Houston just got greener! The Houston Botanic Garden is part living museum part serene oasis that opens to the public this weekend–Sept. 18, 2020. I got a sneak peek of the new Houston Botanic Garden and am so excited to share it with you!
About the Houston Botanic Garden
The Houston Botanic Garden is located in southeast Houston about 20 min drive from Downtown on I-45. The garden features 132 acres of horticultural displays, natural ecosystems, walking trails and hundreds of plant species from around the world.
Formed in 2002, Houston Botanic Garden is a nonprofit organization whose vision was to bring this space to life. They signed their lease in 2015 and broke ground in 2019 on a former golf course. This opening is the first of several planned phases over the next 30 years.
The Garden is a great space to explore and socially distance outside with 2.5 miles of walking trails and 2 miles of water front.
The Garden is centered on a 70 acre island carved by Sims Bayou! Once inside you can visit several different gardens areas including:
- The Global Collection Garden, with approx. 350 different tropical, sub-tropical, and arid species across more than a dozen themed areas
- The Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden, which includes a boardwalk maze and other options for nature and water play
- The Woodland Glade, which serves as a shady spot for weddings and other outdoor events.
- Culinary Garden which reflects the multicultural diversity of Houston’s restaurant scene.
The diversity of plants is meant to represent Houston’s global identity. You can travel around the world without leaving town by seeing the grasses of the African savanna, deserts of Mexico, tropics and fresh climate of Mediterranean. Some of the particularly unique plants include the Brazilian grape nut tree and Vietnamese medicinal plants.
I found the Culinary Garden particularly inspiring because in theory any of those plants you could grow at home in Houston! You can also see therapeutic herbs in the “apothecary corner” that were historically used for healing purposes. I’m also excited for the “bamboo tunnel” to grow in–it’ll be excellent for photos!
Wildlife has also started to inhabit the Garden. I saw a ton of butterflies and pollinators when I visited. Dragon flies, birds, toads, turtles can be found in the lagoons. The staff has also spotted alligators in the bayou!
Have a favorite flower? Check out the Garden website to see the blooming schedule to visit during the peak season.
Opening Season at the Garden
The Garden will launch with a series of opening season weekends with special educational opportunities to showcase Houston’s cultural richness and biodiversity by highlighting regions of the world from which the Garden has drawn its global plant palette.
- Sept. 18, 19, and 20 – Celebrating Latin America
- Oct. 2, 3, and 4 – Celebrating Asia
- Oct. 16, 17, and 18 – Celebrating Africa
- Oct. 30, 31, and November 1 – Celebrating the Mediterranean
The Houston Botanic Garden is also ramping up to be a fun event venue for gatherings and weddings.
Click here for more event information.
Education & Programs
The Houston Botanic Garden offers learners of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities a variety of opportunities to discover plants and grow in appreciation of the natural world. They plan to offer educational programs and workshops covering everything from horticulture and gardening, culture and culinary arts to health and wellness. Right now you can sign up for docent led tours through the Gardens.
I’m particularly interested in learning more about how to build a happy garden in Houston. I also think their yoga and meditation classes will be extra relaxing when set in the stunning garden backdrop. The Garden is also a stunning landscape to conduct workshops on floral design, photography and plein air painting and drawing.
Check out their full list of events and learning programs.
Tickets on weekends (Friday-Sunday) are $15 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-15) and students (with valid student ID). Tickets on weekdays (Monday-Thursday) are $12.50 for adults, $8 for children (ages 3-15) and students (with valid student ID). The Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To visit the garden, you must wear a face mask. All visitors are expected to follow social distancing guidelines and stay 6 feet apart. Hand sanitation stations are located throughout the Garden. Bring your own water bottle–it’s hot out there!