SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Although the flowers are still in bloom, Mrs. Lee's Daffodil Garden is closed. A damaged bridge has made it dangerous for vehicles to get in to see the flowers.
If you make your way to Mrs. Lee's Gardens off Highway 271 near Gladewater, you'll be greeted by a locked gate. You won't see many of the flowers. They are blooming now, at the tail end of their season. Caretaker Dennis Phelps says recent rain may have indirectly caused the problem.
"All that sand; where did that come from?" I asked Phelps.
"That road, just washing down that hill," he replied
Sand had partially covered the bridge on one end.
"So this stays wet," he said of the area.
And he thinks people got off the runners and onto the decking which is not for driving on, maybe weakening it when it was covered with sand.
"Well the main bridge that lets you in to see most of the four miles of dirt road and all the flowers has got a hole in it and is now unsafe to drive on," Phelps said.
He says about two hundred cars passed over the bridge the last few days to get to the flowers before he noticed the problem.
"Basically we've got three boards here that caused the problem," Phelps said.
It has to be repaired before it's safe to cross with a vehicle.
"By the time I do that even quickly, the flowers will be gone," Phelps stated.
So he wants to make sure it's done right.
"So many cars have driven over this thing over the last eight years that it's been in operation.." Phelps started.
That length of use caused the bridge to just give way. Phelps says the only thing keeping the first board from breaking is a stump just below the decking.
"We'll have it done by next season. We'll look at other alternatives," Phelps said.
So it may be repaired, or he may go with something that will last longer. He may decide to:
"Completely replace it with something metal," Phelps revealed.
Phelps says when the white blooms come out, the yellow is all going away.
He also says the daffodils started blooming nearly a month ago, but it had to stay closed because of recent rain. He adds that they are not allowing people to park and climb the fence. The road goes on for four miles, and it's a long walk back if someone gets injured.
Mrs. Lee's Garden was only open three days this year, but next year will hopefully be better, depending on the weather.
This weekend would probably have been the final few days for the daffodils this year, but there are a lot of pictures of this year's bloom at KLTV.com. Just click here.