Archive for May 5th, 2011

Garvan Woodland Gardens: Hot Springs, Arkansas

May 5th, 2011 Comments off

Verna Cook Garvan, a long-time resident of southern Arkansas, was founder and benefactress of Garvan Woodland Gardens.

She lived in Malvern as a child and later in South Carolina and Florida. She returned to Arkansas and married Francis Patrick Garvan, Jr., son of a prominent and affluent family from New York City.

The site for Garvan Woodland Gardens was purchased in the 1920’s after a clear-cut in about 1915. Mrs. Garvan loved the beautiful place so much that she never allowed it to be cut again.

In 1956 she began to develop it as a garden and possible future residence. She was intimately familiar with the land and laid out each path, marked every tree to be removed, and personally chose each new plant and selected its location.

Over the next forty years, Mrs. Garvan planted thousands of specimens which now form an impressive collection. There are hundreds of rare shrubs and trees, some over 40 years old, including camellias, magnolias and over 160 different types of azaleas.

An equal number of roses, many of antique varieties, grace the Border of Old Roses. Nearby sits a pavilion designed by nationally acclaimed architects E. Fay Jones (winner of the American Institute of Architects’ prestigious Gold Medal and former Dean of the University of Arkansas School of Architecture) and his partner Maurice Jennings.

Japanese maples and tree peonies serve as an introduction to the Japanese inspired Garden of the Pine Wind as she always intended. Rock gardens, a conifer border, and a growing number of bulbs and perennials complete the collection, providing interest throughout the year.

Upon her death Mrs. Garvan left the property to the Department of Landscape Architecture through the University of Arkansas Foundation, a private, non-profit entity created to sustain university programs.

Now an independent department of the University’s School of Architecture, the gardens continue to flourish and grow through the support of the Arkansas Legislature, Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, many generous private donors, and over 3,000 members.

It was Mrs. Garvan’s wish that the Gardens be used to educate and serve the people of Arkansas, providing them the joy and repose it had offered her.  She noted the devastation of the environment that had taken place in her lifetime and wished to preserve a remnant of the twentieth century’s natural grandeur for generations to come .


With a Piglet to Love, Who needs a puppy?

May 5th, 2011 1 comment

I vote this one cute piglet.

(No ham sandwich will be eaten  this night.)

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