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Host Garden Parties Indoor or Out at These 3 Public Gardens

By Reyna Gobel

AS TEMPERATURES WARM, where else would anyone want to be other than a garden party? However, in Texas, we have weather that may prevent a stop to smell the roses because a thunderstorm hits the area. To make your clients happy by providing a lovely outdoor setting while still accommodating potential weather, here are three public gardens with indoor spaces.

Clark Gardens, Weatherford

Located within an hour drive of a majority of the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, Clark Gardens offers an outdoor setting that’s convenient while still giving the feel and functionality of a retreat location.

Chelsea Brookshire, director of events at Clark Gardens, boasts about the versatility of a location with outdoor areas that can easily be transformed for black-tie, full-dress galas or casual lawn games. The difference is normally in how the gardens are accessorized. For instance, a black-tie event may feature a string quartet with the gardens as a backdrop, while lawn games only require potato sacks for sack races. Corporate team-building exercises are a specialty. Often, breaks are taken to go fishing on property. During the fall, teams build scarecrows and then prizes are awarded such as a garden membership that works at any botanical garden across the country.

What happens when the weather changes? Events can be moved to, for instance, the East Tent with chandeliers and formal white drapes. While a variety of chair and table options and arrangements are available, Brookshire is partial to gold chiavari chairs. Tax and gratuity isn’t charged, she says, reducing event costs.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Home to the largest floral festival in the Southwest, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is one of the best places to enjoy a day among the roses, magnolias and crape myrtles. Anyone who is part of an event gets free admission for the day to wander through the gardens.

There are four areas that can be rented for events: Rosine Hall, Alex Camp House, DeGolyer Estate and the Sewell Board Room. Rosine Hall has floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the 6.5-acre Johnson Color Garden with azaleas and crepe myrtle trees. The room seats 250 at round tables and 500 theater-style. The Alex Camp House is one of the more convenient locations for outdoor events because of the private entrance with a circular driveway for valet parking. The Degoyler Estate is an event unto itself: a Spanish mansion with more than 20,000 square feet, of which half can be used for entertaining. Every inch is decorated with 1940s furniture and accents. In all facilities, tables and chairs are included.

What happens if it rains and you choose to book a terrace or other outdoor location? “We hope that it won’t,” says Missy Whisler, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s vice president of sales, “but we will make sure you know in advance your options if it does and try to put you in the best venue, based on the event size, to avoid any issues with weather.”

For nonprofit organizations, special rates are offered. A few fun party ideas offered by Whisler: “Wine tastings, concert night parties, game show team-building activities, scavenger hunts and tea parties.”

Zilker Botanical Gardens, Austin

Zilker Botanical Gardens has as much of a natural-history-museum feel as it is a force of all things Texas nature and history. Your event attendees can stroll by waterfalls, streams and dinosaur bones before passing by rose beds. Of particular interest is the Doug Blachly Butterfly Trail and Garden. Austin is known for being along a pathway where butterflies migrate. This special garden features an array of plants that appeal to butterflies, giving them a resting stop along their journey through Texas.

When your attendees are ready to enjoy the event you planned, they’ll migrate towards The Garden Center Greene Room or Auditorium. Both spaces are housed in the same building and can be rented simultaneously for large events. The auditorium seats can accommodate 130 for receptions. The Green Room can seat up to 24 or be used for buffet-style service. Planners can bring their own caterers, and bartenders must be certified. Rectangular tables and chairs are available.

While this isn’t a location with a wide variety of event space options, it is beautiful and convenient for businesses located near the Texas State Capitol.