a world of gardens

Houston's future 'global garden' blossoms as thriving urban oasis

Houston's future 'global garden' blossoms as thriving urban oasis

Global Collection Garden Houston Botanic Garden
The lush and tropical garden.  Photo courtesy of Houston Botanic Garden
Global Collection Garden Houston Botanic Garden
The colorful South African zone. Photo courtesy of Houston Botanic Garden
Global Collection Garden Houston Botanic Garden
Massive bamboos line the trails.  Photo courtesy of Houston Botanic Garden
Global Collection Garden Houston Botanic Garden
Global Collection Garden Houston Botanic Garden
Global Collection Garden Houston Botanic Garden

As local green thumbs know, Houston’s climate is a plant lover’s dream. Spring here sees an explosion of color, making spots such as McGovern Centennial Gardens and the Houston Arboretum huge draws.

With that in mind, the Houston Botanic Garden has unveiled plans for the new Global Collection Garden. The new, three-acre installation will be a sort of theme park or museum of flora, as it will showcase plants from around the world. Like Houston itself, it will be a study in global diversity, boasting “weird and wonderful” views, according to a statement.

Construction on the new garden, spearheaded by a design team that includes West 8 and Clark Condon, is set to begin summer 2019 and is projected to open in 2020. Visitors can stroll through a setting that incorporates three climatic zones: arid, subtropical, and tropical.

The garden features themed zones, meant to highlight certain species, pay homage to local botanists, and highlight experimental plantings — making it an outdoor, visitable science lab.

Here are some highlights of the dozen park zones, which offer hands-on experiences, spots to reflect, and romantic settings.

Corner of Curiosity
The area boasts subtropical plant forms, such as the Voodoo Lily and the eye-catching False Red Yucca. The space is meant to inspire curiosity about plants and biodiversity and conversation among guests.

Upland Forest
The mini forest will have four features: the Pollinator Square, Children’s Curiosity Cabinet, Journey of the Butterfly, and a seasonal display field. The Pollinator Square and Journey of the Butterfly will feature pollinator species, with striking color to attract a plethora of butterflies and birds, including migrating monarch butterflies.

The Children’s Curiosity Cabinet will be an outdoor room with a hands-on exhibit for guests to see, touch, and feel interesting and unique natural objects. In the seasonal display field, rotating displays will feature seasonal plantings that will inspire home gardeners to explore and add new plants and growing techniques to their gardens.

The Heart
This section will feature vibrant and exotic flowers, making for a lush, tropical experience. Seating will line the crescent path, also known as the Lovers’ Bench, providing cozy spots to connect with surrounding plants and experience “breathtaking” views.

The Sanctuary
This secluded garden will surround visitors with fascinating plants from the genus Dyckia, the unusual relative of the pineapple plant. Mazes of stepping stones and rock terraces will elevate succulents and bromeliads in The Sanctuary, and a layer of hanging foliage will be added to the existing mature trees to create an intimate setting.

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