Dallas Arboretum’s Blooms Chairs Await Visitors for Spring Festival 

(Featured photo: Dallas Blooms chairs Judith and John Umberger and Gary Chapman.)*

More than 500,000 spring-blooming flowers are highlight at Dallas Blooms: Great Contributors

The Dallas Arboretum volunteers are the backbone of the garden, providing close to 85,000 hours valued at more than $2.5 million in 2022. Three special volunteers, Gary Chapman and Judith and John Umberger, are taking on the additional role of serving as chairs for the Dallas Bloom spring festival from Feb. 25 to Apr. 16, themed Dallas Blooms: Great Contributors. They will be onsite helping guests and providing a friendly face for those who need assistance. 

Gary Chapman 

For Arboretum visitors who have ridden on a tram, chances are that Gary Chapman has driven them through the garden and shared its history and landmarks.  He said, “Kathy (his wife) and I have been members for a while, and I knew six months prior to retirement that I wanted to drive a tram.” A native Dallasite, Gary spent 45 years in the insurance industry before retiring in 2017. 

He added, “The best part of volunteering is getting to meet guests from all over the world. I enjoy giving tours to our guests that are only able to enjoy the Arboretum from a tram. Hopefully, I can help brighten someone’s day with a tour.”

About Dallas Blooms, Gary remarked, “I enjoy the beauty of the Arboretum at that time, but I really enjoy seeing how the colors change from week to week.  Also, I enjoy seeing how much our guests enjoy Blooms as well.”

In addition to driving his weekly tram, he is also chair-elect of the Volunteer Advisory Board (VAB) at the Arboretum and has served on the board. The VAB oversees the volunteers and plans special activities and socials. 

Living in Oak Cliff his entire life, Chapman has been married for 51 years to Kathy. They have two daughters and one granddaughter. When he’s not at the garden, Gary sings in his church choir at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. “I also enjoy cooking and even enjoy cleaning the kitchen afterward.” 

Judith and John Umberger

East Dallas couple Judith and John Umberger have volunteered for more than a year, tallying nearly 750 hours of service. Judith has a long history of being around gardens. Her dad was a horticulturist and served as the assistant director of the National Arboretum, the founding director of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the director of the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. 

Born in Washington, D.C., Judith grew up in Chicago. John is from Tennessee, and the couple met and graduated from The University of Tennessee. John spent 35 years as an engineer with ExxonMobil. His career took the family overseas before retirement. He now enjoys driving a tram and meeting people from around the globe who visit the Arboretum. 

Judith had a long career in education with both domestic and international assignments. Judith is trained as a DeGolyer docent, works the Children’s Adventure Garden information booth, provides tours of the Arboretum as an Event Guide and is a member-at-large for the VAB.  She said, “We both enjoy sharing the Arboretum with visitors. It’s good to be outside in a beautiful, happy place with interesting people.”

John remarked about Dallas Blooms, “We enjoy the brilliant color of the tulips especially after the drabness of winter.” 

Outside of the garden, Judith enjoys Aqua Fit, reads with a kindergartner at the local elementary school and shelves books at the library nearby. John golfs and writes a newsletter for their neighborhood association. The couple has three daughters and six grandchildren. 

The Dallas Arboretum is fortunate to have Gary Chapman, Judith and John Umberger as this year’s Dallas Blooms chairs. 

Joan of Arc by Gary Lee Price

Dallas Blooms: Great Contributors 

The Dallas Arboretum ushers in spring with the Southwest’s annual floral festival Dallas Blooms: Great Contributors from February 25 to April 16, 2023. Named by Southern Living as one of “The Best Places to See Stunning Spring Blooms Across the South,” Dallas Blooms, presented by Veritex Community Bank, features 500,000 spring blooming flowers from more than 120 varieties. Of that total, 350,000 are tulips, and the others are hyacinth and daffodils.

Back by popular demand is renowned sculptor Gary Lee Price, who returns with a new collection of Great Contributors realistic bronze statues displayed alongside the flowers, hundreds of Japanese cherry trees and thousands of azaleas. Joining the resident sculpture of William Shakespeare are eight additional statues: Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Ruby Bridges, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. A fellow of the National Sculpture Society and recognized worldwide for his bold work lifting and celebrating the human spirit, Price makes his third appearance in the garden. On Dallas Blooms’ opening day—Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.—Price will sculpt in clay and talk about his work. This event is included with paid garden admission. 

Dallas Blooms also features an abundance of music, food and events throughout the garden. The festival includes the return of the Cool Thursdays Concerts series. On the weekends at noon and other select dates, guests can enjoy live and piano performances in Jeanne’s Pavilion. On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors can head to the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn – the perfect place to picnic – and listen to the sounds of North Texas’ best party bands. 

A Shakespeare Dallas appearance, a Window to the Wild bird show, garden markets and special events during holiday weekends add to the festival offerings. These include spring break (week of March 12), the 6th annual Food & Wine festival (March 23-25) and Easter weekend (April 7-9).  Mommy and Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays return for children with plenty of fun activities. Check the website and social media for the latest schedule.

A Tasteful Place:

In A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre potager garden inspired by the movement toward growing, preparing and eating fresh, sustainable, locally-grown food, there are plenty of demonstrations. These events listed below are included with paid garden admission.  

·      Daily: Samples of the vegetable of the month

·      Mondays: Dallas College Cooks Demonstrations at 11 a.m.

·      Tuesdays: Tasteful Tuesdays Floral Demonstrations at 11 a.m. and Chef Isabel Snetsinger at 1 p.m. with a cooking demonstration

·      Wednesdays: Chef-Tastic Cooking Demonstrations at 11 a.m. (check the website) 

·      Thursdays: Daily Harvest demonstration at 11 a.m. See how to harvest the season’s ripest produce and ask gardening questions.

·      Fridays: Learn to Grow Fridays with Master Gardeners, the Dallas Arboretum Horticultural Staff and local experts at 11 a.m. 

There are also paid workshops and cooking classes of all kinds for child and parent/caregiver, couples and individuals. For the latest, visit https://www.dallasarboretum.org/visitor-information/gardens-and-pavilions/a-tasteful-place/

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden:

Reopened for the spring, the nationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden features 17 indoor/outdoor galleries, 150 interactive science games and daily events and activities of themed adventures throughout the Dallas Blooms festival. The Children’s Adventure Garden is open daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. For a full list of upcoming events and activities, visit www.dallasarboretum.org/childrensadventuregarden


Tickets, which range from $12 to $20, are required and can be purchased online at www.dallasarboretum.org or by calling 214-515-6615. Parking is $11 purchased online or $15 at the gate. For the latest information, visit www.dallasarboretum.org/blooms

Special Day Discounts: 

Discounts include BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) on Wednesdays (except for March 15) and CC Young Senior Living Thursdays (those who are 65 years and older receive discounted admission and 20% off in the Gift Store). 


Presenting Sponsor: Veritex Community Bank

Additional Sponsors: CC Young, Dallas Public Tourism Improvement District, Texas Telcom Credit Union

Media Sponsors: The Dallas Morning News, WFAA, Channel 8

About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The garden is also home of the nationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Daytime festival admission is $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 65 and older, $12 for children 2-12, and free for Arboretum members and children under two. Parking is $11 purchased online.  The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum.  The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA, Channel 8 is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum.  For more information, visit www.dallasarboretum.org

*Photos courtesy the Dallas Arboretum

(This Philanthropy Lifestyles eBuzz courtesy the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.)


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.