Our History

More than 30 years ago, Nancy Thomas and Kay Crooker had a vision of a magnificent botanic garden in Houston to rival ones 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 in the lives of Houstonians. They kept their vision alive by searching for an ideal site with the right topography, acreage, and location.

In 2002, Houston Botanic Garden formed a Board of Directors which developed a more formal approach and put a planning process in place. Nancy Thomas served as the first chairperson. The original board  members included Keiji Asakura, Sadie Gwin Blackburn, Kay Crooker, Wendy Kelsey, Merrill  O’Neal, Cynthia Taylor, and Kingslea von Helms. By 2004, the Board had expanded to include John Craddock, Peter Doyle, Ann Jones, Margarette Jones, Anita Stude, and Bass Wallace. They spent many hours meeting with city and county officials, learning much along the way.

Other community leaders and garden enthusiasts joined them in their mission to establish a premier botanic garden that would promote public appreciation and understanding of plants and gardens and of the conservation of the natural world. They included Kathy Huber, Rebecca Hutcheson, Chris Knapp, Ann Lents, Odette Mace, Mike Stude, Judy Tate, Sharyn Weaver, Emily Wilde, Pauline Bolton, Jeanie Carter, Zinkie Benton, Susan Garwood, Hester Hawkins, and Terry Hershey.

On January 21, 2015 the HBG reached an important milepost in its journey. Mayor Parker and the City Council approved a lease agreement with HBG to transform the 120-acre Glenbrook Park area in Meadowbrook into a botanic garden.

Board of Directors

  • Nancy O’Connor Abendshein Chairperson
  • Melbern G. Glasscock Vice-Chairperson
  • Randall E. Meyer Treasurer
  • Nancy S. Thomas Secretary & Chairperson Emerita
  • Peggy Bailey
  • Alberto P. Cardenas, Jr.
  • Drucie Chase
  • John Eads
  • Gail Hendryx
  • Steven J. Lindley
  • Richard W. McDugald
  • Peter R. McStravick, Jr.
  • James A. Reeder, Jr.
  • Jose A. Rocha
  • Robert A. Rowland III
  • Sharyn Aydam Weaver
  • W. Temple Webber III
  • Emily Tuttle Wilde
  • Jose Turner, ex officio


  • Claudia Gee Vassar Interim Executive Director
  • Jose L. Leal Office Manager

Advisory Council

  • Mary Beth Arcidiacono
  • Sadie Gwin Blackburn
  • Pauline Bolton
  • Elizabeth Boss
  • Peter G. Doyle
  • Laura A. Easton
  • Bolivar Fraga
  • Susan Garwood
  • 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.
  • Peter M. Way
  • William Welch, Ph.D.
  • Ed Wulfe

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are you located?
HBG entered into an agreement with the City of Houston on January 2015 for a long-term lease of the Glenbrook area in Meadowbrook as the site for the Garden.

Do you host events/weddings?
Since we are not currently open for visitors, we are unable to host events or weddings. It is our intent to host various types of events in the future.

What are your hours?
As we have not yet developed our Botanic Garden, we do not have Garden hours. Our office is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Do you allow photography sessions?
The Garden will allow photography sessions in the future. We are unable to give information regarding the sessions at this time, but plan on offering these services when the Garden opens.

What are you doing now?
HBG has hired a firm to prepare a Master Plan for the Garden. We hope to have this plan complete in the Fall of 2015 and will use the plan as guidance for the development of the Garden.