Northeast Texas Spring Blooms
This is the time of year when festivals, gardens and trails present beautiful flowers in addition to the natural wildflowers seen along roadside and mosaic sights, and thought-provoking landscapes are part of the public garden crown jewels of the Upper East Side of Texas. The horticultural-themed displays help put East Texas on the map not only around the region and state, but also around the country and around the world.
Magnificent spring blooms in this part of the country include the orange Tipsy Tangerine, the yellow Admiral Semmes, the Purple Spider Azaleas, Texas
Bluebonnets, daylilies, dogwoods, bird’s foot violets, and roses as far as the eyes can see.
For a spectacular start to the season, take in the sheer beauty and soak up the colors and smell of the blooms, elaborate gardens, wildflowers, trails and the festivals that celebrate them. East Texas visitors and residents alike are delighted each year. Spend a few days or weeks in a row this spring to explore the incredible, blossoming through April.
Here’s a round-up of at least a dozen flower trails, gardens, festivals and celebrations of all things in bloom for individuals, families and groups to stroll along, commune with nature and enjoy the charm and spirit of East Texas.
Nacogdoches Azalea Trail
It doesn’t cost a thing to feast your eyes on the largest collection of ornamental azaleas in the state at the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden. There are more than 7,000 pink, purple, white and yellow azaleas that line a 25-mile self-guided driving or paved walking trail through residential and historic districts. This year’s special treat is the Azalea Society of America National Convention March 26-29. Bloom reports and convention registration and event fees are online. Visit the website visitnacogdoches.org to see why the area is designated the Garden Capital of Texas or call 888.653.3788 for more information.
Stephen F. Austin Mast
Just a short walk over the bridge from the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden is the SFA Mast Arboretum with a diverse collection of plant material from agaves to zingibers, including annual color selections, gingers, shade-tolerant plants, ornamental grasses, Texas-tough perennials, plants for pollinators, hollies, unusual trees from around the world, ferns and so much more. Open daily dawn-dusk. No admission fee. 1924 Wilson Drive. 936.468.4404. 936.468.1832. sfagardens.sfasu.edu.
Tyler Azalea Trail
This test garden turned into aromatic blooms that blanket more than 10 miles of enchanted home gardens along two trails. March 20 through April 5 is the best time to saunter through or drive these trails to see early spring flowers of azaleas, dogwoods, tulips and daffodils. Learn more at visittyler.com or call 903.592.1661.
Rose City Artisans and
The Rose City Artisans and Flower Market takes place March 27-28 at the Goodman-Legrand Museum and has expanded this year to include baked goods, wine, homemade items, and herbs in addition to the plants, bulbs, flowers and seeds you can buy to create your own masterpiece garden at home. 624 North Broadway. 903.531.1286. goodmanmuseum.com.
Tyler Rose Garden
Add this place to your bucket list. The Rose Garden Center is the best starting and vantage point to explore more than 600 varieties and 32,000 bushes that comprise the nation’s largest collection of roses on display for free. The butterfly magic, golden-age, the prince, grand prize and broadway are just some of the rambling roses as far as the eye can see. For the most breath-taking beauty, visit the Rose Capital of America in the spring, beginning mid-April. 420 South Rose Park Drive. 903.531.1213. parksandrec.cityoftyler.org.
Palestine Dogwood Trails
Palestine is ‘Home of the Dogwood Trails’ and it’ll prove it three weekends in a row March 20-22, March 27-28, and April 3-5. The Dogwood Trails Festival is Palestine’s longest running festival and celebrates “Decades of Dogwoods” on Saturday, March 21. Unique to the festival this year is the centennial anniversary of the county courthouse and the Redlands Historic Inn. Tour busses full of people will also explore Davey Dogwood Park at 900 N. Link Street. 903.723.3014. texasdogwoodtrails.com.
Linden Wildflower Trail
The Linden Wildflower Trail forms a triangle that takes you through the Cass County cities of Linden, Avinger and Hughes Springs. To keep the momentum going, visit the annual Wildflowers Trail Festival April 25 at Courthouse Square in downtown Linden that includes arts and crafts vendors, live music, a carnival, children’s activities, quilt show, 5-K run, car show, parade, horseshoe tournament, and rodeo. New for the 2015 festival is a steak cook-off. Of course, plants and flowers continue to be the central focus. This year’s theme flowers are the field phlox and the bird’s foot violet. Driving in along Highway 155 and 59, the roadside is littered with Indian paintbrush and viburnum wildflowers. 903.240.1394. Lindenwildflowertrails.net.
Mrs. Lee’s Daffodils
This farm near Gladewater is only open two months out of the year because daffodil blooms only last a short period of time from mid-February through March. Depending upon Mother Nature, millions of daffodils are scattered across 918 acres of farmland. Visitors have come from as far away as Africa to walk or drive the rolling hills and valleys. It’s free to roam around the farm, but donations are welcome. 21600 CR 3103. 903.845.5780. daffodilgarden.com.
East Texas Arboretum
Every little girl who has ever wanted to be a real-life fairy will flock to the arboretum to experience its magical, new Enchanted Fairy Garden opening May 9. This spring it will introduce Japanese maples, Chinese pistachio, Gingko and a few more trees. While visiting the arboretum, also be on the lookout for the birds and animals that also call it home. 1601 Patterson Road. 903.675.5630. easttexasarboretum.org.
Blue Moon Gardens
The nursery, set on six acres of land with 100-year-old trees and lovely display gardens tended by gardeners and growers for 30 years, has become a must-visit destination for people who love plants. Giant, fluffy poppies in shades of pink, orange and red stop traffic when they bloom in April. In early spring, you can also find many varieties of herbs and wallflowers. Look for several new color choices of re-blooming irises this year. Spring Open House is Saturday, April 25. 13062 FM 279. 903. 852.3897. bluemoongardens.com.
Mineola Nature Center
Nature lovers can take their pick of walking, biking or horse riding trails to connect with animals and plants in their natural community on the Sabine River. You’ll have to bring your own horses, though. Awesome outdoor experiences can include alligators, blue bonnets, several ponds, primitive camp sites, archery ranges, an educational aquatic loop for the kids, and the master gardener area with native plants and grasses. 1860 County Road 2724. 903.569.6983. mineolnaturepreserve.com.
Glenda Mae’s Daylily Farm
The farm opens for the spring months from March through June. The peak season to tour is the end of May to mid-June. More than 350 varieties of daylilies bloom with more than 200 available as potted or bare root. Ask about their newest variety – aquadisiac, and expect more animal ferns than ever before. 120 VZ CR 4712. 903.235.2529. glendamaesdaylilyfarm.com.
Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
In the mood for a field trip? Take a camera, sketch pad, friends or family members for this adventure. The Official Bluebonnet City and Trail of Texas celebrates the Texas state flower in grand style every year for 30 days in a row. Coveted bluebonnet trail maps are handed out at the Bluebonnet Festival April 18-19. Pierce Park. 972.878.4748. visitennis.org/bluebonnetfestival.