Due to the deep freeze with zero temperatures that Texas just experienced, we may not see as many azaleas, camellias, and roses blooming during spring 2021 as we have in recent years. That said, this and every year, Texans and visitors to the Lone Star State can expect to see deciduous azaleas, wisteria, tulips, spirea, ornamental pears, dogwoods, redbuds, and crabapples in bloom. Please show your support by visiting these famous gardens and azalea trails that Texans love — and know that they are resilient and will thrive along with Mother Nature’s help.
A Note On Texas Azaleas: “Most azaleas are subtropical plants, and the best we may see is 15 to 20 percent of normal blooms,” according to insight Texas A and M AgriLife Extension horticulturist Greg Grant shared on the Rambling Roses podcast, hosted by Visit Tyler.
Greg is optimistic about our azaleas bouncing back, and if they don’t, you can replace them. East Texas nurseries have survived the freeze, a lesson learned from the 1980s when the entire South suffered devastating losses of replacement plants. We are watching blooming reports in progress and wholeheartedly recommend these Texas azalea and flower experiences.
1. Dallas Arboretum
You could spend an entire day at the Dallas Arboretum, strolling and oohing and aahing at the beautiful spring flowers, garden after garden. Since the topic is azaleas, explore the Margaret Elizabeth Jonsson Color Garden, six and a half acres of large blankets of lavishly blooming azaleas, tulips, and daffodils. The Palmer Fern Dell within the Color Garden boasts the perfect misty, shady environment where azaleas, ferns, camellias, and many other shade-loving perennials and shrubs thrive.
Pro Tip: Make reservations through the fall for the Seated Tea; weekday seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. make for a fabulous way to top off your day. Set amid the beautifully renovated DeGolyer Tea Room, enjoy the three-course tea menu created by Chef James Sparks of Gil’s Elegant Catering.
2. Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden
The most expansive azalea garden in Texas with blankets of gorgeous hues of pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, and white, enjoy the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden located on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches.
Download the Azalea Trail 2021 Brochure (PDF), which includes a map of the 11-acre Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, with more than a mile of trails winding beneath tall pines, plus the Southern Indica Trail, Evergreen Azalea Trail, and Fashion Azalea Trails highlighted below. These three trails total 25 miles of driving routes through beautifully landscaped residential areas. Each path starts at the Visitor Center near the Nacogdoches Fire Museum.
If you wish to walk the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, start at the north or west entrance and follow the signs noting over 8,500 flowering azaleas, camellias, ornamental trees, and shrubs.
Pro Tips: Watch for dates to be announced for the Little Princess Tea Party at the Mize Azalea Garden with treats, fairy gardens, magic, and merriment.
3. The Southern Indica Trail
The eight-mile Southern Indica Trail featuring Indica azaleas leads you past the Durst-Taylor Historic House and Garden, the second oldest building in town. The Stone Fort Museum is a replica of the 1779 military fort. Plus, you’ll see the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot and the Old University Building, dating back to 1859. This trail starts at the Visitor Center near the Nacogdoches Fire Museum and is marked on this map (PDF).
4. The Evergreen Azalea Trail
The Evergreen Azalea Trail winds nine miles along the evergreen azaleas. It steers you by the Mast Arboretum and Oak Grove Cemetery, the final resting place of Thomas Jefferson Rusk, judge, statesman, Sam Houston’s secretary of war, and the signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and three other notable signers. This trail starts at the Visitor Center near the Nacogdoches Fire Museum and is marked on this map (PDF).
5. The Fashion Azalea Trail
Follow the eight-mile-long Fashion Azalea Trail that leads you past the Gayla-Mize Garden with walking trails and many native plants and Demonstration Garden, featuring a butterfly garden, azaleas, and camellias. Zion Hill Baptist Church, which you’ll pass on this trail, is home to one of the oldest African American Baptist congregations in Texas. This trail starts at the Visitor Center near the Nacogdoches Fire Museum and is marked on this map (PDF).
6. Tyler Dobbs Trail And The Lindsey Trail
The Azaleas and Spring Flower Trails in Tyler (hosted this year March 19 to April 4) boast a floral wonderland of blooming azaleas, dogwoods, tulips, and daffodils, and later in April, you’ll see roses all over the city. For maps of the trails, download Tyler’s 62nd Azalea and Spring Flower Trail Brochure (PDF) here.
Tyler hosts two azalea trails: The Tyler Dobbs Trail and The Lindsey Trail, both named after streets. Each route is about 10 miles long, winding different paths through the beautiful Azalea National Historic District.
Begin your exploration on the downtown square and head south on Broadway Avenue. Watch for the signs inviting you to enter private backyards to see the landscapes. National magazines feature many of these gardens. Watch for the Azalea Belles, young ladies dressed in Antebellum period clothing attending some of the parks.
7. Tyler Pyron Garden
At 212 W Dobbs, the Pyron Garden is a private backyard garden with beautifully landscaped azaleas, tulips, and roses created by Guy Pyron. Unfortunately, he passed in March of 2020, but his garden lives on.
8. Ina Brundrett Azalea Garden
Don’t miss the Ina Brundrett Azalea Garden on the Tyler Junior College campus near the duck pond and west of the Tyler Museum of Art. You’ll discover many types of azaleas, including the newer everblooming Encore varieties.
More Things To Do In Tyler
Goodman-LeGrand House and Museum is a delight for antique lovers with original furnishings, history, and memorabilia that will take you back to the mid-1800s.
Roseland Plantation tours are available by appointment only. Enjoy guided tours, afternoon tea, and the Cherokee Rose Cabin.
Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon House is open for tours on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 pm.
Historic Tyler Tours are available May 22 and 23, 2021, and a Candlelight party will be hosted on May 21.
9. Jasper Azalea Festival
Visit the Jasper County Courthouse Square in March for azalea blooms and an eclectic mix of activities, including live music, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo. Named for Sgt. William Jasper, a hero of the American Revolution, the town square features the courthouse constructed in 1889. You will also find two bed and breakfasts, antique shops, murals, the old county jail, art galleries, and outdoor art sculptures.
Pro Tip: Stay at the 1910 Belle-Jim Hotel, featuring home-style meals and cozy rooms with small-town hospitality for families or individuals.
10. McFaddin-Ward House Historic Museum
Find colorful azalea blooms at the historic McFaddin-Ward House in Beaumont, constructed in 1906. Enjoy self-guided audio tours of the home, carriage house, and gardens for those age eight and older. Stow purses and bags in the complimentary lockers in the visitor center.
11. Beaumont Botanical Gardens
See more blankets of beautiful azaleas at the Beaumont Botanical Gardens, a 23-acre garden located within the 500 acres of Tyrrell Park. Stroll the paved walkway connecting the gardens showcasing camellias, azaleas, roses, bromeliads, and many native plants and wildflowers. The Warren Loose Conservatory within the gardens is the second largest conservatory in a public park in Texas. You’ll see koi ponds, waterfalls, rain forests, tropical areas, and fancy goldfish with beautiful water lily blooms.
12. Oaks Historic District
Beaumont’s Oaks Historic District is the largest historic district in Texas, located in downtown Beaumont. You’ll find many historic homes with streets lined with tall oak trees and plenty of azaleas.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Oyster Nachos at J. Wilson’s, a cornmeal-crusted gulf oyster served on a crispy corn tortilla chip with pickled Fresno chilies, pesto aioli, and corn salsa, a perfect appetizer bite.
13. River Oaks Garden Club
Every other year, Houston’s River Oaks Garden Club organizes the Azalea Tour, and the next organized tour is scheduled for March 2022. That said, you can drive through River Oaks to see beautiful azaleas without a formal tour.
14. Bayou Bend Gardens
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is the Houston Museum of Fine Arts’s house museum for American decorative arts and paintings. Displayed in the home of Houston civic leader Ima Hogg (1882-1975), the collection showcases American furnishings, paintings, silver, and ceramics.
In the 1920s, Ima Hogg decided to experiment with azaleas at Bayou Bend, and she ordered a few Omurasaki varieties from a local nursery, planting them with peat moss and some other soil mixtures that allowed the azaleas to thrive. The following year, she ordered 250 more azaleas. Miss Hogg landscaped the gardens at Bayou Bend even before the house was under construction. She dreamed of opening her gardens to the public as Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama, had opened in 1932. This year is the 55th anniversary of Bayou Bend’s opening to the public, and it is one of my favorite azalea gardens.
Rienzi, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts’s house museum for European decorative arts, is located on four acres of wooded azalea gardens in the historic River Oaks neighborhood. Formerly the home of philanthropists Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, the house opened to the public in 1999. It is situated about two miles from Bayou Bend.
Pro Tip: While in Houston, visit one of Macaron by Patisse’s three locations. Gluten-free macarons by the dozen are available in various flavors, plus gelato by the scoop or in pints to go. Yum! You can also join a Macaron virtual livestream cooking class.
Please support these picturesque azalea gardens and trails. They need your visit now more than ever. Note that the farther south you travel, the more you are likely to see prolific blooms.
More Pro Tips
Download the app Visit Nac for planning and trip information to Nacogdoches. Download the app EGuide Tyler for events and things to do in Tyler. You can download Beaumont Events for something to do in Beaumont. Also, find the app 365 Things to Do in Houston.
For more wildflower inspiration, consider The Most Beautiful Dogwood And Azalea Trails In East Texas, 10 Tips For Experiencing Lafayette, Louisiana’s Historic Azalea Trail, and 7 Best Towns In Texas To See Fields Of Bluebonnets.