The Vision for the Garden

outstanding displays, gardens, and programs

In the Garden, the splendor of Houston’s biodiversity will be explored and enjoyed in a beautiful and serene setting. Houston Botanic Garden will provide outstanding displays and programs, serve as a model for sustainability, and inspire all who visit to become environmental stewards as they learn more about plants and the vast natural world. The Garden will be an oasis of great beauty allowing for contemplation, learning, inspiration, and research.

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 with a mature tree canopy 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 Randall E. Meyer
Secretary & Chair Emerita Nancy S. Thomas

Carole Bailey
Peggy Bailey
Alberto P. Cardenas, Jr.
Drucie Chase
Cathy Fitzpatrick Cleary
John Eads
Gail Hendryx
Lynne Hudson
Steven J. Lindley
Peter R. McStravick, Jr.
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.
Ed Wulfe

Planning Committee

Chair Steven J. Lindley

Nancy O'Connor Abendshein
Carole Bailey
Frank Brown
Elisa Donovan
Lorrie Foreman
Melbern G. Glasscock
David C. Joiner
Randall E. Meyer
Jose A. Rocha
Nancy S. Thomas
Emily Tuttle Wilde


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

Horticulture Task Force

Chair Nancy S. Thomas

Nancy O’Connor Abendshein
Laura Bacon
Frank Brown
Sheila Condon
Jane Curtis
Lorrie Foreman
Stephanie Fox
Lynn Herbert
Dodie Jackson
Susan Lummis
Brent Moon
Gary P. Moss
Kingslea von Helms
William Welch, Ph.D.

Capital Campaign Leadership

Honorary Chairs
Susanne M. & Melbern G. Glasscock

Nancy O’Connor Abendshein
James A. Reeder, Jr.

Capital Campaign Committee
Kit & Carl A. Detering
George F. Hawkins III
Dodie & Richard Jackson
Steven J. Lindley
Randy E. Meyer
Bass C. Wallace, Jr.
Laura & William M. Wheless III
Emily & Carlton D. Wilde, Jr.


President & General Counsel
Claudia Gee Vassar

Vice President, Horticulture
Joy M. Columbus

Vice President, Development & Marketing
Laura A. Easton

Executive Assistant to President & General Counsel
Jenna Beth Bayer

Development Associate
Margaret Cardwell

Horticulture Manager
Brent E. Moon

Get in Touch

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

2017 Form 990

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