Cherry blossom bonanza at Dallas Blooms

I’m not normally drawn to massive displays of crayon-bright bedding annuals, preferring instead the seasonal beauty and interplay of texture and form provided by perennials, shrubs, and trees. But this winter has been, by Texas standards, rather long and chilly, so when I heard that Dallas Arboretum‘s annual Dallas Blooms was opening last Saturday, while we were to be in town for a college visit with my son, I jumped at the chance to soak in a little spring color.

The bulbs, as it turned out, were mostly still waiting for warmer weather. But no matter. A cotton-candy assortment of cherry trees was in full bloom, and I oohed over every pink petal.

Don’t they make your heart sing?

These cerise flowers look especially pretty against the blue-green of an Arizona cypress.

And they all looked stunning against the bright blue sky.

Celebrating its 30th year in 2014, Dallas Blooms is an annual festival of spring bulbs — more than 500,000 — as well as cherries, azaleas, and various other flowering annuals and perennials. In other words, it’s a magnet for moms snapping Easter portraits of bow-tied or sundressed tots and pros making portraits of teenage girls in candy-colored, floaty quinceanera gowns.

But it would be hard to compete with the frilly, bedecked cherries, I think.

Each year Dallas Blooms has a theme, and this year it’s “Birds in Paradise.” The stars are two 13-foot-tall topiary peacocks holding court on the main lawn. They sure do make a statement. I thought they were pretty fun.

Their bodies are planted with thousands of liriope plants, giving them a shaggy appearance.

Their colorful tails, spread across the lawn, are made up of pansies and violas.

Later in the spring, these will be changed out for warmer-season annuals.

The peacocks’ necks and heads seemed to be planted with dwarf mondo grass. A metal beak and coquettish glass eyes complete each bird.

A plume of actual peacock feathers adds the finishing touch.

Also on theme are 5 or 6 playhouses for children constructed to resemble birds or bird nests. This owl playhouse was my favorite.

After taking in the main lawn’s bedding display and extravagance of flowering cherries, we strolled the garden paths to see what other spring bloomers we might find, enjoying this tranquil pond along the way…

…and a charming tadpole pool.

I admired these cedar-branch trellises, each panel unique, with branches arranged to resemble trees.

These would look good in an Austin garden, since we’re right in the heart of cedar country.

Mockingbirds were busily building nests in these large holly bushes.

Love, it seemed, was in the air.

Pale-green and cream-colored hellebores brightened a shady bed.

And berry-studded hollies provided evergreen structure as spring awakened the garden.

More structure in the form of a path-spanning arbor

Back to the stars of the festival, however, with a swath of early daffodils and pink and blue hyacinths.

Is any flower more cheerful than the spring-trumpeting, sunny daffodil?

Equally determined to announce spring’s arrival were the unfurling buds of a saucer magnolia (I think).

But, ah, those cherries!

They sang the sweetest song of spring.

The bees heard it too.

If you’d like to see Dallas Blooms, the festival runs through April 6, with a finale of 6,000 blooming azaleas. The Arboretum’s Facebook page predicts full bulb bloom in a week to 10 days, especially if warm weather holds.

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

31 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for the gorgeous pictures of your visit. We lived in Dallas for many years and the Arboretum was my favorite place to visit. I miss it during the spring when Dallas Blooms takes over.

  2. Jeanette says:

    Aren’t those cherry blossoms beautiful. I planted a weeping cherry in my folks landscape. They are difficult to transplant but once established, they are gorgeous. Do those peacock tails look a little bit like the peacocks are laying Easter eggs? I hope you had a nice visit.

  3. Love Dallas Blooms, and I was thinking about going this week. Were there many bulbs yet? I would think not. Dallas has been really cold too. Love the redbuds. :) ~~Dee

  4. Alison says:

    I am patiently waiting for the cherries here to start flowering. They’re one of the first trees to flower in spring, and they always brighten things up here, even if the weather is still gray and rainy.

  5. that peacock is sensational!!!!

  6. Jenny says:

    How do they do it? Their winter has been colder than ours. I must live on a different planet. I love the peacock and those hellebores are gorgeous. Glad you had a fun day and the sun shone for you.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I guess the cherries enjoy the cool weather, Jenny. Most of the bulbs were not blooming, only a small swath of daffodils and hyacinths here and there — and perhaps those had been forced? At any rate, it was lovely to have an early glimpse of spring. I saw buds on my Texas mountain laurel yesterday, so it won’t be long for the big spring show. —Pam

  7. TexasDeb says:

    Wow – those peacocks certainly make a statement. And I love the cedar trellis idea – I’m out to scout for likely branches among our recent trimmings as soon as I go on record thanking you for sharing the visit. I too vastly prefer a mixed native landscape to massed blooms but those cherry blossoms are breathtaking!

  8. Tamara says:

    Pam, a breath of SPRING air. Thank you for sharing, so lovely! Someday soon we’ll be seeing the same in our fruit trees, but for now the skies are gray and my heart is warmed a bit more…..

  9. Thank you for sharing these beautiful blossoms. I enjoyed the virtual tour! We have another couple of months until cherry blooms so these are such a welcomed sight!

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Those cherry trees blooming make me want to take a bite out of this screen. Yummy. I like the peacock too. Fun tour.

  11. Shirley says:

    So pretty and the peacocks are spectacular.

  12. peter schaar says:

    Pam, beautiful pics! You seem to have better luck with those cherries than we do. Next time you’re in town ( spring – autumn) call me so we can go there and see how the palm garden is doing. I also want you to see my new garden near White Rock Lake.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I’d love to see your new garden sometime, Peter. Thanks for the offer! I’m always wishing I had more time to visit people and gardens when I’m in Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio, but I’m usually there with family and can only do so much garden-related stuff before their eyes glaze over. ;-) —Pam

  13. Layanee says:

    Oh thank you. I needed that. Still just snow and more snow here. Another month will make a huge difference.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Yes, it will, and you have such a glorious spring to look forward to in the northeast. It’s gone in the blink of an eye here in Texas. All our seasons are fast and furious except for summer, and it’s just furious — ha! —Pam

  14. […] north of Austin), I try to make time for the Dallas Arboretum. Last Saturday, after admiring the flowering cherries during the Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms festival, I popped over to Redenta’s Garden, just a couple miles away at Skillman and Oram, in a hip, […]

  15. Sujatha Ramesh says:

    Hello Pam,

    Lovely pictures …

    The Cherry blossoms are what I miss the most after I moved from east coast/ You think they will be in full bloom if I go this weekend?

    Thank you

  16. Les says:

    Thanks for sharing a little bit of spring, I needed it. We are about a month away from cherries here, and I think that even the early Okame will be late this year.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Les, we Texas gardeners are a bit stunned at the length of winter this year. We got ice again last night, and I’ve been thinking with pity of the Arboretum staff, trying to keep Dallas Blooms looking good during these unrelenting freezes. I’m glad I visited early! —Pam