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Greg and Judy Sosbee

Growing up in a gardening family, Judy Sosbee decided to volunteer at the Dallas Arboretum, along with her husband, Greg, during 2020. The Sosbees, who also like to work in their own garden, love indulging their gardening passion at the Arboretum, especially by working with visitors to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.  This fall, they are also co-chairing Autumn at the Arboretum, which runs September 18 to October 31, 2021.

Judy said, “Growing up, we had a backyard greenhouse with orchids, bromeliads and ferns. However, it was Greg who suggested we ‘sign up’ after I told him that the Dallas Arboretum was looking for volunteers for their Holiday Village last year. We enjoyed it so much, we decided volunteering year-round was a great idea.” Since they started volunteering in November 2020, they have clocked more than 600 hours in less than a year.

The Sosbees grew up in Garland, close to the Dallas Arboretum, and met their senior year of high school. Both attended the University of North Texas. After graduation, Judy worked as a kindergarten teacher in Garland ISD for 34 years. Greg worked in risk management, a job that took him around the globe. During their 50-year marriage, their family has grown to include a son, daughter, their spouses and three grandsons—all of whom live in the Dallas area.

At the Dallas Arboretum, they found their special volunteer area at the Children’s Adventure Garden Information Booth. When tram training became available, Greg took advantage of it and now drives a tram talking to the many visitors from around the globe. Judy said, “As a former kindergarten teacher, I enjoy being in the Exploration Center and working with kids firsthand. We also continue to volunteer together at the children’s information booth on busy weekends, and enjoy conducting volunteer training for the Children’s Garden. We are weekly volunteers who seem to always find an additional day to volunteer when help is needed.”

Judy even remarked that she loves when someone recognizes her and says to her, “You were my child’s kindergarten teacher!”  “It makes me happy to get an update on a former student.” Greg has become reacquainted with a former co-worker who also volunteers in the garden.

Greg added, “With the beautiful fall days we have in Dallas, we have a wonderful time enjoying the fresh air and all the miraculous floral and pumpkin displays. Seeing the delight in guests’ faces and enjoying the time spent with other volunteers is a rewarding experience.”

For those interested in volunteering, visit https://www.dallasarboretum.org/support/volunteer/, email volunteers@dallasarboretum.org or call 214-515-6561. For the latest Autumn at the Arboretum events and activities, visit dallasarboretum.org or the social media channels.

About Autumn at the Arboretum:

Autumn at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant, runs from September 18 to October 30 with a “Bugtopia” theme. The 16th annual fall festival features the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village with 20-foot-tall, decorated pumpkin houses created with more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash from the West Texas town of Floydada, which is nicknamed “the pumpkin capital of Texas.”

Autumn at the Arboretum comes alive with larger-than-life insect topiaries, fascinatingly bugged-out pumpkin houses, a maze for younger visitors and even an 18-foot-long dragonfly. Autumn at the Arboretum features breathtaking colors of fall with 150,000 fall flowers—marigolds, chrysanthemums and more throughout the 66-acre garden.

A few highlights:

  • Local popular bands play live music every weekend afternoon during the festival.
  • Seasonal daily samples highlight in-season plants in A Tasteful Place garden.
  • Insect Encounters tent features daily, hands-on experiences such as live insect demonstrations, nature art, expert chats and more.
  • Mommy and Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays, presented by Kimberly-Clark, includes face painting, stroller fitness, a petting zoo, Kindermusik, a hay bale maze, a pumpkin patch with pumpkins for purchase and music.
  • On Family Fun Weekend, Oct. 9-10, and on Halloweekend, Oct. 30-31, the festival also includes a petting zoo and face painting for children.
  • Arboretum-led walking tours, harvesting and horticulture demonstrations round out the festival.

Guests can also visit A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre food, herb and vegetable garden. Weekly activities include free Monday cooking demonstrations with Dallas College Cooks along with activities throughout the week including cooking, floral and horticulture demonstrations, many of which have the “bugtopia” theme incorporated.

In addition to Reliant as the presenting sponsor, other sponsors include Park Place Dealerships, Texas Instruments, Oncor, Kimberly-Clark, C.C. Young Senior Living, Doyle and Associates, Sidley Austin, Bank of Texas and Rexel USA.

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79 Fish Eating Fish Dominic Benhura Springstone

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will host international renowned stone sculptor, Dominic Benhura, from now to June 27 as part of its Summer of Sculpture exhibit, ZimSculpt. Benhura will give daily talks at 2 p.m. at The Marketplace (in the garden), and 25 of his exquisite statues will also be on display and are available to purchase.

 

ZimSculpt features the talent of several contemporary Zimbabwean artists with more than 100 hand-selected, exquisite sculptures artfully displayed throughout the garden. These contemporary pieces, created by the Shona people of Zimbabwe, are carved from various types of serpentine and semi-precious stone, often weighing tons, and can be as large as seven feet tall. ZimSculpt runs through August 8.

 

Known as one of the leading Zimbabwean stone sculptors, Benhura has been sculpting since he was a young boy, learning the skill from his cousin, master sculptor Tapfuman Gutsa. Benhura sold his first piece when he was 12 years old.

 

According to the ZimSculpt website, “He is in a league of his own…His work is bold and daring, and he captures balance and movement both physically and emotionally. His prime motivation is to explore new ideas, concepts, techniques and methods and to express and communicate powerfully simple ideas. Nature, family and the relationships with his children are his main inspiration for his sculptures.”

 

When he became a father, Benhura began sculpting mothers and children interacting, and these are some of his more popular pieces. He said, “These pieces don’t have faces, so they can be from any culture.”

 

Founder of Domnic’s Studio in Harare, Benhura nurtures budding artists, from young children to adults, by mentoring them and providing them work spaces. His sculptures are collected and displayed in gardens and museums around the world including Italy, Belgium, Germany and Zimbabwe. In the U.S., visitors can see his pieces at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Benson Sculpture Garden in Colorado and at the Dallas Children’s Theater. He has done one-man shows and gallery and museums shows internationally.

 

“His hammer and his chisel find the playfulness in stone,” according to TRT World.

 

Jim Ryan, Dallas Arboretum board chairman, said, “We are pleased to welcome Dominic and his fine work to the Dallas Arboretum. He’s carved a career in sculpture, and we invite the community to meet him and see his statues.”

 

Visitors may purchase any of the sculptures on display in the garden, as well as the ones created by the onsite artists in The Marketplace, which is located in the Dallas Arboretum’s Pecan Grove. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the sculptures and items in The Marketplace supports the Dallas Arboretum.

 

ZimSculpt is supported in part by the Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District, The Dallas Mavericks and Texas Telecom Credit Union.

 

Tickets must be pre-purchased online or by calling 214-515-6615. Wearing a face covering is required for all guests 5 years of age while visiting the Dallas Arboretum, unless medically unable to do so.

 

About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.  The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. The garden is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 2-12 and free for Arboretum members and children under two. There is an additional cost of $3 per person for entrance into the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. On-site parking is $15; pre-purchased online parking is $10. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum.  The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.  WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visitwww.dallasarboretum.org.

 

# # #

Videos:

Architectural Digest (Middle East) - article

BBC - 2:35 video

MSN Xinhua News Agency - 2:04 min video

VOA (Voice of America)

VOA (Voice of America) – Reuters article

TRT WORLD (YouTube) - 6 min video 

VOA (Voice Of America) - 1:42 min video (in French)

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Dallas Arboretum Linda Todd, Black Heritage Celebration Chair, Anita Hawkins, Willie Johnson, LeTitia Owens, Janet Jack

To celebrate the Summer of Sculpture exhibition opening with the return of ZimSculpt, a display of Zimbabwean sculpture, the Dallas Arboretum hosts its first ever Black Heritage Celebration on Saturday, May 1st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The event is free with paid garden admission.

According to Linda Todd, Dallas Arboretum board member and Black Heritage Celebration committee chair, said, “The Black Heritage Celebration at the Arboretum honors and celebrates diversity by showcasing the work of Black designers, artists, entertainers and vendors as they proudly display, engage with and educate the community of the beauty and inspiration of Black culture.”

She added, “This family friendly day also kicks off the opening weekend of the internationally acclaimed ZimSculpt exhibit that promotes the work of more than 100 Zimbabwean sculptures installed throughout the garden.”

Tying into events surrounding ZimSculpt, the Black Heritage Celebration Day is packed with cooking demonstrations, music, dance and a vendor fair of more than 20 Black-owned businesses showcasing and selling their handiwork.

Schedule:

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Black Owned Businesses Vendor Fair: Visitors are welcome to shop and support these businesses, many of which are small businesses. Vendors include jewelry, clothing, food and more. See below for a complete vendor list.*  (A Tasteful Place, Entry Plaza and Paseo de Flores)

9:30 a.m.–Noon – Various performances by local groups including St. Luke Community United Methodist Church, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Carter High School Alumni Chorus and Dallas Black Dance Theatre ENCORE (Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn and DeGolyer Pergola)

Noon – Cooking Demonstration with local teen sensation, Kevin the Pie Dude, demonstrating how to make a Key Lime pie. He also sells pies; quantities limited. (A Tasteful Place)

1 p.m.Crown Jewel Fashion Experience showcases Black designers under the direction of Anita Hawkins, hosted by LeTitia Owens along with Willie Johnson, model fashion guru. (Jonsson Color Garden) 

2-4 p.m.Don Diego Band plays jazz and R&B (Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn)

*Vendors:

Avery’s Savory Popcorn – Gourmet popcorn

Bishop Arts Theatre Center

The Butter Fairy – Baked Goods 

Cajukiku – Cajun Japanese fusion food

Dawn Franklin Designs – Jewelry 

Design By Society – African-made baskets

Energy Gardens Living Décor – Plants/Terrariums

Froot Kraves – Lemonade

The Good Water – Fruit infused water

Granny’s Scratch Kitchen – Baked goods  

Gyasi Designs – Handcrafted Ghana-inspired bracelets

Honie’s Jewels – Jewelry

ITS Cookies – Cookies

Jamaica Cabana – Jamaican food

Just Good Cajun – Cajun food

KCs Experience - Food

Konjo Beauty – Face masks and beauty  

Milestone Ladies Boutique – Clothing

New Growth Plants – House plants

Parkland Health and Hospital System

Paul Quinn College

The Patio Chic – Lifestyle and patio designer

Pie Crush Bakery – Mini pies

Recipe Oak Cliff – Food

Savhera – Essential oils and jewelry that support human trafficking victims

Antoinette Whittington-Stanton - Mary Kay products

Yatab Mandazi – African beignets

A special thanks to the Black Heritage Committee Members: Linda Todd, Chairperson, Annette Anderson, Dr. Joan Hill, Dr. Jennifer Hills, Ed.D., Marissa Horne, Janet Jack, Katrina Keyes, Willow Sanchez, Kimberly Singleton, Celia Walker, Maurice West.

Honorary Council: Arun Agarwal, Crystal Alexander, Barbara Barbee, Lew Blackburn, Paula Blackmon, Stephanie Calhoun, Calvert Collins-Bratton, Lane Conner, Cherron Covington, Zenetta Drew, The Hon. Dr. Elba Garcia, Gwen and Art George, The Hon. Helen Giddings, Valerie Harris, Maria Hasbany, Anita Hawkins, Dr. Frederick Douglas Haynes III, Michael Horne, Darren James, Debra Hunter Johnson, Tammy Johnson, The Hon. Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis-Kirk, Jeff Kitner, J.J. Koch, Donovan Lewis, Terrence Maiden, Dr. Susan McElroy, Adam Medrano, Sherri Mixon, Fonya Naomi Mondell, Cynthia Nevels, Tara L. Paige, DeMetris Sampson, Amanda Schulz, Bo Slaughter, Frances Smith-Dean, Robb Stewart, Danielle Taylor, Michelle Thomas, Jade Tinner, Clarice Tinsley, Taylor Toynes, Lorena Tule-Romain, Akwete Tyehimba, Patrick Washington, Cheryl Wattley, Carol West, The Hon. Royce West, Dr. Charles and Mitzi Willis, Daniel Wood.

Sponsors: Helena L. Banks, Capital One, Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce,  Dallas Weekly, Dr. Cristi Fletcher and Dr. Flaxie Fletcher, DeMetris Sampson, The Dallas Chapter of The Links, Inc. and the Dallas Links STEAM Academy, Mary Kay Global Design Studio, Texas Metro News, VisitDallas.

About ZimSculpt:

Running from May 1 to August 8 at the Dallas Arboretum as the Summer of Sculpture exhibition, ZimSculpt, features the talent of several contemporary Zimbabwean artists with more than 100 hand-selected, exquisite sculptures artfully displayed throughout the garden. These contemporary pieces, created by the Shona people of Zimbabwe, are carved from various types of serpentine and semi-precious stone, often weighing tons, and can be as large as seven feet tall.

ZimSculpt is passionate about promoting the work of some of the finest Zimbabwean sculptors. Therefore, as part of the exhibit, guests are welcome to watch artists and sculptors Passmore Mupindiko and Brighton Layson demonstrate their artistry daily as they carve statues with chisels, hammers, files and sandpaper.

Visitors may purchase any of the sculptures on display in the garden, as well as the ones created by the onsite artists in The Marketplace, which is located in the Dallas Arboretum’s Pecan Grove. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the sculptures and items in The Marketplace supports the Dallas Arboretum.

ZimSculpt is supported in part by the Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District.

Tickets must be pre-purchased online or by calling 214-515-6615. Wearing a face covering is required for all guests 5 years of age while visiting the Dallas Arboretum, unless medically unable to do so.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218.  The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 2-12 and free for Arboretum members and children two and under. There is an additional cost of $3 per person for entrance into the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. Parking is $10. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum.  The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.  WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit www.dallasarboretum.org.

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Jim and Robin Carreker

Friends of the Arboretum, the membership group that supports the Dallas Arboretum, had its annual dinner during the height of Dallas Blooms on March 24. About 250 guests attended and enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. Tram drivers gave tours throughout the garden to see the Japanese cherry trees and the 500,000 spring flowers—tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and more—that were in full bloom in every color palette.

Dallas Arboretum Board Chairman Jim Ryan welcomed and thanked these special friends who provide important financial gifts, especially during last year. Dallas Arboretum Vice President of Gardens Dave Forehand gave an update on the state of the garden letting them know that the snow formed a blanket over the spring flowers actually protecting them from the freeze, though tulips do like the cold weather! Then guests had a delicious dinner in one of three places—Rosine Hall, A Tasteful Place and the DeGolyer House—while they visited with one another.

For more information on joining the Friends of the Arboretum, visit dallasarboretum.org or contact Angela Paetzel, Friends Manager, at 214-515-6548 or apaetzel@dallasarboretum.org.

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Groundhog Day

PHOTOS: https://bit.ly/3jmq4nv

VIDEO: https://fb.watch/3p7T7nImJF/

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden hosted its third annual Groundhog Day celebration today with 125 people in attendance to see if  Arboretum Annie would see her shadow or not. According to folklore, if a groundhog comes out of hiding and sees her shadow, she is scared and runs back inside, meaning six more weeks of winter. If she doesn't see her shadow, spring arrives early. Arboretum Annie saw her shadow, so it’s another stretch of winter, according to WFAA meteorologist Kalee Dionne who served as guest emcee.  

 

According to Dave Forehand, Dallas Arboretum vice president of gardens, “This last winter blast gives additional time for our tulips and other spring bulbs to remain cold before they bloom later this spring. A longer winter means Dallas Blooms will last a little longer this spring, so even more people will be able to enjoy the largest floral festival in the Southwest.”

 

Themed “America the Beautiful,” Dallas Blooms, presented by IBERIABANK/First Horizon, opens on February 20 and runs through April 11, 2021. The spring festival showcases an explosion of color from 100 varieties of spring bulbs and more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms, thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees. Each week, Dallas Blooms focuses on one of the six regions in the United States with food, music, flowers and special events. For the latest information, visit www.dallasarboretum.org/blooms.

 

About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden is closed through February 19 for preventative maintenance. On-site parking is $15, or $10 if purchased in advance online. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum.  The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.  WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum.  

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Arboretum Annie

Now that the Dallas Arboretum is preparing for Dallas Blooms, the Southwest's largest floral festival, many are wondering when spring arrives in 2020. What better way to find out than to bring in everybody's favorite meteorologist, the groundhog!

 

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden hosts its second Groundhog Day celebration on Sunday, February 2, 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., in its newest garden, A Tasteful Place, which overlooks White Rock Lake and the Dallas skyline. Those interested in joining the festivities and shadow-watching are welcome to attend the event for free with paid garden admission. General garden admission is $5 from February 1 to 28.

 

Guests are invited and encouraged to wear any type of hat (Texas-style for Groundhog Day) for a hat contest. Materials are provided on site, and attendees are welcome to further embellish their hats. At the end of the event, a hat contest winner is selected and receives a prize.

 

Alan Walne, Dallas Arboretum board chairman, said, "Being a botanical garden and outdoor venue that is open 362 days a year, the Dallas Arboretum revolves around the weather. That said, we want to know whether we'll have an early spring or not, so our groundhog, Arboretum Annie, helps us predict the weather."

 

According to folklore, if a groundhog comes out of hiding and sees her shadow, she is scared and runs back inside, meaning six more weeks of winter. If she doesn't see her shadow, spring arrives early, which for the Arboretum would be just in time for Dallas Blooms. Themed Sounds of Spring, Dallas Blooms, presented by IBERIABANK, opens on February 29 and runs through April 12, 2020.

 

For Groundhog Day, guests are encouraged to come as early as 6:30 a.m., where there are breakfast items and beverages available for sale. After the sun rises at approximately 7:22 a.m., Kalee Dionne, WFAA meteorologist and emcee, and Ken Barth, Dallas Arboretum Public Events board chair, releases Arboretum Annie to see if she sees her shadow. After that, guests are welcome to take selfies with the famous groundhog, make groundhog crafts, and watch the iconic "Groundhog Day" movie with Bill Murray.

 

Barth said, "We invite schools and encourage teachers and parents to help children write and submit a proclamation for the event, just as the Inner Circle in Punxsutawney script one in a language known as 'Groundhogs,' whether he has seen his shadow or not. This proclamation is a contest for any children under 18 years old can participate in, and the selected one is read that morning." For those who would like to participate, up to 200 words can be sent to ktrail@dallasarboretum.org or sent to the Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Rd., Dallas, TX 75218). The deadline for submission is January 29, 2020.

 

About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden is closed through February 28 for preventative maintenance. On-site parking is $15, or $10 if purchased in advance online. The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum.  The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.  WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum.  

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Mary Brinegar

At its annual conference in Galveston in late October, the Texas Society of Architects announced its 2019 Honor Award recipients, including Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum president and CEO, who was presented with an Honorary AIA Membership. This membership is the highest award that the organization bestows on an individual for outstanding achievements in support of the profession of architecture, the built environment and quality of life in Texas.

According to 2019 Texas Society of Architects President Mike Hellinghausen, AIA, “Mary has served as president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum for more than 20 years. In her time there, she has transformed the park from an underfunded local attraction into an internationally acclaimed public garden. Working with architects and designers, she’s restored historic structures in the park and create new environments to elevate the public’s experience. The park now draws more than one million guests each year. For her stewardship of the Dallas Arboretum, and for her appreciation for the enduring value of good design to Dallas and Texas, we are pleased to present Honorary Membership to Mary Brinegar.”

J. Mark Wolf, AIA, former Dallas Arboretum chairman, who was involved in the nomination submittal, added, “Mary has devoted her career to growing and managing nonprofits at a high level of excellence.  She has done so with careful attention to detail and an ability to create new structures while preserving historic ones. Mary is first and without fail a diligent steward of the organization’s resources as well as an outstanding ambassador for its mission. Her attitude and commitment enables the organization’s goals and successes to be paramount.”

At the Dallas Arboretum, Brinegar is responsible for the management of a full time staff of 170 and for the annual operating budget of $24.6 million. She has won many awards for her fundraising leadership and accomplishments while at the garden. Since she joined the botanic garden, the board and staff have raised more than $100 million dollars for capital improvements including new buildings, gardens and the renovation of onsite historic homes.

Two notable accomplishments include award-winning gardens dedicated to teaching and growing plants and children’s minds:

The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden: This eight-acre garden set the gold standard for children’s outdoor educational facilities when it opened in fall 2013. This garden provides an innovative place for preschool through middle school children to learn about life and earth sciences.

A Tasteful Place:  Opened in 2017, A Tasteful Place, designed to mirror an ornamental kitchen garden or "potager" as it is called by the French, is an edible display garden, complete with a lagoon and meandering walkways. The 3.5-acre garden, comprised of artfully arranged features, includes a pavilion with event space, a teaching kitchen, an orchard, beds of ornamental display vegetables, herbs and flowers, as well as shaded porches and walkways. 

Every year, the Dallas Arboretum has received accolades from national and local media outlets noting the garden’s superlative work – from its festival design to permanent garden developments and outstanding buildings.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218 and is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The garden is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.  WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit www.dallasarboretum.org.

 

 

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Judy and Mike McIlwain

Judy and Mike McIlwain are practically Lake Highlands natives, having moved to Dallas in 1981. Their two children no longer live in the area, so they’ve “adopted” the children and grandchildren who visit the Dallas Arboretum and tell them more about a garden they also adopted. They love being around the children who visit so often. The McIlWains enjoy the garden so much that they celebrated their 50th anniversary at a Cool Thursdays concert last year and together have volunteered more than 7,500 hours.

 

This fall they are taking on another volunteer role, co-chairing Autumn at the Arboretum, the garden’s fall festival, which runs from September 21st through October 31st. This year’s nostalgic theme is “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” which includes many themed topiaries based on the Peanuts gang and Halloween.

 

Formerly a speech pathologist, Judy started volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum in spring 2005 after she retired. “I volunteered in several areas, but settled primarily on the information booth. I love greeting the brides, quinceañeras and babies as they come through the gate.” She also enjoys meeting the many foreign visitors who come from 90 countries around the world. “It's amazing how far-reaching the reputation of the Arboretum stretches!” Naturally, Judy leads the garden’s visitor service steering committee. In addition to volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum, she is active at her church in the knitting/crochet ministry. Judy also leads a book club, and she and her husband enjoy bridge. She added, “We were surprised to learn we will have close to 100,0000 pumpkins in the garden, and feel this festival will be and more popular than ever.” 

 

After Mike retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2006, he also started volunteering. Judy calls him “a jack-of-all-trades.” Mike adds, “and master of none!” He works at the greenhouse, takes pictures of the plants in the trial gardens, works with the Volunteer Advisory Board (VAB) photo project at various times of the year, works at the membership table, and joins Judy in the information booth on Friday afternoons. He is the VAB chair elect. Mike enjoys the ever-changing beauty of the gardens and the personal association with the other volunteers, staff and Arboretum visitors. He also volunteers with ESL students at Richland College, and he and Judy are facilitators with an engaged couples program at church.

 

Both love to walk, especially to their local coffee house, White Rock Coffee, several times a week. They consider themselves fortunate to travel and to see many wonderful places all over the world, but they always return to volunteer at the Dallas Arboretum.

 

Although they both like volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum, neither considers themselves a big gardener. Mike says, “I think we like to ‘pretend’ that the Arboretum is our garden! 

 

For more information about Autumn at the Arboretum, including volunteer opportunities, visit dallasarboretum.org.

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OmniGlobe

The public is invited to blast off on July 20 and 21 at the Dallas Arboretum's Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden as the garden celebrates 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon and paved the way for space exploration. Tour the solar system in our OmniGlobe Theater, blast off with our Egg-stronauts Adventure Program, and watch Apollo 11 videos in the OmniGlobe Theater. The first 200 families will receive official NASA goody bags (based on availability).

Schedule:

12:00-12:30pm
Adventure Program: Constellation Creation: Located in the OmniGlobe Theatre

For a long time, people have seen pictures among the stars and created dazzling stories! Learn all about the constellations using our OmniGlobe.

 

10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Creativity Corner located in the Entry Plaza of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden from
Three, Two, One! Blast Off! Let’s celebrate the 50th year of the first moon landing with your very own spaceship!

4:00-4:30 p.m.

Egg-Stronauts from in Moody Oasis

The astronauts need your help building their next space craft. Create a safe landing with your expertise skills.

 

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for children 2-12 and free for Arboretum members and children under two. On-site parking is $15 or $9, if purchased in advance online. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. 

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Plant Trials Day Megan Proska, Dallas Arboretum; Debra Eckel, Abbot IPCO; Jennifer Morrow, Abbot IPCO

Known internationally known as one of the premier places to test plants for extreme weather conditions, especially high heat and humidity, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden held its annual Plant Trials Field Day on June 26 where more than 300 industry professionals attended.  Thousands of plants are tested annually including bulbs, perennials, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and vegetables.

 

Jenny Wegley, Dallas Arboretum vice president of horticulture, welcomed guests and introduced the various speakers. She discussed landscape and design trends used in plantings, sharing photos from the Dallas Arboretum as examples.

 

Megan Proska, Dallas Arboretum horticulture manager, shared unique landscaping plants, showed how they used plants throughout the seasons in creative displays, and announced the annual and perennial winners that received FlameProof® or Arboretum Approved awards– for plants that have thrived and outperformed others. FlameProof is awarded only to plants that survived extreme conditions in the Texas summer. Arboretum Approved is awarded to plants that scored the highest in its class and are the best of its kind during that season. (For a complete list, see attachment).

 

For more information on Dallas Arboretum’s Trial Program, including the latest winners, visit www.dallasplanttrials.org.

 

A special thanks to the following sponsors:

Green Leaf, Suntory Flowers, Ltd., Benary+, Berger Peat Moss, Eason Horticulture, Griffin Greenhouse & Nursery, KBW Supply, Steve’s Leaves, Texas Nursery & Landscape Assoc., Abbot IPCO, Ball Hort, Calloway’s, Green Lake Nursery, J Berry Nursery, PDSI, Proven Winners, Express Seed Co., Living Earth, Southwest Landscape Wholesale Nursery, Syngenta.

 

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for children 2-12 and free for Arboretum members and children under two. On-site parking is $15 or $9, if purchased in advance online. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. 

 

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