 60," Acrylic on Canvas, 2016 

Garden Tapestry, 26" x 33.5," Gouache on Paper, 2016
Stay tuned for more sneak peaks of work to be displayed at the exhibition! View more work at 
The Bayou Botanist 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Moments of Serenity: Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden is one of the most tranquil places in a city full of serene landscapes. Designed by Professor Takuma Tono in 1967, this haven is located up the hill from the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. The Garden is divided into 5 sub-gardens on 5.5acres: the Strolling Pond Garden, the Natural Garden, the Sand and Stone Garden, the Flat Garden, and the Tea Garden. The east veranda behind the tea house has a view of Mount Hood in the distance that resembles Mount Fiji. The Japanese Garden in Portland is known to be one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan. The Garden is currently adding three acres to include a chabana garden, ticketing pavilion, garden house, tea cafe, cultural center, and a gift store. 

View of the Strolling Pond Gardens 
Two bronze sculptures of cranes with a real bunny hopping by
Zig-Zag Walkway surrounded by irises and waters filled with Koi fish in the Strolling Pond Garden 
Strolling Pond Garden: One of the most stunning views in the Japanese Garden. Dense trees rolling up the hillside with a cascading waterfall 
Sand and Stone Garden or karesansui (dry garden) was imported to Japan in the 14th to 15th century. Yohaku-No-bi ("The beauty of blank space") is an important idea in karesansui. 
Several alcoves allow visitors to observe many different views of the Japanese Garden
Flat Garden: Trees in the Garden represent the Four Seasons
Exhibit of Ryan Neil's Work: American Bonsai

Hope you're able to travel up to Portland soon!
The Bayou Botanist

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

In the "City of Roses"

There is no sweeter place to be during the summer months than in the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon. You feel as though you've been plunged into Wonderland with over 7000 rose plants in over 500 varieties. The smells will leave you floating through the 4.5 acres of terraces with row upon row of multicolored roses.  Many people lay down blankets for a picnic or enjoy a conversation on one of the benches scattered throughout the garden. The roses bloom from April until October with the peak month in June. If you need another excuse to visit the Rose Garden, it is located in Washington Park (also home to the exceptional Japanese Garden) and has spectacular views of Mt. Hood in the distance.

If you're looking for sensory overload, this is the garden for you. The Rose Garden is open year round from 7:30AM - 9PM and is FREE to the public. They don't call Portland the "City of Roses" for nothing.

"Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses."
- Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

Get outside and smell the roses.
the Bayou Botanist

Friday, May 27, 2016

Shangri La in Texas

There are BIG BUGS in Texas. The biggest and baddest of all can be found at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center  in the small town of Orange, Texas (2 hours outside of Houston). The whimsical Bigs Bugs exhibit is the brainchild of the artist  David Rogers. The bugs will be creeping away this Monday so make sure to catch them on their last march on Saturday, May 28 for the Creepy Crawly Carnival from 9AM-5PM, or Sunday, May 29 from noon-5PM.

A little history about the impressive Shangri La: Inspired by the novel Lost Horizon, Texas philanthropist HJ Lutcher Stark began construction of Shangri La Botanical Gardens in 1937 to create "his own haven of indescribable beauty where time would stand still". The Gardens opened publicly in 1946 but closed a decade later due to a natural disaster; the gardens remained closed for over 50 years. The Stark Foundation restored Shangri La in 2008 and permanently reopened the Gardens in 2009 winning recognition and distinctions such as being one of only 50 Platinum LEED projects in the world.

Normal hours: Tues- Saturday 9-5PM

I hope you're able to visit this little oasis in Texas sometime soon. Check their calendar for upcoming events.

Keep Exploring,
The Bayou Botanist

Monday, March 21, 2016

Houston's Azalea Trail

When the azaleas start blooming, you know Spring is right around the corner. Flourishing in the Texas climate, Azaleas make their debut in a dazzling array of pinks, reds, purples, and whites around March of each year. Starting in 1935, The River Oaks Garden Club has hosted a yearly event to tour local gardens. Now in its 81st year, the Azalea Trail has become a favorite way for many Houstonians to welcome in the Spring. This year the trail included 7 stops all within River Oaks:

1. The Forum  2503 Westheimer
2. St John the Divine  2450 River Oaks
3. Home and Garden  3238 Huntingdon Place
4. Home and Garden  3456 Inwood Drive
5. Bayou Bend  5201 Memorial Drive
6. Rienzi  1406 Kirby Drive
7. Home and Garden  3452 Del Monte

My first stop on the tour was Bayou Bend.  I have never seen Bayou Bend look so beautiful or so loved by visitors. Along with the Azaleas, Tulips and Camellias were both in bloom.

A trolley was available to shuttle guests between locations. 

My next stop was the private residence on Inwood Drive. Built in the 1920's, the Sewall House was inspired by El Greco's house in Toledo, Spain and still contains original tiles, fountains, fireplaces and beams in the main house. The home does an incredible job of combining interior and exterior features bringing in elements of the outdoors into the living space.

My third stop was a private Residence on Del Monte. The residence was built in the late 1920's by Houston architect John Staub who was inspired by 18th century homes in Salem, Massachusetts.

It was very generous for the private residences to open their homes and gardens to visitors during the Azalea Trail. Tips for next year: 1. Make sure to schedule enough time to see all of the stops. I had just one day and felt rushed.  2.  Houston heat = Bring a water bottle, a hat, and sunscreen with you 3. There are no bathrooms, so plan accordingly 4. Parking is limited so try to be dropped off or take an uber.

While the private homes are of course off limits, you can still enjoy the Gardens at the Forum, St John the Divine, Bayou Bend, and Rienzi.

Forum open to the public on Monday 9:30-3:30PM and by appointment Wednesday and Thursday.
Bayou Bend open Tuesday - Saturday, 10AM- 5PM, Sunday 1-5PM
Rienzi open  Wednesday - Saturday, 10AM- 5PM, Sunday, 1-5PM

Enjoy the Spring Blooms!
The Bayou Botanist

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Events in Houston: Azaleas, a Regatta, and the French!

A lot of fun events are happening this coming weekend March 11-13, 2016 in Houston's Green Spaces:

1. The Azalea Trail at the Bayou Bend
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
March 11–13, 2016

11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Bayou Bend participates in the annual Azalea Trail, presented in March by River Oaks Garden Club. Azalea Trail showcases the colorful azaleas at Bayou Bend, Rienzi, private homes, and the garden club's Forum of Civics.

At Bayou Bend, guests enjoy the splendor of spring among the woodland gardens and glimpse the collection of American decorative arts in the main hall of the house. For more details, contact River Oaks Garden Club. Tickets are also available at Bayou Bend beginning in February. Azalea Trail admission is the only way to view Bayou Bend during this weekend. Proceeds support local organizations including Bayou Bend and Rienzi.

(Information from the Bayou Bend Website; Read more here)
Tickets are $25 for all 6 locations (map); $10 for a single location

2. The Buffalo Bayou Regatta
March 12, 2016

7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

Join us for Texas’ largest canoe and kayak race – the 44th Annual Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta! Paddlers, ages 12 and up, are encouraged to participate in the 15-mile American Canoe Association sanctioned race along the scenic Buffalo Bayou. Whether you are entering competitively or paddling for pleasure, you won’t want to miss out on this longstanding Houston tradition!
Those not wanting to paddle can cheer on racers along the race route or catch the outdoor fun at the finish line festivities at Sesquicentennial Park (500 block of Preston Street).

(Information from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership Website; Read more here)
Those signing up the day of for the race: the cost is $60 per person; $25 for student or military ID

3. The French Culture Festival at the Discovery Green
March 11, 2016

6p.m.– 10 p.m.

A free kick-off concert of the 2016 French Cultures Festival will showcase a bouncing mix of rock, pop and blues-hiphop sounds with three bands: The Blind Suns (Angers, France), Wild Moccasins (Houston, Texas), and Scarecrow (Toulouse, France). The event will take place on Friday, March 11 at Discovery Green located at 1500 McKinney, Houston, Texas 77010 from 6 to 10 p.m. It is open to the public and family-friendly.

(Information found on; You can learn more about the concert and bands can be found here.)

4. The Bluebonnets are coming!!  While this is not an event. . .Who doesn't love fields of wildflowers? is a great website to locate areas across the state of Texas where Bluebonnets have been seen in bloom. 

I hope to see you all outdoors enjoying the good weather (fingers crossed)! 
The Bayou Botanist 

Designed by Pish and Posh Designs · Powered by Blogger