Monday, April 08, 2013


What a glorious time is spring! In spite of my allergies, I love spring. This past weekend, Darling Daughter 2 took me to the annual Chandor Gardens Spring Fling in Weatherford west of Fort Worth TX. As we approached, we saw that cars lined the street outside the gardens and filled the parking lot, but we scouted parks anyway. Luckily for us, we caught someone leaving and scored the perfect park closest to the garden walkway. How often does that happen?

Are these blue bells?

Once we were inside the gardens, the brisk wind didn’t reach us, and we enjoyed our time among vendors, flowers, artists, and a lovely setting. The sky was the gorgeous blue seen only in the Southwest “land of the tall sky.”  We found a handcrafted jewelry vendor and DD2 bought a couple of necklaces and I bought a small metal cross.

Too bad I didn't bring a book. This is
the perfect place to curl up and read
Although I enjoyed browsing the artists selling their paintings, I didn’t buy. My home’s walls are already too crowded.  My wallet was safe there and Hero was relieved to learn I hadn't "lugged home" something else.
Japanese Fountain with twin dragons

While DD2 visited with friends, I spent a few minutes seated on a bench near the Japanese Fountain. Overhead, a large tree spread its branches upward. Nearby a man selling handcrafted flutes demonstrated his wares and provided delightful melodies that reminded me of Native American flute recordings. We were there early—too early for the Jazz Band from Weatherford College, but I was content with the flute’s gentle strains.

I love purple iris because they were my mom's
favorite and remind me of her.

Renowned English artist Douglas Chandor moved to Weatherford from England to please his wife, the former Ina Kuteman Hill. Chandor counted among his famous portrait subjects the Queen of England, Winston Churchhill, and Dwight Eisenhower. Chandor Gardens used to be a showpiece at first called White Shadows Gardens.  For many years, the gardens were open to the public at certain times, much like stately English homes, and became a locally famous tourist attraction.

Flowers line walkways. 

The estate is four acres. The house sit on a hill overlooking the city. Chandor directed work that surrounded his gardens by an elaborate network of walls that enclosed an array of plants and trees, Chinese pagodas, a Japanese water garden, and a miniature replica of Mount Fujiyama. Although his claim to fame was his talent as an artist, Douglas found his real passion as a gardener. He once told Ina that his talent for painting was merely a means that enabled him to fulfill his dreams of building a "living artwork."  

This Chinese lion and his mate stand guard at a walkway

Water is almost as much a focus as greenery. Wherever you look here, there are fountains, Koi pools, and man made streams. Benches dot the gardens at spots perfect for meditating and enjoying nature. Seeing the gardens today, realizing they were carved from a pasture on a chalk hill is difficult. Chandor's vision created beauty.

Secret hideaways are tucked in to surprise the visitor.

After Douglas Chador’s death, Ina eventually had to be placed in a nursing home for an extended stay. Her nephew was in charge of her estate, but was eventually forced to sell off most of the treasures to pay her bills. By the time of Ina’s death, the famous gardens had become overgrown and disheveled.  For years, the estate stood in sad disrepair.

No, these aren't remarkable. but they remind
me of those my grandmother grew each summer.

Eventually, a civic minded couple, Charles and Melody Bradford, restored the home and gardens. I hope karma repays them a hundredfold for rescuing this property! The Bradfords sold the restored estate to the City of Weatherford at a bargain price. Now the city maintains the gardens and rents out the home for weddings and receptions. The former groundskeeper’s cottage is reserved for brides to change into their wedding gowns. What a lovely setting for a garden wedding.

Darling Daughter 2 photographs the grotto.
In order to make the rock work visible, I
had to cut out the curved benches intended
for reflection while listening to the water.
For DD2 and me it was a day to enjoy one another and the gorgeous setting. I hope you have the occasional luxury of time to spend enjoying loved ones. The hours will renew your spirit.

Thanks for stopping by!

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