On October 19, 2013, Garvan Woodland Gardens celebrated the dedication and naming of the Joe and Martha Dooley Pergola. The pergola project was initiated when the staff realized that the Flowering Border needed a connecting element to the Pavilion, visible from the Promenade and the Welcome Center. Also the Flowering Border needed an architectural focal point and the pergola was the perfect way to provide it.
The original project was designed, with the direction of Bob Byers, by the intern class of 2009, which included five students. Three were landscape architecture students from U of A, one a horticultural/plant nomenclature major from the Royal Botanical Gardens-Edinburgh, and one was a horticulture major from the University of Minnesota. Building as well as designing their special project was an annual assignment for each intern class. This group helped finalize the site, redesigned some of the plantings to make room for the structure, and helped cut the pieces and lay the foundations. However; the architectural piece remained unnamed until 2013 when Joe and Martha Dooley so generously offered their support to maintain the feature.
Joe and Martha Dooley fell in love with the Gardens long before they moved to Hot Springs, thanks to their good friend, Janet Carson, and her invitation to come to a Master Gardener Appreciation Day. In fact, whenever Joe and Martha came to Hot Springs to visit friends and relatives -- or take in a horse race or two -- a trip to the Gardens always was part of their activities. It seemed only natural that one day the two of them would find a way to give back to the place they both enjoy. “We fell in love with the Gardens on our first visit here, even before we moved to Hot Springs from northeast Arkansas. It truly is a treasure for our community and state, and we appreciate Mrs. Garvan’s lifelong passion to maintain this property in its natural beauty to be enjoyed by generations to come. For us, the pergola symbolizes a gateway into the wonder offered by the Gardens. From one side, you can appreciate the woodlands that make the Gardens so unique. And from the other side, you can focus on the majesty of the Ellen Edmondson Great Lawn and the seasonal changes of the Flowering Border. So, it was just natural for us to want to preserve this very meaningful piece of architecture. It serves as a visual reminder of the splendor that first attracted us to Garvan Woodland Gardens,” said Joe and Martha Dooley.