Inspired by the movement to grow, harvest and eat sustainable fresh, locally grown food, the Dallas Arboretum recently opened a 3.5-acre display garden called A Tasteful Place. A $12 million project located at the south-end of the Arboretum, the garden offers a gorgeous view of White Rock Lake and the downtown Dallas skyline and promises a variety of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. For the fall season there are more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash in the garden.
A Tasteful Place became a reality from the meager beginnings of a small herb garden near the Alex Camp House that needed to be relocated.
“About three years ago, Dallas Arboretum staff started talking about not only relocating this garden, but expanding it,” said Terry Lendecker who handles public relations for Dallas Arboretum. “We also knew that in the Dallas Arboretum’s Master Plan, we had the land at the southern end to plant this garden. With that in mind, we began planning, visiting other places with food gardens, figuring out what would fit our garden’s mission and our community.”
The new garden fits two of the Dallas Arboretum’s overall missions. The first mission is to have one of the top public display gardens nationally and the second mission to educate the community about eating healthfully through gardening and growing fresh food.
After all, the Arboretum has been trialing and testing plants for many years through its award-winning Plant Trials Program. However, it was just six years ago that staff began trialing vegetables of all varieties to see how each would grow in the local climate.
The new garden includes a pavilion with event space and a teaching kitchen, an orchard, a lagoon, shaded porches and walkways.
Lendecker said “What sets A Tasteful Place apart though, is the Potager Display Gardens, which are four individual quadrants that comprise the ornamental kitchen garden, or “potager,” pronounced, pot·a·ger as it is called by the French.”
In short, A Tasteful Place is a productive working garden that is also visually beautiful, drawing on European gardening principals and artful arrangement.
“The Potager Gardens are a signature element of the development with in-season vegetables, herbs and flowers, planted ornamentally and interspersed with flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects,” Lendecker added.
It’s a fact these days that people want to eat food that’s been grown locally so this garden will teach visitors how to do that in a hands-on practical manner. Vegetables, fruit and herbs will also be used for daily tastings for visitors and the Dallas Arboretum’s restaurant and catering staff will use the food in dishes they prepare.
A Tasteful Place was made possible by a number of generous donors and was a collaborative effort of many alliances with individuals and groups around the city that support the Dallas Arboretum with both development and programming.
“The garden was developed as a living, learning, growing experience that will help guide people toward understanding how to prepare foods and eat more healthful,” Lendecker concluded.
Admission to A Tasteful Place is free with paid Dallas Arboretum garden admission.