Houston’s First Botanic Garden Opens as a Museum of Plants
Dutch landscape architecture and design firm West 8 has unveiled the first phase of Houston’s first ever Botanic Garden in Texas. Designed to be a “museum of plants”, the project features evolving collections to inform scientists, tourists and horticulturalists alike. Conceived over twenty years ago by locals, the project has been developed on an island in the city’s expansive Bayou system.
The Houston Botanic Garden opened along the Sims Channel as part of a larger plan that will encompass 132 acres for learning and discovery. The garden includes outdoor gallery spaces that feature tropical, sub-tropical, and arid plants from around the world. Future phases will feature expansive outdoor spaces, and an open lawn for day-to-day use, as well as community events like movies, small concerts, private functions, and food festivals. It will also include a future conservatory building on site.
“The intent of the site design is to seek balance in all aspects, from planting and soils, through topography and materials—the careful juxtaposition of order and chaos that is at the heart of enduring gardens,” said Donna Bridgeman-Rossi, PLA, director of implementation, West 8 NY. “With this being Houston’s first garden of this kind, it was exciting to work with a client group that not only expects best practice but is open to the complexities required to push status quo into new territories or specifications.”
As the team notes, the Houston Botanic Garden’s in-house horticulture team worked alongside the consulting team to develop a mechanism to passively rehabilitate the clay soils of the bayou waterways through a series of sacrificial cover crops and experimental spore treatments. The team also created a structured medium to support a cross-section of plants from around the world.
Showcasing the biodiversity that thrives along the Texas Gulf Coast, the garden was designed in collaboration with Texas-based Clark Condon Associates, Overland Partners, and Walter P. Moore Engineers. The garden was constructed under the direction of General Contractors Harvey Builders.
News via West 8