May 2, 2022

Flock to the Garden for Family Fun

Photographed by Mary Anne Morris at the Houston Botanic Garden in November 2020.

Is there anything more delightful than starting the day with birdsong in the morning? My kids and I like to try to count how many different birds we can hear.

I’m not a great birder, but I’m learning. At the Garden, I often see whistler ducks, goldfinches, hawks, and I’ve even seen an eagle! Walking down a path to the Coastal Prairie Garden, as a bluebird flew by and an egret rested in the marshy grounds, I was reminded that the ones who have likely noticed most the massive transformation as the Garden has taken root are our winged friends. 

Mary Anne Morris, Education Director for the Houston Audubon Raptor and Education Center, leads a monthly bird count through the Garden. This partnership started while the site was still a golf course. Through increasing habitat and plant diversity in transforming the golf course into a garden, the number of bird species observed has increased by 73 since opening (to almost 130 at last count)! The counts are submitted to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s database that researchers use to study birds’ migration and movement trends. As you enjoy the Garden, you can take note of bird-friendly plants by the bird icons on their plant label. 

In addition to planting for birds, there are many things you can do to help create a bird-friendly Houston, like turning off non-essential exterior lighting from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. through May 7 to support peak bird migration. Our family is looking forward to implementing some new ways to care for the birds around our home. Be sure to check out the Horticulture Help section for more tips on how you can attract birds to your yard or garden too.

Claudia Gee Vassar, President & General Counsel

Nurture Your Mental Health at the Garden

You’re invited to participate in positive food, fitness, and mental health practices at Nurtured by Nature. The event on Saturday, May 21, will include educational discussions along with yoga, free weights, wellness walks, and meditation. Cost is $15 for non-members and free for members.

Go Bananas!

Don’t miss this celebration of the world's most popular tropical fruit! This festival will highlight the 11 types of Musa (banana) plants in the Garden's collection. Experience new and unexpected culinary uses and benefits of bananas and get an introduction to the far-reaching impacts of the plant and its fruit. Join in on the fun on June 4! 

What’s Happening at the Garden

Water Works Festival

Come on out for a family-friendly festival focused on educating the community about sustainability, environmental protection, recycling, native plants, and more. The event -- hosted at the Garden by Houston Public Works on Saturday, May 7 -- will feature 50+ exhibitors, as well as raffles, giveaways, and entertainment. 

Sunday Concert Series

There’s still time to groove in the Garden before our spring Sunday Concert Series comes to a close. 

Catch Annika Chambers and Paul DesLauriers performing at our soulful Mother's Day Blues Party on Sunday, May 8. 

Horticulture Help 

Are birds helpful to my garden?

Yes! Birds are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem, most significantly helping with pest control. Some, like the hummingbird, even help with pollination! 

We recommend welcoming them, instead of shooing them away, by creating environments where birds can thrive. Click to read how you can attract birds to your yard or garden just in time for May 4, National Bird Day!

Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage) is great for attracting hummingbirds.

Making Memories at the Garden

A Unique Dining Experience

A seasonal tasting menu with wine pairings served amid the beauty of the Houston Botanic Garden? That’s what Top Chef Houston contestant Evelyn Garcia and chef Henry Lu recently served for a limited-seating Sunset Dinner. 

The multicourse pop-up dinner — which featured several vegetables and edible plants from the Garden’s Culinary Garden, including fresh herbs, chives, and cucumber-scented borage blossom — was such a hit that food critic Alison Cook wrote about it in the Houston Chronicle, saying:

“It was set in a serene, dramatic space between coolly tiled walls that rustled with running water. Feathery muhly grass from the grounds coursed down the center, and candles glowed brighter as the sun set.” 

Learn With Us

Mother’s Day Meals

Create the perfect Mother’s Day meal using fresh produce from local farms and our Culinary Garden! On May 5, Chef Keisha Griggs will show you everything from cooking to wine and beer pairings. Space is limited.

Plants & Pain Relief 

Explore gardening and aromatherapy with Nam-Thu Tran, a massage therapist and acupuncture student. Tran will guide you through the alleviation of minor aches and pains through plants and essential oils on May 14. 

Botanic Yoga

Realign your chakra while connecting with nature, as you join Jessica Garcia of Chandra Yoga on a guided sensory experience in the Garden on Sunday, May 22. Non-member fee: $30 includes general admission to the Garden. Members receive a $10 discount.

Explore our Events Calendar for more upcoming opportunities to grow your gardening knowledge. 

Get Your Hands Dirty

Volunteering with the Garden is simple. No experience required. Max F., a Junior at Second Baptist High School, shares about his experience as a volunteer:

“When I first decided to volunteer at the Houston Botanic Garden, I had no experience with gardening. But I have always cared for the environment, and with every visit I learn something new about plant life and gain practical horticulture skills. 

Volunteering at the Garden introduced me to a welcoming community and an amazing opportunity for personal growth. Every visit involves a new task, so each experience is enriching and engaging. I have also built friendships with the Garden staff and other volunteers. 

Although most of my volunteer hours were spent doing gardening work, there are also other ways to help like greeting or assisting inside the ticketing office.”

Want to start learning and making new friends as a volunteer? 

Contact us at or call 713-715-9675 ext. 152.

Grow With Us

Supporting Our Mission

Meet Susanne M. & Melbern G. Glasscock, our 2022 Annual Luncheon honorees! They recently shared their multifaceted involvement with the Garden from its earliest days — before a location was even chosen — to its blossoming present. In the interview, Susie and Mel discuss the impact of greenspaces on communities, their favorite parts of the Garden, and their vision for its future, plus the number one thing people who haven’t visited the Garden should know! 

The Glasscocks will be honored at the 2022 Annual Luncheon.

Dedicated to creating engaging opportunities to introduce more people to the Garden, Susanne M. & Melbern G. Glasscock will be honored on Thursday, October 13, 2022, at River Oaks Country Club. Jay Maddock, PhD, FAAHB, a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Texas A&M University, will be this year’s speaker. Maddock is also co-director of the Center for Health & Nature, as well as a member of the Brazos County Board of Health. 

Honorary Chairs of this year’s luncheon are Linda Anderson, Kathleen & Bob Clarke, and Elizabeth & Albert Kidd. Co-Chairs are Elle & Clarke Anderson and Tammy & Bob Casey. Mark your calendars and join us to celebrate and support the Houston Botanic Garden!

You can make a donation to our annual fund at any time by clicking here or texting give2garden to 71777.

Scientifically Speaking

Bamboo can be grown and harvested quicker than pine, it’s stronger than steel, and its shoots are edible! Experience the wonders of bamboo in-person when you visit our Bamboo Forest, within the subtropical section of the Global Collection Garden. 

The Summit in the Bamboo Forest.

Close-up of distinctive cane on b.vulgaris.

Brent Moon, the Garden’s Horticulture Manager, explores the many uses and types of bamboo in depth in his recent article “The Fascinating World of Bamboo.”

Membership News

Membership Perk

Did you know that members get into the Go Bananas! festival for free? There will also be a members-only tent with A/C, refreshments, and snacks, transforming a hot June day into a refreshing adventure in the Garden. 

Digital Card Update

The Garden has officially made the switch to digital membership cards. All physical cards will still work until their expiration date. We hope you will choose digital when it comes time to renew your membership.