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


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