Biodiversity is life in all its forms at all scales from one garden to an entire ecosystem. For our area of Texas, that translates into a resilient ecosystem able to survive hurricanes, heat and drought. For native plants such as the Eastern Purple Coneflower, the Black Eye Susan, Houston Yaupon Holly and Texas Lantana, the greatest threat to their existence isn’t natural occurrences, but invasive species. Conservation of our plant heritage is an important part of the mission of Houston Botanic Garden. HBG will participate in studies on the effects and management of invasive species and other conservation issues. Our efforts will insure that HBG will be here to preserve our plant history for generations to come.
Center for Sustainable Landscapes- Phipps Conservatory; Pittsburgh, PA
Curiosity is the breeding ground for great researchers. Whether it is an 8 year old lepidopterist trying to catch a butterfly or a Ph. D microbiologist taking samples from Sims Bayou, they will find much to discover at HBG. Botanist, pedologist, entomologist, ecologists, zoologists and more will be able to study the simplest to the most complex organisms. Teaming with biodiversity, HBG will provide an extraordinary living laboratory. Houston Botanic Garden will collaborate with scientists, universities and medical institutions to promote research with potential usage in fields such as biotechnology, agriculture, energy and medicine.
The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center- Chicago Botanic Garden; Glencoe, IL
There is a scientist in all of us when we are young. We watched bees pollinate flowers and dug in the dirt looking for worms. We were always exploring. We didn’t know what botanist or entomologist meant. We just knew we were having fun. As an educational institution, Houston Botanic Garden will provide many opportunities to maintain that sense of wonder. Students will gain knowledge of plants and their value to society through a variety of programs ranging from children’s gardens, food gardens, landscape design, herb collections, and through the basic study of seeds and plant growth cycles. With more than thirty school districts and 300 private schools in the Houston metropolitan area, there is a tremendous opportunity to educate students of all ages.
UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley- Berkeley, CA
Nature has always played the role of muse for visual and performing artists. Monet’s garden at Giverny inspired his water lily paintings. Van Gogh painted sunflowers in Arles. Georgia O’Keefe’s time in Hawaii gave birth to large scale paintings of flowers. Their work expresses their deep relationship with nature.
Texas has its own sense of place. For painter and mosaic artist Dixie Friend Gay, it is mystical and meandering bayous. Her large scale glass mosaic work at Bush Intercontinental Airport announces to visitors they have arrived in Houston. And, James Surls’s giant sculptures of trees and flowers reflect a transcendence of spirit brought on by nature. Houston Botanic Gardens will be an inspiration for well- known and amateur artists alike. The Garden will also incorporate sculpture and other art forms into its design.
Dixie Friend Gay "Houston Bayou"- Intercontinental Airport; Houston, TX
Since mankind first picked up a stick and began to dig, technology has been a part of our lives. In addition to the shovel, we will be using advanced technology in building Houston Botanic Garden and in designing an engaging visitor experience. Using mapping software and global positioning systems, we will create a map for each part of the garden that visitors can share with their friends through interactive online maps that can be printed at home or at information kiosks. Visitors will be able to use smart phones to scan bar codes to learn the identification and origin of plants and to email photos to friends and families.
The Urban Atlanta Summer Geospatial STEM Academy- Atlanta Botanical Gardens; Atlanta, GA
Art, science and technology come together in a beautiful way to help understand and enjoy our part in a bigger world. A botanic garden is a place to stroll, relax, learn, paint, photograph, play and bask in the wonders of nature. Houston Botanic Garden will be the perfect setting for listening to live music, taking cooking classes, practicing a bit of pumpkin sculpting and collecting leaves for a colorful collage. The garden will be a memorable place to celebrate special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden- Dallas, TX
Houston, one of the country’s largest, most diverse and vibrant metropolitan areas, is home to world-class educational, cultural, medical and scientific institutions. Our welcoming and entrepreneurial spirit draws tens of thousands of individuals and their families to Houston to make new homes each year. Our optimism and determination drive us to work together to accomplish great things. With a premier botanic garden, Houston will join the ranks of prominent American and International cities such as Chicago, New York, London and Paris that have such a treasure.
Houston Botanic Garden will be a living laboratory engaging all of our senses and strengthening our relationship to the natural world. HBG will be a place of beauty and wonder. It will provide critical knowledge and practical information about plants to students, garden enthusiasts, scientists and nature lovers of all ages. And, strategically placed along Sims Bayou, the botanic garden will enable us to reclaim the native plant community and to preserve wildlife habitats.
In planning the botanic garden, we will seek counsel from experts, enthusiasts, educators and community leaders to develop a master plan that will meet our expectations. We envision partnerships with area schools and universities that will make our botanic garden an exceptional classroom. We will align ourselves with garden clubs and civic organizations to make the botanic garden welcoming and accessible. And, we will join forces with the City to become an attraction drawing visitors from near and far. Houston will take its place next to cities, such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas that realize the important role a botanic garden plays in the quality of education and of life in general.
The City of Houston and generous foundations and individuals have given us our start. But, we will need the help of many more to make our vision a gift to the millions of individuals and families living in the greater Houston area.