Photos and Story by Meda Kessler
Fort Worth’s Westover Hills neighborhood is the focus of this year’s Hidden Gardens tour. A brick cottage is surrounded by majestic trees, formal plantings and stone pathways.
We thought we were getting a jump on things when we toured a couple of the gardens that were to be featured on Historic Fort Worth’s Hidden Gardens tour for 2020.
This was back in early October of 2019; the lawns of the Westover Hills homes we previewed were green and the gardens were lush.
Fast-forward through the social distancing months of COVID-19, which prompted HFW to cancel the 2020 spring tour, and then the February 2021 ice storm, which had everyone worried about what shape the gardens would be in for this year’s spring tour.
Homeowners and organizers pushed the event once again, but gardeners and lovers of outdoor spaces will be rewarded for their patience.
The five original homes are back on this month’s tour and ready for their close-ups. “We’re so fortunate that everyone remained positive and agreed to be on the fall tour,” says Gail Landreth, a board member at Historic Fort Worth.
What to expect? Stops include a storybook cottage with beautiful stone pathways ambling down to the backyard through vine-covered terraces and a second-story outdoor covered living room with a vaulted ceiling, a fireplace and plush furnishings. There’s also a rustic treehouse in the large backyard.
An Italianate home is packed with details starting with a fountain at the front steps, which lead to an expansive courtyard entrance with a dramatic arched entryway. A tall mosaic-tiled wall sits inside a long tree-lined runnel filled with friendly koi. A rill fountain along a side-yard path features handmade tiles doubling as water spouts set into the backsplash.
The outdoor “rooms” are designed for entertaining or quiet repose, complete with fireplaces.
The three other tour stops include a 1930s home with a sweeping front lawn, water fountains and parterre gardens; a contemporary build with covered outdoor living spaces, lots of trees and natural landscaping; and a neoclassical house framed by large oak trees, a tiled fountain and symmetrical landscaping including flower beds surrounded by boxwoods.
Our best advice? Put on your comfortable shoes and prepare to be inspired.
Hidden Gardens of Fort Worth Tour This one-day tour gives ticket holders a look at courtyards, gardens, patios and pools in the Westover Hills neighborhood. (You’ll receive locations upon purchase of your ticket.) Proceeds go to help HFW’s mission of preservation and education; funds are critical at this time, as hospital construction has temporarily closed public tours of Thistle Hill, the historic cattle baron mansion. This year’s honoree is Louella “Lou” Martin, whose Fort Worth ancestors trace back to the 1870s. She and Nick Martin, her late husband, were generous benefactors of Texas Wesleyan University, and Lou continues to be a major supporter of Cook Children’s Medical Center. Ticket options include the Oct. 8 Patron Evening Sunset Tour & Dinner and/or the Oct. 10 Sunday tour. Find more information and purchase tickets for the rain-or-shine event at historicfortworth.org.