We’re on the Bayou. The Bayou Bend. I first saw this place on Google, when I was researching spots and sights in Houston before my trip. Seemed legit. We pulled up (a quick right, before a bunch of high rise condos but on Memorial Drive, which is surrounded by parks and forests) and saw a very silver, very contemporary, building. Question mark. I had hoped it was the right place, but Siri assured it was and you don’t argue with her.
We walked into the building, the art museum part of Bayou Bend, and was greeted by the desk lady. We told her we were here to see the gardens, paid our $5 or $10 admission fee (can’t remember, but it was worth it no doubt), and were given a small round sticker with an Art Nouveau leaf illustration on it. She said we were to walk down behind the building, find a bridge, cross it, and enter the gardens. This could be really good, or really bad.
We left the building, looked around – still no sign of this grandiose garden extraordinaire Google had promised. Just a bunch of trees, small road leading down a hill, and condos on the other side. We walked down the road a bit to a landing parking lot, and wooden bridge slowly emerged from behind leafless trees. Check ✓. A river flowed under it, complete with sandy brown water and plenty of gnarly branches. I could make out some sort of small iron dwelling at the other end of said bridge. We got closer, and were again met with another woman- she quickly checked we had stickers and let us pass. What is….. your name? What is…your quest? What is…. your favorite color? Blue. Ok, you can go. Making our way across this (surprisingly swingy and precarious) bridge, I snapped some shots carefully until we made it to the other side.
There it was… the ever-elusive garden. Gardens. The eyes were met with mossy Greco-Roman statues, juicy green foliage, neatly manicured shrubs, hedges, gently weathered stone and the hint of some massive structure in the distance. Flecks of pinks, purples, violets and crimson peeked out of the ✿ flowerbeds ❀, which were currently being tended to by straw hat-bearing landscapers.
The first section boasted a circular garden, highlighting a sitting Greek goddess (Demeter?) surrounded by carefully placed brick, feathery ferns, evergreens and pretty purple pansies.
After walking thorough this alcove, I was surprised when the whole garden opened up, revealing a large span of grass, dotted with mature, knobby trees. On the left, the garden pushed back, housing a huge, double-sided fountain and statue of Artemis. On the right, the Mansion. It sat upon a hill, overlooking its grand belongings.
Traveling to the back of the gardens, which were mainly filled with different types of deciduous trees, the look likened to an English garden mood. This area contained yet another fountain, a butterfly garden, plenty of detailed iron work and some fern-filled ravines. In the very back sat the camellia plants – which, I had never seen before and thus they required a lot of photo space on my SD card. Camellias were Chanel’s favorite flower, and I can see why. This was also the bee hangout. Tiptoe lightly to not get stung.
On a side note – one of the weirdest things about Houston, in general – their tree situation. I saw palm trees, evergreens, trees with no leaves, trees with fall orange and brown leaves, and then fully bright green-leaved trees. One word; confused. It’s just the climate I guess.
Enjoy these shots, but remember, all photos are COPYRIGHT Allison Beth Cooling, so please DO NOT repost without crediting me and linking to me. If you would like permission to use a photo, just contact me here.