Just three years after opening, the Houston Botanic Garden has blossomed into an oasis to nerd out on plant life, enjoy rotating exhibits and special events, and more.
As summer comes to a close, we are thrilled to share with you some exciting developments at the Garden that aim to enhance your next visit. The most enriching experiences here come not only from the beauty of the surroundings, but also in understanding and appreciating the depth of what occurs in nature.
One of the most amazing things about the natural world is its ability to maneuver through change, and we are lucky to experience that up close at the Garden year-round. When a new season arrives, shifts begin to take place that are at first microscopic; what starts in the soil can eventually be seen through plant foliage and all of the living creatures that contribute to the ecosystem.
When I started in an interim leadership role with the Houston Botanic Garden in 2016, someone asked me if I was an environmentalist. I hadn’t really thought of myself that way before. I was a nonprofit generalist specializing in helping passionate, mission-driven individuals and organizations maximize their impact.
Houston Botanic Garden’s second annual Go Bananas! festival, happening from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, June 3, aims to celebrate the beloved foodstuff while simultaneously teaching attendees that their favorite wholesome snack has a not-so-wholesome history.
The banana is one of those fruits it’s easy to take for granted. They’re pretty much everywhere: on kitchen counters, by the cash register at health club cafes and corporate cafeterias, overflowing from the stands in the produce aisle. Who stops to consider where the banana comes from, or even which varieties we’re eating? Answer: the Houston Botanic Garden.
At the Garden, we see Mother Nature’s capabilities every day. Whether it’s beautiful blooms in the Tropical Heart of our Global Collection Garden or the fruits and vegetables nearing harvest in the Culinary Garden, there are abundant examples of growth all around us. But, if you don’t know where to look, nature’s most important impacts can often go unnoticed.
World renowned sculptor Steve Tobin has transformed the Houston Botanic Garden into a wonderland of glass, steel and ceramic with his latest installation dubbed “Intertwined: Exploring Nature’s Networks.” Featuring 20 sculptures made from a variety of elements, this spectacle is inspired by the natural world as well as cultural and historical influences.
Nature shows us the power of the seasons. Winter brings much needed rest to many of the Garden’s plant specimens, and when it’s time for their return in the spring, we are rewarded with the vibrant shades of blooming Amaryllis in our gardens, Louisiana iris in wetlands, and waves of bluebonnets dotting lush prairie grass. The return of butterflies and pollinators as they flock to new blooms gives us yet another reminder of how this complex environment works in concert to create a healthier, stronger ecosystem.
Some people love the Garden in the spring to take in the show of bluebonnets bursting forth. Others, to witness the powerful regrowth of the bananas after the winter dieback. This year, I’m really looking forward to the butterflies. For me, they are magic. I’m sure my excitement is due in part to our March for Monarchs event and a new exhibit that will soon make its debut in the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden. Everything butterflies is in the air.