Houston’s tropical (read: balmy) climate has its benefits, especially when it comes to our flourishing flora. And few local spots will showcase the Bayou City’s diverse plant life like the upcoming Houston Botanic Garden, which has announced plans for its Edible Garden.
The new Edible Garden will showcase a cultural exhibition of edible and medicinal plants from around the globe. As an initial part of the Botanic Garden’s 30-year master plan, the Edible Garden is located on the northern portion of the property, known as the Island.
The Edible Garden will be complete for the Botanic Garden’s grand opening in fall 2020. The design team includes West 8, lead designer and landscape architect, and Houston-based Clark Condon, a local landscape architect.
Themes throughout the one-acre exhibition include the origins of agriculture and use of plants by ancient civilizations; edible flowers; agricultural architecture; and indigenous farming practices and harvesting techniques, according to a release.
The Edible Garden will feature seven different areas, dubbed “rooms,” each of which will represent different regions across the world, including Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, and the Americas:
The Respite Room (Asia/Europe) will exhibit shade-tolerant edible and medicinal plant species, including turmeric and ginger. The area will also feature citrus, bananas, daylilies, and various types of rice to create the sense of a private enclosure.
The Children’s Kitchen (Asia/Europe/Africa) will feature a sugar cane wall to define the Kitchen Plaza — a flexible multi-purpose area for hosting educational workshops.
The Terrace (Mediterranean) will house the Garden’s café, which will offer quick bites for visitors to enjoy as they relax underneath an olive grove. Other elements of The Terrace include a vibrant red poppy field, pear orchards, aromatic Mediterranean herbs, and pomegranate.
The Event Garden (Americas/Mediterranean) will feature a tent to host educational workshop classes and display an apple espalier, the ancient horticultural art of pruning, and training a tree or shrub.
The Gallery (Americas) will be a seasonal corner that will highlight crops of historical and economic significance. Three main agricultural crops, also known as the “Three Sisters” (corn, squash, and beans), will cultivate their symbiotic relationship as they help each other thrive and grow.
The Tunnel (Africa/Americas/Europe) boasts an aromatic rose tunnel and various selections of edible flowers, such as the purple coneflower, which is used for medicinal purposes. The Tunnel will also feature the date palm, confetti bush, and a seasonal display of arabica coffee.
The Serenity Corner (Americas/Europe) will highlight plant species that promote wellness and healing. Expect medicinal herbs such as spearmint and peppermint along with a bed of edible flowers and southern prickly-ash, also known as a “toothache tree.” A pecan grove will be situated along the border of the Edible Garden, as well as various types of berries.