Jerry, left, and Mary, right, Chandler have been volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum since 2012. Photo courtesy Dallas Arboretum

Fort Worth natives Mary and Jerry Chandler were first introduced to the Dallas Arboretum through their daughter.

“Every time we would come to Dallas for a visit, we would go to the Arboretum with our grandsons,” Mary said. “It didn’t take long for us to buy a membership. If you come twice a year, it pays to get a membership.”

The couple moved to Old Lake Highlands in 2012 and started volunteering at the Arboretum soon after. Nine years later, the Chandlers have racked up 2,150 volunteers hours.

“We like to pretend it’s our backyard,” Jerry said. “It was a respite during the pandemic as we walked the grounds often, probably a 100 times because it’s so pretty.”

Jerry drives trams, trains other tram drivers and works as a garden guide. With Mary’s background as a retired public school teacher, she takes gardening activities to local retirement communities. She also help out in the Hoffman Family Gift Store, serves as a garden host and worked in the Christmas Village.

This year, Mary and Jerry are the festival chairs for the Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms, the largest floral festival in the Southwest now through April 11.

The spring festival features 100 varieties of spring bulbs, over 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms, thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees. Each week, Dallas Blooms focuses on one of the six regions in the US with food, music, flowers and events.

“During Dallas Blooms, the garden is magnificent with thousands of tulips,” Mary said. “When our grandsons were babies, they had photos taken with the tulips, and we look at that [photo] often. It’s a fun place for the whole family. It’s a beautiful place and setting, and you can relax and be in the moment. The beauty speaks to you.”

Dallas Blooms will occur through April 11. Photo courtesy Dallas Arboretum