Monday, December 5, 2022 Dec 5, 2022
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BOTANICAL PARK TO BLOOM

By Robert Deitz |

Come 1984, Dallas may have a botanical park to rival that of Fort Worth’s beautiful Japanese gardens.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society contracted in October with a Seattle landscape architectural firm for development of a world-class botanical-gardens facility at the 22-acre Camp estate adjacent to the city-owned 44-acre DeGolyer property along the eastern shores of White Rock Lake.

A master plan for developing the two estates into a single, 66-acre botanical conservatory should be completed by April 1983, says Dr. G. Shannon Smith, society president and horticultural director for the two properties. Implementation of the first phases of that plan will require up to 18 months and $4 to $5 million to be acquired through a special fund-raising effort.

Originally, the Camp estate was intended as a retirement home for Alex Camp, a Dallas attorney, and his wife, Roberta Coke Camp. When Alex Camp died in 1939, the house was under construction. His widow, who died in the mid-Seventies, never finished the residence, and the house remains bare today.

Rumor has it that the reason Mrs. Camp planted bamboo along the property line between the two estates was to ensure her privacy. The un-tended bamboo began creeping across the DeGolyer gardens just as it spread across the Camp property.

Today, much of the Camp estate is covered by a thick canopy of bamboo penetrable only with the aid of a machete; Smith says one of his first tasks will be to bulldoze the bamboo. That will be unwelcome news for Dallas’ large community of Southeast Asian immigrants, who enter the Camp property each spring to harvest the tender bamboo shoots as delicacies for their cooking pots.