August 5, 2022

Cultivating an Appreciation for Nature

During these waning days of summer (summer break, that is…), we are taking every opportunity to give our children carefree, outdoor days. Freedom to explore, be in wonder, and discover their inner botanists. Our kiddos have participated in a long series of summer camps—including an outstanding week at BotaniCamp—and we want to be sure they also have unstructured time in nature. 

What they learn as they’re entranced by a bee buzzing around an Aloysia virgata (almond verbena) goes deeper than just the science of the relationship of this sweetly aromatic plant attracting its pollinator. They begin to see that it is not just they that are tending to the herbs and flowers. They realize, perhaps not in the forefront of their minds, but certainly deep in their souls, that mother nature is also caring for them. We give of our time, energy, and lots of sweat, and in return, our garden gives us fresh air and delicate flowers and mint tea. 

The gifts of the earth are precious. We are seeing that the impacts of many little actions are adding up and threatening those gifts through polluted ecosystems, floods and droughts, and habitat loss. The delicate balance falters and species become endangered, like the migratory monarch. For so long, humans have received the gifts of trees and water, fruits and flowers, herbs and birds. Now, it is our time to care for nature in return. You can grow in your horticulture knowledge next month, or in your appreciation any day walking through the Garden, and thereby deepen your sacred bond with the world.

Claudia Gee Vassar, President & General Counsel

A Day of Horticultural Exploration

Make plans now to join us on Saturday, Sept. 17, for an all-day seminar where you can learn from our talented team of horticulturalists firsthand and discover new trends that you can employ in your own home garden. Topics ranging from tropical plants to planting for wildlife, and everything in between, will be discussed. Coffee, lunch, and happy hour will be provided. Space is limited so register early!

What’s Happening at the Garden

Plan the Perfect Party

The Alcoves, adjacent to the Mediterranean Garden & Lavender Slope, are pictured before an event.

Birthday parties, team-building retreats, retirements, baby showers, engagement parties, and more! Take advantage of the Garden’s discounted private rental rates through August to celebrate surrounded by nature. 

50% off Woodland Glade, Global Collection & Culinary Garden pavilions, Alcoves, Emily Clay Water Walls

20% off Petite Pavilion, micro-ceremonies in the Global Collection Garden

Make a Splash

The Water Play features offer refreshing, interactive fun.

The Water Play features in the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden are the best place in Houston to have fun in the sun while staying cool. Explore the area with the whole family to learn about nature together! The best part? It’s open every day!

Learn With Us

Photo credit: Amanda Howard (@peachesandcrazy)

Where Art & Nature Thrive

Let the Garden be your muse! Connect with nature through art every Friday in August at the Explore, Experiment, & Express series. This introduction to watercolor, oil pastels, and colored pencil techniques will allow you to bring garden scenes home and hang them on your wall. 

Last Summer BotaniCamp

This your last chance to register your little one(s) for an unforgettable week of exploring nature before they head back to the classroom. Our final Summer BotaniCamp session -- Farms & Fields, covering topics such as gardening, farming, and soil health -- is happening August 8-12. 

Workout After Work

The Garden has been known to take your breath away, but this is a change of pace! Join us Monday evenings through August 22 for our exclusive Sunset Sweat strength & cardio classes. Perfect for attendees of all fitness levels, this class is led by Bianca Davis, owner of East Meets West Training. It will be hot—bring a mat and a refillable water bottle.

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

Making Memories at the Garden

Keep An Eye Out For Bluebirds!

Birdwatching at the Garden is a memorable experience, whether you’re looking for a solitary or family activity. Our Bluebird Trail, established in partnership with the Houston Audubon Society, features lots of opportunities to spot our feathered friends! At strategic locations around the Garden, specially-made bird boxes provide eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) with a safe place to nest in the hopes of fostering population growth for this species of concern in our area. The boxes are well-monitored by volunteers (led by Charlona Ingram) and hosted a total of 24 bluebird fledglings in 2021 alone! 

We encourage you to keep an eye out for these brightly colored beauties on your next visit to the Garden and tag us in your best photos on social media.

Get Ready for Lightscape

​​​​The internationally acclaimed Lightscape is coming back to the Houston Botanic Garden this holiday season, from Nov. 18, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2023! Magical light displays will be set along an illuminated path that winds through the Garden. Visitor favorites from the inaugural year, including the towering Winter Cathedral tunnel, will be joined by many new-to-Houston works, including a Laser Garden and field of glowing Texas bluebonnets!

Re-schedule pre-sale for Garden members now begins Aug. 16;
ticket sales announced to general public on Aug. 23

Scientifically Speaking

Hydrated Asclepias curassavica (left) vs. dehydrating (right).

During the summer, there are several telltale signs that your plants are not doing as well as they could be. Be on the lookout for droopy, scorched, or browned foliage, foliage that’s been eaten through, and stunted growth. These signs can indicate problems with watering, sunlight, mites and other pests, or a need to re-fertilize. 

Click below to read more from Fran de la Mota, Director of Horticulture.

How Our Garden Grows

Ruthie Lee-Esene has been volunteering with the Garden since its inception, but her work doesn’t involve digging and planting, or even greeting and guest services—she provides human resources consulting for the Garden and its staff. She recently became a Board Member and is also sponsoring a table at the 2022 Annual Luncheon! 

On joining the board, Ruthie said, “The Houston Botanic Garden has so much potential to truly be a place for everyone, so I want someone to look at the Board and say ‘this is where I want to be, where I want my little piece of paradise, where I will bring my family and kids and grandparents.’”

Board member, donor, and volunteer Ruthie Lee-Esene uses her HR expertise to support the Garden.

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

Horticulture Help 

How do I help protect my garden and landscaping from a hurricane? 

Hurricane season is upon us, and with that comes understandable fears about damage to our property. For nature lovers, this fear extends to our yards and gardens as well. Preparation is key when it comes to hurricane season, which is why our expert horticulture team recommends:

  1. Connecting with a certified arborist to evaluate your trees’ wind resistance.
  2. Pruning trees (again with a certified arborist) and shrubs to reduce wind load.
  3. Bringing potted plants and lawn ornaments inside your home.
  4. Mowing the lawn before the storm to avoid difficult debris clean-up after.

Click below to read more about hurricane preparedness for your home garden from Horticulture Manager Brent Moon. 

Get Involved

Charlona has been a driving force behind the Bluebird Trail efforts.

As a Master Naturalist, Master Gardener, and member of the Gulf Coast Audubon Society, Charlona Ingram has done almost everything as a Garden volunteer. 

Not only does she work as a docent, assist at Garden events, and help with plant records, but she leads an effort to track the eastern bluebird population and activity at the Garden. The details collected are entered into the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which researchers all over the world contribute to and reference as a data source for their studies and conservation efforts. 

She also writes for the Houston Audublog, the official blog of Houston Audubon.

To get involved, contact us at or call 713-715-9675 ext. 152.

Toasting the Glasscocks at the Annual Luncheon

Susanne M. & Melbern G. Glasscock will be honored on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, during our 2022 Annual Luncheon at River Oaks Country Club! Joining them will be our speaker Jay Maddock, Ph.D., FAAHB, a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Texas A&M University. 

Claudia Gee Vassar is One of Houston’s Most Admired CEOs

We’re thrilled to share that Garden President and General Counsel Claudia Gee Vassar has been named to the Houston Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs list for 2022! Criteria for the award include contributions to the organization’s success, civic involvement engaging the wider Houston community, and overall character and charisma—all things Claudia has in spades. 

We’re so proud to see this much-deserved recognition for our visionary leader! 

Membership Perks

For Members

Summer is still heating up. Remember, members can enjoy the garden a full hour earlier than general visitors! Early admission starts at 8 a.m. seven days a week. Additionally, both members and general visitors can explore more on Friday nights through Sept. 2. We’ll be open until 8 p.m. 

The Bloomers

Houston Botanic Garden leadership will share insights into the Garden’s mission and future during the upcoming August 13 event called Planted in Purpose. Want to attend? Click below to join and we'll see you there!