Just came back from a "mini-vacation" in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Below are some pictures from a relatively new botanical garden in Hot Springs just off Lake Hamilton. Here are some excerpts from "History of Garvan Woodland Gardens". Along the dramatic ridges of a forested peninsula jutting off of Lake Hamilton, 210 acres showcase Garvan Woodland Gardens which combine the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains with a display of both native and exotic plants, preserving as much of the lands natural character as possible. Originally named the Twentieth Century Gardens, it was the dream of a local business woman Verna Cook Garvan. She invested large amounts of her time and a great deal of her fortune to create the Gardens. At her death in 1993, Mrs. Garvan donated the property to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture which administers the Garden today. The University did not actually start working with the Garden until 2000 due to the property being in probate. During that time they drew up a 25 year master garden plan and have been procuring development funds. Currently the Garden hosts several miles of ADA accessible trails, as well as, winding stone paths for the adventurous. The ebb and flow of the garden paths through perfect woodland areas balanced with native and exotic plantings gives the impression of an older established Japanese Garden. Bridges, placement of boulders and trees are all done with such a subtle harmony that it is much like walking through a fairy tale perfect forest. In keeping with the Japanese theme they have added a Bonsai Garden with some western changes incorporating natural elements from Arkansas. Vertical sandstone slabs replace traditional stucco backdrops and square cut boulders of quartzite sandstone replace the traditional wooden display pedestals. There are plans for building a traditional bonsai shed and expanding the Bonsai Garden. Another unique feature of the Garden is a scale model train display that is landscaped with live plants. The Garden has displays for all seasons and currently the Camellia Trail is awash in color from these cool weather blooms.
Updated: 8:31 AM GMT on October 28, 2007
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