Photographs by ©Anne Marchand
Our holiday adventure was filled with views of the Ouachita Mountains near Hot Springs, Arkansas and the sweetness of visiting mom and dad. The night after Christmas, we visited a transformed Garvan Woodland Gardens. The magical light show reminded me of Diwali, the Festival of Lights in India. Hindus, Jains and Sikhs celebrate Diwali and use the occasion to celebrate life and strengthen relationships. Our stroll through the gardens was a similar celebration. I love a good metaphor and this enchanting display capped off a wonderful visit with family.
Over twenty acres of prime Garden real estate is transformed into a holiday wonderland, featuring a million plus lights, animated characters, and hand-made structures. "Holiday HIGHlights 2005". The seven-week festival of lights is enhanced with the addition of musical entertainment including choirs, quartets, vocalists, and instrumentalists.
Garvan Woodland Gardens is a dream of Verna Cook Garvan, described as a brilliant businesswoman by those acquainted with her, who realized she could not solely succeed in preserving her private woodland garden or provide an accessible place of repose for the people of Arkansas without help. In 1985 she donated the land under a trust agreement to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture. The U of A department of landscape architecture, a division of the School of Architecture, began the daunting task of documenting every plant species. Garvan Woodland Gardens is an example of The Natural State at its best: a canopy of pines reaching skyward providing protection for delicate flora and fauna, gentle lapping waves that unfold along the 4 ½ miles of wooded shoreline, and rocky inclines that remind us of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains. The Gardens are a beautifully crafted response to those who may have doubted one determined woman's vision for a world-class botanical garden.
Garvan Woodland Gardens
550 Arkridge Road - P.O. Box 22240
Hot Springs National Park, AR 71913
800-366-4664 • 501-262-9300