As the final grasp of winter loosens its hold on the Houston area, thoughts turn to spring, gardening, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. If you are looking for a place to explore nature, take advantage of one of the City of Houston's treasures, the Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Mercer Gardens has just released their schedule of events for spring 2011. From educational classes for adults to story time for children, there is something for anyone. Also be sure to check out their 2011 Plant Sale and you too can have a little piece of the gardens at home.
Creating a Personal Garden Sanctuary . Wed., Jan. 26, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Darnell Schreiber repeats this sensational program where you will learn to create peace and serenity tailored to you in your own garden space. During this three hour session you will be developing your design to match your physical and emotional needs. Bring photos of your garden and a pair of scissors. Class size limited to 24. Call 281-443-8731 for reservations.
Lunch Bunch: World's Healthiest Fruits, Nuts, and Berries . Wed., Feb. 9, noon-2 p.m. Darnell Schreiber discusses the edible plant choices offered at March Mart that are perfect for Houston area gardens. She will share the best way to grow these nutritional additions to your diet. Call 281-443-8731 for reservations.
March Mart Volunteer Training . Wed., March 9, 10 a.m.-noon. Experienced and new volunteers need to attend this program that highlights the volunteer jobs that make the largest fund-raising plant sale in the Gulf Coast area such a success. Review the details of ticket writing, cashiering and other jobs at March Mart. Call 281-443-8731 or check online to volunteer today!
Lunch Bunch: March Mart Preview . Wed., March 9, noon-2 p.m. This PowerPoint slide show will pique your interest in the plants available at the March Mart sale. No plants are for sale at this talk. Join The Mercer Society (TMS) so you can enjoy the privileges of membership. Call 281-443-8731 for reservations.
March Mart Preview . Sat., March 19, 10 a.m.-noon. This PowerPoint slide show will pique your interest in the plants available at the March Mart sale. No plants are for sale at this talk. The updated Plant Guide should be available for a donation at this preview to assist with all your plant choices. Call 281-443-8731 for reservations.
March Mart Volunteer Training. Sat., March 19, noon-2 p.m. Experienced and new volunteers need to attend this program that highlights the volunteer jobs that make the largest fund-raising plant sale in the Gulf Coast area such a success. Review the details of ticket writing, cashiering and other jobs at March Mart. Call 281-443-8731 or check online to volunteer today!
March Mart Members Only Sale . Thur., March 24: Join The Mercer Society (TMS) today to enjoy this premiere event early. VIP Shoppers may participate from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; other levels of TMS membership may shop noon-2 p.m. Call 281-443-8731 for details.
March Mart Plant Sale . Fri. and Sat., March 25 and 26, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The spring gardening season is upon us, which means thousands of gardeners from across Texas and Louisiana are ready for March Mart, the largest spring plant sale on the Gulf Coast region. The sale offers a diverse array of hard-to-find and hard-to-resist plants. Many of these plants are grown by Mercer's volunteers, who will be on hand to help with selection and advice on the cultivation and care of plants offered at the event. Proceeds from the two-day sale benefit the gardens and programs at Mercer.
Bromeliad Society Show and Sale . Fri., Sat. and Sun., April 29, 30 and May 1. Takes place at Mercer in the shade under the ‘tree house'. Friday, April 29, Sale is 12 - 5 p.m. Sat., April 30, Sale is 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and the Show is 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Sun., May 1, Sale is 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. and the Show is 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Call 281-443-8731 for details.
Children's Story Time in the Garden. Third Monday of the month, 10:30 a.m. Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library's children's librarian Nancy Rodriguez shares some of her favorite nature books with children and their parents in the garden. This program has quickly become a favorite with Mom's and children, and gives them a chance to spend time out of doors and revel in wonderful garden stories. Check in at the Mercer visitor's center for the specific location. Free.
Feb. 21: The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner
April 18: Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Piney Woods Wildlife Society: Third Tuesday of each month from 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to the study of birds and other wildlife, and protecting the environment. There are no meetings in June, July, or August.
Chrysanthemum Society. Fourth Friday of each month from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. These monthly meetings include discussions about growing chrysanthemums and floral arranging. The society also provides plants for Mercer's collection. Call (281) 443-8731 for more information.
Public Garden Tour. Third Saturday of each month from 9-10:30 a.m. Join a Mercer staff member or experienced docent for an educational and lively tour of Mercer's botanic collections featuring rare plants and beautiful water features. Each month a different area of the garden is highlighted as something new comes into bloom. From 10:30 a.m. to noon participants are invited to attend a slide show presentation on the many fun and rewarding volunteer opportunities at Mercer. Free
Mercer Bamboo Meetings. Fourth Saturday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. Monthly meetings feature hands-on training in Mercer's bamboo garden. Bring a sack lunch to enjoy. There are no meetings in November or December. Call to confirm meeting times for the month.
Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, a Harris County Precinct 4 facility under the leadership of Commissioner Jerry Eversole, is located at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, one mile north of FM 1960. Harris County Precinct 4 programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, sex, religion, national origin, or physical ability. Anyone requiring special assistance to participate in any program, or to obtain additional information, should contact Mercer at (281) 443-8731, or on the Web at www.hcp4.net/mercer.