October 6, 2022

Autumn has arrived at the 

Houston Botanic Garden!

It’s pumpkin time! Pumpkins are everywhere, including at the Garden. There’s pumpkin bread, pumpkin hummus, and, of course, pumpkin lattes, but pumpkin pies are my kiddos’ preferred way to eat this healthy veggie; we are already on our second of the season.

The fall harvest is a reminder of the gifts of sustenance that we receive from the natural world. Botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, teaches that our relationship with nature is reciprocal. We care for plants, and they care for us. Indigenous tradition views plants as valuable life and honors them as they are taken for consumption, in what Dr. Kimmerer calls the Honorable Harvest

These principles ensure that the future seventh generation will have as much abundance as we do now. It is amazing to think that planting trees and how we harvest can be acts of care for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. The protocols are transformative and include principles of community, gratitude, sharing, and good stewardship. 

We may not always remember our reciprocal relationship with the oaks around us, and how each breath of oxygen that we take in was breathed out by those oaks. Our home, planet Earth, is a blessing that continues to bless us. As we harvest, if we do it right, we can ensure that generations to come also receive these blessings.

Amanda Gorman, in her address to the UN, said: “We must go the distance, though this battle is hard and huge, though this fight we did not choose. For preserving the Earth isn't a battle too large to win but a blessing too large to lose.” 

Claudia Gee Vassar, President & General Counsel

Mix it Up at Trail Mixology

Breathtaking views. Cocktails inspired by and infused with herbs, flowers, and foliage from our Global Collection and Culinary Garden. If all that sounds great, you’ve got to join us for Trail Mixology this Saturday, Oct. 8. Attendees must be 21+.

The Garden's Getting Lit for Lightscape!

Lightscape, presented by Reliant, is returning this holiday season from Nov. 18 to Jan.1, 2023, bringing seasonal joy and artistic splendor for Garden-goers. This illuminating outdoor experience winds throughout the Garden, featuring visitor favorites from last year and many new artworks, such as Nautilus Forest, shown above, which is making its U.S. debut in Houston. Get your tickets now as dates will soon start selling out. You won’t want to miss the amazing selfies and family photo opportunities. 

Host Your Holiday Party at the Garden

The Houston Botanic Garden is a beautiful location for holiday parties! The Global Collection Tent is great for holiday celebrations and corporate year-end events. On Lightscape nights, guests can add an unforgettable experience to the festivities! 

Check out these photos for inspiration from a party from last year. 

Making Memories at the Garden

Visit Our New Pumpkin Display for All Your Fall Photos! 

Say Cheese! Thanks to the creativity and effort of volunteers Beth Clark and Emily Wilde, we have 500 pumpkins and gourds waiting to put a big Jack O’Lantern smile on your face. Big ones, little ones, bumpy ones, orange, white, green, and striped pumpkins too—don’t miss this fantastic fall photo opportunity in the Pine Grove as you enter the Garden. Look for a bench and a decorative ladder for the ideal selfie spot. 

Looking to take professional photos? Reserve a one-hour session for you and your photographer to capture seasonal portraits, as well as joyful moments like weddings, engagements, anniversaries, quinceañeras, birthdays, maternity photos, and more.

What’s Happening at the Garden

Explore Hispanic Heritage

Join local Latino-owned businesses as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a full-day, family-friendly event. Gain access to kids’ cultural arts activities, music and folkloric presentations, as well as shopping and tasting delicious foods from several Latin American countries.

Celebrate Día de los Muertos

MECA Houston and the Garden will host a festive duo of family-friendly events on Sunday, Oct. 16. Start your day by learning the Art of Making Paper Marigolds then join us in the afternoon for Festival en el Jardín to celebrate the past and honor the future through music, dance, and visual arts.

A Can't-Miss Garden Exhibition

Enjoy the intricate, large-scale, hand-built artworks of Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects®  Made with LEGO® Bricks art exhibition. Presented by sponsors Anne and Bob Baillio, this exhibition will run through February 19, 2023, in the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden, making it the perfect outing for a nature- and playtime-loving family! See what Houston Press had to say about the exhibit and come see it yourself! 

Scientifically Speaking

Just in time for National Pumpkin Day (Oct. 26) and Halloween, here are several fun facts about Cucurbita pepo (pumpkins). 

Did you know…? 

  • Botanically speaking, pumpkins are actually fruits – an enlarged ovary containing seeds – just like tomatoes, whereas most vegetables are stems or leaves, like potatoes or lettuce, for example.
  • They are members of Cucurbitaceae, the gourd family, which has around 95 genera and 965 species, including squash, zucchini, luffa, calabash, watermelon, and cucumber.
  • The average pumpkin weighs about as much as a bowling ball.
  • Evidence of domesticated pumpkins dates back to 7,000-5,000 B.C. Wow!
  • Full-grown pumpkins can contain hundreds of seeds.
  • Pumpkins grow on a vine and take 90-120 days to grow to maturity. 
  • Pumpkins are made up of nearly 90% water.

Learn With Us

Indigenous People’s Forum: Climate Change

On Oct. 10, you’re invited to a unique storytelling experience and conversation about climate change and Indigenous spiritual connections to the land. Learn about the impacts the climate crisis is having on Indigenous communities and help discuss ways we can all be more engaged with the environment.

Seasonal Cooking with Chef Keisha 

On Oct. 13, Chef Keisha Griggs is ready to take you on a delicious pre-Halloween adventure that will help you trick your little ghouls and goblins at home with treats that contain the necessary nutrients for them to grow. Wine pairing is available for participants 21+.

Attend a Live Reading

We are thrilled to welcome Sara Dykman, author of Bicycling With Butterflies, to the Garden on Oct. 15. In partnership with the Coastal Prairie Conservancy, this lecture and book signing provides the optimism, energy, and hope needed to start saving threatened systems of nature, such as the monarch migration, that affect our survival. 

Explore our Events Calendar for more upcoming opportunities to grow your gardening knowledge, prioritize wellness, and more. 

Horticulture Help 

How do I choose the right fertilizer for my home garden?

The first question to ask is actually, “Do I even need to fertilize?” People waste money every year fertilizing too much or unnecessarily. Runoff from excessive fertilizer is also a leading cause of algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico, so there is a significant environmental cost, as well. The only way to know for sure if you need to fertilize is to send a soil sample to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for testing. For a relatively minimal cost, they will provide you with a recommended rate for applying fertilizer, if they determine you need it at all.

If fertilizer is necessary, try to use a complete one containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K), the three major macronutrients. The numbers you see on bags of fertilizer—such as 6-2-4—reflect the percentage of these nutrients by volume. You may also want to find a fertilizer that contains micronutrients (such as boron, calcium, manganese, and zinc), which are essential to plant health but needed in much lower concentrations.

For the Houston region, when is the latest recommended date to apply fertilizer?

It is best not to fertilize once temperatures begin to cool and plants stop putting out any new growth. Doing so could force plants to produce tender growth that may not be hardened in time for the first blast of cold weather. There are exceptions, however. It can be beneficial to fertilize deciduous trees since they have likely used up many nutrients during the growing season. Apply the fertilizer well after new growth has stopped—around late October into November—while soils are still warm enough, generally in the 50s, for active root growth. The roots will take up the nutrients and be better prepared for growth when temperatures rise again in spring.  

How Our Garden Grows

“I thought, if this garden comes to fruition, it will transform the whole neighborhood! And, WOW, has it ever.” Meet Claudia Borrego and Victor Garay, two native Houstonians with a deep appreciation for nature who take every opportunity to help elevate and contribute to the Houston Botanic Garden’s mission. We sat down with these enthusiastic supporters to discuss the Garden, why it’s the perfect place to escape and relax, and the educational benefits future generations will find here.

Claudia Borrego & Victor Garay pictured at the Garden with their sons.

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

From the Garden Gift Shop

A Little Something Fun & Fizzy

If you know someone who loves craft drinks, stop by the Garden Shop on your next visit. My Drink Bomb includes a delightful set of organic botanicals and an infuser bottle that will help elevate any cocktail or mocktail-friendly holiday soiree. They also make great stocking stuffers.

Get Involved

Garden volunteers smile for a photo with Director of Private Events, Jessica Cohen.

With so much art and nature to behold at the Garden, we’re seeking volunteers who would enjoy a museum-style docent role. These volunteers will help deepen the visitor experience at our living museum, answering questions about artwork like Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects® Made with LEGO® Bricks, and ensuring exhibitions and collections aren’t damaged. Volunteers receive training, entry to the Garden, and the joy of connecting others to nature!

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

Last Chance to Attend the Garden’s Annual Luncheon

We hope you’ll attend this memorable event where we’ll pay tribute to two of the Garden’s most treasured supporters. On Oct. 13, we will honor Susanne M. & Melbern G. Glasscock at our 2022 Annual Luncheon at River Oaks Country Club! Read about how Susie and Mel got involved with the Garden, what their favorite Garden features are, and how they envision its future. Tickets are limited.

Membership Perks

For Members

In case you missed the big announcement, member mornings -- with early entry at 8 a.m. -- are here to stay! Also, complimentary membership pins will be available at the Ticket Window the next time you visit. 

The Bloomers

The Houston Botanic Garden’s next-generation group is hosting their fall social “Creations & Libations” on Oct. 20. Don’t miss this fun night out networking with like-minded, nature-loving young folks!