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

Updated on April 16, 2020
Peggy W profile image

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 | Source

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!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Walkway through the gardensBeautiful landscapingA walkway through the gardensApproaching the front of the estateFront view of Bayou Bend from the lawn areaWalkway through the gardensPhoto of azaleasUrn not yet planted for the season Sculpture in the gardens
Walkway through the gardens
Walkway through the gardens | Source
Beautiful landscaping
Beautiful landscaping | Source
A walkway through the gardens
A walkway through the gardens | Source
Approaching the front of the estate
Approaching the front of the estate | Source
Front view of Bayou Bend from the lawn area
Front view of Bayou Bend from the lawn area | Source
Walkway through the gardens
Walkway through the gardens | Source
Photo of azaleas
Photo of azaleas | Source
Urn not yet planted for the season
Urn not yet planted for the season | Source
Sculpture in the gardens
Sculpture in the gardens | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beautiful landscapingLandscaping with fountainPartial view of the back of mansion & yard at Bayou BendFountain and backyardArched Doorway Wisteria starting to bloom Bayou Bend Gardens Petrified Wood in the gardens
Beautiful landscaping
Beautiful landscaping | Source
Landscaping with fountain
Landscaping with fountain | Source
Partial view of the back of mansion & yard at Bayou Bend
Partial view of the back of mansion & yard at Bayou Bend | Source
Fountain and backyard
Fountain and backyard | Source
Arched Doorway
Arched Doorway | Source
Wisteria starting to bloom
Wisteria starting to bloom | Source
Bayou Bend Gardens
Bayou Bend Gardens | Source
Petrified Wood in the gardens
Petrified Wood in the gardens | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lawn areaChildren playing in the gardensBack of the mansionBayou Bend sculpture near backyard pool Dogwood Tree in Bloom Beautiful sculpture Walkway in the gardensRustic walkway in the gardensVerdant greenery in the gardens
Lawn area
Lawn area | Source
Children playing in the gardens
Children playing in the gardens | Source
Back of the mansion
Back of the mansion | Source
Bayou Bend sculpture near backyard pool
Bayou Bend sculpture near backyard pool | Source
Dogwood Tree in Bloom
Dogwood Tree in Bloom | Source
Beautiful sculpture
Beautiful sculpture | Source
Walkway in the gardens
Walkway in the gardens | Source
Rustic walkway in the gardens
Rustic walkway in the gardens | Source
Verdant greenery in the gardens
Verdant greenery in the gardens | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sculpted boxwood Sculpture Cute Sculpture Bayou Bend Suspension Bridge over Buffalo Bayou A portion of the gardens at Bayou BendButterfly shaped garden Girl walking by the butterfly shaped garden
Sculpted boxwood
Sculpted boxwood | Source
Sculpture
Sculpture | Source
Cute Sculpture
Cute Sculpture | Source
Bayou Bend Suspension Bridge over Buffalo Bayou
Bayou Bend Suspension Bridge over Buffalo Bayou | Source
A portion of the gardens at Bayou Bend
A portion of the gardens at Bayou Bend | Source
Butterfly shaped garden
Butterfly shaped garden | Source
Girl walking by the butterfly shaped garden
Girl walking by the butterfly shaped garden | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bayou Bend Gardens & side view of the mansionAnother side view of the estateClio GardenFormal beds in Clio garden Clio sculpture Manicured beds in Clio garden Camellias in bloomSteps through the gardensPretty Azaleas in Bloom
Bayou Bend Gardens & side view of the mansion
Bayou Bend Gardens & side view of the mansion | Source
Another side view of the estate
Another side view of the estate | Source
Clio Garden
Clio Garden | Source
Formal beds in Clio garden
Formal beds in Clio garden | Source
Clio sculpture
Clio sculpture | Source
Manicured beds in Clio garden
Manicured beds in Clio garden | Source
Camellias in bloom
Camellias in bloom | Source
Steps through the gardens
Steps through the gardens | Source
Pretty Azaleas in Bloom
Pretty Azaleas in Bloom | Source

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.

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        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.

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        6 weeks ago from UpstateWestern,New York

        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 W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Paula,

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

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Linda,

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

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        6 weeks ago from UpstateWestern,New York

        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 W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        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!

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        6 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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 W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        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.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        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.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        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 W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

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

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        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.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

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

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        6 weeks ago from UK

        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 W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        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 profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        6 weeks ago from USA

        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.

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