Turning Shovels on New Arboretum Garden

Sheffie Kadane, Steve Coke, Mary Brinegar, Nancy Rutchik, and Dwaine Caraway prepare to turn some sod. — Photo by William Porter

By Bruce Felps

City dignitaries, Dallas Arboretum officials, and the guest of honor, Nancy Rutchik, yesterday broke ground on the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill at the Arboretum.

The maple garden comes as a gift from Rutchik to the Arboretum to go with the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage, site of the annual Cool Thursdays concert series.

According to a press release from the Arboretum, “The Rill, a beautifully landscaped brook, will complete the original master plan design for the concert lawn and stage that was commissioned and funded by Mrs. Rutchik in honor of her late husband, Martin Rutchik.”

Yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony attracted Dallas Mayor-for-the-time-being Dwaine Caraway, District 9 City Councilman Sheffie Kadane, Arboretum President Mary Brinegar, Arboretum Chairman Steve Coke, and designer Rowland Jackson of Newman, Jackson, Bieberstein.

The main design elements of the new 2-acre garden include a new entry off the paseo and a large gathering plaza that overlooks a recirculating creek with waterfalls that terminate at the base of the hill in a large pond.

A series of paved walkways connect all the spaces and gardens. The area also features a stone bridge that will cross the stream about halfway down the hill connecting the concert lawn to the Magnolia Allée.

The arboreal collection consists of more than 80 varieties of 200 signature Japanese maples planted up and down the new stream with an understory planting beneath the canopy. A large weeping Japanese maple nearly 100 years old will anchor the center of the garden area.

Contributing photographer William Porter, who operates William Porter Photography, snapped a few images from the day’s proceedings. He said about 100 people turned out for the suits-and-shovels event.

Arboretum officials project the maple garden to be completed during the fall.

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