Established by John Fairey in 1971, The John Fairey Garden (formerly Peckerwood Garden) is an extraordinary preservation garden on 39 acres near Hempstead, Texas. The garden is widely acclaimed for the originality of its design, its education and conservation programs, and its exceptional collection of over 3,000 plants, including many endangered and rare plants from Mexico, North America, and Asia. Docent-led group tours are offered on Open Days (see calendar), private tours are available to members by appointment. We look forward to seeing you at the garden!

Seasonal Highlights

Camellia ‘October Affair’
Camellia sasanqua ‘Gingetsu’
Camellia ‘Autumn Spirit’
Camellia sasanqua ‘Tanya’


In the light shade of savannah holly and pines, camellia flower buds have begun to open, revealing incredible colors and shapes that give a different meaning to the phrase “fall color.” Nestled among deep green glossy leaves, a panoply of flowers are adorned with huge golden stamens or ruffled double pink petals. Some are deep red, others white like porcelain. In the garden, over seventy camellia cultivars will be in full bloom by mid November, and many will continue blooming into March. The camellias of The John Fairey Garden have put on this glamorous show every year for decades, a spectacle that visitors surely don’t want to miss.

Sabal uresana
Brahea mooreii


Sabal uresana & Brahea moorei

John Fairey believed that silver and blue-green colors have a cooling effect as the plants shimmer in the wind. This is certainly true of many palms in the garden. Set high atop the Rain Lily Berm, the Sabal uresana probably have the most dramatic effect on visitors as they glimpse the deeply shadowed silvery blue-green leaves and hear the rustling of the fibrous leaves in the wind. The sound has been likened to the dull burbling and rippling of water in a stream. These palms didn’t escape our winter freeze totally unscathed but they are rebounding nicely. Set throughout the Garden, our Brahea moorei palms, collected in the montane forests of eastern Mexico, display dramatic golden inflorescences and leaves with silver underside. As visitors walk the winding paths through pine and oak, camellia and mahonia, evergreen palms with a tropical flair wave their silvery blue leaves. The Brahea moorei palms, likewise, were affected by the extreme low temperatures of this winter’s storm but they are slowly making a comeback.

yucca linearifolia
agave sp. mr. ripple
nolina nelsonii
dasylirion, yucca rostrata

Woody Lilies

yucca linearifolia, agave sp. mr. ripple, nolina nelsonii, dasylirion and yucca rostrata
In the garden, as in the wild, woody lilies may be found growing in the shade of pines, hickories and oaks, or solitary in full sun. Yet here, John carefully selected the location of these plants. Smaller agaves, such as Agave ferdinandi-regis, line the paths providing low spiny texture. Behind them larger grassy dasylirion add a gentler texture. A third vertical layer of nolina, yucca and columnar cactus arises and is juxtaposed with an important garden architectural feature, such as the Blue Wall or the corrugated aluminum garage or house. Between these solitary long lived plants may be found, as also in the wild, rocky, gravelly soil, in this case pea gravel and bull rock.

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