Monarchs flutter into Dallas Arboretum on fall migration


We weren’t the only visitors to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden last Sunday. Aside from all the human visitors, hundreds of monarch butterflies arrived on the north wind blowing into Texas and settled into the garden for a rest stop.


I understand their fall migration is stalled out at the moment because southerly winds have returned. But not to worry: north winds will return soon and speed them on their way to Austin and on to Mexico.


After all that flying, they sure were hungry.


They flapped past in their eagerness to hit the snack bar of salvia, red yucca, and lantana. It warmed our hearts to see them, knowing their numbers are in decline, and having just watched a film about their life cycle, Flight of the Butterflies, at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.


I showed you the fall extravaganza of Pumpkin Village in my last post, but there’s much more to see at the Arboretum. Fall bedding annuals like these marigolds make a cheerful show, although they were not attracting the butterflies.


What else was showy? Blazing red gomphrena, for one.


Add variegated tapioca and you have a sunglasses-worthy combo.


Interesting water features appear throughout the gardens, like this negative-edge pool overlooking White Rock Lake in the Woman’s Garden.


And this tumbling stream in the Red Maple Rill garden.


How about supersized, water-spouting toads? The Arboretum has those too.


Kids are always drawn to these “frog fountains” and play in the spouting water in the summertime.


On this day it was comfortably cool — no toad spray needed.


This squirrel appreciated a drink of puddled water though.


Several charming sculptures hint at the presence of water, like the playful Chico y Chica de la Playa (Boy and Girl on the Beach).


The Playdays young woman tentatively dips her toes into an imaginary pool filled with frogs. White Rock Lake in the distance adds a real water view.


As always, lots of pro photographers were in the garden (too many, in my opinion), including at least a half-dozen doing photo shoots with girls in candy-colored, frothy, Scarlett O’Hara-worthy quinceanera dresses. Something about this girl posing in the Fern Dell put me in mind of a fairy tale, maybe Thumbelina?


Speaking of ferns, I spy a leafy frond through the stone lantern’s window.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Arboretum visit. For a look back at the light-hearted, colorful Pumpkin Village and autumn displays, click here.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Pumpkin extravaganza at the Dallas Arboretum


The Dallas Arboretum goes pumpkin crazy each fall.


Last Sunday we visited to see their over-the-top Pumpkin Village, in which a whopping 65,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash are used to create play houses, line paths, and fill a pumpkin patch that would make Linus proud.


The pumpkin houses are fun for kids and adults alike.


Metal rings on the walls hold an assortment of pumpkins and squash.


More are piled around the doorways in artful displays.


Interiors are decorated with strings of tiny pumpkins along thatched ceilings and printed children’s stories on the walls.


As in in any proper village, the houses have unique designs. This one is all orange pumpkins.


Spray-painted jack ‘o lantern faces on some add a little spooky fun.


But not too spooky


This is a smart way to decorate pumpkins in the South, where those carved too soon collapse in on themselves in the heat.


This house is truly child-sized. Potato vine spills across the roof like a fairy tale beanstalk.


A fenced pumpkin patch guarded by friendly scarecrows contains pumpkins grouped by type — and there are so many varieties! Hand-lettered signs tell you what each type is called.


Boo!


Cinderella’s carriage, pulled by horses made of cornhusks and other natural materials (sorry, my pics didn’t come out), sits near a pumpkin patch filled with blue-painted and white pumpkins. I like how the sprawling sweet potato vines stand in for pumpkin vines.


Pumpkins also transform into sunflowers!


I think these are adorable.


Indian corn and tiny pumpkins are festively strung between trees.


How do they do it? Copper wire wraps the pumpkins and corn and secures them to a steel cable.


Stacked pumpkins, like Halloween totem poles, add structure to beds of colorful marigolds.


Orange marigolds echo the pumpkins’ shape and color.


A statuary cornucopia is surrounded by a real-life one.


Orange pumpkins beyond count line the paths.


White pumpkins take over by the Alex Camp House to match the white brick.


The front porch display features white pots filled with fall annuals and more pumpkins.


This is an unexpected and fun combination: golden shrimp plant and Persian shield, with more pumpkins along the walk.


I also love this vignette, though I don’t know what the plants are.


Just look at the size of those pumpkins!


Piles of pumpkins, squash, and gooseneck gourds adorn the entry garden.


The gift shop is getting in on the action too.


If you want to bask in the pumpkin glory, the Pumpkin Village will be on display until November 26. (I hated to see it so early, but they’re also already putting up the Christmas display, which opens November 16.) The Arboretum is offering early admission hours on weekends through the end of October: 8 a.m. for visitors and 7 a.m. for members. And if you’re a member of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, you’ll enjoy reciprocal free membership at the Dallas Arboretum!

Up next: Monarchs flutter into Dallas Arboretum on their fall migration

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Spider lily fireworks


This is the best show of spider lilies (Lycoris radiata) I’ve had in years.


You have to be patient with these bulbs, which resent being moved and may not bloom for a couple of years after planting.


But then one fall they pop up and surprise you, and you forgive them as you fall in love all over again.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.