NOTE: The Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden and Alex Heveri's Glass in Flight will be unavailable to visitors March 4-8, due to trail improvements being made by the bayou bridge.
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June 2022

Celebrating (Bio)diversity This Summer

Botanic gardens are preoccupied — perhaps obsessed — with biodiversity. The diversity of plants around us gives us moments of awe and makes us happy. But that’s not all. Biodiversity is critical for the resiliency of life on planet Earth. Scientists are ringing alarm bells about the first mass extinction in human history as 1 million species are currently threatened with extinction. I shudder to imagine a world with only a few different grasses, shrubs, and trees. 

Keystone plants are critical to the survival of an ecosystem. When a keystone species is lost, the whole food web radically changes or even collapses. Consider the mighty oak: 468 species of butterflies and moths use the oak as a caterpillar host plant in our area. Caterpillars that feed birds, and so forth, as the web expands. Nearly one third of all oak species are currently threatened with extinction

We are familiar with the monarch’s relationship with milkweed; the silkworm with mulberry; and the panda with bamboo. Nature’s equal opposites balance one another and create harmonious, healthy ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems in turn, prevent floods and reduce other vulnerabilities to natural disasters. The impact of the extinction of one species can have disastrous ripple effects. 

And humans at the top of the food chain? We depend on biodiversity for food security and nutrition. When we rely on only a few species for our food, our agricultural system is at risk for pests or pathogens that can destroy entire species. Imagine a diet limited to only a few sources. Not only would it be boring, our bodies would be deficient in many vitamins and minerals found in diversified, balanced diets.

The Houston Botanic Garden celebrates biodiversity of plants from across the globe. Each plant is beautiful. Each species is a crucial member of its ecosystem.

As we celebrate Pride month this June, we celebrate the diversity of humankind and the value and beauty of each human, particularly our LGBTQ+ friends — just like we celebrate the value, beauty, and incredible diversity of the Earth’s plant life. 

Claudia Gee Vassar, President & General Counsel

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Read the June 2022 e-newsletter for more, including Horticulture Help to ensure your home garden is prepared for summer; an interview with Kendall Taormina, a founding member of the Garden’s next generation group, the Bloomers; and tips from the Garden’s horticulture manager for successfully growing your very own Musa (banana) plants at home.

Our Mission

Enriching life through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.

Hours

NORMAL OPERATIONS
9:00 am — 5:00 pm

DURING RADIANT NATURE
9:00 am — 4:00 pm

Garden Entrance
One Botanic Lane
Houston, TX 77017
Mailing Address

8205 N. Bayou Drive
Houston, TX 77017

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