Bayou Bend Gardens | Former Home of Ima Hogg…now MFAH
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Bayou Bend Gardens
Bayou Bend is now a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and can be toured year round.
However, if one is seeking attractions in Houston and happen to be here in the springtime when the Azalea Trail is being conducted, be sure to visit this grand dame of locations.
Be sure to take your camera! You will walk away with the most beautiful of colorful pictures!
Each year in early March, Bayou Bend and many other gorgeous home gardens are opened to the public.
For the price of a ticket one can freely wander the pristine grounds and admire the brilliant colors of azaleas that are showcased amidst the other well tended landscape plantings.
These homes on the Azalea Trail are large and elegant as are the yards and gardens. That is surely the case with Bayou Bend!
Be prepared to be wearing good and comfortable walking shoes because one is certain to get some exercise on those days! Sometimes even walking from a car to the entrance to the gardens can be quite a hike depending upon how many people are coming and going in their vehicles at the time of one’s visit.
The Azalea Trail in Houston is an annual affair that is eagerly anticipated each year by residents and visitors alike. We have wandered through the spectacular grounds on many such occasions with different friends as well as out of town guests.
Bayou Bend and the magnificent gardens are opened to the public almost year round. All of the photos in this post were taken on one of their free family days with the exception of the two at the top of this page. February 19, 2017 was one such day.
We had a very warm winter this year and the azaleas are already colorful and resplendent. Many azaleas may still be in bloom during the Azalea Trail.
We decided to walk through the Bayou Bend Gardens last Sunday so we would be able to experience them in all their present glory.
The grounds were filled with children and their families. Music was being played. Entertainment on the grounds included educational demonstrations, craft workshops and more.
Many of the children were simply playing on the large open lawn areas to the back of the mansion. The weather was perfect for such a day reaching a high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Due to the philanthropy of Ima Hogg commonly called the “First Lady of Texas,” the Bayou Bend Collection which consists of a large home plus 14.5 acres (5.9 ha) has became a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. It opened to the public in 1966. Since that time a grand visitor and educational center has been added to the grounds.
Ima Hogg had 3 brothers and her father had been a former Attorney General as well as Governor of Texas. Miss Hogg never married although she had plenty of suitors over the years.
The family was well off financially. When oil was discovered on their Varner plantation, the children then became extremely wealthy and decided to share their money and resources with others who had not had that good fortune.
The Hogg brothers were responsible for developing River Oaks. Many of the wealthy individuals originally chose to settle in River Oaks back in the days when Houston, Texas was still relatively small in the 1920s. It remains a grand and impressive site today.
Noted architect John Staub was chosen to design Ima Hogg’s mansion which was named Bayou Bend. Buffalo Bayou runs through the property and actually makes a bend…thus the appropriate name.
After Miss Hogg moved into Bayou Bend she furnished it with her large international art collection and American furniture collection.
When Ima Hogg decided to move out and donate her Houston estate to the MFAH, she often sat on the back veranda during the Azalea Trail. She seemed to enjoy the crowds of people wandering the grounds.
After touring the gardens visitors could then walk through the ground floor of Bayou Bend. Docents would point out some of the rare pieces in the roped off rooms as people made their way from the back to the front of the mansion where they exited.
Miss Hogg was quite the lady! I remember my grandmother speaking to her on one of those Azalea Trails many years ago. She was very gracious to those who recognized her and conversed with her.
Miss Ima Hogg has left quite a legacy behind her!
She helped to establish the Houston Symphony. Miss Hogg personally studied music as well as art and obviously loved both.
Her Hogg Foundation supports mental health and some graduate students who eventually work in that field of endeavor.
Miss Ima Hogg at one time helped advise on the furnishings for our nation’s White House!
The Child Guidance Center in Houston was also originated because of her efforts. She was not only interested in mental health, but also disdained racial or gender inequalities.
Her donations of art to our fine arts museum far exceed what is contained within Bayou Bend. There are collections of art actually named after the Hogg’s.
Those of us who live in Houston, Texas bear much evidence of this generous lady’s philanthropy throughout her lifetime and now long into the future. Click here for hours and admission prices to Bayou Bend.
Location of Bayou Bend Gardens and the mansion which is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: 6003 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77007.