The Vision for the Garden

outstanding displays, gardens, and programs

Houston Botanic Garden will be an oasis of horticultural beauty showcasing Houston's biodiversity in a beautiful and serene setting. Through outstanding displays and enriching programs, the Garden will inspire all who visit to become environmental stewards as they learn more about plants and the vast natural world.

The Story of the Garden

a seed planted years ago, now comes to life

More than 30 years ago, Nancy Thomas and Kay Crooker had a vision of a magnificent botanic garden in Houston to rival those they had visited in Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City. They understood the important role a botanic garden could play culturally, educationally, and scientifically—and what Houston was missing.

In 2002, they incorporated Houston Botanic Garden and assembled a strong Board of Directors, with Nancy Thomas serving as the first Chairperson. The Board explored numerous sites across the greater Houston area, considering size, location, and topography, among other things. On January 21, 2015, HBG’s search came to an end as Mayor Parker and the Houston City Council approved a lease agreement to transform the 132-acre Glenbrook Golf Course into a botanic garden. This beautiful property sits on Sims Bayou, just across the Gulf Freeway from Hobby Airport.

Houston Botanic Garden enlisted internationally renowned landscape architecture firm, West 8, to help create a visionary master plan that provides a road map for developing the Houston Botanic Garden in phases over the next 30 years. The master plan celebrates Houston, our bayous, our ecoregions, and our unique identity.

In 2015, HBG launched Grow Houston’s Garden, a $35 million campaign, to fund the first phase of master plan implementation. This phase lays down the critical infrastructure to support future growth, and includes the essential elements to begin welcoming visitors to a beautiful and informative garden in 2020.

The Garden's Leadership

many hands tend to the vision of the Houston Botanic Garden

Board of Directors

Chair Nancy O’Connor Abendshein
Vice Chair Melbern G. Glasscock
Treasurer Alberto P. Cardenas, Jr.
Secretary & Chair Emerita Nancy S. Thomas

David Baggett
Carole Bailey
Peggy Bailey
Drucie Chase
Cathy Fitzpatrick Cleary
John Eads
Gail Hendryx
Lynne Hudson
Steven J. Lindley
Ryan Martin
Peter R. McStravick, Jr.
Randall E. Meyer
The Honorable Annise D. Parker
James A. Reeder, Jr.
Jose Rocha
Robert A. Rowland III
Sharyn Aydam Weaver
W. Temple Webber III
Emily Tuttle Wilde

Advisory Council

Mary Beth Arcidiacono
Sadie Gwin Blackburn
Pauline Bolton
Elizabeth Boss
Peter G. Doyle
Bolivar Fraga
Hester T. Hawkins
Kathy Huber
Ann W. Jones†
Margarette L. Jones
Wendy Kelsey
John Kirksey
Christopher L. Knapp
Ann Lents
Odette McMurrey Mace
Gary P. Moss
Brenda Beust Smith
Cassie B. Stinson
M.S. Stude
Dean Barkley S. Thompson
Janice Van Dyke Walden
Kingslea von Helms
Bass C. Wallace, Jr.
William Welch, Ph.D.


President & General Counsel
Claudia Gee Vassar

Vice President of Horticulture
Joy M. Columbus

Vice President of Development
Laura A. Easton

Director of Operations & Finance
Emily Watkins Baker

Director of Communications & Community Engagement
Justin Lacey

Director of Education & Public Programs
Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud

Horticulture Manager
Brent E. Moon

Executive Assistant to the President & General Counsel
Jenna Beth Bayer

Development Associate
Margaret Cardwell

Plant Recorder
April Lloyd


Clark Condon
Dykema Architects, Inc.
Harvey Builders
Walter P. Moore
Overland Partners
TI Constructors
Tramonte + Johnson
Venturi Outcomes
West 8


American Public Gardens Association
Houston Audubon
Houston Parks Board
Houston Parks & Recreation Department
Houston Zoo
Katy Prairie Conservancy
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Trees For Houston
Urban Harvest
Wildlife Habitat Federation

A Garden for all

Houston Botanic Garden is committed to creating an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible environment where all are valued, respected, and appreciated. We believe that the collective sum of diverse people and their lived experiences contributes to more rich, innovative, and impactful activities that allow the Garden to better connect to the diverse community of Houston and beyond. We embrace visible and invisible differences in ability, age, appearance, education, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity, language, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and the many other attributes, characteristics, and perspectives that make our staff and our visitors unique and diverse. We commit to treating all people with dignity and respect at all times and assessing our actions as individuals and as an organization to reflect these values and commitments.

Un Jardín para todos

El Jardín Botánico de Houston se compromete a crear un entorno equitativo, diverso, inclusivo y accesible donde todos sean valorados, respetados y apreciados. Creemos que la suma colectiva de personas diversas y sus experiencias vividas contribuyen a actividades más ricas, innovadoras e impactantes que permiten que el Jardín se conecte mejor con la comunidad diversa de Houston y más allá. Aceptamos diferencias visibles e invisibles de capacidad, edad, apariencia, educación, etnia, estado civil o familiar, identidad de género, idioma, origen nacional, afiliación política, raza, religión, sexo, orientación sexual, estatus socioeconómico, estado de veterano, y los muchos otros atributos, características y perspectivas que hacen que nuestro personal y nuestros visitantes sean únicos y diversos. Nos comprometemos a tratar a todas las personas con dignidad y respeto en todo momento y evaluar nuestras acciones como individuos y como organización para reflejar estos valores y compromisos.

Get in Touch

Houston Botanic Garden
8205 N. Bayou Drive
Houston, Texas 77017

2018 Form 990

2017 Form 990

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