Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Wonderland At Garvan Woodland Gardens.

Under a canopy of pines, all along a peninsula on Lake Hamilton, Garvan Woodland Gardens sprawls in quiet majesty.  It's open eleven months of the year, a haven for nature lovers, romantics and such... but during the last six weeks it becomes a wonderland of light.  Come explore!

The gardens were started by Verna Cook 1956. She was the daughter of Arthur and Louise Cook.  Her father owned and operated the Wisconsin-Arkansas Lumber Co. and the Malvern Brick and Tile Company.  After he died in 1934. Mrs. Garvan assumed control as one of the first female CEO's of a major southern manufacturing business and served in that capacity until her retirement in the 1970s.

The Cooks had obtained the site Garvan Woodland Gardens sits on in the 1920s.  In 1956, Mrs. Garvan began to develop it as a garden and over the next forty years planted thousands of specimens. When she passed away, she left the property to the Department of Landscape Architecture through the University of Arkansas Foundation. Today, the property is operated by that department and open for all to come view.

Each holiday season, the gardens are decorated in more than four million lights, ranging from small decorative lights in the trees to path lights, a gingerbread house, trees of all sorts and structures of light.  Flip through these photos for a glimpse at what you'll find.

This three-piece set plays We Three Kings to a jazz beat and a light show.

The Garden of the Pine Wind is festooned with gorgeous lanterns.

Fall's colors are still vivid here... so if you still have daylight when you arrive, start here.

While blue strings of light emphasize the running water, nature's doing a great job of adding its
own color here.

Each path is lighted, both for beauty and safety.

The Full Moon Bridge is accented with blue light within and without.

The koi pond is surrounded by light.

The lighted koi is resplendent in white this year.

A swan sits atop the waterfall.

Chandeliers hang throughout the gardens.

For those who'd rather take a guided golf cart tour rather than walk the park, it's $15 a person.
Bonus... no hiking inclines in the cold!

This tree dances with light.

A wreath at this end of the tunnel welcomes all to the other end.

Above, tinsel and lights illuminate grapevine decorations.

A flower garden of light.

The butterfly garden is packed with flickering wings.

This tree swirls with light to holiday music.

You can walk right through this gingerbread house.

Out on the ellipse, there's even more to see.

A little chapel of white light.

Friendly snowpeople.



The pavilion's lights are in constant flux.

You can sit inside the train and ring the bell.

The lawn bears a Persian theme.

This gift box contains a hot chocolate stand.  Hot chocolate is free with your admission!

The Chipmunk Cafe is open 3-9 p.m. throughout the holiday season. Watch for the train!

There are fireplaces to warm you up.

The gardens are open from noon to 9 p.m. every day except Christmas through the end of the year.
Go earlier in the evening to beat the crowds.

And while you're there, pick up some Garvan Woodland Garden honey for holiday gifts, created
by bees that work the gardens.

For more information about Garvan Woodland Gardens, including admission prices and policies, check out the website.

And to see a video of the lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens, check out

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