The Vision for the Garden

outstanding displays, gardens, and programs

Houston, sitting in one of the most ecologically diverse urban areas of the country, is one of only two major U.S. cities without a botanic garden. 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 120-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 late 2016, 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

Nancy O’Connor Abendshein

Vice Chair
Melbern G. Glasscock

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
Steve 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


President & General Counsel
Claudia Gee Vassar

Vice President, Development & Marketing
Laura A. Easton

Development Manager
Mariah Lawhon

Office Manager
Jose L. Leal

Connect with the Garden

get in touch

Houston Botanic Garden
Administrative Office
3701 Kirby Drive, Suite 992
Houston, Texas 77098


2016 FORM 990 >

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