Take a Walk on the Wild-ly Colorful Side of Galveston

All photos by Diane Sitton.

Maybe it’s the angle of the sun or a nearly undetectable briskness in the island air this time of year – it’s hard to say – but Galveston gardens seem to glow in the fall.

Fortunately, this year is no exception. Despite Hurricane Harvey’s destructive impact on nearby Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast, Galveston remained relatively undamaged.

Photo: Don’t we all wish we could use crotons as shrubs like they do in Galveston!

Recently, the East End Historic District’s Fall Garden Tour showcased the island’s floral spectacle; an intermingling of croton, yellow bells, Mexican petunia, periwinkle, flowering vines, and other flamboyant bloomers with the grand Victorian “painted ladies” of Galveston’s Gilded Age.

Mexican petunia and hibiscus thrive in Galveston’s temperate climate.

Luckily for visitors to the island resort, the fall color show is likely to persist for weeks to come.

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To savor history along with the flowers, obtain an online copy of the East End Historic District’s Riding and Walking Tour. It details 125 structures within the designated 50-city-block area. Known for the ornate carvings, stained glass, and spacious porches that adorn its historic homes and businesses, the East End Historic District is a National Historic Landmark. It occupies a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, as well.

As visitors discover, the structures here reflect diverse architectural styles. The earliest home, an example of Greek Revival architecture, dates to the 1850s.

Some of the ornate wrought iron fences found in Galveston’s East End boast the same flamboyant color schemes as the historic houses.

On the other hand, the gardens celebrate the islanders’ individuality. They range from quaint cottage gardens to tropical poolscapes to shabby chic retreats. As you would expect, many landscapes carry beach themes, boasting seashells, fish, and other aquatic symbols. Several of the ornate wrought iron fences found along the tree-lined streets mimic the same striking color schemes found on the houses themselves.

Here, purple pairs with green, blue goes with orange, and flowers complement everything.

For more information: www.eastendhistoricdistrict.org (409-763-5928) or www.galveston.com.


And, as a Side Note – Tree Sculptures…

While strolling through the East End Historic District, look for the tree sculptures carved from some of the majestic oak trees that were lost during a former hurricane (Hurricane Ike, September 13, 2008.) A self-guided tour brochure lists more than 20 tree sculptures in the East End Historic District, as well as others on the island. Although some carvings are tucked into back gardens, others are nestled in side yards, and many others stand front and center beside gates and sidewalks. A dolphin, mermaid, Tall Ship Elissa figurehead, pelican, and island totem pole number among the subjects. (Shuttle bus tree sculpture tours available by calling 409-765-8687.)

The Great Dane on Sealy Street in Galveston’s East End Historic District is one of over 20 tree sculptures carved from trees lost during Hurricane Ike (9-13-08). The tree had grown around the fence at the spot where the dog’s paws grip the fence.

An intricate tree sculpture in the East End Historic District depicts dolphins, fish, and turtles.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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