River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail Grows
By Jake Gaines
Photography courtesy of Azalea Trail
THE SCENE: Patrons of the River Oaks Garden Club turned a new leaf this year at the 81st Annual Azalea Trail Home & Garden Tour. The attendees turned out in fancy hats and pretty parasols for the three-day weekend of cocktail parties, a ribbon cutting ceremony with designer Charlotte Moss and Jane Scott Hodges, founder of Leontine Linens New Orleans, and chic tours of several Houston homes. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, whose Bayou Bend Gardens and Rienzi Museum benefitted from the event, will use the proceeds to maintain their grounds for years to come.
THE VIBE: Rain or shine, the gardens are a sight to see. From pre-war mansions to cutting edge contemporary abodes, the homes of the trail offered a feast of florals and a showcase of interior design for a sophisticated palate. Visitors were treated to sprays of orchids, water features, and lush lawns bordered by roses, magnolias, camellias, boxwood hedges, and yes, thousands of azaleas. The icon of the tour, the azalea, bloom fully each spring in Houston and flourish in varying shades of pink, purple, white, red, and yellow. This year a true walking trail with complimentary trollies between St. John the Divine Church campus and Bayou Bend added to the festivities, along with a James Coney Island food truck and Crave cupcakes
THE CAUSE: The River Oaks Garden Club was founded in 1927 and has made many contributions to the Houston community in the areas of conservation, horticulture and civic beautification. Proceeds from this year’s Azalea Trail funds raised $560,000 to support the Bayou Bend Gardens Endowment; the annual Sadie Gwin Blackburn Environmental Seminar; and maintenance of Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and River Oaks Garden Club Forum of Civics Building and Gardens. The gardens are open to the public.