To honor the 13th anniversary of Rich’s passing (on September 8, 2022) I wanted to go to a place I thought he would enjoy. Since I have moved to Texas, visiting the Northern California coast was not an option.
Instead, I decided to visit a botanic garden – an activity that we had enjoyed together, most notably in Santa Cruz and in Amsterdam.
(And nine years ago, while traveling in New Zealand, I visited the most spectacular garden in Dunedin! It’s my absolute favorite, and I think Rich would have loved it too!)
Earlier this year, while a California friend was visiting, we went to Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden. It’s a lovely garden, but I wanted to get out and explore a little further from home.
So I decided to travel north and check out Fort Worth Botanic Garden. It was the perfect place to honor Rich’s memory.
(Note: Unless otherwise noted, the following information – in italic type – is from the Fort Worth Botanic Garden website.)
A Little Garden History
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden was established in 1934 and is the oldest major botanic garden in Texas. It contains a collection of more than 2,500 species of plants. Long celebrated for its beautiful rose, perennial and Japanese gardens, the FWBG is composed of twenty-three specialty gardens, including a tropical conservatory, a forest boardwalk, and a water conservation garden.
The Garden’s 10,000 square foot conservatory contains plants from tropical rainforests all over the world and an on-site greenhouse is home to the largest begonia collection in North America.
(I failed to visit the greenhouse conservatory. Obviously I need to go back – probably next spring!)
The Educational Side of the Gardens
The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) began in 1987 as a nonprofit overseeing the former Southern Methodist University 450,000-specimen herbarium and 75,000-volume botanical library relocated to a 20th century warehouse in downtown Fort Worth. The nonprofit eventually built and moved to a Platinum LEED-certified building on grounds adjacent to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.
Since that time, BRIT has grown into a renowned scientific research, education, and conservation center with a state-of-the-art molecular and structural lab, conservation seed bank, an established press and 1.5 million-specimen herbarium.
Joint Missions Become One Nonprofit
On October 1, 2020, after two years of successful partnership initiatives (involving Education, Volunteer and Membership programs) the two organizations with similar plant-based missions combined to become a single nonprofit.
Japanese Garden | Rose Garden
Spend the day strolling through the Japanese Garden with its koi-filled pools, landscaped hillsides, crafted stonework and dramatic waterfalls.
I did just that, and found that this garden to be a favorite spot, both for reflection and photography!
Nearby, visit the iconic and historic Rose Garden, which includes a terraced ramp featuring walks that border colorful rose beds amidst a cascade of water down the center.
Unfortunately, there was no cascade of water when I visited. Another reason to return!
I found most of the garden to be wheelchair accessible. There was a detour around the Native Forest Boardwalk, and the path became packed mulch rather than pavement. A motorized wheelchair or scooter could have navigated it easily; a manual wheelchair might have a bit of trouble.
Manual wheelchairs are available free to our guests on a first-come, first-served basis. These mobility aids are not available by reservation.
Electric scooters may be rented for $30 per day, with no in/out privileges. This rental fee is not eligible for a member discount. Scooter maximum carrying capacity is 400 pounds per person. Scooters are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are not available by reservation.
There were wide paved and, mostly, level pathways throughout the garden.
Frequently when I encountered stairs I also found an alternate route that was wheelchair accessible.
The Gardens Through My Lens
Of course I spent most of the day wandering and taking photos.
I think Rich would have enjoyed this botanical gem. I certainly did!
Do you have a favorite botanical garden? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
(All photos: ©Jeri Murphy Photography)