A world of plants awaits you at the Houston Botanic Garden
By Michelle Thompson
Whether you call it a living museum of plant collections or a zoo for plants, this plant paradise deserves a visit. The Houston Botanic Garden opened on September 18 with four weekend celebrations highlighting plants from different regions.
The sprawling 132-acre site, was once Glenbrook Park Golf Course. Driving through the tree lined front entrance and over the bridge will get you onto the island, so named because it’s surrounded by the Sims Bayou.
On the island you’ll find a densely planted 3-acre Global Collection, impressive Culinary Garden, the Stormwater Wetlands Garden, and walking trails to the Coastal Prairie Garden. The Woodland Glade, completed soon, will have a manicured traditional style garden setting for gatherings and small weddings.
The Global Collection contains more than 37,000 plants from 350 different species. Wander the many granite paths through planting zones inspired by regions of the world including tropical, subtropical, and arid zones.
Visitors transition from the Asian inspired garden to the arid valley which features paths lined with awe-inspiring rust colored Arizona onyx boulders and many species of succulents. Proceed from the mixed ecosystem of the Savanna Garden, a transitional zone between desert and forest, to the Upland Forest Garden.
At the center of the Global Collection is the tropical heart. Follow the jungle path edged with water misters and you’ll see banana trees bearing fruit and exotic flowers. Be sure to visit the Botanists’ Alley and Corner of Curiosity for some fun and unusual plants. Plant signs identify scientific and common names, pollinator friendly plants, native plants, and provides other useful information.
A short walk to the bridge and over the bayou leads one to the South Garden, home of the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden, where the lagoon is the central feature. Meander the boardwalk maze which is surrounded by aquatic vegetation and an impressive iris collection. Also, in the Discovery Garden is the rainbow garden, a carnivorous plant bed, a water play area, and the open nature play area. A community garden is slated to be built this winter and will be a future teaching tool for home gardeners.
The Houston Botanic Garden, located at 8210 Park Place Blvd., is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Fees Monday through Thursday are $12.50 for adults, $8 for students and children 3 and up. Friday-Sunday fees are $15 for adults and $10 for students and children. Docent tours of the Global Collection are just $3.
For more information about the Houston Botanic Garden or to find out about volunteering, go to hbg.org.
Michelle Thompson is a Galveston County Master Gardener, a member of Heritage Gardeners of Friendswood and a docent at the Houston Botanic garden.