No other town in Texas lays claim to a budding heritage quite like Tyler. Tucked serenely in East Texas, Tyler is home to some of the state’s most bountiful gardens and is most known for its roses. However, in March and April the roses take a backseat to azaleas during the annual Azalea & Spring Flower Trail.
While oil booms gave Tyler an economic head start in the 1930s, azalea and rose blooms gave the city its beauty. Azaleas were introduced to Tyler in 1929 by Maurice Shamburger, one of the city’s early nurserymen. Pleased with results of a test garden of azaleas, Shamburger shipped the colorful plants to Tyler by the boxcar loads from Georgia.
After completing his garden in 1929, Shamburger discussed the beautification potential of azaleas with Mrs. Sara Butler of the Tyler Courier Times Telegraph. Mrs. Butler not only encouraged Shamburger to promote azalea plantings in the city but planted several bushes at her own home on Charnwood Street. That homesite, along with several other gardens on Lindsey Lane, soon became springtime showplaces with their colorful azalea blooms, and Tylerites began buying the plants by the thousands.
By 1960, the blooming azaleas were attracting much attention, and that year the Chamber of Commerce established a marked route. The first Trail featured about sixty homes on a five-mile route. The Trail was an instant success. Within two years it had expanded to seventy-five homes and was attracting 15,000 visitors. By 1964, 25,000 people a year were coming to see the azaleas. In 1986, it expanded to two miles.
Since then, the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail has grown into an annual spring affair with two trails winding through more than ten miles of historic homes and gardens with blooming bushes and fresh flowers bursting with the colors of spring. Last year, more than 100,000 people visited the event. Celebrated late March to the first of April, the Trail still rests on the efforts of private citizens who welcome thousands of visitors to their neighborhoods to showcase and support the city they love. “The homeowners make the Trail the success it is,” Visit Tyler Vice President of Tourism Susan Travis said. “They regularly increase their azalea plantings and spend countless hours making sure their yards are spotless for the annual visitors.”
The care and feeding of several hundred colorful azalea plants is more than just a time-consuming, expensive gardening project; many homeowners feel it is their civic duty and a matter of great pride. Joan Pyron is one such homeowner. Since the mid-90s, Joan and her late husband Guy opened their private garden to visitors during the three weekends of Tyler’s Azalea & Spring Flower Trail. The garden has been featured in magazines across the country including Southern Living, Better Homesand Garden, and Texas Monthly. Many guests travel to Tyler each year, just to see the garden and visit with the Pyrons.
The Pyron home is located on West Dobbs Street and is where the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail ribbon cutting and opening ceremonies have taken place the past several years. “We open our garden to the public because we feel like it’s our way of giving back to the community,” Joan said. “Plus, we just love meeting the people who visit. There are people from as far away as China who have stopped by our garden.”
This year’s event is March 25th through April 10th, during which Tyler also hosts several city-wide events for everyone to enjoy including home tours, art exhibits, live entertainment, arts and crafts fairs, and much more. As a self-guided tour through Tyler’s historic Azalea District, the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail is a fun event for the whole family to enjoy.
Visit Tyler will once again be hosting the ever-so-popular Bunny Scavenger Hunt throughout the Trail. Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to try their hand at this family-friendly contest as they enjoy walking along the Trail. Prizes are awarded to the winners.
Grab your camera, your family, and head to Tyler, for the most spectacular flower event in East Texas. See Tyler literally come alive this spring! Mark your calendars now and plan to attend the fun events happening all over town.
For more details about the Trail, an updated progress of the blooms, a full list of events, and more, go to www.TylerAzaleaTrail.com.
by Holli Fourniquet, Vice President, Marketing, Visit Tyler
March 22nd / Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Internationally known for their gravity-defying dance and illusion, VIVA MOMIX, choreographed by Momix Artistic Director and Founder Moses Pendleton, combines athletic dance, riveting music, outrageous costumes, inventive props, and pure talent to create an entertaining multimedia experience that will surprise, enchant and astonish your family! For over 40 years, Momix has been captivating audiences with their magical and theatrical movement! Experience VIVA MOMIX, a spectacular show that blends the repertoire of Momix’s most iconic works with genius new additions. A Cowan Center Performance Excellence Endowment Event
Cowan Fine & Performing Arts Center
University of Texas at Tyler
3900 University Boulevard
Azalea & Spring Flower Trail
March 25-April 10 / Daily / 8 a.m. – Sunset
Visit Tyler each spring to celebrate the season with more than ten miles of residential gardens and historic home-sites covered with azaleas, tulips, wisteria, dogwood, and more. This annual spring event has been described as a floral wonderland and a photographer’s paradise. The Azalea & Spring Flower Trail takes place in March and April each year. Springtime in Tyler is one of the best times of the year to stroll the brick streets and enjoy the beauty of the area.
40th Annual Tyler Quilt Show – Red Ruby Celebration
March 25-26 / Fri-Sat / 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Admission: $8 per person
The Quilters’ Guild of East Texas produces a quilt show every spring during the Azalea Trail. Come see us and view the judged quilts, participate in the Silent Auction, buy your chance at two Raffle Quilts, shop at the Country Store, visit Vendors, and so much more!
First Christian Church
Broadway & Loop 323
Tyler Azalea Run
March 26 / Sat / 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
The Tyler Azalea Run was created in 1984 and
features a beautiful 10k and 5k route through the Tyler Azalea Trails. Today, over 100,000 people from all over the USA visit Tyler each spring to attend the Azalea Trails.
Racquet & Jog
5403 S. Broadway Avenue
Azalea Arts & Crafts Fair
March 26-27 / Sat-Sun / 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The annual Azalea Arts and Crafts Fair hosted by the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department is returning to Tyler’s Bergfeld Park, 1510 S. College, Saturday, March 26 and Sunday, March 27. The Fair will feature more than 70 booths offering handcrafted items for sale.
1510 S. College Street
March 26 / Saturday / 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
ETSO celebrates Beethoven with three of the
composers works that have never been performed by the orchestra before. Cellist Colin Carr is featured in work by Beethoven’s teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, and the orchestra performs the Symphony No. 5 of Franz Schuber, who was deeply inspired by
Cowan FIne & Performing Arts Center
University of Texas at Tyler
3900 University Boulevard
11th Annual Tyler Run for Autism
April 2 / Sat / 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
TRA is a high energy, community event for all! We were founded in 2012 in order to help local children with autism afford critical medical treatment. Our event is fully sponsored so that 100% of proceeds can go to children enrolled at the Treatment and Learning Center for Children with Autism. Please note, only paid registrants will receive a swag bag and race day t-shirts, so register today!
3030 New Copeland Road
Historic Tyler on Tour
Apr 2-3 / Sat 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sun 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Admission: $15 Members / $25 Non-members
Historic Tyler on Tour is an annual fundraising event for Historic Tyler, Inc. set during the Azalea Trails. This always-popular event brings visitors from near and far to experience some of Tyler’s treasured historic homes.
110 E. Charnwood Street
Rose City Artisan and Flower Market
April 8-9 / Fri-Sat / 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Goodman-LeGrand Museum to hosts its annual Rose City Artisan and Flower Market, all things gardening for garden lovers! Vendors to sell plants, bulbs, garden items, garden lovers art and crafts, farmer market items and more. Presentations to be given by local master gardeners throughout the two day event. Food Trucks. Free admission and tours of the Museum will be available with a $2 suggested donation per person. Also, it will be the last weekend for the antique quilt display inside the museum.