Located an hour drive northwest from Houston in a convergence of 3 climate zones, is the spectacular private garden of John G. Fairey, artist and retired professor from Texas A&M. In 1971, he bought the original 7 acres as a countryside home in Hempstead, Texas. Throughout the years, Peckerwood Garden expanded into 39 acres filled with rare and unusual trees and plants from Mexico, Asia, Texas, and all over the U.S. The collection is known as "a living laboratory" and since 1998 the garden is open to the public on special "Open Days" or for scheduled group tours through The Garden Conservancy. From planted groves and dry desert-like gardens to lush overgrown woodlands, the designed space feels like a museum exhibition of unique and peculiar plants.
On a beautiful sunny Sunday in April, my mother and I booked a morning tour of Peckerwood Garden. The drive through the rolling countryside was relaxing and a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The consistent rains of spring gave a lush abundance to the land. Our guide, Steven Michael Ramirez, informed the group of the origin, uses, and landscape possibilities of just about every tree, shrub, cactus, or bloom along the path. Steven is a volunteer at the garden and a Fine Home & Garden Landscape Artist by trade.
Pinus pseudostrobus, Smooth-bark Mexican Pine
Quercus robur 'Pendula', weeping oak
Magnolia macrophylla, Big leaf Magnolia is the largest leaf and flower native to North America, delightful smell too!
Agave americana, Century Plant with a bloom stalk
Such a delightful journey through the trees. Everyone in the group was knowledgeable and impressed by the display of extraordinary specimens. Among the diversity were the commonly celebrated garden varieties.
Iris reticulata, Purple Iris
The tour is about an hour in length. Throughout the grounds are art installations and sculptures. John G. Fairey was an artist and an avid collector of both Mexican plants and Folk Art. He traveled to Mexico over one hundred times on plant expeditions. Although the Art exhibit was not open during our visit, I hope to return in the fall to see the seasonal colors and the Folk Art collection.
For more information on Peckerwood Garden Tours visit http://www.peckerwoodgarden.org