Hodges Gardens - The Formal Gardens at Hodges Gardens
| Formal Gardens Gardens Map General Information Wild Azalea Trail
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Points of interest referenced by numbers on map:
- Petrified Tree: believed to be a tropical tree thousands of years old. Found while constructing the dam.
- Butterfly Garden: sponsored by the Southwest Louisiana Daylily Society and designated as an official display garden for the American Hemerocallis Society. Daylilies usually bloom throughout the month of May. The cottage flower garden in the center, which surrounds a gazebo that was built by the society, blooms year-round.
- Modern Rose Garden: hundreds of rose bushes are planted in this area which usually blooms late April through December.
- Herb Garden: sponsored by Ark-La-Tex Herb Society. Displays commonly used herbs for cooking and a selection of everlastings for drying.
- Island Beds: collection of annual flower beds, holly trees and sasanqua camellias. This area was renovated - pine trees removed and flower beds added - for bus visitors that often miss the formal gardens.
- Gift Shop: features a delightful variety of gifts for flower lovers and souvenirs of Hodges Gardens. Open year-round.
- Circle Bed: large three-tiered display bed with a fountain in the center. This is one of the two largest flower beds in the garden.
- 10 Foot Walk: true to its name, this walkway is ten feet wide. This pathway is wider than all the others because it was used for the main tramway that carried rock out of the quarry.
- Natural Scenic Area (or North Gardens): paved pathways and bridges lead visitors through a garden in the rough as nature would have intended. No earth moving was done to create this shade garden of streams, huge ravines, native azaleas, dogwoods, lily of the valley shrubs, plum leaf azaleas, daffodils and other spring blooming bulbs.
- High Waterfall: one of the three major waterfalls, the "High" waterfall is 23 feet tall and makes a beautiful picture spot. The water is recycled from the lake and run by electricity.
- Mr. A.J. Hodges' Bust: Hodges Gardens founder was a self-made millionaire from Cotton Valley, Louisiana. The unfinished gardens opened informally in 1956, were dedicated in 1959 and put into the nonprofit foundation in 1960. Mr. Hodges' daughter, Frances Smitherman, explained the reason for the informal opening. "When the wrought iron gates were erected rumors began to fly. There was talk of buried treasure or possibly uranium being discovered." The gates were opened early to dispel the rumors.
- Double Staircase Bed: a favorite spot for weddings, this staircase joins the lower level to the main level of the Gardens.
- Camellia Garden: was one of the first areas Mr. Hodges planted. Most of the shrubs were bought from the famous William's Nursery in Forest Hill, Louisiana. Hundreds of camellia bushes represent many different varieties of camellias. Sweet olive trees top this garden.
- St. Francis of Assisi: a statue of the patron saint of animals stands watch over the camellias and azaleas.
- Mirror Beds: was originally a large reflecting pool which was later changed to flower beds. These beds are usually planted as mirror images of each other.
- Azalea Hill: a large rock hill covered with Southern Indica hybrid azaleas (formosa). These fuscia pink azaleas are usually at their peak during the first two weeks of April.
- Cascade Waterfall: tumbles into a large pool where Victorian water lilies fill the water each summer. Terraced beds on each side of the waterfall are planted with flowering annuals throughout the year.
- End of the 10 Foot Walk: a huge Ginkgo (maiden hair) tree provides spectacular fall color, hydrangeas provide mounds of summer color along with annuals, and azaleas abound in spring.
- Lookout Tower: a panoramic view of the 10 foot walk, and the lake beyond. This is the highest point in the Formal Gardens.
- Old Fashion Garden: Kitty Simpson, a good friend of Mr. Hodges and Regional Editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine, made many contributions to the planning, development, and promotion of Hodges Gardens. Her love of old roses inspired the addition of the Old Fashion Rose Garden. The Old Fashion's first show was in May of 1960 with about 90 varieties of old roses putting forth delicate blooms and heady fragrances. This area is now a collection of modern roses, old shrub roses, climbers, tree roses and perennials.
- Lakeshore Stage: the open air shell is situated so that the Lake provides a backdrop for the stage and the audience can sit on the hill among the roses in the modern rose garden. A certificate of award was presented to Mr. Hodges by the Illuminating Engineering Society for the unique design of the band shell. Easter Sunrise Service is held here.
- Willow Point: a large fountain is the focal point of this garden where the roses, mixed with perennials and azaleas, reside along the water's edge.
- Observation Pier: once used as a dock for Tour Boat it now serves as an excellent spot to observe the expanse of the lake.
- Geyser: the geyser, located in the lake behind the stage, shoots a stream of water 70 feet up into the air.
- Skinny Parking Lot: a long narrow parking lot that has two entrances to the camellia garden in the Formal Gardens.
- Azalea / Camellia Overlook: this area overlooks the back of the Azalea Hill and a section of the camellia garden.
- Ferry Landing: an electric ferry boat carried A.J. Hodges from the Formal Gardens to his home on the Island.
- Ferry Landing Flower Bed: the most pictured flower bed in the Gardens (Cover of Louisiana Life, featured in Southern Living).
- Louisiana Irises: this bog garden, blooms in late April and early May.
- Lower Level Waterfall and Pools: these pools house our collection of water lilies and aquatic plants that bloom throughout the summer.
- Lighthouse: located in the lake across from the lower level waterfall.
- Arboretum: an experimental forest developed in the late 40's and early 50's to produce the sturdiest type of southern pines. This area also contains some hardwood trees, magnolias, and dogwoods. The wooded area consists of nearly two miles of unpaved, winding trails suitable for hiking and bike riding.
- Wild Azalea Overlook: graveled pathways lead back into part of the arboretum. These native azaleas, which were here when Mr. Hodges developed the area, have fragrant blooms in late March and early April.