Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden
The 11-acre Ruby Mize Azalea Garden is located south of SFA’s Johnson Coliseum on University Drive. More than a mile of trails wind beneath towering loblolly pines that shade 46 beds containing more than 8,500 taxa of flowering plants and ornamental trees and shrubs.
Four sections highlight special plant collections, and each season brings new colors to the garden. Signs located throughout the garden describe the featured plants and design elements featured in each bed.
Are you wondering where to begin? Plan your walk by reviewing the numbered map located at the north and west entrances of the garden.
See more than 54 evergreen hybrid groups in the color display beds (1-17, 20, 23-24, 34-39, 40-45). The evergreen Girard, Glenn Dale, Kurume, Back Acres, Robin Hill and Southern Indian hybrids fill most of the color beds (beds 1-24; 34-39). The Chinese Huang and Gartrell’s numbered hybrids are found in Beds 31-32. Most May-blooming Satsuki are found in beds 4, 17, 32-33. Beds 29-33 trial small evaluation sets of cutting-edge hybrids.
Native, deciduous azaleas are found in beds 25-28. These large specimens are unique in their fragrance and yellow to orange colors.
Visit the Camellia Trail (beds 18-19, 21-22) to see more than 200 cultivars, from the fall-blooming Camellia sasanqua to the winter-blooming C. japonica, as well as rare species from Southeast Asia.
Japanese Maple Collection
Throughout the garden you will find the intensely varied and delicate foliage of more than 230 specimens of Japanese maples. The multiple varieties in the garden add texture and color interest to every season.
Many other unique specimens, such as the Japanese Plum Yew — the only evergreen yew that can grow reliably in the East Texas climate — add diversity to this garden. You’ll even find Lumberjack pride in garden bed five with the hardy purple and white foliage of the Chinese witch-hazel. Additional color and variety can be found in the hydrangea, magnolia and unique trees located throughout the garden.
The Mize Azalea Gardens also offer trail tours and host the Little Princess Tea Party every year. Check out the Visit and Events page to learn more.
Tips for Visitors - parking, restrooms and tours
On weekends, free parking is available behind the Johnson Coliseum or at the corner of University Drive and Starr Avenue. Frequent guests are encouraged to visit SFA's Parking and Traffic Office to obtain a free visitor’s parking pass. Their office is open 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and located at 1925 Wilson Drive (first floor of the Wilson Parking Garage).
The nearest public restrooms are located on the west side of LaNana Creek, by the Intramural Fields just south of the Mast Arboretum.
Want to share the gardens with your friends? Group tours are available! Call 936.468.1832 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our Azalea Trails tour section on the Visit and Events page for details on guided tours in the spring.
Gayla Mize Garden
Across University Drive sits the Gayla Mize Garden, with a portion of the SFA Recreational Trails winding through the beautiful scenery. This garden was initiated in 2011 and honors Gayla Mize, a long time supporter of Nacogdoches Beautiful, SFA Gardens and many other civic adventures in Nacogdoches.