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For its April 18 meeting, Robson Ranch Garden Club members took a field trip to the lovely Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, Texas. We split into two groups, guided by two excellent docents, to tour the gardens and the Chandor home. We learned a great deal about the history of the property and its owners, Douglas and Ina Chandor.
Mr. Chandor, an Englishman who arrived in the U.S. in 1926, was one of the most famous portrait artists of his time, having painted hundreds of portraits of the “rich and famous,” including President Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Herbert Hoover, and Queen Elizabeth II. Several of his works are on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Douglas and Ina married in 1934 and settled in her hometown of Weatherford. Douglas immediately began designs for their home and garden, and planting began in 1936 on land given to the couple by Ina’s parents—cactus-covered caliche clay and cow pasture. The property was transformed and quickly received attention as a special and serene garden. Douglas found gardening to be a natural extension of his talent as a skilled painter, creating seven connected garden rooms using both English and Chinese styles.
The gardens flourished until Douglas’ sudden death in 1953. Ina continued to live on the property, opening the gardens to the public. After her death in 1978, the cherished gardens were abandoned and neglected for the next 16 years. Luckily, the estate was rescued in 1994 by Melody and Chuck Bradford of Aledo, Texas, as they stepped in to purchase it. They couple recalled visiting the gardens as children—long before they met—and were saddened at the gardens’ demise. They lovingly restored the home and gardens at great cost. In 2002 the City of Weatherford acquired the property to be enjoyed by the public. The gardens once more delight visitors with its intimate charm. In 2014 the gardens and home were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, see www.chandorgardens.com.
Coming up in May: May marks the end of our club year as we take a three-month break and start up again in September. We leave the best for last with our Robson Ranch Garden Tour! On Monday, May 16, Garden Club members will enjoy touring several Robson Ranch gardens as owners generously put on display their yards and colorful gardens. This is a special treat for Garden Club members. Stay tuned for more information.
For questions or additional information, contact Erminja Maganja at [email protected] or 916-804-5551.