February 8, 2022

There's a lot to love about the Garden. 

Are you in love with nature? Passionately loving life on this green earth?  

Two months after his passing, I have been reflecting on the influence of the father of biodiversity, E. O. Wilson. He promoted biophilia, the love of life and all that is alive. His theory is that we are all drawn to nature and living things. Isn’t that a beautiful impulse?

I cherish Wilson’s perspective that we are intrinsically drawn to the natural world. Just like any relationship, though, loving nature is not a passive pursuit. Love takes care and commitment, time and attention. 

While we reap immediate benefits — both physically and mentally — after a visit to the Garden, when we fall deeply in love with nature, we are also spurred to take action on its behalf. 

Sometimes this means spending time in our own backyards, caring for the scraggly bush that will blossom next season. Sometimes, it’s being a more conscious consumer and deciding we can do without one more “thing.” Maybe it’s choosing non-toxic cleaners or more environmentally friendly transportation options. Maybe it’s volunteering at the Garden or learning how to take care of our region’s prairies. 

How are you stoking the flames of biophilia, your passionate love of life and all that is alive?

Claudia Gee Vassar, President & General Counsel

Since the first person of African heritage arrived in Texas in 1528, African Americans have had complex relationships with the land, yet much of this history is untold. “Witness: Exploring African American Connections to the Land and Place” – a four-part series incorporating talks, art, hikes, bird walks, and other experiences – is designed to bring communities together to learn more about the profound nature-based experiences of historically under-served communities in southeast Texas. As part of its larger commitment to exploring plant stories and ways in which cultures are connected to plants and nature, the Garden is pleased to host the first installment of the series – Witness: The Long Arc – during the celebration of Black History Month.

What’s Happening at the Garden

Witness nature’s beauty and experience the euphoria of sound and music with a soundtrack specially curated to enhance your time at the Garden. Simply open your phone’s camera app, capture QR codes displayed on placards, then open the link and listen to unique musical pieces recorded by ROCO!

This exciting new offering will open to the public on Monday, February 14 and is included with the cost of entry to the Garden (free to members). Explore sponsorship opportunities.

Horticulture Help

Do Houston plants receive freeze damage because they’re simply not cold hardy enough? 

Your plants may be perfectly fit to withstand low temperatures. The issue has to do with our region’s rollercoaster weather. When an extreme temperature see-saw happens, plants don’t have enough time to adapt (whereas in more northerly climates, it cools off gradually and stays cold all winter, giving plants additional time to adapt to the winter).

How soon should you remove damaged growth after a freeze?

There’s no need to rush! That mushy, damaged growth provides protection for your plant. Eventually, it should be removed, but removing it too soon could harm the plant further by exposing undamaged growth when another freeze occurs. 

Making Memories at the Garden

There’s no sweeter time to pop the question or start planning a wedding, especially if you’re keen on securing an enchanting and Covid-conscious venue. Last March, Don and Stacy became the first couple to marry at the Garden with our lush Woodland Glade as the backdrop to their nuptials. 

Perhaps the most magical part of the ceremony was knowing how fast the Garden returned to life after the devastating and historic freeze from Winter Storm Uri — a beautiful metaphor for undying love weathering tough times. More about Stacy & Don’s Garden wedding

Learn With Us

Art. Inspiration. Insightful conversation. On February 19, artist Joyce Matula Welch, who created the Fiery-Necked Nightjar sculptures in “Art in the Garden: Celebrating BioDiversity!” will lead a delightful sip-and-stroll tour through the Garden. Not only will Joyce help class participants find their own artistic inspiration from nature, but she’ll share insights on how she nurtures ideas and helps them blossom into fully realized installations.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Volunteering with us is about way more than just getting to spend time outdoors — although that part is pretty spectacular. Volunteering is a chance to make a lasting impact, socially and environmentally. 

Ready to dig in and start volunteering? Simply fill out a Volunteer Interest Form and attend a virtual volunteer orientation. 

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

Grow With Us

There are so many ways you can help the Houston Botanic Garden grow. Annual fund donations, fundraising events, sponsorships, foundation grants, and corporate support provide a significant amount of the Garden’s funding. Click below to check out how you can help support the Garden monetarily. 

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

Scientifically Speaking

Conservation is close to our hearts. In addition to being a key part of the Garden’s mission, it’s something that you can participate in every day through small, simple actions. 

For example, did you know that planting certain species of “super trees” can provide mitigation for the effects of climate change? It’s true! Native trees with the highest combination of CO2 absorption and sequestration can protect Houston’s natural habitat.

Quercus phellos

Pinus taeda

Want to help? Consider planting some of these super trees in your yard or neighborhood: Quercus virginiana (live oak), Betula nigra (river birch), Platanus occidentalis (sycamore), Ulmus rubra (slippery elm), and Quercus nigra (water oak). For more on native Houston super trees, read this info sheet from HoustonWilderness.org and check out this feature from Houstonia Magazine.

Of course, we have several super trees in the Garden. Keep an eye out for our Quercus phellos (willow oaks) which host hundreds of caterpillars. And be sure to take a deep breath in through your nose as you pass our Pinus taeda (loblolly pines) — they produce terpenes that smell like citrus!

Membership Perks

Like a museum, you can’t fully appreciate the entire Houston Botanic Garden in one day. Our grounds are vast and ever-expanding, so purchasing a membership gives you the chance to explore without feeling rushed to see it all in one go

This February, our Dual Membership option is ideal for sharing your love of nature with a friend or significant other. Memberships include early registration for select classes and events, as well as a discount at the Garden Shop.  

If you are a past member whose membership has expired, renew onsite by February 28 and receive a free Houston Botanic Garden water bottle!

Young professionals — you’re invited to join the Bloomers! This group is building the next generation of leaders and advocates of the Garden. Connect with like-minded peers socially and create positive change in the process. Who says philanthropy can’t be fun?

On February 12, the Bloomers will hold an exclusive “Bee Our Valentines” event that will include an engaging lecture on the importance of bees plus a D.I.Y. Valentine’s Day floral arrangement.