We had a whirlwind 4 day tour of Fort Worth
with 39 gardeners from Arkansas.
We had 30 on our bus and 9 traveled in personal vehicles and it worked pretty smoothly. I think I may rename the trip Camelot, since it didn't rain on us. It started to sprinkle once and we pulled out rain gear and then it stopped. The forecast was less than promising, but we unbelievably skated through each day without getting wet. It rained while we were eating, sleeping and/or riding on the bus, but not as we were touring, and for that we were extremely grateful.
Our first stop in Mt. Pleasant blew us away with southern hospitality.
The Cypress Basin Master Gardeners from three counties around Mt. Pleasant, welcomed us with open arms, fed us an outstanding lunch,
gave us personalized goody bags, and an excellent garden tour of their huge county project.
It was a great start to a wonderful trip.
As with any trip, there were a few glitches along the way. Our bus got side-swiped by a hit and run driver in Ft. Worth as we were heading to dinner--more damage to their vehicle than to our bus,
but we tried to file a police report before moving on. After waiting 20 minutes for both 911 and the non-emergency Ft. Worth police number, I took pictures, wrote down details, and we went on to dinner. Good thing it wasn't a real emergency! Later that night the bus was heading into the gated parking lot of the hotel and the gate closed on the bus. All in all, not the most auspicious bus day, but at least that was the end of it for the trip.
We enjoyed Clark Gardens in Weatherford, TX,
and were even more impressed by Chandor Gardens.
The Fort Worth Water Gardens was a pleasant surprise.
Many of our gardeners watched the cattle run through the stockyards of downtown Ft. Worth and we all explored at our leisure that evening.
Both the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens
and the Dallas Arboretum were a huge hit.
I was surprised by how many gardeners had not been to either before.
As close as we live, I assumed that most gardeners would have visited. I have a feeling, it won't be the last visit for either. Those who took the BRIT tour (Botanical Research Institute of Texas) while we were at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden were pleasantly surprised by the tour, and very impressed by all that is happening there.
A great gardener, Rob and his wife Judy
opened up their yard to us for a private garden tour,
and enthusiastically shared his garden knowledge with us. There are some variegated citrus I am going to start looking for.
Then we had a plant buying foray to Weston Gardens
to shop and enjoy their display gardens.
We covered a lot of ground in a short time. We learned a lot of new plants,
gathered ideas for our own gardens,
and got to make new friends, or reconnect with old ones.
Everyone was on time and cheerful the entire tour. We stayed in a great hotel
in the stockyards and even had a thermostat in the shower to tell us what the temperature of the water was!
I did require that everyone be vaccinated before traveling with us, and most took a rapid test the night before we left. This trip was putting a toe back into the water of group travel, and I would say it was a success. Now I am ready to start planning more tours for next year. Stay tuned!