January 12, 2022

New Beginnings Sprout All Around the Garden 

January 1 is a day like every other day. The sun rises, the sun sets. And yet, there is something special about this mark in time of a new year.

January is named after the Roman god, Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, doors, transitions. He is often depicted with two faces, one looking back and one looking forward, symbolizing change and transition and progression into the future.

Many of us pause at the new year and reflect on and let go of the past year. We also look forward to the new year and make commitments to ourselves and others, in the form of new year’s resolutions. It can be a rejuvenating ritual to shed the past and burst forth with a fresh start.

In this new year, I am looking forward to more moments of awe, to more stillness, and to more growth through learning. 

What are you looking forward to?  

In the Garden, we have the opportunity to witness and participate in these moments of newness and transition throughout the year with each seasonal planting, with pruning and deadheading, and with each new bud opening, each pup emerging, and each frond unfurling.  

If your new year includes time in nature, fitness, presence, time with family and friends, a new hobby, learning and discovery -- or even all of these! -- you can find it at the Garden. As a bonus, you’ll be reminded of the power of new beginnings all around you.

Claudia Gee Vassar, president & general counsel

Resolve to broaden your horizons

Art in the Garden: Celebrating BioDiversity!

"Tree of Life," the last of the installations in the current exhibition produced in collaboration with Lawndale Art Center, is now on display in the Tropical Heart of the Global Collection Garden. 

The piece -- which joins audio, video, neon, marble, porcelain, and glass works that have been on display since October 2021 -- goes beyond the traditional format of Mexican folk art tradition to capture imaginatively the extraordinary diversity of people, flora, and fauna from the tropical region of Latin America.

I was inspired by the garden of my childhood in Venezuela; rich in colors, forms, and wisdom, and full of insects, birds, and other animals. This was the place where I heard stories -- passed from generation to generation -- that taught me about the healing properties of some plants, as well as myths about nature that were rich in mystery and fascinating imagery.” -- artist Gerardo Rosales

ROCO on the Go in the Garden

Beginning Feb. 14, visitors to the Garden will be able to enhance their experience via a curated selection of musical playlists, accessed via QR codes placed strategically around the Global Collection Garden. By weaving together the beauty of music and the wonders of nature, the partnership -- ROCO's first with a botanic garden -- should delight Garden visitors with an enhanced sensory experience.

Resolve to get more creative

On Feb. 19, Joyce Matula Welch – creator of the Fiery-Necked Nightjar sculptures included in “Art in the Garden: Celebrating BioDiversity!” – will present "The Art of Inspiration," a private sip & stroll through the Garden designed to help participants notice inspiring moments in nature.

The Garden's education department also has upcoming opportunities for individuals interested in expressing their creativity through artistic projects that rely on the magic of nature.

Digital Negatives & Cyanotypes -- Saturday, Jan. 22, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Participants will learn how to create a cyanotype, a camera-less form of photography also known as sun prints or blueprints, using one of their own digital photographs.

Indigo, The Magical Blue -- Saturday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Participants will learn the basics of indigo dyeing, including how to set up and maintain a basic hydrogen hydrosulfite/lye dye pot, which relies on complex chemical reactions involving air, rather than heat or a mordant.

Resolve to make your own food

Grow your own veggies. Make your own cheese. The Garden's education department could help you realize any goals you have for eating more local, and healthier, in 2022.

Learn the Basics of Veggie Gardening -- Saturday, Jan. 15, 11-11:45 a.m.
Dany Millikin, the Garden’s director of education and host of Homeshow Garden Pros on SportsRadio 610, will walk participants through the Culinary Garden and share with them some of his favorite tools and strategies for growing his favorite vegetables.

Making Farmer's Cheese -- Tuesday, Feb. 1, 6-8:30 p.m.
Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen, Ph.D. -- Houston's internationally known expert on foraging and primitive foods -- will give participants a hands-on lesson in the art of making and using rennet-free farmer’s cheese infused with wood sorrel.

Resolve to learn more about the history of our land

Our country has a complex ethnobotanical heritage. This winter, the Garden's education department will explore how Native Americans of the Great Plains and members of the African diaspora living in the region -- past and present -- relate to and make use of the land and its fruits, literal and figurative.

Ethnobotany of the Texas Prairie -- Saturday, Feb. 5, 10-11:30 a.m.
Kelly Kindscher, professor in environmental studies and senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey at the University of Kansas, will discuss conservation of prairie plants used by Native Americans – from Texas to Canada – for food, medicine, and craft.

Witness: The Long Arc -- Saturday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Representatives of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice at Prairie View A&M University, Bayou City Waterkeeper, and Ivy Leaf Farms will explore the many profound experiences of African-Americans with the land of southeast Texas through dynamic, participatory breakout sessions on walks of the Garden.

Resolve to share your talents

Volunteers share their time and talents with the Garden's horticulture, visitor services, education and/or development staff to help us achieve our goals.

In 2021, almost 450 volunteers – working individually and in groups – completed 4,150 hours of service.

The Garden appreciates everyone who helped with this incredible team effort.

Resolve to give generously to the Garden you built

Thanks to all who supported the Garden’s 2021 annual fund. Your generosity ensures the beauty of Houston's world-class botanic garden -- and the efforts to realize its critical mission of environmental stewardship -- will endure for generations to come.

If you were not able to make a gift in 2021, you can help us start 2022 strong by making a donation today. To make a donation to the garden you built, click here or text give2garden to 71777.

Additional Ways to Support the Garden

The best way to enjoy the Houston Botanic Garden is to become a member. Treat yourself, or a loved one, to the gift of a membership and start enjoying free general admission and other member benefits for one year.

Celebrate life's milestones with family and friends. Host a luncheon, retreat, or conference for your company or organization. You can rent selected sections of the Garden as a beautiful setting for a wide variety of formal and informal events.