The Half-Moon Pedestrian Bridge at Garvan Gardens spans a small stream trickling some 20-feet or so below in a respectable and rocky chasm. The stream winds through a well-tended growth of plants, shrubs, and trees.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Garvan Woodland Gardens near Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a fine example of how to take a craggy piece of clear-cut earth and turn it into something really cool. The late Verna Cook Garvan, a native Arkansan hailing originally from nearby Malvern, saw great potential in the property and was the creator and benefactor who made Garvan Gardens happen. The Garvans acquired the property in the 1920s after it had been clear cut around 1915. Verna took a shine to the property and forbade loggers' saws and axes from that moment on.
In the mid-fifties, Verna started the process of making the site a garden spot. Not a woman of leisure, she directed the process, walking the property tirelessly to lay out each path. She selected and supervised planting of thousands of trees, shrubs, and plants. She did all this while running the family business, Malvern Brick and Tile Company, a part of A.B. Cook industries.
She patiently watched her creation take shape as it grew into a world-class botanical garden. Her generosity matched her foresight and creativity. She bequeathed the property to the Landscape Architecture School of the University of Arkansas.
The Full-Moon Pedestrian Bridge at Garvan Gardens crosses a small stream that empties into a pond full of Koi. You can see the stream in the foreground. It was shot during a brief absence of visitors. The bridge is a popular spot.
Now operated as a educational facility and public attraction under the auspices of the university, Garvan Gardens is open to the public. In addition to plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs au go-go, there is a pavilion on the property designed by renowned architect E. Fay Jones. Anthony Chapel, created to be part and parcel of the landscape, is an immensely popular venue for weddings. Get your reservations in early.
If you don't want to walk over Full Moon Bridge at Garvan Gardens, you can take this foot path, which is the up-stream "bypass" for the bridge. Since the bridge and its environs look cool from any direction, many if not most of the strollers walked the bridge and the "bypass."
The terrain of Garvan Gardens is made more accessible by Verna's well thought out and nicely manicured trails, which can be negotiated easily. Every nook and cranny has something to see. Everyone from gray-beards and dowagers to toddlers took in the sights with a smile. It's a good place to see Mother Nature at her best without cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Volunteers and a full-time staff will make you feel welcome.
Admission is $9 for your average joe, $8 for seniors, $4 for children, with under five for free. A good investment for your brain and peace of mind.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.