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Bayou Bend Gardens in Houston: Former Home of Miss Ima Hogg

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Cleo Garden at Bayou Bend in Houston

Cleo Garden at Bayou Bend in Houston

Beautiful Mansion and Gardens

Bayou Bend Gardens, as well as the mansion called Bayou Bend, is now a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and is available to tour year-round.

If one is seeking attractions in Houston and happens to be there in the springtime when the Azalea Trail is on the schedule, be sure to visit this grand dame of locations and take your camera! You will walk away with the most beautifully colorful pictures!

Azalea Trail

Each year in early March, Bayou Bend Gardens and many other gorgeous home gardens are open to the public. For the price of a ticket, one can freely wander the pristine grounds and admire the brilliant colors of azaleas that mingle amidst the other well-tended landscape plantings. These homes on the Azalea Trail are large and elegant, as are the yards and gardens. That is certainly the case with Bayou Bend!

Above all, be prepared to be wearing good and comfortable walking shoes because one is sure to get some exercise on those days! Walking from a car to the entrance to the gardens can be quite a hike depending upon how many people are coming and going in their vehicles at the time of one's visit.

The Azalea Trail in Houston is an annual affair that is eagerly anticipated each year by residents and visitors alike. We have wandered the spectacular grounds on many occasions with different friends as well as out of town guests.

Open Year-Round

Bayou Bend Gardens are opened to the public almost year-round.

The photos here are from one of their free family days except for one at the top of this page. February 19, 2017, was one such day. Children and their families filled the grounds. Entertainment on the grounds included music, educational demonstrations, craft workshops, and more.

Many of the children were playing on the large open lawn areas to the back of the mansion. The weather was perfect for such a day, reaching a high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hogg Family

Ima Hogg had three brothers, and her father had been a former Attorney General as well as Governor of Texas. Miss Hogg never married, although she had plenty of suitors over the years.

The family was well off financially. When oil was discovered on their Varner plantation, the children then became extraordinarily wealthy. They decided to share their money and resources with others who had not had that good fortune.

The Hogg brothers were responsible for developing River Oaks. Many of the wealthy individuals initially chose to settle in River Oaks back in the days when Houston, Texas, was still relatively small in the 1920s. It remains a grand and impressive site today.

Bayou Bend Now a Museum

Due to the philanthropy of Ima Hogg, commonly called the "First Lady of Texas," the Bayou Bend Collection, which consists of a large home plus 14.5 acres (5.9 ha), has become a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. It opened to the public in 1966. Since that time, a grand visitor and educational center have been added to the grounds.

Noted architect John Staub was chosen to design Ima Hogg's mansion, which was named Bayou Bend. Buffalo Bayou runs through the property and makes a bend, thus the appropriate name.

After Miss Hogg moved into Bayou Bend, she furnished it with her sizeable international art collection and American furniture collection. When Ima Hogg decided to move out and donate her Houston estate to the MFAH, she often sat on the back veranda during the Azalea Trail. She seemed to enjoy the crowds of people wandering the grounds.

After touring the gardens, visitors could then walk through the ground floor of Bayou Bend. Docents would point out some of the rare pieces in the roped-off rooms as people made their way from the back to the front of the mansion where they exited. Miss Hogg was quite the lady! I remember my grandmother speaking to her on one of those Azalea Trails many years ago. She was very gracious to those who recognized her and conversed with her.

Legacy of Miss Ima Hogg

Miss Ima Hogg has left quite a legacy behind her!

  • First of all, she helped to establish the Houston Symphony. Miss Hogg personally studied music as well as art and loved both.
  • Secondly, her Hogg Foundation supports mental health and also some graduate students who eventually work in that field of endeavor. She was not only interested in mental health, but also disdained racial or gender inequalities
  • Another example is the Child Guidance Center in Houston, which also originated because of her efforts.
  • Miss Ima Hogg at one time helped advise on the furnishings for our nation's White House!
  • Finally, her donations of art to our fine arts museum far exceed what is within Bayou Bend. There are collections of art named after the Hoggs.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

— Maya Angelou

Location

The location of Bayou Bend, which is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, is here: 6003 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77007.

Those of us who live in Houston, Texas, bears much evidence of this generous lady's philanthropy throughout her lifetime and now long into the future. Click below for hours and admission prices to Bayou Bend.

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.

— Elizabeth Murray.

Sources:

MFAH Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Ima Hogg

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 15, 2020:

Hi Paula,

That is a coincidence that you had all of those similarities between your two families. I do not remember her as a writer on this site. That is not too unusual because of the numbers of writers here.

Suzie from Carson City on April 14, 2020:

Yes, Peggy,we are always interested when we come upon information like this. I sent them your article and am waiting to hear their thoughts.

I don't know if you remember a hubber named Julie Hogg, from England. I don't recall her Profile user name at the moment She may have left her account in tact, I'd need to search for it.

I made it a point to correspond with her & we became fairly familiar with one another. As far as strange coincidences go.....she & her husband, "Stephen" (my son's middle name is Stephen....same spelling) have one daughter, a cute blonde, blue-eyed (Teen, at the time) named "Jane."......Well, if you can believe this or not.....my son & daughter-in-law have 3 boys and ONE blonde, blue-eyed daughter named.............JANE!! That blew both Julie and I away!

Crazy, huh? LOL

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 14, 2020:

Hi Paula,

That is interesting that your late husband and two boys share that same last name of Hogg. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 14, 2020:

Hi Linda,

Yes, Ima Hogg left an excellent legacy for those of us who live here in Houston or visitors to our fine city.

Suzie from Carson City on April 14, 2020:

Peggy......You always give us wonderful articles to read. This one is especially interesting to me. My late husband & father of my first 2 sons was a "Hogg." Although they claimed to be of German descent, and I have no reason to doubt them, all my research on that surname, places the name as "Scottish" origin.

Learning about Miss Ima is quite fascinating to me and I'm eager to send your article to my boys.

She was quite the lady and certainly left an impressive legacy. The Gardens are exquisite. Thank you for this wonderful article, Peggy.

Cheers, Paula

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

Ima Hogg was a generous philanthropist and we Houstonians are the beneficiaries of her largess. Yes, the world can always use more people like her!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 13, 2020:

This looks like a lovely place to explore, especially in spring. Ima Hogg certainly left a great legacy. It sounds like she was a very kind person.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

Springtime is a beautiful time to visit the Bayou Bend because of all the azaleas in bloom. It is beautiful year-round, however.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 13, 2020:

The Bayou Bend Gardens are beautiful. Azaleas are one more of my favorite flowering bushes. The history of the Hogg family is interesting, we need more people in the world like her. Thanks again for sharing another part of Houston.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 13, 2020:

The gardens are absolutely beautiful and I like the sculptures, especially the one of the children. The Dogwood tree and the azalias are beautiful. The mansions also is gorgeous with spectacular architecture.

Spring is a wonderful time to visit this gorgeous place.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2020:

Hi Bill,

My mother, niece, and I visited Butchart Gardens many years ago. It is a beauty!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2020:

Hi Liz,

The gardens at Bayou Bend are spectacular, as is the mansion. Most of the stately mansions in this part of Houston also have beautiful gardens, but not all of them are as large as this one.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 13, 2020:

Beautiful place! If you ever make it to Victoria in British Columbia, go to Butchart Gardens. You would find it spectacular!

Liz Westwood from UK on April 12, 2020:

What beautiful gardens, all displayed to good effect in your fascinating article. The landscaping reminds me of some stately home gardens in the UK.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Had her last name not been Hogg, the name Ima would not have been that unusual for the time. She was a beautiful woman and a philanthropist who left behind a great legacy.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 12, 2020:

That poor woman. I feel so bad for her being named Ima Hogg. What a cruel joke to play on a child. The house and grounds are immaculate and a real legacy. Texas certainly owes the rich spinster a debt of gratitude.