The gardens date all the way back to the 1930’s and 40’s. They were originally built as a private estate by Leon and Peggy Bandy. Developed before air conditioning, every space in the gardens was curated for outdoor entertaining. Take a step back in time where it is said that “anyone who was anyone” in Fort Worth danced on the rock ship or sun bathed by the creek.
Weston Gardens garden center was started in 1984 by Sue and Randy Weston. Sue is a CPA and randy had a masters in mathematics. The couple quickly grew tired of their big, corporate jobs and just wanted to work together. They both took a leap of faith, bought land, and opened up Weston Gardens garden center.
Little did the couple know of the historic gardens that resided just across the street from their plant nursery. Until, a customer came in and told the Weston’s of the estate that use to be called “Dripping Springs”. Sue and Randy instantly knew the property would be the perfect demonstration gardens. A place where their customers could visit to see the plants they sold in their matured state and then purchase them at their garden center.
The gardens took two years of renovation and restoration before Sue and Randy Weston opened them to the public. Massive piles of brush had to be removed, complete restoration of the barn, and much, much more.
The wedding sector of Weston Gardens was started 10 years ago. Customers kept asking if they could get married on the beautiful site. Sue and Randy finally gave in and the rest is history. All of the money made from the weddings goes towards funding the ongoing restoration of the gardens.
Each unique space in the gardens tells a story. Keep reading to learn each niches unique history.
Built by Leon and Peggy Bandy as a weekend home. Leon referred to the entire estate as “Dripping Springs”. The couple use to have a Great Dane that would nap on a dirt road, now called Anglin Drive.
The home was a mixture of indoor/outdoor living spaces. The couple loved to be outside and entertain guests. When the home was purchased by the Vitek’s years later, immense reconstruction occurred to accommodate their 6 kids.
It is known that people would come from all of DFW to view the Bandy’s Christmas lights. They would be lined up all the way down Anglin Drive. Leon would play Christmas music for all the visitors to hear.
Across the creek and over a wire bridge, you will find a ship that never quite took sail. Leon Bandy completed the ship in 1942 for dances and parties. Guests would dance on the bottom level and the bar was located on the top level.
The two-story cabin burned in 1972 due to a wild teenage party. The kids said it got struck by lightening. That story unfolded years later when the Star-telegram did an article and interviewed one of the teenagers. It was the seventies and one thing led to another and the cabin caught fire.
The Weston’s restored the ship and cabin in 2011. The ship is locked daily due to the wire bridge and liability purposes. We do open it for various events like Trick or Treating in the Gardens, Easter, etc. Sign up for our email newsletter to be in the know and get a chance to see the rock ship up close!
Crystal clear water from the property’s active springs made this a prime spot for sun bathing and relaxing all summer long. Water levels remain constant due to constructed rock dams in the creek. The creek is Chambers Creek which runs into Village Creek that flows into Lake Arlington.
On the back of the Wisteria arbor, you will find a date marking 1933. The entire structure was built by the original owner, Leon Bandy. As a result of his not being a skilled mason, the stone work has deteriorated.
The wood on top of this arbor was replaced by Weston Gardens landscape crew in 2002. It was important to the Weston’s to keep the Bandy’s original intent of this focal piece in the gardens.
Chinese Wisteria, planted by the Bandy’s, covers this arbor. It is a rare site to see because Wisteria only blooms for a week, usually in March. Most people say it looks like purple snow!
Mrs. C.D. Whitehead created the landscape plan for the middle section of the gardens. She was the first licensed, woman landscape architect in the state of Texas. Mrs. Whitehead went by initials rather than her complete name because women were not fully accepted in the industry yet. She is responsible for the landscape plan for the San Jacinto Monument and the University of Texas at Austin.
Completed in the 1940’s. The original water lilies have flourished here for approximately 40 years. They are still in the original, redwood boxes from the 30’s. The lilies have never been identified. The Weston’s named them the “Bandy Lily”. Take a piece of the gardens home with you and purchase your very own Bandy Lily at the garden center!
This garden was the original rose garden with hybrid tea plantings that have long since died. It has been rehabilitated by the Weston’s. The garden includes hardy antique roses and acclimated perennial plants.
The rock work in this garden resembles the same structures at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden. Being built around the same time, it is likely that the same masons completed the rock work. Leon Bandy put an ad in the paper stating that he would hire masons for 50 cents a day. If only labor was still that cheap!
Through arches of Winter Honeysuckle, you will find our timeless wedding court. The stone wedding altar is part of the original 1930’s landscape. The fountain quit working years after the Bandy’s sold the property. The Weston’s restored the water feature back to it’s original working condition. This small project was just as important to them to complete due to wanting to keep the relaxing feeling running water gives to this room.
This area was covered in brush until Sue and Randy Weston cleared it. During this process, they discovered metal edging showing outlines o the original planting beds. Weston Gardens landscape crew replanted the original beds in 1993.
Today, the wedding court is our most popular ceremony location. The arches filled with Winter Honeysuckle, create a secret garden feel. Surrounded by walls of foliage, we have coined the space as our “outdoor chapel”.
new england barn
The barn was built in the 1920’s. It was an actual working barn where Leon and Peggy Bandy’s horses were stabled. Inside the barn, the brick flooring are made of Bois d’arc wood. They are from downtown Main Street in Fort Worth. Mr. Bandy collected the bricks before the clay bricks were installed.
When the Weston’s purchased the property in 1988, the barn was about to collapse. Due to their not being many original barns left, it was important to the couple to make the barn their first restoration project of the gardens. Today, the barn is used as our bridal suite for weddings.