Monday, January 24, 2011

Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens

This home and fourteen acres of gardens is located in the heart of Houston's historic River Oaks neighborhood. It was built in 1927 by Ima Hogg and two of her brothers. Their dad was the first native- born governor of Texas. I think that first off I need to explain Ima's name.  Her dad, James Hogg, named her for the heroine in an epic poem written by her uncle. I guess that he just did not think that pairing Ima with Hogg was an issue at all! We toured the house, which has a collection of rare and important early American paintings as well as furniture, ceramics, silver and glass dating from 1620 to 1876. James Hogg, after serving as governor, retired to his farm where oil was discovered. His heirs became quite wealthy and his daughter Ima participated in a wide range of philanthropic and civic projects, but (according to a museum brochure) the collection in her home of Americana art for the people of Texas was a personal activity for her which was closest to to her heart.
 There are eight gardens surrounding the Bayou Bend home. John took the above picture in the Diana Garden. That is a statue of Diana, goddess of the hunt, in the background. It was enjoyable wandering through the gardens even though this is not the time of year to enjoy their full beauty. In February and March the majority of azaleas should be in bloom. There are presently a few of them with flowers and the camellias are at the end of their blooming period.  A woodland area on the grounds is covered with towering trees as pines, elms and oaks. The Buffalo Bayou borders the grounds on two sides. The White Garden is located deep within the woods and is surrounded by ravines. It all is very much an urban oasis. And I have one picture left for you winter-weary northern souls out there. 

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