Grovel Alert: Dallas Uncorked Holiday Dinner

Just heard from that wine-loving Haley Hamilton Cogill that there were just a mere five tickets left for Dallas Uncorked’s Annual Holiday Dinner on Sunday, December 10, at Salum. To complement the evening’s multi-course feasting will be Domaine Caneros sparkling and still wines with the Eileen “Doyenne of Sparking Wine in California” Crane on hand for table talk.

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill (File photo)

Leave it to Haley and restaurateur Abraham Salum to schedule the dinner on the heels of the Cowboys game against Giants in the Big Apple. If The Boys win, what a way to celebrate. If they lose, the dinner will be a perfect way to wash away the blues.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit Les Dames d’Escoffier and The Edible Schoolyard. Hopefully, tickets are still available here.

BTW, if you aren’t lucky enough to pop the cork on this one. You might want to check out Haley’s appearance with husband/film-meister Gary Cogill at the Dallas Arboretum’s “Wine And Movies: A Perfect Pairing With Gary and Hayley Cogill” on Monday, December 11. The twosome will talk about their favorite movies of 2017 and seamlessly pair the films with wines. For Arboretum members, the price is $70. For non-members, it’s $75. Once again, membership has its perks.

Veggie’s And Fruits’ 3.5-Acre New Digs Are Nearing Completion At The Dallas Arboretum’s A Tasteful Place

Vegans must be ecstatic, but they’ve got to be patient for a couple of months. On Thursday, August 10, the Dallas Arboretum was previewing its 3.5-acre A Tasteful Place and providing a progress report. But there was nary a fruit nor vegetable in sight. Instead there were land-moving machines, a crane hovering over the pavilion and loads of hard-hat types preparing the $12M garden.

A Tasteful Place under construction

Plans call for the work to be finished and the produce to be nestled in their new home in time as part of the 2017 Autumn at the Arboretum with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, October 3, and the fundraising A Garden Gala Party on Sunday, October 15.

But don’t go thinking that the place is just going to be rows of herb and fruits. It was designed in the manner of a European potager to be lovely as well as productive. The Place’s centerpiece, Potager Display Gardens, is made up of four quadrants, surrounded by The Barbara and Bob Bigham Scenic Overlook with a flawless view of downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake, The Margaret and Jay Simmons Lagoon that is more than an acre, the 3,600-square-foot Charlotte and Donald Test Pavilion with 180-degree views of the garden designed for cooking classes, education program and special events, patios, promenades, stairways plazas, fruit trees and so much more.

Mary Brinegar and Dave Forehand

Looking at the construction, Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar in a floral jacket, Vice President of Gardens Dave Forehand and Pavilion architect Russell Buchanan in cowboy boots and hard hat explained the plans for the garden following its debut. The garden’s products will be used in the various restaurants at the Arboretum. If there is a surplus then they will provide it for offer it to food banks and other similar organizations.

Russell Buchanan

When asked which vegetable topped their list of favorites, Mary said carrots; Russell said tomatoes; and Dave declared peppers, because they colorful and fun. Each will be have their favs on the menu in the years to come thanks to the following planting schedule:

  • January and February — Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, collards, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustards, onion, Pak Choi and Swiss chard
  • March and April — Bush beans, cow peas, fava beans, pole beans, radish, soybeans and tomatoes
  • May — Bush beans, corn, cow peas, fava beans, pole beans, potatoes, radish, soybeans and tomatoes
  • June — Corn, eggplant, gourds, okra, peppers, sesame, squash, sunflower, tomatillo and zucchini
  • July and August — Eggplant, gourds, okra, peppers, pumpkins, sesame, squash, tomatillo and zucchini
  • September —Artichoke, beets, bush beans, cow peas, eggplant, fava beans, gourds, okra, peppers, pole beans, pumpkins, quinoa, sesame, soybeans, squash, Swiss chard, tomatillo, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini
  • October — Artichoke, beets, bush beans, cow peas, eggplant, fava beans, gourds, lettuce, mustards, okra, Pak Choi, peppers, pole beans, pumpkins, quinoa, sesame, soybeans, squash, Swiss chard, tomatillo, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini
  • November and December — Beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, collards, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustards, onion, Pak Choi and Swiss Chard

BTW, the gala is being co-chaired by Barbara Bigham and Robin Carreker with Diane and Hal Brierley serving as honorary co-chairs.

Under Perfect Skies Artscape Reimagined Patrons Toured The Remarkable Art Collection At Hall Arts

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for an outdoor affair. While the Dallas Women’s Foundation was over at the Omni on Tuesday, May 9, the art loving/environmental fans were sipping wine and taking tours of Kathryn and Craig Hall’s art at Hall Arts.

Patricia Meadows, Jane and Chick Pierce and Kaki Hopkins

Charles and Cindy Feld

Sarah Hoffman and Kymberley Scalia

The occasion was the Dallas Arboretum’s Artscape Reimagined patron party. While Artscape Honoree Craig Hall was juggling appearances with another Hall-sponsored event upstairs, Artscape Chair Kaki Hopkins was charmingly advising people like Cindy and Charles Feld, Jane and Chick Pierce, Sarah Hoffman, Kymberley Scalia, George Tobolowsky and Shelton Hopkins to follow petite art curator Patricia Meadows on a tour of the property art collection.

Hall Arts

Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman

Donna Arp Weitzman revealed that a script was being prepared based on her book “Cinderella Has Cellulite: And Other Musings From A Last Wife.” Her two caveats:

  1. It can’t be based on a dumb woman.
  2. And it can’t be a Dallas woman.

As one guest eyed the naked men assembled on the exterior of the elevator, he pointed to the nameplate and admitted, “I thought it was a piece of art, too.”

Steinynn Thorarinsdottir’s “Paths”

The event was all in preparation for the formal presentation of the Artscape Award and auction dinner at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, May 12.

Threatening Skies Cleared Just In Time For 1,300 To Eat, Drink And Celebrate The Inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

When Chef Sharon Van Meter took a flight from New Orleans to Dallas on the morning of Thursday, March 16, she was hoping Big D would be warmer than the Big Easy had been. But she arrived to 60-degree weather, overcast skies and the threat of drizzle.

Sharon Van Meter

Normally, that would not be a problem for a chef, but Sharon was chairing the inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival that evening outdoors at the Dallas Arboretum with an expected 1,300 guests.

As the day continued, organizers called area meteorologists hoping to hear that clear skies were on the evening docket. In the meantime, Sharon received at least 200 calls seeking tickets for the sold-out fundraiser.

Even at 5 p.m., things weren’t looking so rosy, with the clouds staying put. Then, magically, right on cue at 6 p.m. as the VIP patrons approached the Main Parking Gate, the skies cleared, with the sun slowly slipping into the west over White Rock Lake and temperatures in the low 70s.

The festival was a way to start building the anticipation of the under-construction, two-acre “A Tasteful Place” slated to open this fall. The Place will be a cornucopia of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, plus a 3,600-square-foot Garden Pavilion for dining and teaching. But for now, the guests were on the scene to dine and wine throughout the Arboretum. 

Chad Houser and LaDarian Neal

The VIP types were directed to the DeGolyer House for a private reception, where they had expected to see the Chef With No Name. But, no. No Name was a no show. Still, there were other chefs like Chad Houser and Craft Spirits specialist/mixologist Matt Orth making magic.

Cliff and Gail Fischer and Denny and Connie Carreker

Christine Stein and Haley Muse

Alexis Abril and Danielle Abril

Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson and Melora Leiser

The VIPs enjoyed the terrace better than even the DeGolyer family had with incredible dining, view of the grounds and White Rock and seeing such folks as Gail and Cliff Fischer, Connie and Denny Carreker,  Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson, Melora Leiser, Christine Stein, Haley Muse and Danielle Abril with her brother Alexis Abril.

Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

Terry and Anne Conner

Kay Weeks

In the meantime, the early-arrival general admission guests lined up for the official opening at 6:30. What they discovered were four areas throughout the grounds, each one representing a different region (Pan Asian, Southern American, American Bistro and Mediterranean) featuring loads of area chefs (Chef Aaron Staudenmaier of Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market, Chef Abraham Salum of Salum Restaurant, Chef Alex Astranti of Uchi, Chef Anastacia Quinones of Oddfellows, Chef Andrea Shackelford of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, Chef April Barney of Miller and Associates, Chef Brad Phillips of Asador Restaurant at the Renaissance Dallas, Chef Chad Houser of Café Momentum, Chef Christopher Patrick of Abacus, Chef Daniel Pittman of LUCK, Chef Daniele Puleo of CiboDivino, Chef Dunia Borga of La Duni Baking Studio, Chef David Gauthier of Smoky Rose, Chef Eric Dreye of Fearings, Chef Gianni Santin of Haute Sweet Patisserie, Chef Henry Gentry of Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Chef Jay Valley of Saint Rocco’s, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Jean-Marie of CADOT, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs of The Slow Bone, Chef John Doumas of Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles, Chef John Tesar of Knife, Chef Josh Harmon of Kitchen LTO, Chef Junior Borges and Chef Josh Sutcliff of Mirador, Chef Justin Box of Cedars Social, Chef Katherine Clapner of Dude Sweet Chocolate, Chef Larry Williams of Sallio, Chef Luis Olvera of Trompo Taco, Chef Mark Wootton of Garden Café, Chef Mary Sparks of Emporium Pies, Chef Matt McCallister of FT33, Chef Meaders Ozarow of Empire Baking Co., Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef, Chef Mike Shetsky of SĒR Steak and Spirits, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint, Chef Omar Flores of Casa Rubia/Whistle Britches, Chef Rebecca Jolly of Grayson Social, Chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s, Chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market, Chef Samantha Rush of Rush Patisserie, Chef Samir Dhurandhar of Nick and Sam’s, Chef Scott Nakachi of Paul Martin’s American Grill, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos of Cheesecake Royale and Royale Desserts, Chefs Sonny Pache and Michael Scott of Ocean Prime and Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown) and wines to match. The people-watching merrily continued with Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi supporting her CapRock Services husband Alex Laurenzi and Smoky Rose brother David Cash, Kay Weeks and Anne and Terry Conner. Alas, the servers like Sonny Pache, Sandra Reyes and Roberto Cabrera were so busy serving, they rarely got a chance to look up.

Alex Laurenzi, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and David Cash

Another highlight of the evening was checking out the Dallas Blooms’ “Peace, Love And Flower Power” displays.

Dallas Blooms’ Love, Peace and Flower Power

Just after 8 p.m. Hobo Cane was in concert at the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn, along with desserts from around the world.  

Dallas Arboretum VP Terry Lendecker looked like a person amazed at how perfect it all turned out — the 500,000 blossoms were vying for attention skyward; the guests grazed happily at the 40-ish chef stations; the weather was a step above spectacular; and there was not a mosquito in sight.

Summed up Chef Sharon: “What a perfect place this was for it. We all love the Arboretum. I call Arboretum people ‘little fairies,” because they go around spreading good cheer all over the place!” 

Make plans now for the next Food and Wine Festival. It’s scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2018.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

Sharon Van Meter

Chad Houser and LaDarian Neal

The threat of showers on Thursday, March 16, didn’t deter the Dallas Arboretum Food and Wine Festival organizers. Good thing because the evening’s weather turned out to be on beyond imaginable for the 1,300 hungry guests. Thanks to Chef Sharon Van Meter and her 40 or so other professional culinary types like Chef Chad Houser, nobody went home hungry.

Cliff and Gail Fischer and Denny and Connie Carreker

The VIPs wined and dined on the DeGolyer terrace overlooking White Rock Lake. The rest of the crowds found happiness at food stations throughout the grounds that were Dallas blooming fabulous.

Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

While the post is being prepped, check out the chefs, the diners and the flowers at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Perfect Fix For St. Patrick’s Day Weekend’s Need For Green

Dallas Arboretum tulips

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Instead of flying off to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone or hitting the pubs for a tankard of Guinness Extra Stout, why not surround yourself in picture-perfect green?

It can be found at the Dallas Arboretum with acres of  magnificent green grounds being highlighted by 500,000 blossoms.

And if you’re set on kissing something, the Arboretum has plenty of tulips. Wink, wink.

Despite Topsy-Turvy Temps, Dallas Blooms Will Be Abounding With “Peace, Love And Flower Power” Through April 9

Yesterday the temperatures were in the upper 80s. Tonight the mercury will drop to the 30s. This winter has been a roller coaster with wardrobes going from shorts to quilted jackets and back to sandals within hours.

If you think you’ve been dizzy from the changes, take pity on the plants. One minute they’re poking their heads up to spring-like conditions and just as quickly they’re being threatened with frost.

Daryl Kirkham, Mark Clayton and Mark Wolf*

And you just know the Dallas Arboretum folks have had their hands full in preparation for Dallas Blooms that had its Iberiabank sponsor Dallas Market President Daryl Kirkham, Dallas City Councilperson Mark Clayton and Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf on hand for the preview of this year’s theme “Peace, Love and Flower Power.”

This year’s petal extravaganza will “showcase an explosion of color with vintage VW floral topiaries and more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms” until Sunday, April 9.

Dallas Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms*

According to Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “Dallas Blooms is the largest display of tulips in a public garden anywhere west of Holland. Later in the festival thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees will blossom, leaving breathtaking color at every turn. Guests are sure to have an unforgettable experience this spring in our world-class garden.”

During the run of Dallas Blooms through Sunday, April 9, different activities celebrating the 1960’s theme will take place. From an Ed Sullivan Show-Celebrity Weekend, a music festival throughout the gardens to guests getting henna tattoos, and 1960s fashion on display in the DeGolyer House, it’ll make you dig out your bell bottoms and Nehru jackets.

And as if the Dallas Blooms isn’t enough, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be back in action Saturday after going through its annual winter refreshing.

* Photos provided by Dallas Arboretum

Wine And Film Lovers Came Together At The Arboretum To See A Little Oscar And Learn Big Screen Predictions

While Mary Matalin and James Carville were chatting about the recent presidential election and things to come at the Party for Hope benefiting Hope Supply Co. over at the Bush Center on Thursday, January 26, the Dallas Arboretum’s Rosine Hall looked like a jammed-to-capacity drive-in movie theater. Rows and rows of tables and chairs were lined up facing a big, old screen. And to cap things off, every seat was filled!

Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing Oscars Preview

The occasion was “Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing Oscars Preview.” And thanks to wine/film lovers Hayley Hamilton Cogill and Gary Cogill, the Arboretum, and the recent Oscar nomination announcements, it was more than a resounding success.

According to Dallas Uncorked‘s Hayley, “We love the beautiful space at the Arboretum and the ability to do what Gary I do best — pair wine and film. Our podcast has been so much fun doing just this that it was great to be able to do it live for such a welcoming crowd.”

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill

 The original place was for 110 guests, but they ended up with 116 including newly engaged Judy Snyder and Roy Carson, Debra Nelson, Dianne and Shannan Pratt, Frank and Karen Needham, Lee Hobbs and Pat Holder Ritter and Wayne Ritter

One very special guest was a 1939 Oscar awarded to the late composer John Leipold for his musical score in “Stagecoach.” John’s granddaughter Jennifer Stewart brought the little fellow along for a first-hand view of the legendary statue.

When it came to the predictions and pairings, the Coghills put these together:


  • Best original score: “La La Land” by Justin Hurwitz
  • Best original song: “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” by Lin-Manuel Miranda with Segura Viudas Brut Cava (Made in the traditional method from the classic varieties of Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel·lo in Penedes, Spain, this special Cava is filled with white fruit and citrus, along with tropical and light floral notes. Bright and fresh, with a balanced acidity, and a smooth finish.)


  • Best Adapted Screenplay: “Arrival” by Eric Heisserer
  • Best Original Screenplay: “20th Century Women” by Mike Mills with Bodega Garzon Albarino (The white variety of Rias Baixas, Spain gets an unexpected lift when produced in Uruguay. Farmed sustainably, with heavy influence from the Atlantic Ocean, this lively white wine tells the story of the land and the people. Layers of white flowers, lemon-lime and stone fruit meld with a salty brininess from the breezes through the vineyards off the Ocean.)


  • Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for “Fences”
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman for “Jackie” with Truvée Rose (Started by the McBride Sisters in the Central Coast, this expressive wine blends classic Rhone varieties of Grenache and Syrah for a wine filled with strawberry, raspberry, and more wild flower aromas leading to a refreshing palate with notes of wild berry and Meyer lemon with a crisp, dry finish.)


  • Best Supporting Actor: Jeff Bridges for “Hell or High Water”
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea” with Duchman Family Winery Sangiovese (Perhaps the best variety grown in Texas, from one of the best families. Duchman Winery is dedicated to crafting elegant, varietally correct, 100% Texas wines from Texas soils, with a focus on classic, Old World styled Italian varieties. Sangiovese, the variety of Chianti, thrives in Texas, producing a juicy, aromatic and food-friendly wine filled with red fruity, soft herbs, smoke and dense, dusty earth.)

BEST FILM of 2017

  • “Moonlight”
  • “La La Land” with Chateau Haut Caillou Bordeaux, Lalande-de-Pomerol (The best film of the year deserves a wine you will remember, and classic Bordeaux is always appropriate with great films, with [Haley’s] favorite always coming from the Right Bank. Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominant, with just a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon to add weight and texture to the luscious, red currant and black plum fruit filled wine. Elegant and inviting, with just a hint of earthy slate minerality on the finish.)

A couple interesting side notes of the evening’s pairings were:

  • The selection of pairing Viola Davis with the Truvee Wines Rose, which is owned by “the McBride sisters, two African-American sisters with the same father and different mothers. They found they both loved wine and started the company.”
  • Duchman Family Wine is born and bred in Texas and it only seemed right to salute “Hell or High Water” with a Lone Star vino.    

As for the rest of Gary’s predictions, the Cogills will be having another pairings get-together on Wednesday, February 22, at Studio Movie Grill to benefit The Dallas Film Society at Royal from 6 to 8 p.m.

JUST IN: Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins Announces Craig Hall To Receive The First Great Contributor To Art Award And Much More Deets

Due to circumstances way beyond our control, the next couple of days are going to be filled with announcements galore thanks to those wonderful people who bring you fundraising in North Texas. The news will be revealed as soon as it breaks.

The very first on the lineup just took place, courtesy of Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins, who never tackles any project in a lightweight manner. She gathered a crowd of folks, including many of her 48-member committee, at Dallas Arboretum’s DeGolyer House this evening to reveal plans for the upcoming Artscape Reimagined 2017.

Kaki Hopkins (File photo)

Craig Hall (File photo)

The eyebrow-raising headline of the evening was the creation of the Great Contributor to Art Award in association with the garden’s fine art and craft show. And to kick the launch of the award off with a bang, she announced the very first recipient will be entrepreneur/best-selling author/philanthropist/vineyard owner Craig Hall.

According to Kaki, “Craig Hall embodies the spirit of this award. He is someone who collects art not for himself but for the benefit of the communities in which we live and work, and we are excited to honor him.”

Craig will be presented with the Gary Lee Price-designed award on Friday, May 12, at the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner in the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall.

With wife Kathryn Hall standing nearby, Craig said, “I am a strong believer in the importance of public art and the incredible effect it can have on its audience. Art has the ability to touch the soul and make people think, and it should be shared openly and democratically. The Dallas Arboretum, through its public art exhibits, sculptures throughout the garden and Artscape, is a great example of how our city is embracing public art, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Patricia Meadows (File photo)

Regarding Artscape itself, it will feature more than 100 renowned artists from around the country thanks to the Artscape jury including Chair  Patricia Meadows, Katherine Wagner and Marty Ray with assistance by Gail Sachson. This year’s show will feature “a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, photography, fiber, ceramics and more.” But leave it to Kaki to have ramped it up to live up to its Artscape Reimagined theme, like:

  • An architect-designed landscape layout with decorative signage and boulevards that provide excellent audience flow and heightened visibility for the artists.
  • The historic DeGolyer House transformed into the DeGolyer Gallery, featuring local Dallas galleries presenting works by artists they represent
  • The University Zone, where approximately 10 universities will show and sell works by their professors and students.

And it will all take place with the Arboretum grounds in full bloom, thanks to dazzling azaleas. The schedule calls for the member preview on Friday, April 28, with the public viewings on the following Saturday (April 29) and Sunday (April 30).  

As an additional offering, Artscape guests will also be able to check out ZimSculpt, the exhibition of “modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures that will be incorporated into the garden” from Saturday, April 15 through Monday, July 31. This collection of more than 100 hand-carved pieces will be the first time that the sculptures will be on display in the southern U.S. During their stay, Zimbabwean artists Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko will be on hand to demonstrate how the stone is carved into modern art.

BTW, tickets for the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner are $300 per guest and will be available for purchase on Monday, February 6.

Dallas Arboretum And Dallas UnCorked Partner Up For “Wine And Film, A Perfect Pairing” Oscar Preview With Film-meister Gary Cogill

With budgets being tight after the holidays and folks recovering from weeks of partying, January and February are ideal for checking out movies. And the timing couldn’t be better with the 89th Academy Awards taking place on Sunday, February 26.

And to help with the Oscar predictions, the Dallas Arboretum and Uncorked Dallas are partnering up on Thursday, January 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to present “Wine And Film, A Perfect Pairing,” as part of the Arboretum’s Adult Education Program.

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill (File photo)

According to Dallas Uncorked Founder/President Hayley Hamilton Cogill, “We will preview some of the best films of the year, and pair special award categories with their ideal wines.”

Providing the insight on the celluloid choices will North Texas’ favorite film brain trust/Hayley’s husband Gary Cogill. But Mr. Cogill will have his work cut out for him. This year’s nominees won’t be revealed until Tuesday, January 24.

The gathering will take place in Rosine Hall with the Arboretum providing a few light appetizers that will complement the wines of the night selected by Mrs. Cogill.

While the general public tickets are $65 each, Dallas Arboretum members get in for a discounted $59. See — membership does have perks. You can sign up either way here!

Plants Have Feelings, too

Today and tomorrow the Dallas Arboretum staffers are busy planting bulbs snug in the grounds and covering them with petunias. As the below-freezing temperatures approach Saturday night, here are some suggestions from Dallas Arboretum VP of Gardens Dave Forehand,

Dallas Arboretum crew planting bulbs before the freeze

  •  Water before it freezes: Watering material before the threat of frost protects the plant root zone. Water acts like a blanket insulating the roots. This makes the plant stronger against a freeze. When plant cells are full of water, they are less likely to be subject to frost damage. If possible, water a day or two before a freeze and make sure to water the entire root zone of the plant. This is especially important in newly planted trees and shrubs. Try watering early in the day so plants have time to absorb water before a freeze. If at all possible, avoid watering the foliage. If you have an irrigation system, hand watering might be the best option for certain locations. Keeping water off the foliage prevents the formation of ice on leaf material which can cause breaks and more damage.
  •  Use frost cloth: Frost cloth acts as a blanket and helps trap heat. Make sure that you secure the cloth entirely around the plant and tighten to the soil using fabric pins or bricks (anything that will hold it down firmly will work). Frost cloth is made from a product that “breathes,” and this cloth helps against burn caused by other materials. Purchase frost cloth months in advance. When the threat of a freeze is coming, frost cloth sells out quickly. Do not use frost cloth when there is a chance of snow. Otherwise, it will cause more damage breaking plants from the weight of the snow.
  • Check plant health: The healthier your plants are, the more prone they are to handle stress. Proper water and maintenance throughout the growing season will help in the winter months. It is also important to select the right plant for your area.  Check to make sure that the plant material you select is appropriate for your location. Check out USDA plant hardiness zone map to see what zone you live in. This information will help you purchase the best plant material for your zone.

So, if you’ve finished your uber shopping, then why not take advantage of this advice from a man-who-knows? Come spring you’ll be the standout among your neighborhood of cottages.

JUST IN: The Dallas Arboretum Just Welcomed Its Millionth Visitor For The Year

It’s not every day that the “million mark” is hit.  And today was the day that the Dallas Arboretum scored it for the first time in its history. Well, of course, there have been millions over the years, but this year is the first time that they welcomed the millionth visitor within the calendar year.

And what a visitor it was! Actually it was a couple — first-time visitors Micki and Randy Baldwin, who were in town from North California. They had been in Oklahoma City to visit their sons and a new grandchild and decided to drive on down to Dallas to check out the Arboretum. Made perfect sense since Randy is a gardener and the twosome like to check out botanical gardens and arboretums.

Mark Wolf, Randy and Micki Baldwin, Al Olson and Missy Whisler*

Mark Wolf, Randy and Micki Baldwin, Al Olson and Missy Whisler*

Micki’s and Randy’s helping the Arboretum pass the million-visitor point put the Arboretum in a very rarified place. “Of the more than 50 large gardens in the nation, the Dallas Arboretum joins only six other ones that have reached more than a million visitors annually.”

They couldn’t have picked a more perfect day. Not only did the icy chill hold off, but Micki and Randy were able to see the elaborate 12 Days Of Christmas throughout the grounds, as well as being greeted and ballyhooed by Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf, Board member Al Olson and Arboretum Senior VP Missy Whisler.

According to Mark, “First, we are grateful for the support of our 37,000 members and donors. Second, there were several factors that helped us reach a million visitors. In addition to our popular Dallas Blooms in the spring and Autumn at the Arboretum, the garden finally added a blockbuster holiday display — The 12 Days of Christmas — that attracted our local community and many out of town visitors.”

If you haven’t checked out the winter wonders, bundle up and head on over. BTW, if you want a night time view of the exhibit, you’re in luck. The gardens are open Wednesday through Sunday evenings through Friday, December 30. However, the 12 Days will be available for daytime viewing every day leading up to Sunday, January 8, except for Christmas Day, when the grounds are closed.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Dallas International Film Festival And Mad Hatter’s Tea Are Going To Have A Star

According to the weather guessers, all of this wet and chilly stuff is supposed to be in the rearview mirror come Thursday. And Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Jocelyn White is betting that they’re right on target for the annual Dallas Arboretum’s Women’s Council fundraiser.

Mad Hatter's Tea (File photo)

Mad Hatter’s Tea (File photo)

Of course with Joce at the helm, there will be some well-known faces underneath those brims. In addition to emcee Kellie Rasberry and live auctioneer Jody Dean, plans call for actresses Linda Gray and Janine Turner to be on hand.

Yipes! What does one talk with Janine about? She’s probably a little weary of recalling the good old days of “Northern Exposure.” So, why not be cool and current by asking her about “Occupy, Texas” that premiered Friday at the Angelika as part of the Dallas International Film Festival, that’s running through Sunday, April 24.

"Occupy, Texas" at the Dallas International Film Festival*

“Occupy, Texas” at the Dallas International Film Festival*

Here’s some scoopy, so you’ll sound so in. It was co-produced by a bunch of locals including Steve Stodghill and siblings Libby Hunt and Wayne McCullough. Booker T. Washington grad Gene Gallerano wrote the screenplay and stars in the 93-minute film about Beau Baker who has been living in a tent in Zuccotti Park as part of the “Occupy, Wall Street” protect. He gets word that his “upper-class” parents in Texas have died and he must return to take care of his teenage sisters and the estate.

BTW, one of the teenagers is played by Lorelei Linklater, the daughter of director Richard Linklater.

Some of the locals seen in scenes include co-producers Libby and Steve, Cannon Wise, Gail Cronauer, Nikki Moore, Terri Cooklin and Tim Lovick. BTW, this is the fourth time at bat as a producer for blonde Libby.

Just think how smart you’re gonna look with that cute chapeau and that head filled with that in-the-know-info.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas International Film Festival

Mother Nature Throws A Curve Ball At Tonight’s Events

Oh, goodness gracious, Aunt Hattie. Tonight was such a challenge for event planners. With a cold front slamming against a ho-hum warmish condition in North Texas, what were activities like the Dallas Arboretum’s Spring Dinner to do? Have it outdoors among the Dallas Blooms glories, or hunker on down in the Rosine Hall? Thank heaven, the wise brains prevailed and the dinner was moved indoors.

Another group not taking a chance against Mama Nature was the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s kick-off party for Appetite for Advocacy at Caren and Pete Kline’s sweetest home-sweet-home. They had the 60 or so guests chatting and munching inside the Klines’ Preston Hollow residence with a sweetheart of a !ercedes parked out front. It’s the raffle goody going for $100 per.

Well, gee whiz and double darn it. Both the Arboretum’s and the Klines’ great gardens were just divine for wandering, but they’ll still be there when the sun shines.

While the local weather guessers doffed their jackets and jiggled and wiggled their predictions, the evil parts of the weather-scape held off until after all the activities had closed down for the night.

As one weather expert once said, North Texas is the Super Bowl/Olympics for meteorologists with the winds off the Rockies and the gusts from the Gulf. It always provides a great conversation topic year round.

Alas, it was also part of KTVT’s Larry Mowry finale, who is heading to Chicago, according to Uncle Barky. Too bad. Since he first arrived on the scene, Larry has been a stand-out in predicting weather without all the drama.

JUST IN: Barbara And Bob Bigham Give $1M For Dallas Arboretum’s Scenic Overlook In The To-Be-Built A Tasteful Place

Bob and Barbara Bigham*

Bob and Barbara Bigham*

With love in the air this Valentine’s Day weekend, Barbara and Bob Bigham are showing their love for the Dallas Arboretum big time. How big? To the tune of $1M! Their just-announced sweetheart gift will benefit the Scenic Overlook in the Arboretum’s newest project — A Tasteful Place.

Located on the southern part of the property and scheduled to break ground in the latter part of the year, the $8M A Tasteful Place will be a fruit, herb and vegetable garden with a glass-enclosed pavilion, where “daily tastings, regular activities, classes and demonstration” can take place.

Located at the base of The Tasteful Place and overlooking White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas, the Scenic Overlook will be “surrounded by semi-circular pergolas, flowers, herbs, vegetables and vines.” It will be the perfect spot for “visits, weddings, seated dinner, wine tastings and private events.”

Having undergone cancer surgery in recent years, Barbara “felt strongly about her involvement because of the peace and tranquility offered by walks through the garden.” She hope that “our involvement will encourage others to join us in helping create this one-of-a-kind garden. I am thrilled to support the Dallas Arboretum in becoming the most outstanding garden in the country.”

As for Bob, he summed it up by saying, “Every time we come to the garden, I feel happy. My Valentine this year is our gift to the Arboretum for this important area.”

As a big, old thank-you, the Scenic Overlook will be named for the Bighams.

According to Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “Our city is lucky to have a couple as community-oriented as Barbara and Bob Bigham and as generous in time, talent and resources. They truly have given back to others for so many years. It is an honor to name the Scenic Overlook in A Tasteful Place for them. It will be a lasting legacy.”

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Jocelyn White Announces Chapeau Categories For April 21st Heady Competition At Arboretum

Jocelyn White (File photo)

Jocelyn White (File photo)

Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Jocelyn White has been pounding away at her iPad with news about the Thursday, April 21st chapeau show-off benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and A Woman’s Garden.

Already established are Honorary Chair Connie Carreker and fashions on the runway courtesy of Tootsies. And, yes, it will start off with a champagne reception in the Ginsburg Plaza followed by the program in Rosine Hall and a seated lunch under a tent in the Outdoor Plaza overlooking the Arboretum grounds.

Now, Joce has revealed this year’s categories in which guests will compete. Talk about true to this year’s theme — Steel Magnolias! Hat designers have been awaiting this news, so here goes:

  • Most True-To-Theme: Magnolias in ev’ry incarnation. Faux or real.
  • The Southern Belle: Shelby’s girly-girl look. Can you say pink?
  • Simply Elegant: Beautifully chic! If Audrey Hepburn had been Southern…
  • Mother Nature Winks: Makin’ Mama Nature proud with the best use of her bounty.
  • The Social Sorority: Best Sisterhood (Brotherhood?) award. We come in groups.
  • Miss Merry Christmas: Crowns, tiaras, headdresses. Oh, my stars!
  • What Was She Thinking?: The Ouiser Boudreaux Award. It’s what YOU think!
  • Best Of Show/People’s Choice: Self-explanatory. The Steel Magnolia. Best of the best!

Now that the hats are being thought up, think about reserving a mini-bus to transport you and your pals. Last year’s limos just didn’t seem to have enough head room for those top-notch masterpieces.

And if sponsorship is your POA, Patricia Armstrong is handling ‘em.

Take Advantage Of The User-Friendly Weather At The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden While It Lasts

While the sun is shining and the temperatures are user-friendly, it’s a great time to visit the Dallas Arboretum with its Twelve Days of Christmas.

Another big draw is the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. Saturday, December 19, starting at 11 a.m., they’ll be using “science to answer” how he managed to visit every house in one night, how he squeezes down chimneys and other Kris Kringle questions.

Christmas holidays at the Dallas Arboretum*

Christmas holidays at the Dallas Arboretum*

In the main garden the jolly, old fellow in the red-and-white suit will be in the main garden with one of his for-real reindeer.

And that’s just a smidgen of the activities that will be underway. As if that wasn’t enough, every day there will be plenty of things going on for munchkins and their parent and grandparents to see and do. Don’t believe it? Just check this list out!

But be forewarned. Come Monday, January 4, and most of February , the Children’s Garden will go into hibernation for winterize refreshening in preparation for the opening of Dallas Blooms that opens on Thursday, February 26. .

* Photos courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum

Tis Time For A Holiday Tea In The Legendary DeGolyer House

If you’re looking for a place to tea time, you just might want to consider the three-course holiday tea at the Dallas Arboretum’s 75-year-old DeGolyer House that’s all gussied up for the holidays with more than 500 crèches.

Seated tea at the DeGolyer House*

Seated tea at the DeGolyer House*

It’s underway until January 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The price varies from $47 per person to $57 for the champagne tea version.

The price also includes general garden admission and parking. Now, talk about a holiday bargain!

So, round up your pals and make your reservations for tea time.

If you can’t squeeze it in before Christmas, why not make it a holiday gift that can take place before the year ends?

* Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum

Get A Headstart On Thanksgiving Celebrations With The Dallas Zoo’s Dollar Day And A Visit To The Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

The Dallas Zoo is really committed to getting record crowds for 2015. To help the numbers rise, they’re having one of their legendary Dollar Days on Wednesday, November 25. The temps will be in the upper 60s/lower 70s and there might be a sprinkle or two, but shoot! For a buck, it’s worth wearing a windbreaker.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have a boss who’ll let you off early, or if you’re claiming Wednesday as a holiday, head to the zoo and wish the critters a happy Thanksgiving.

The 12 Days Of Christmas (File photo)

The 12 Days Of Christmas (File photo)

Hey! Here’s an idea. Do a twofer! Hit the zoo in the morning and the Dallas Arboretum in the afternoon to check out the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s the absolute perfect way to chill and get your mind set for the day that focuses on being grateful.

Mother Nature’s User-Friendly Weather Breaks Records And Makes Smiley Faces For Local Venues

Is there an upside to a drought? Farmers, landscapers and fire fighters wouldn’t hesitate  bristling, “H_ll, no!”

But there is. Sure for the past six weeks, the weather has been a bit on the warmish side, but it has translated into the “4 S’s” (shorts, sleeves cotton shirts, sun dresses and sandals).

And the venues have seen traffic counts soar as well as $$. Of course, you require proof. For your consideration how about:

Evidently, that isn’t enough proof, so here goes:

These numbers are gratifying since October is traditionally one of the wettest months of the year and not particularly guest-friendly.

But this run is about to end with forecasters hinting that rain is on its way starting Thursday. Enjoy the beautiful weather while it’s here. Old Man Winter is icing up for the months ahead.

Hilton Anatole Koi Have New Fishing Holes

There was a big uh-oh about the Hilton Anatole’s plans to develop a new $15M outdoor water attraction on its grounds. Unfortunately, the hotel’s Koi pond was not part of the plan. Some folks worried that the residential fish would end up in the frying pan.

No way! The Anatole’s management wasn’t going to let their fin friends be homeless or sushi. They arranged to have the Koi relocated to The Hockaday School and the Dallas Arboretum’s recently refurbished Lay Family Garden’s Koi pond.

How About Some Cheap Thrills That Even Your Maiden Aunt Maudie Would Approve

If your pocketbook is starting to look anorexic, here some bargain bonanzas that might pique your interest in the days ahead:

  • No Tie Dinner and Dessert Party (File photo)

    No Tie Dinner and Dessert Party (File photo)

    The 2016 No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party Kick-Off Party will be open to the public to reveal the deets for the annual AIDS Services of Dallas fundraiser. It will take place at Scott + Cooner on Thursday, September 17, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    "The Birth Of A City" (File photo)

    “The Birth Of A City” (File photo)

  • Encore Park is the “outreach project of The Stewpot and the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas. It is partnering up with Texas Theatre to launch a free three-part film screening series of a warm-up cartoon and classic films at 508 Amphitheater. The first presentation will be the 1938 cartoon “Cinderella Meets Fella” and the 1938 feature “The Adventures of Robin Hood” on Sunday, September 6. The second screenings will take place on Sunday, September 20 with “Wise Quacking Duck” and “Casablanca.” The final screenings will be “Bunny Hugged” and “Dallas” on Sunday, October 4. While the events are free, you still need to register. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentations kick off at 7 p.m. While you’re there, check out the amazing sculpture wall created by Brad Oldham.
  • Overview of Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden (File photo)

    Overview of Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

    The Dallas Arboretum’s $1 general admission fee continues through Monday, August 31. For $2 more you can get in to stroll the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Gardens. There are even special deals on food purchases. Remember to purchase your tickets at the gate to take advantage of the August Dollar Days special that is courtesy of Time Warner. Hustle! Time’s a wasting. But if your August datebook is filled to the max, then you can visit the entire Arboretum over the Labor Day weekend (Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7) including the Children’s garden for $5. And to get a discount on parking, go online. Bargain times!

  • Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

    Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

    Before the dinosaurs scamper out of the Dallas Zoo, you still have time to check out the Giants of Jurassic Park with the other residents for half the general admission. Adults get in for $7.50 and kiddos for $6. But as the dinos will become history on Monday, August 31, so the half-price deal will end, too. BTW, take DART. It’s cheap and there’s no battling traffic to get to the zoo. Just hop on board the Red Line tram and it will take you to the Dallas Zoo Station.

August Dollar Days Returns To The Dallas Arboretum With A Sizzling Deal Thanks To Time Warner Cable

When it comes to the Dallas Arboretum and summer, it’s a question of which you prefer — the glass half full or half empty. If you visit the grounds in July as the mercury starts hitting the 100-degree mark, you face the regular admission price.

A Woman's Garden's Genesis Garden (File photo)

A Woman’s Garden’s Genesis Garden (File photo)

But if you can hold out until the super duper summer special — August Dollar Days presented by Time Warner Cable — you can experience the Arboretum’s gardens, water features and artwork for a buck and the fav Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden for an additional couple of buckaroos.

Crape Myrtle Allee (File photo)

Crape Myrtle Allee (File photo)

Now, if you’re on a tight budget and an early riser, August is your month. Early in the morning the breeze off of White Rock is like a natural cooler. And a Rory Meyers experience for just two dollars is right up there with gee-whiz-how-special-can-you-get.

Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden (File photo)

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (File photo)

According to Time Warner Cable area VP of Operations in North Texas Steve Dvoskin, “Our partnership with the Dallas Arboretum offers yet another creative and engaging way to connect our future leaders with unique STEM opportunities. It is a pleasure to sponsor August Dollar Days at the Dallas Arboretum so that more families are able to visit the garden.”

Still another sign that August is gonna be a sweet deal is the cut-rate price for food and drinks. Items like hot dogs, juice boxes, root beer floats and other goodies will be going for a dollar or two.

Dallas Arboretum resident (File photo)

Dallas Arboretum resident (File photo)

One day that really stands out is Saturday, August 15. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., paid garden guests will be able to “participate in crafts, hands-on science experiments, photo opportunities at the Time Warner Cable Welcome Wall and much more” in Rosine Hall.

Either way you’re a winner. So, go ahead and pick. Or, better yet, do both. The plants and the critters are ever-changing and waiting for you.

Caveat: You cannot buy your August Dollar Day ticket now. Nope. They’ll be available for purchase only at the gate. So, start saving those pennies and pick the date or dates.

And remember to carpool because parking will still be $8 per vehicle. Some things just never change.

Postponement: Artscape Members-Only Preview

Due to the threatening weather, tonight’s members-only preview of Artscape benefiting the Dallas Arboretum is postponed until tomorrow (Saturday) morning from 7 to 9 a.m.

Smart thinking. The weather should be great and mimosas and “breakfast goodies” will be on hand along with the flowers.

Don’t think about crashing the party. Membership cards will be required for entry.