WHO WE ARE
Texas Blossoms purpose is to beautify the State of Texas with blossoming trees. The main emphasis is on roadways across the state, parks, public and private properties.
Texas Blossoms works as a fundraising organization and manages plantings and the initial maintenance of those trees. Texas Blossoms accomplishes this with volunteers to raise funds, coordinate with neighborhood organizations, governmental entities, foundations and individuals for plantings in various cities.
WHAT WE DO
Several years ago, Morris Matson shared the story of Ann Burnett Tandy's desire to beautify Fort Worth with Jerry Barton. Jerry often thought back on it and in time began to think that this was an idea that should not be lost. During that time Jerry had been working with East Fort Worth Inc., a non-profit economic development organization, in promoting the east side of Fort Worth for development and improvement. When the city began widening East 1st Street, he saw the opportunity this new connector to downtown would offer to the east side and recalled the idea of the cherry blossoms. He recruited EFWI to develop a plan to plant cherry trees along Randol Mill Road, East 1st Street, Oakland Boulevard and Beach Street to highlight the entrances to Gateway Park.
As the program developed, more suitable species were selected and planted. The project was wildly successful and in 2017, the Blossoms project formed Texas Blossoms Inc. to expand the program statewide. Locally, we are preparing to plant blossoming trees throughout Fort Worth and we are recruiting individuals to form local chapters in other cities in Texas.
Morris Matson's Recolections
On the morning of November 2, 1978 Ted St. Clair (Economic Development Director for the Chamber of Commerce and I (Assistant City Manager of Fort Worth) had an appointment to meet with Charles Tandy in his office to work on a proposal for American Airlines to locate their temporary corporate offices in the Tandy Center while awaiting construction of their new headquarters on DFW Airport property. When we arrived at Tandy's office we were told that Mr. Tandy was in his office, but his wife was meeting with him so we were asked to wait. We were aware that Mrs. Tandy was not well physically so we were a bit surprised that she was there. After a short wait Mrs. Tandy and her nurse came out and we entered his office. Ted immediately asked Charles about his wife's health and her prognosis. Charles responded and turned to me with a question. My wife wants to plant 5,000 cherry trees along the Trinity River from the Henderson Street Bridge to the W. 7th Street Bridge and make it a show place for Fort Worth. She wants to know if the City will water and take care of them if we plant them. Then he added it may be 10,000 trees, but whatever it is, will the City take care of them after they are planted. He told us very seriously that with her health problems she might not live much longer, but that while she was alive he wanted to do everything he could to make her happy.
His concern about doing the project was not fiscal, but viability. He was very blunt in asking if the City would agree to water and tend to the trees if he planted them. I told him that I thought it could be done, but we would have to work with the Ben Hickey and the water district since they controlled the river banks. I promised him that I would talk to Ben and the City about Mrs. Tandy's dream and that it seemed to be a great idea. We stood in the corner of his office and looked out at the Trinity and began to dream about what it would mean for the City to have such an artistic living sculpture, if you will, in memory of his wife. Charles urged me to hurry and get the answer as he wanted to get the dream implemented so Mrs. Tandy could enjoy it while she was still living. He seemed to be very serious when he remarked that he wasn't interested in having monuments built to honor him after he was gone, but wanted to do things now to build our city. And above all he wanted to do things that would please Mrs. Tandy to make her remaining time as pleasant as possible.
Ted and I agreed to come back on the next day to meet with Charles again. The next morning he greeted us by saying, "By the way I talked to my wife last night about the cherry trees and she told me that she thought 1200 trees would be sufficient. Of course it is not unusual for me to get excited about something and
want to overdo it so the number we want is 1200." I assured him that I would immediately contact Ben to see what needed to be done to get started. Ted and
I were scheduled to meet with some American executives the next day to talk about details of their move and do a little sight seeing in Fort Worth. On Saturday morning before noon Ted called me and told me that Charles was dead.
Several years ago I told Ruth Carter Stevenson this story and she told me that she was in the Tandy home that morning when they found Charles dead. She said it would have been a great project for Fort Worth and wished it had happened. At his funeral Ted and I talked and discussed what to do about the project, but couldn’t think of a workable approach to the family to discuss it. So without the dreamer around the dream sort of faded into the background. And ironically Mrs. Tandy lived another 14 months before her death on New Years Day 1980.
Board of Directors
Jerry Barton Realtors
Brazos River Authority
Streams and Valleys
Retired TXU executive
Retired Real Estate Developer
Project Coordinator at Korn Ferry