Stop and Smell the Flowers

By Jamie Rhein

In 1926, industrial giant Charles Kelley King began construction on his 47-acre gentleman’s pastoral estate complete with lush gardens. King later bequeathed his beloved home to the public to enjoy. Today, Kingwood Center Gardens is a botanical garden and horticulture showcase.

A stroll along walkways winding through terraced landscapes and flower beds will rejuvenate your soul. Blooms range from pastel shades to neon hues. From seasonal tulip displays to the historic Formal Garden, there’s a horticulture lesson at every turn — plant markers depict common and scientific names.

Don’t miss the new Storybook Trail, where color pages of a picture book lead you through the woods on a literary adventure. Other paths lead to bubbling fountains, benches in hidden nooks and outdoor art. Feed the ducks in the pond and keep your eye out for the majestic peacocks that roam the park.

For a break from the sun, tour King’s French provincial mansion for a taste of 1920s splendor or wander the display greenhouse. At the new Garden Gateway Visitor Center, enjoy an indoor or outdoor dining experience at the Gateway Café. Browse the gift shop and learn more about the center’s history in the Exhibit Gallery showcasing “The Story of Kingwood.” Host your own event in the King Ballroom or Carriage House.

Over the years, new projects have added to King’s vision, but his guiding mission to “create exemplary gardens for enjoyment, education and inspiration” remains.