Houston Botanic Garden to Celebrate Completion of Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden on Jan. 26

First feature garden will host a series of pilot education programs by invitation in advance of the Garden’s public grand opening in fall 2020 


The Houston Botanic Garden (the Garden) will mark the completion of the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden – the first of three feature gardens included in Phase I of the site master plan to be planted – with a free community celebration on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, from 2-4 p.m., at 8205 N. Bayou Dr., Houston, 77017.

The event marks the first opportunity for neighbors, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and other elected officials, and those eagerly following the Garden’s progress to get a sneak peek – via a self-guided scavenger hunt – at just a few of the unique new features destined to make it a must-see showcase of Houston’s biodiversity and an oasis of horticultural beauty when it opens in fall 2020. The Garden will also recognize Mike Garver and his daughters Beth, with husband Donald Black, and Gretchen, with husband Alan Hilyard, who made a transformational gift to the recently completed Grow Houston’s Gardencapital campaign in memory of Susan Garver, a long-time Girl Scout troop leader.

Prior to the fall 2020 grand opening and the launch of regular operating hours for the Garden’s complete Phase I features, director of education and public programs, Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud, will use the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden to pilot a handful of educational programs during a soft opening phase this spring for area school children and select families.

  • With Nature 101 & Ecosystems Adventures, young scientists will identify plant parts and explore components of healthy soil to better understand the delicate balance of different local ecosystems and discover the features that enable insects, and others that call them home, to survive.
  • In the Flower & Pollinator Lab, junior botanists will learn about the life cycle of flowering plants and dissect flowers to examine their external structures and gather evidence to determine which characteristics attract pollinators and play a role in making seeds.
  • Through Wetlands Observations: Habitats & Plants, students will conduct a hands-on field study to gather data on the plants and creatures that live in wetlands and discuss the impact of wetlands, even in urban areas.

Located on the portion of the Garden site south of the Sims Bayou channel, the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden will present opportunities for families to engage with nature in hands-on, direct ways. Loose parts for nature play – such as sticks, branches, and pine cones – and simple water machines – including an Archimedes’ screw – will allow children to build, dig, splash, and more. In addition, a boardwalk maze around a lagoon and Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) forest will give visitors of all ages plenty of space to roam and explore.

“I am excited about this opportunity to teach future generations to truly see plants, and to observe nature scientifically,” said Claudia Gee Vassar, president and general counsel of the Houston Botanic Garden. “We’re not just growing plants in the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden. We are also providing little future botanists with tools they can use to solve the next set of challenges humanity will face.”

Houston Botanic Garden (the Garden)

Formed in 2002, Houston Botanic Garden is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich lives through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.

The Garden broke ground in 2019 on a 132-acre site located a short distance from downtown Houston. The first of several planned phases over the next 30 years is expected to open in fall 2020 as a major addition to Houston’s cultural landscape and growing list of greenspaces. The Garden will provide a place for visitors to learn about plants, conservation, and nature; connect Houstonians across different cultures and ethnicities, and close an existing gap in our world-class city’s collection of amenities for residents and tourists. For more information, visit hbg.org.