Tag Archives: gardens


Looking at the contemporary exterior of this mansion, you’d never think the inside would be furnished with old world antiques. But when you walk inside, it is as if you were transported back in time to 17th and 18th century Europe. Rienzi is the European Decorative Arts branch of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Like Bayou Bend, it is a residence transformed into a museum.

Rienzi is also located in the Homewoods subdivision of the River Oaks section of Houston. It belonged to philanthropists Harris and Carroll Masterson and they donated their house and art collection to the MFAH. They commissioned architect John F. Staub, the same architect who built Bayou Bend, to build this mansion to house their art collection. The main part of the house was built in 1952. They had another architect add an addition with a ballroom in 1971, but it is so flawlessly done you cannot tell that it was built 20 years later. There is a lot of customization throughout. There are tons of glass-encased shelves to show off the figurines and fine china that Mrs. Masterson collected. There is a room that was designed for 4 pillars representing the 4 seasons from 1600’s Italy. One of the closet doors is a fancy carved door from 1600’s Moorish Spain.

We found the docents to be very knowledgeable about the art and furniture in the house. They told many great stories about the pieces- where they came from and what they were used for, and gave us many insights on how people lived in 17th and 18th century Europe.

Attention to detail is very evident in both the mansion and the art collection. The crown molding and pillars are embellished with floral designs and gold paint. There are oriental rugs throughout. The furniture is very ornate and detailed. Very fancy. I could spend all day admiring this stuff. It’s the kind of furniture you’re afraid to touch and rugs you don’t want to step on, let along sit down and make yourself comfortable. I wonder if the furniture was arranged this way when the Mastersons were living here. Maybe they only put some of the fancy stuff out when they were entertaining guests? I’m sure the MFAH probably moved some furniture around and added some pieces. But imagine having kids running around here, and grandkids. Or family gatherings. I love the artwork and furniture here and think the art in this museum is truly amazing, but I don’t think kids in general would have quite that same appreciation.

Rienzi is situated on about 4.4 acres, so the gardens are smaller than that of Bayou Bend. But just the same, they are neatly landscaped and very nice. Of course it was drizzling out the day I visited so I wasn’t able to walk around the gardens that much. And the flowers were not in season, so there was not much to see except for the irises. Though this is also a stop on the Azalea Trail in March, so I’d imagine it will be very pretty when the azaleas are in full bloom in March.

從外表來看,真想不到這間現代式的屋裏面全都是古董裝飾和家具。但當你走進去的時候,好像走進了17-18 世紀歐洲的豪宅。Rienzi 是休士頓美術館的歐洲裝飾藝術分支。它像Bayou Bend 一樣是豪宅改爲博物館。

Rienzi位于River Oaks 社區的Homewoods 小區。一對慈善夫婦Harris 和Carroll Masterson把自己的豪宅和藝術收藏品捐了給休士頓美術館。他們1952年買了這塊地叫John F. Staub (Bayou Bend 的設計師) 幫他們設計豪宅。1971 年又叫另外的設計師加了大舞廳和多幾間房。 這設計師做得天衣無縫,看不出來是隔了20年才建這新一部分。豪宅有很多地方是特別為Masterson 夫婦的藝術收藏而設的。例如,牆裏有玻璃封閉架子來放Masterson 夫人的精細瓷器和瓷俑。有一間房是為一套代表四季的古董意大利木柱而設。還有一個衣櫃的門是17 世紀西班牙摩爾族的門。門的木雕圖案很漂亮。

講解員歐洲和藝術知識很豐富。他們講了很多有趣的故事關於博物館的古董和17-18 世紀歐洲人的生活。

別墅裝修精美細緻。入牆架子的邊雕滿花式圖案,柱子塗上金色油漆點綴。地上鋪了東方地毯。家具很華麗,很名貴。好像只是可以看,不能摸, 更不敢坐哪種家具。但是以前Masterson 夫婦住在這裏,這都是他們的家私啊。他們都會坐都會用這些古董家具啊。難道他們不怕打破玻璃碗碟,或者把杯飲料倒在沙發上呢?他們都把古董家具保存那麽好,可能只是有客人才把古董拿出來?平時用沒有那麽名貴的家具?那他們兒孫來見他們又鎮麼樣啊?小孩子不會當心的。或者以前有一間小孩子可以玩的房間。也可能,MFAH 把豪宅改爲博物館,再把家具整理好。

Rienzi 有4.4 英畝花園, 比Bayou Bend小,但是也設計得很美麗和整齊。我們去參觀Rienzi 那天下微微的雨,所以在花園參觀了很小時間。而且,過了開花的季節,所以沒有太多花看。只是有鳶尾花。三月杜鵑開花的時候,相信花園充滿漂亮的顔色。

If you go/旅遊資料:
地址:1406 Kirby Dr., Houston TX 77019

Parking/ 停車: free parking lot at museum/ 免費停車
Hours/開放時間: Wed-Fri 10-5, Sat 10-4, Sun 1-5
門票: $6 mansion tour/參觀別墅, gardens free/花園免費
Free Times/
免費時間: free family day in April (usually 3rd Sunday) in conjunction with Bayou Bend, free trolley available to transport visitors from Bayou Bend to Rienzi and vice versa, best to park at Bayou Bend’s larger parking lot in this case. 四月第三個星期日 “Family Day” 和 Bayou Bend 都免費,有免費車從Bayou Bend 帶你到這裏。免費這一天停車在Bayou Bend 的大停車場比較好。
Website for most current info/
網站最新資料: mfah.org/rienzi

Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.



Bayou Bend

Panorama of front of house

Bayou Bend is a mansion in the River Oaks area of Houston turned into a museum. It is part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and houses the American Decorative Arts collections. The mansion and gardens are beautiful, especially around March when the Azaleas are in full bloom. I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in history, furniture, antiques, and/or landscaped gardens.

Bayou Bend was built in 1927-1928 for Ima Hogg and her brothers. Miss Hogg’s brothers were in real estate and urban planning. Their father was the first native born governor of Texas. As Houston started to grow more rapidly in the 1920’s the Hogg brothers began to plan an upscale community to the west of Houston called River Oaks to allow people to escape the noise and congestion of the city. Within the River Oaks community, the Hogg brothers set aside an 80-acre subdivision, called Homewoods, for 14 lots. They built Bayou Bend on the biggest lot, which was 12 acres. Miss Hogg and her brothers designed Bayou Bend with the help of accomplished architect John F. Staub. Being well traveled with refined tastes in the fine arts, Miss Hogg also modeled the gardens on the gardens of Versailles in France.

Miss Hogg was an avid art collector and amassed an excellent collection of antique American furniture and paintings that date from the 1620 to 1870. Since America was a fledgling nation for many of those years, it makes sense that many of the objects were from New England and the Mid-Atlantic, as the 13 colonies was where Europeans settled and built cities first. In the 1960’s Miss Hogg donated her house and collections to MFAH and personally oversaw the transformation of her house into a museum. Miss Hogg also collected other types of artwork besides American furniture, which she donated to MFAH as well.

The furniture in each room represents a different time period and different furniture style in America. The tour starts in the Murphy Room, with furniture from 1600’s America. The furniture here is simple, understated, utilitarian, and functional. It reflects the resourcefulness of the early settlers and the difficulties and hardships of the lives of early settlers. As you progress through the tour the furniture becomes increasingly fancy and decorative, serving more specific functions. As the nation developed, people became wealthier and could afford more luxurious furniture and home décor. It was very interesting to get a glimpse of how people lived in the past: their daily lives, and their pastimes through their furniture. I liked the furniture in the Drawing Room- some very unique pieces here. I liked the plush red velvet sofas and chairs in the Belter Parlor, so luxurious and ornate. I really liked the painted wallpaper in the Dining Room. Miss Hogg had an artist paint Houston flora and fauna on canvas on the walls and the background is coated in gold leaf. Beautiful painting. The bedrooms are on the 2nd floor, including Miss Hogg’s bedroom as well as several other rooms and parlors. The 2nd floor rooms are not included on the tour on free family days. They are included in regular tours with paid admission.

The gardens are also very beautiful. They are neat and orderly, with a lot of landscaping and design. Each of the gardens has a name. The Clio Garden, with its maze of azaleas, is very pretty. Azaleas are the feature here, and the grounds are awash in color in March when they are in bloom. The hydrangeas and magnolias are also very beautiful. It is a relaxing place to walk around and a great photo op, especially when the flowers are in full bloom.

Bayou Bend 是一間豪華私宅變成博物館。屬於休士頓美術館的美國裝飾藝術分支。博物館位於休士頓最高上的區: River Oaks。別墅和花園很美麗,尤其是三月杜鵑開花的季節。花園充滿生氣和漂亮的顔色。如果你喜歡美國古董,家具,歷史,或賞花, 你張會對這博物館有興趣。

伊瑪霍格和她兄弟在1927-1928 年建了Bayou Bend 給自己居住。霍格兄弟做房地產和城市規劃工作。他們的父親Jim Hogg 是德州第一個在本州出生的州長。20 年代,休士頓發展得很快,霍格兄弟在休士頓西部設計一個高上的社區,讓富貴的市民離開城市的污染和擁擠。這社區叫River Oaks。在這社區裏,霍格兄弟設計了一個80 英畝的區叫Homewoods。他們就在Homewoods 最大塊地 (12英畝) 建了Bayou Bend。 他們請建築師John F. Staub 幫他們設計他們的別墅。霍格小姐很懂得藝術, 她模仿法國的凡爾賽宮來設計花園。

霍格小姐好喜歡收集藝術品。她收集了很多從1620至1870製作的美國古董家具和油畫。 很多這些古董都來自美國東北,因爲那時候美國才初初成立國家,洋人是先來到美國東岸建立城市和文化。60 年代,霍格小姐把她的別墅和自己收藏的古董捐給休士頓美術館。她親自監管把自己的別墅改造成博物館。她收藏的其它藝術品也捐給美術館。

在別墅裏,每一間房的家具都屬於一個時代和風格的。例如,參觀別墅第一間房間, 墨菲房, 你會看到1600 年代美國的家具。 這些家具簡單,低調,和多功能的。反映先驅者的艱苦生活和創新能力。你繼續參觀的房間,家具和裝飾品越來越多花巧,華麗,和有更具體的功能。反映到美國開始有多點錢,人民過得更舒服,有錢和時間來欣賞更精美的東西。在這博物館,可以從家具看到人民和社會的變化和繁盛。我好喜歡客廳的家具,有幾件很特別,真是股東,現在都不用了。我也喜歡貝爾特客廳的沙發和椅子, 很豪華,很漂亮。 我覺得最特別的是餐廳的壁紙。霍格小姐叫畫家畫上休士頓的植物和動物,背景凃上金色油漆, 讓整個餐廳都更美麗,優雅。二樓還有房間,包括霍格小姐的臥室。免費參觀優惠的時間,二樓不開放。平時收門票參觀,二樓就開放。

Bayou Bend 的花園也很美麗。每一個有個名字。花園很整齊,有很多景觀設計。花園到處種很多杜鵑,三月開花的時節花園充滿顔色。克利歐花園的杜鵑迷宮很美麗,不開花的時候都很有藝術性。花園也種了綉球花和木蘭花, 大大朵,粉紅色,白色,好漂亮。在這裏散步怡情養性, 讓人放鬆, 而且是一個拍攝美景的好地方。

If you go/旅遊資料:
地址:1 Westcott @ Memorial Dr., Houston TX 77007
停車: free parking lot adjoins museum/ 免費停車
開放時間: Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5
門票: $10 mansion and gardens/別墅和花園, or $3 gardens only/只是花園
Free Times/
免費時間: free family days third Sunday of each month from Sept to May- includes 1st floor and gardens, but not 2nd floor/ 從九月到五月每個月第三個星期日免門票,但只可參觀一樓和花園,二樓那時候不開放。
Website for most current info/
網站最新資料: mfah.org/bayoubend

Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.


Changpuhe Park 菖蒲河公园

Changpuhe 11a

菖蒲河公園是明朝的皇家園林,也是連接紫禁城玉河的一條河。菖蒲河,又名外金水河,是因爲河中生長菖蒲 (Iris) 而得名。這公園在明清時代是皇城的東苑。明朝的皇帝和文武大臣來這裏看比賽的。但清朝時,皇家很少用這花園,東苑就逐漸衰敗。Changpuhe 1

20 世紀 60-70 年代菖蒲河被填平改爲街道, 在旁邊建了很多民房。2002 年拆了菖蒲河兩側的民房,挖出菖蒲河故道,恢復了這皇家園林的美貌。


菖蒲河公園全長510 米。入口在南池子大街,出口在天安門東側。不收門票。遊客不多,只是一些市民來這裏遊玩和散步。如果到紫禁城附近一遊,這個美麗的花園是值得一看的!

Changpuhe 8

This linear park is truly one of the hidden gems of Beijing. It is a beautiful garden with a wide array of colorful flowers and intricately constructed gazebos and bridges centered along the Chang Pu River (菖蒲河), otherwise known as the Wai Jin Shui River (外金水河). What’s even better is that despite being a stone’s throw away from the Forbidden City, this is a not a widely known tourist destination, which makes for a quiet retreat in this bustling city!

Changpuhe 7At the time I was there, this park was not mentioned in any of the tourist literature. I stumbled upon it one day when I was exploring the city on foot. There was not one tourist there, just locals taking in the beauty and serenity of this urban oasis.

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, this imperial garden was part of the emperor’s imperial city. The Ming emperors used to frequent this garden with his courtiers to watch games and competitions, but the Qing emperors did not frequent this park as much and it fell into disrepair as a result. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the river was covered up by concrete slabs and turned into a road. Hastily built housing and warehouses replaced the fine gardens. The area quickly turned into an eyesore. In 2002, they cleaned up the area to restore the river park to its former splendor and transform it into the breathtaking gardens it is today.

Changpuhe 16

從菖蒲河公園看見紫禁城  View of the rooftops of Forbidden City from Changpuhe Park

Changpuhe 20The entrance of the park is at Nanchizi Dajie (南池子大街) and the park spans a length of 510 meters ending up at Tiananmen Square. The Changpu River is part of the water system of the Forbidden City and was named for the Changpu or Irises that grew along the river. The Yu River (玉河) inside the Forbidden City flows to this river, which then flows east towards Wangfujing.

旅遊資料/ If you go:

門票/Admission: 免費/ free

地址/ Address: 北京市东城区天安门东侧劳动人民文化宫东侧

交通路线/ Transportation: 乘 bus 1,2,4,5,10,20,22,52,54,57,120,802, 特1 路 劳动人民文化宫站下车

开放时间/ Hours: 早 6:00am – 晚 10:00pm

花期日历/ Flowers in Bloom:

3月— 4月:玉兰 (Magnolia),连翘 (Forsythia),迎春花 (Winter Jasmine),海塘 (Begonia),碧桃 (Peach Blossom),紫叶李

5月—11月:月李 (Roses)

4月—11 月:应李花卉 (seasonal flowers)

7月—8 月:玉簪花 (Hosta),睡莲荷花 (Water Lilies)