The leadership of the Houston Botanic Garden (the Garden) announced during its annual fundraising luncheon on Nov. 6 that it has achieved its $35 million goal for the Grow Houston’s Garden capital campaign by meeting the deadline for a $750,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation. The sold-out event – chaired by the Stude sisters, Isabel Lummis and Elisa Pye, in honor of their mother, Anita Stude – raised a record-breaking $630,000 in operating support for the Garden.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous individuals and foundations who responded so enthusiastically to the vision for a magnificent botanic garden in the Houston city limits,” said Claudia Gee Vassar, president and general counsel of the Houston Botanic Garden. “We believe history will hold in high esteem all of those who worked tirelessly to realize this dream. Establishing a botanic garden rivalling the best in the nation will have significant cultural, educational, and scientific benefits for our great city.”
Phase I of the master plan for the Garden, developed by renowned landscape architecture firm West 8, includes elements essential to welcoming visitors to a beautiful space that celebrates the ecoregions and unique identity of the Bayou City, while also laying down critical infrastructure to support future growth.
In anticipation of this important milestone, the following are currently under construction on the Houston Botanic Garden site:
- The Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden, centered around a lagoon, which will present opportunities for families to engage with nature in hands-on, direct ways.
- The Global Collection Garden, which will demonstrate the wide variety of plants from across the globe that flourish in Houston’s climate.
- The Edible Garden, which will showcase Houston’s culinary diversity through fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, many of which visitors could grow in their own backyard.
- Stormwater Wetlands and Coastal Prairie natural ecosystem areas, which will highlight the region’s immense biodiversity and help with flood mitigation and water purification.
Neighbors who travel Park Place Boulevard regularly will also notice significant progress on the Entrance Bridge over the Sims Bayou meander that will serve to connect visitors with the oak tree-lined Botanic Boulevard and direct them toward the Welcome Pavilion and adjacent Parking Forest.
“The Garden will truly be an oasis of learning, discovery, and horticultural beauty, showcasing Houston’s biodiversity in a serene setting only minutes from downtown,” said Nancy O’Connor Abendshein, chair of the Garden’s board of directors. “Visitors will be able to explore all the wonders of nature, participate in informative classes and festivals, and celebrate a variety of life events. This is absolutely a dream come true.”