Azalea Trail March, 2022

Friday, October 16, 2020

  “Celebrating 85 Years of Seeds Sown and Blooms Grown.” 

The upcoming River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail 2020 will celebrate our 85 anniversary of this wonderful event.

The Annual Azalea Trail is the primary fundraiser for the River Oaks Garden Club with all proceeds going back into the community to support the following organizations:  Alzheimer’s Association, Bayou Bend, Bayou Greenways 2020, The Brookwood Community, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Chinquapin Preparatory School, Forum of Civics, Holly Hall Retirement Community, Houston Arboretum, Houston Botanic Garden, Houston Rose Society, Memorial Park Conservancy, Mercer Botanic Gardens, The Monarch School and Institute, Nature Discovery Center, The Parish School, Rienzi, Student Conservation Association and Urban Harvest.

Details of the 2020 Trail:

  • Dates: Friday, March 6, Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8, 2020
  • Times: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
  • Rain or Shine: we hope you will join us
  • There are 4 private homes on the tour this year along with the iconic Bayou Bend Home and Garden, beautiful Rienzi home and gardens and the historic home of the Garden Club, The Forum of Civics.
  • Tickets are $30. This includes 6 admissions to the 4 private homes, Bayou Bend and Rienzi as well as one free admission to The Forum of Civics.
  • The Forum will feature this year:
    • A pollinator exhibit
    • Ask the Experts – local tree, plant and flower experts are available each day to answer your questions on gardening, tree health, organic gardening practices, and much more.
    • Urban Harvest will have a small market all three days at the Forum.  (Click for Vendors)
    • Food trucks and refreshments for your enjoyment during the trail
    • Live “Flower Wall” for fun photographs with friends and family

As a benefit to our patrons, Free Parking is available at The Forum, Bayou Bend and all home locations as available.  Busses are available to provide free transportation to all locations.

Tickets will be available beginning February 1 at all HEB locations, The Forum of Civics and various local vendors before the trail begins.  During the trail, tickets are available at each of the 7 locations.

  • The River Oaks Garden Club Forum of Civics: 2503 Westheimer
  • Bayou Bend Home and Garden: 2940 Lazy Lane or 6003 Memorial Drive * parking at Memorial Drive location only
  • Rienzi: 1406 Kirby Drive

We look forward to seeing you – it is going to be a fabulous Trail!

Click here to preview our Azalea Trail 2020

Azalea Trail 2020 Underwriting supports our annual Azalea Trail Home Tour held every spring.  Support for this city event also provides ROGC’s giving to other projects in the Houston area.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU GOES TO OUR UNDERWRITERS:

Click  here  to view the giving opportunities.

 

2020 Azalea Trail Tickets are now available!
Tickets are $30 each and may be purchased at the following outlets:

A Bientot
2501 River Oaks Boulevard
Houston, Texas  77019

Abejas
2517 South Blvd.
Houston, Texas  77098

Bayou Bend
Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center at Bayou Bend
6003 Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas  77007

The Arbor Gate
15635 FM 2920 Road
Tomball, Texas  77337

Avalon Stationery and Gifts
2604 Westheimer Road
Houston,  Texas  77098

The Cottage at Bayou Bend
6003 Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas  77007

Bering’s
6102 Westheimer
Houston, Texas 77057

Bering’s
3900 Bissonnet
Houston, Texas 77005

Buchanan’s Native Plants
611 E. 11th Street
Houston, Texas 77008

Briargrove Pharmacy and Gifts
6435 San Felipe St
Houston, Texas 77057

Cornelius Nursery – Houston
2233 South Voss Road
Houston, Texas 77063

Cornelius Nursery – Katy
1403 Westborough Drive
Katy, Texas  77479

Cornelius Nursery – Sugarland
6720 HWY 90A
Sugarland, Texas  77478

Events 
2439 Westheimer
Houston, Texas 77098

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
4501 Woodway Drive
Houston, Texas 77024

Indulge Decor
2903 Saint Street
Houston, Texas 77019

Kuhl-Linscomb 
2424 West Alabama Street
Houston, Texas 77098

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
5601 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77005

Paloma & Co
2705 Bammel Lane
Houston,  Texas  77098

Rice Epicurean Market
2020 Fountainview
Houston, Texas 77057

Silverstone Events 
300 Shepherd Drive
Houston, Texas 77007

Thompson + Hanson
3600 West Alabama
Houston, Texas 77027

River Oaks Plant House
5930 Westheimer Rd
Houston, Texas 77057

Wabash Antiques & Feed
4537 N. Shepherd Drive
Houston, Texas  77018

The History of the Azalea Trail

River Oaks Garden Club (ROGC) was organized in 1927 by 27 residents of the emerging River Oaks area. It was not until late April 1935 that they held the first “Garden Pilgrimage,” as it was known then. That first year, there were 12 gardens on the tour, five of which were on Lazy Lane. Proceeds from the tour were used to beautify the grounds of River Oaks School, known today as River Oaks Elementary.
In 1936, the Pilgrimage became known as the Azalea Trail, as three gardens were opened in March to display azaleas in addition to the April Pilgrimage. People were unfamiliar with the beautiful azaleas because they were not native to the area, so ROGC used the Azalea Trail to educate the public on azaleas and horticulture.

The 1940s brought challenges to the Azalea Trail, as the war years led to severe shortages of plant material. ROGC members began to cultivate bedding and landscaping plants from seeds and cuttings and introduced the “Victory Garden” concept into landscape design at their own homes. The Victory Gardens incorporated vegetables into the borders of flower gardens and fruit trees into the broader landscapes – a practical shift from the isolated vegetable gardens and fruit orchards of the past. The ROGC Victory Gardens proved to be greatly appreciated by Azalea Trail attendees, setting the stage for a new interest in marketing fresh produce at the Greens Market held on the ROGC’s Forum building grounds.

Azalea Trail attendance continued to grow, attracting an impressive 10,000 visitors in 1945. Visitors that year included several thousand service men and women, who enjoyed the Trail as honored guests. Among them was a contingency of military officers, visiting Houston to lay the cornerstone for a new, 39- building Naval Hospital (this later became the Veteran’s Hospital). The officers accompanied military patients from McCloskey Hospital in Temple, Texas and were entertained by ROGC members for the entire weekend. Garden Club members hosted a series of social events, and, although ROGC had fewer than 50 members, ten gardens and three homes were featured on the Azalea Trail that year. These efforts were more important during the war years than any previous time. The Shreveport Times related the sentiment of those who attended the Trail, noting that, “The beauty of a garden is yours to keep, in your heart. We all need beauty now more than ever before. Our hearts are troubled and our minds are worried, but peace and beauty can be found in a garden filled with lovely colors and beautiful flowers.”

In 1948, the ROGC’s historic Forum building first opened as an information center during the Azalea Trail. Flower arrangements by members were also on exhibit, and member Frances Hannay published a pamphlet for the public called “Period Flower Arrangements”.

In 1957, night gardens were featured on the Azalea Trail for the first time.

In 1961, Miss Ima Hogg granted permanent supervision of Bayou Bend Gardens to ROGC. To this day, Bayou Bend Gardens remain an important jewel in the Azalea Trail crown.

In 1982, The Mayor of Houston issued a proclamation, designating Azalea Trail Days and commending ROGC’s contribution to the historical preservation, conservation, and beautification of the city.

In 2006, the City of Houston was designated an “Azalea City.” What started as a means for ROGC members to educate the people of Houston has evolved into the heralding symbol
for Spring in the City of Houston.

Today’s Azalea Trail offers Houstonians an enjoyable weekend that educates the public about architecture, flower arranging and horticultural possibilities in our region. Trail proceeds are given back to the community for projects in horticultural education, conservation and civic beautification.