Houston Botanic Garden Unveils Plans for Global Collection Garden

The Global Collection Garden will be the primary setting for Houston Botanic Garden’s diverse collection and spectacular exhibits

Houston Botanic Garden (the Garden) unveiled design plans for the Global Collection Garden, an integral part of Botanic Beginnings, which is Phase I of the construction of the Garden. Located on the Island, the Global Collection Garden will serve as the primary setting for the Garden’s diverse and breathtaking exhibits; allowing visitors from all walks of life to explore and discover plants from all around the world.

Construction of the Global Collection Garden is expected to begin summer 2019 and be complete in fall 2020. The design team for the Global Collection Garden consists of West 8, lead designer, and landscape architect and Clark Condon, partner landscape architect.

The three-acre Global Collection Garden will feature unique plants from around the globe and incorporate three climatic zones—arid, subtropical, and tropical. Much like Houston itself, this garden is a unique showcase of diversity. It will serve as a living museum that will celebrate nature and allow visitors to deepen their understanding and appreciation of plants. Phase I will include the following areas in the Global Collection Garden:

Corner of Curiosity (Subtropical): Located in the southwest corner of the Global Collection Garden, the Corner of Curiosity will lure visitors to get a closer look at remarkable and unique species with interesting plant forms, such as the Amorphophallus konjac or Voodoo Lily and the eye-catching Beschorneria septentrionalis orFalse Red Yucca. This weird and wonderful space will inspire curiosity about plants and biodiversity, stirring conversation among guests.

Botanists’ Alley (Subtropical): This garden is designed to showcase the work of botanist Ferdinand Lindheimer, the father of Texas Botany; John Fairey, collector and founder of Peckerwood Gardens; and Lynn Lowery, a plant explorer. Botanists’ Alley will feature unique specimens these collectors identified, collected, and studied to celebrate their work and honor their amazing contributions to the knowledge of Texas plants.

Upland Forest (Subtropical): Reminiscent of the New World, the Upland 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, such as Salvias, with beautiful, 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.

The Drift (Arid):The Drift will create a dramatic contrast to the nearby tropical and shady areas. On one side, The Drift will resemble an African desert, consisting of clusters of feathered grasses sparsely scattered between assorted boulders. On the other, grasses native to Texas will highlight the similarity of vegetation of these two regions.

Agave Garden (Arid): A dramatic transition from the South Asian Slope, visitors will be led from intense shade to open desert in the Agave Garden – punctuated by gigantic Blue Agave and other arid plantings.

The Heart (Tropical): Vibrant and exotic flowers, including a Hymenocallis sppor Spider Lily collection will be displayed in The Heart, creating 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 of The Heart.   

The Jungle (Tropical): The Jungle will be a dense rainforest located at the lowest point in the Global Collection Garden. Taking the misty path into The Jungle, guests will be surrounded by broad-leaf shrubs and Banana trees, Palm trees, ferns and more. An open space will showcase beautiful, exotic, and tropical species, such as diverse varieties of Colocasia spp. or Grand Elephant Ears and other visually vibrant plants.

The Sanctuary (Subtropical): 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.

Asian Slope (Sub-Tropical): The Asian Slope will be home to an outstanding collection of pine trees, Camellias, Azaleas, and more. The beautiful evergreen hill scattered with colorful flowering shrubs will serve as the backdrop to the Lovers’ Bench.

Bamboo Forest (Subtropical): Situated at a high point in the Global Collection Garden, the Bamboo Forest will be a dense forest of various bamboo. Green bamboo will create a tunnel effect along the pathways and open up to reveal colorful blue and black bamboo, demonstrating the beauty of diversity in plants. Tall Bamboo will surround the edge of the hill to form an outdoor gathering space.

The Oasis (Subtropical): This garden will consist of two spaces inspired by different areas of Africa and offer places for rest and reflection. A paradise garden, inspired by the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, will be a serene and retreat-like garden featuring a collection of date palms, lush foliage, and colorful flowering shrubs. A tunnel of bright orange cape honeysuckle will draw guests into an intimate, enclosed garden inspired by South Africa. Here, guests will enjoy a collection of Agapanthus and Crocosmia under an existing tree and a winding stepping stone trail.

Confetti Garden (Subtropical)Inspired by Pointillism works of art, the Confetti Garden will consist of bold masses mixed with specs of colors to mimic the art technique. Tall budding shrubs will enclose the garden to provide visitors with an intimate setting, while a valley with Day Lilies will give a splash of color and texture. Benches will be situated below lush green Ginkgo trees as visitors immerse themselves in color.

Set to open in fall of 2020, Houston Botanic Garden will support the conservation of plant diversity from Houston and around the world, and inspire an appreciation of our precious natural world, creating an opportunity for people to connect with plants.  When complete, the Garden will draw visitors from near and far, and will serve as a cultural asset for the neighboring community.

Currently, the Garden is hosting volunteer and education events for the public, including tree plantings and hands-on workshops. Ultimately, the Garden will become a living museum that will showcase international and native plant collections, host educational classes for children and adults, and provide engaging programming that will engage visitors with the Garden and natural environment.

To learn more about the Houston Botanic Garden, visit: www.HBG.org.