A hidden gem north of Houston is The Mercer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum. The verdurous space (even in winter) extends over 325 acres of East Texas Piney Woods along Cypress Creek. Many refer to the collection as a living museum and a major goal of The Mercer Society is “connecting people with plants.” Gotta love that!
Thelma and Charles Mercer bought 14.5 acres of wild woods in 1949. Throughout the years they cleared brush and planted native species and other landscape ornamentals cultivating a small private garden. In 1973, Thelma petitioned Harris County to buy the land for a public garden and horticultural education facility. Her original letter to the county is on display in the Visitor’s Center. Today, Mercer is the Gulf Coast Region’s largest collection of native plants and actively researches plant conservation and preservation. The Botanic Gardens and Arboretum are nationally recognized with 250,000 visitors a year.
Take a day to visit this winter season. Enjoy cultivated garden paths with scented flowers or natural hiking trails shaded by native tall pines. While strolling the forest, hear the trills of hawks, eagles, and other bird songs. Walking the ravines of Cypress Creek watch a canoe or kayak paddle through the Arboretum.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic and enjoy the great outdoors.
Spring feels near and the gardens are already blossoming with winter and early spring color and fragrance. Find plenty of active wildlife during this unusually warm weather. Don't miss Houston's spectacular display of native plants and wildlife. Admission is free. The Mercer Society is a non-profit organization. Donations and Volunteering are always welcomed. This March 17 & 18 is the amazing Annual Plant Mart where rare and native species are for sale to the general public. Visit the Mercer website for details. Mercer Botanic Gardens are open daily in winter from 8 am to 5 pm. The grounds are located North of Intercontinental Airport at 2306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, TX 77338-1071
The following is an excellent reference book for Texas Native Plants and Gardening for Wildlife:
The Mercer Society: http://themercersociety.org