Judy Sosbee and her husband, Greg, are co-chairing the 2021 Autumn at the Arboretum for Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden Sept. 18-Oct. 30. The Garland couple love working in their own garden, and also enjoy volunteering at the Arboretum. They work with visitors to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
Judy said, “Growing up, we had a backyard greenhouse with orchids, bromeliads and ferns. However, it was Greg who suggested we ‘sign up’ after I told him that the Dallas Arboretum was looking for volunteers for their Holiday Village last year. We enjoyed it so much, we decided volunteering year-round was a great idea.” Since they started volunteering in November 2020, they have clocked more than 600 hours in less than a year.
The Sosbees met during their senior year at Garland High School. Both attended the University of North Texas at Denton. Greg worked in risk management, and traveled around the globe for his job, while Judy worked as a kindergarten teacher in Garland ISD for 34 years. They have been married fifty years, and their family includes a son, daughter, their spouses, and three grandsons.
Dallas Arboretum Volunteers
As volunteers for the Dallas Arboretum, the Sosbees found their special area at the Children’s Adventure Garden Information Booth. When tram training became available, Greg took advantage of it. He now drives a tram talking to the many visitors from around the globe.
“As a former kindergarten teacher, I enjoy being in the Exploration Center and working with kids firsthand. We also continue to volunteer together at the children’s information booth on busy weekends, and enjoy conducting volunteer training for the Children’s Garden. We are weekly volunteers who seem to always find an additional day to volunteer when help is needed.” said Judy.
When someone recognizes Judy as their child’s kindergarten teacher, she said, “It makes me happy to get an update on a former student.”
Greg added, “With the beautiful fall days we have in Dallas, we have a wonderful time enjoying the fresh air and all the miraculous floral and pumpkin displays. Seeing the delight in guests’ faces and enjoying the time spent with other volunteers is a rewarding experience.”
For those interested in volunteering, visit dallasarboretum.org/support/volunteer/, email [email protected], or call 214-515-6561.
Autumn at the Arboretum
Autumn at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant, runs from September 18 to October 30 with a “Bugtopia” theme. The 16th annual fall festival features the nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village with 20-foot-tall, decorated pumpkin houses created with more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash from the West Texas town of Floydada, “the pumpkin capital of Texas.”
Larger-than-life insect topiaries, fascinatingly bugged-out pumpkin houses, a maze for younger visitors and even an 18-foot-long dragonfly bring Autumn at the Arboretum to life. The festival features breathtaking colors of fall with 150,000 fall flowers—marigolds, chrysanthemums and more throughout the 66-acre garden.
A few highlights:
• Local popular bands play live music every weekend afternoon during the festival.
• Seasonal daily samples highlight in-season plants in A Tasteful Place garden.
• Insect Encounters tent features daily, hands-on experiences such as live insect demonstrations, nature art, expert chats and more.
• Mommy and Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays, presented by Kimberly-Clark, includes face painting, stroller fitness, a petting zoo, Kindermusik, a hay bale maze, a pumpkin patch with pumpkins for purchase and music.
• On Family Fun Weekend, Oct. 9-10, and on Halloweekend, Oct. 30-31, the festival also includes a petting zoo and face painting for children.
• Arboretum-led walking tours, harvesting and horticulture demonstrations round out the festival.
A Tasteful Place
Guests can also visit A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre food, herb and vegetable garden. Weekly activities include free Monday cooking demonstrations with Dallas College Cooks. Other activities throughout the week including cooking, floral and horticulture demonstrations, many of which have the “bugtopia” theme incorporated.
In addition to Reliant as the presenting sponsor, other sponsors include Park Place Dealerships, Texas Instruments, Oncor, Kimberly-Clark, C.C. Young Senior Living, Doyle and Associates, Sidley Austin and Bank of Texas.