MARCH 10, 2021

A Message of Hope from Our President

Just three weeks after the headline-making winter storm, signs of spring growth are peeking out around the Houston Botanic Garden, both in the cultivated gardens and the natural ecosystem areas. The winter freeze was a devastating experience for the Garden, our beloved city, and many more. As you may have witnessed in your own yard or around town, the majority of the plants in the Garden suffered damage. Despite a valiant effort by the Garden team to protect the plants, many will be lost. We continue to assess the collections and watch which plants are resilient, celebrating each sign of life sprouting forth.

Even while some of the plants are not as inspirational as when they're healthiest, it's still a beautiful place to be.

The Tropical Heart and the Corner of Curiosity in the Global Collection Garden suffered some of the most damage as these areas feature some plants most sensitive to extended below-freezing temperatures. Yet, we are also seeing infant leaves sprout from Cycas taitungensis (emperor sago), Calotropis gigantean (giant milkweed), and Musa basjoo (Japanese fiber banana), as just a few examples.

In the spirit of the Garden’s mission, the planning and recovery process presented a unique opportunity for the Garden’s horticulture team to share their expertise, educating the community about pre- and post-freeze garden care. You can find their tips here, as well as in these appearances on KHOU 11, KPRC 2, and Univision 45. Since the Garden has a wide variety of plant species, we are participating in a study by Texas A&M to assess which plants can tolerate below-freezing temperatures, providing important information to the body of knowledge about various plants.

We know that in its first six months, the Garden has become a place of comfort and escape for so many. In spite of the damage, many visitors have returned. We have heard a number express interest in understanding how different species at the Garden tolerated the cold, and how the Garden’s recovery will progress.

The last year has tested us in ways we could not have imagined. As is often the case, the challenges have also spurred reflection and opportunities to move forward healthier and stronger. 

We are grateful for your support of the Houston Botanic Garden through this, and every, season. Through it all, Life Grows Here. 

Claudia Gee Vassar



Volunteer with us. You can assist with plant clean up and preparations for spring. We are planting summer seasonal color early, and you can get your hands dirty alongside the Garden’s horticulture team to brighten up the Garden.

Become a member. As a member, you can visit the Garden as often as you like at no additional charge and see for yourself the renewal of nature. Members also get discounts on classes and the upcoming spring concert series, which you won’t want to miss.

Make a gift to the Annual Fund. Replenishing the Garden with new plants to replace the ones we lost due to the winter storm will take money that we had not anticipated needing. We don’t yet know the full extent of the loss, but we already know it is not insignificant. Every dollar will help us restore the Garden.




Connie S. Boyd, CFRE
Vice President of Development & Membership

Connie is an experienced fundraiser with a balance of general management and fundraising in the nonprofit and corporate sectors. She was most recently the Chief Development Officer at the Holocaust Museum Houston, where she raised more than $4 million annually for operating funds and supported the museum’s successful $52 million capital campaign.

Sara "Ranger" Ranger
Education Coordinator

Ranger is a former teacher and librarian who most recently served as a naturalist for the Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire and at Houston Audubon’s Edith L. Moore Sanctuary in west Houston. She will focus on interpretation (i.e., signage and docents) and youth and family programs, including an inaugural summer camp for 2021, with details to come.

Nautica Linton
Visitor Services Assistant

Nautica, who is new to Houston, is looking forward to meeting new people as she greets and provides excellent customer service to visitors at the Welcome Pavilion. 


On Saturday, Feb. 13, several Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Troop 20322 worked through the cold to construct compost bins for the Community Garden. The high school students returned on Saturday, March 6, to paint the compost bins and add some whimsy, via hand-painted and stenciled butterflies, stars, and handprints. Thank you, Troop 20322!


Beginning Thursday, April 15, the Houston Botanic Garden will host an eight-week concert series featuring musical styles as unique, and globally inspired, as the Garden’s collection.

One Thursday evening each week – April 15-June 3, from 6-7:30 p.m. – the sound of music will combine with the aural sensations of nature to provide attendees with a cultural experience that should soothe and refresh both mind and soul.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, email or call 713.715.9675 ext. 141.    

The quick, curated views (i.e. "bites," or snippets) of the Garden in this session highlight tropical and wetlands plants. Preview here.

The quick, curated views (i.e. "bites," or snippets) of the Garden in this session highlight arid and edible plants. Preview here.