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Houston Botanical Garden at The Glenbrook Golf Course

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I played Glenbrook for the first time last month. I was impressed. It was actually a much nicer course than I expected. Lots of trees, quite a bit of terrain. I haven't seen the Gus. But having seen Glenbrook made me even more eager for this project. It's turn out great, I'm confident of that. 

 

That being said, I agree, that Gus would make a better location and initially, a superior garden. But, since really, only one Golf Course was going to survive, its right that Gus Wortham did.  It's the better, and more historic course. 

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33 minutes ago, Naviguessor said:

I played Glenbrook for the first time last month. I was impressed. It was actually a much nicer course than I expected. Lots of trees, quite a bit of terrain. I haven't seen the Gus. But having seen Glenbrook made me even more eager for this project. It's turn out great, I'm confident of that. 

 

That being said, I agree, that Gus would make a better location and initially, a superior garden. But, since really, only one Golf Course was going to survive, its right that Gus Wortham did.  It's the better, and more historic course. 

 

Well said sir. Completely agree.

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12 hours ago, AnTonY said:

Not that Glenbrook is bad, but Gus was a FAR superior location for this thing. If there's still opportunity, then they really should switch back to Gus.

 

@bobruss, luckily, the east/southeast sides of Houston have more mature trees and natural lushness compared to areas farther west. That should provide more than enough sight to look at while the garden is growing in.

Very good point. There will be mature trees everywhere.

I've never seen the course so I guess its time for a road trip. Is the property blocked or is it accessible now?

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@Naviguessor, hopefully the benefits of Gus (light rail connection, urban fabric, etc) can be replicated at Glenbrook. Otherwise, there's a bit of a loss in terms of potential. 

 

@bobruss, it's still accessible as a golf course, as work hasn't begun yet. It will be closed off starting April 1.

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@Naviguessor, actually, upon closer inspection, Glenbrook still looks to be salvageable as an urban location, so far that any future PT line to Hobby is placed along Broadway St. But the resulting urban development is best confined to the triangle bounded by 610, 45S, and Sims Bayou. If need be, 610 and 45S along the area can be sunken, and converted into deck parks to complement the new garden.

 

Still wouldn't beat the Gus location, though.

Edited by AnTonY
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Another thing: how come Mason Park wasn't considered as an option for this project?

Edited by AnTonY
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3 hours ago, AnTonY said:

Another thing: how come Mason Park wasn't considered as an option for this project?

Because it would be beyond stupid to convert a park that has baseball, soccer,and other facilities for a large part of the East End into a place that 30 people per year would visit. Want a botanical garden? Take River Oaks Country Club by eminent domain and build it there. Why screw the less well off folks out of their recreation facilities?

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26 minutes ago, Ross said:

Because it would be beyond stupid to convert a park that has baseball, soccer,and other facilities for a large part of the East End into a place that 30 people per year would visit. Want a botanical garden? Take River Oaks Country Club by eminent domain and build it there. Why screw the less well off folks out of their recreation facilities?

 

It would be so much better to take the River Oaks Country Club. More central location that is already heavily visited and is near the arboretum. But as others have said, the River Oaks folks have enough cash laying around to hold it up in court. It is much easier to take from the poor.

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For reference - The Dallas Arboretum is their botanical garden. It is a little out East but not too bad. it gets 1,000 people per day... It is amazing and truly beautiful.

 

I bet ours can be just as good or better.

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1 hour ago, Texasota said:

 I'm scared.

 

Of what?

 

37 minutes ago, Avossos said:

For reference - The Dallas Arboretum is their botanical garden. It is a little out East but not too bad. it gets 1,000 people per day... It is amazing and truly beautiful.

 

I bet ours can be just as good or better.

 

Yeah, if Dallas can do it, then so can Houston's. Even at Glenwood, the garden will still spur enough revitalization to connect East End with the rest of the city.

 

@Ross, nevermind. Just was going off some initial street-views of the area along the bayou trails.

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I'm sad, I was hoping I'd have a chance to play that course one or two more times. Doesn't look like that's going to happen. Oh well.

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Botanical Gardens in Downtown would've been nice. This Glenbrook Valley site is pretty lame. 

Edited by Elseed

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@samagon, you still have time to play. The golf course operations there don't end until April 1.

 

@Twinsanity02, yup. Despite what people are thinking, these things aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

Edited by AnTonY
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22 hours ago, AnTonY said:

@samagon, you still have time to play. The golf course operations there don't end until April 1.

 

@Twinsanity02, yup. Despite what people are thinking, these things aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

 

thanks @AnTonY I won't have the opportunity to swing the bats in the next 3 weeks that glenbrook will remain open.

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https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2018/04/16/houston-botanic-garden-starts-transformation-of.html

 

Quote

 

Houston Botanic Garden starts transformation of former golf course

 

By Olivia Pulsinelli  – Senior web editor, Houston Business Journal

Apr 16, 2018, 4:26pm

 

Houston Botanic Garden announced April 16 that it completed the terms of its agreement with the city of Houston and began its lease at the former Glenbrook Park Golf Course on April 2. The first phase of the project's master plan, dubbed "Botanic Beginnings," is expected to open in late 2020, according to an April 16 press release. The site is along Sims Bayou off Interstate 45 between William P. Hobby Airport and the University of Houston.

 

Some of the "Botanic Beginnings" features will include:

 

The Global Collection Garden: The primary setting for Houston Botanic Garden’s collections and exhibits will be divided into three zones — arid, subtropical and tropical — and display rare and exotic species.

 

Edible Garden: This garden will allow visitors to see, smell, touch and taste a variety of edible plants and help visitors understand the history of plant cultivation and how it relates to different cultures.

 

Event Lawn and Glade: The lawn will provide a variety of programming and events, while the smaller glade will host more inimate events like birthdays and weddings. 

 

Susan Garver Children’s Discovery Garden: This 3-acre area will incorporate an existing pond as "an oasis for aquatic and carnivorous plants, forests and floating gardens, interspersed with natural play areas for running free and a picnic grove," per the release.

 

Prior to the ticketed area of the garden, there will be 11 acres of features such as: 

 

Botanic Boulevard: A tree-lined entrance off Park Place Boulevard, including a vehicular bridge that will cross the Sims Bayou.

 

Picnic Grove: An area for visitors to gather among new and existing oaks.

 

Stormwater Detention Wetlands: The addition of stormwater wetlands ponds also will serve as an exhibit on how green infrastructure and plants can help with flood control and water purification. 

 

 

 

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They have been doing a lot out here recently. They "officed" onsite last month and have the fence up, and mowing and other crews working daily. Should be neat and tie in nicely to a sidewalk that finished recently along Sims.

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Thanks for the updates! Seeing the progress makes me so happy, after all the years of discussion.. this will be a nice place to take my son.

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Like the idea of the coral limestone. I wish shell limestone would make a comeback from when it was used extensively in early modern styles here in town. That material always felt very "Houston" to me.

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So are they going to get rid of the sports fields and pool too?

 

This project is kind of lame for destroying active recreation opportunities for very expensive yet functionless features.The neighborhood was right to feel sold out.

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5 hours ago, zaphod said:

So are they going to get rid of the sports fields and pool too?

 

This project is kind of lame for destroying active recreation opportunities for very expensive yet functionless features.The neighborhood was right to feel sold out.

Active? I use to have to go there multiple times at any given time maybe s dozen cars in the lot...I think they will be alright 

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I've been to that recreational area a few times. Usually I see kids hanging out there during school hours screwing around, once a guy smoking a joint with his toddler, and people just sitting in their cars.

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On 2/5/2020 at 7:41 AM, thatguysly said:

 once a guy smoking a joint with his toddler

 

Start 'em young! 😋

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10 minutes ago, astrohip said:

 

Start 'em young! 😋

Seriously, all joking aside, the scientific literature on the impact early drug use has on psychological development indicates many people develop arrested emotional development. In other words physically mature adults still acting as adolescents. Just thought I'd mention that.

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I signed up as volunteer, they vetted me, and walked around to view construction that will lead to opening of section this fall.

 

Two interesting tidbits for me- 

The first year after land acquisition, decided not to mow......nothing sprang up till a year later.

Everything “on site”  will be reused somehow, nothing taken offsite.....cut down trees, old dirt.....everything. Hmmmmm

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58 minutes ago, trymahjong said:

I signed up as volunteer, they vetted me, and walked around to view construction that will lead to opening of section this fall.

 

Two interesting tidbits for me- 

The first year after land acquisition, decided not to mow......nothing sprang up till a year later.

Everything “on site”  will be reused somehow, nothing taken offsite.....cut down trees, old dirt.....everything. Hmmmmm

 

So that whole video that was posted in the thread is opening this year? Thats pretty impressive if so. Was there any reason why it took so long for stuff to grow? I guess if memory served me right, the ground there was kinda hard.

 

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4 minutes ago, X.R. said:

 

So that whole video that was posted in the thread is opening this year? Thats pretty impressive if so. Was there any reason why it took so long for stuff to grow? I guess if memory served me right, the ground there was kinda hard.

 

 

Yeah we need one of our top field photographers to check it out. I feel like we sort of forgot that this was a thing.

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Uhmmmmmmmm

I was told, The HBG will open in phases.....kids garden and community garden will be first.

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On 2/6/2020 at 10:48 AM, X.R. said:

 

So that whole video that was posted in the thread is opening this year? Thats pretty impressive if so. Was there any reason why it took so long for stuff to grow? I guess if memory served me right, the ground there was kinda hard.

 

Modern landscaping is tough on soil health.

Ground that is continuously mowed gets compact because mowed grass leads to shallow roots which do little to open up the soil.

 

That's not even taking to account the stress from walking back and forth on the soil by mowing and golfers.

 

Other negative habits we do to keeping things picture perfect is blowing grass clippings and raking up leaves. The plants and grass are actively soaking up nutrients from the soil and what do we do? We actively remove nutrients by blowing away the organic matter.

 

Soils then get depleted of nutrients so what do we do? We buy fertilizers to compensate. As with all things, excessive human intervention corrects one imbalance while Knocking off a range of others. Inorganic fertilizers salt the ground and along with pesticides and herbicides, harm beneficial organisms necessary for good soil health. So I can see why few things grow the first few years.

 

I hate putting down my city but Houston lags in modern trends in landscape design. I hate mowing and find it silly to pay someone 45 bucks every week or two to mow a lawn that I never use so I jumped on the reduced lawn bandwagon. 

 

I encircled the yard with native trees and bushes and used the inner portion to grow fruits and veggies. The first few years the plants struggled but now they do their own thing with little intervention from me. Established natives require little watering, the plants feed me and I have a relaxing spot that I use instead of a boring lawn that I never went on. I use the chop and drop method when I prune so that I limit wastage on nutrients. I had a bug problem the first two years but now the few that are left are too insignificant to do that much damage.

I am just glad that there is no HOA in my area, but because of the outer ring of evergreens you wouldn't really be able to tell how much of a forest the yard is.

 

I would say Austin is the city in Texas that has caught on to the reduced lawn/native plant bandwagon the most. Not because of trends but it off necessity.  It is a less wet city than Houston and quite costly to keep lawns alive over there with recent boughts of drought. 

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15 minutes ago, HoustonIsHome said:

Modern landscaping is tough on soil health.

Ground that is continuously mowed gets compact because mowed grass leads to shallow roots which do little to open up the soil.

 

That's not even taking to account the stress from walking back and forth on the soil by mowing and golfers.

 

Other negative habits we do to keeping things picture perfect is blowing grass clippings and raking up leaves. The plants and grass are actively soaking up nutrients from the soil and what do we do? We actively remove nutrients by blowing away the organic matter.

 

Soils then get depleted of nutrients so what do we do? We buy fertilizers to compensate. As with all things, excessive human intervention corrects one imbalance while Knocking off a range of others. Inorganic fertilizers salt the ground and along with pesticides and herbicides, harm beneficial organisms necessary for good soil health. So I can see why few things grow the first few years.

 

I hate putting down my city but Houston lags in modern trends in landscape design. I hate mowing and find it silly to pay someone 45 bucks every week or two to mow a lawn that I never use so I jumped on the reduced lawn bandwagon. 

 

I encircled the yard with native trees and bushes and used the inner portion to grow fruits and veggies. The first few years the plants struggled but now they do their own thing with little intervention from me. Established natives require little watering, the plants feed me and I have a relaxing spot that I use instead of a boring lawn that I never went on. I use the chop and drop method when I prune so that I limit wastage on nutrients. I had a bug problem the first two years but now the few that are left are too insignificant to do that much damage.

I am just glad that there is no HOA in my area, but because of the outer ring of evergreens you wouldn't really be able to tell how much of a forest the yard is.

 

I would say Austin is the city in Texas that has caught on to the reduced lawn/native plant bandwagon the most. Not because of trends but it off necessity.  It is a less wet city than Houston and quite costly to keep lawns alive over there with recent boughts of drought. 

 

Houston is also a more complex environment being in the sub-tropics. We seem to be a node where everything starts off from. What might work in one part of Houston might not work in others. Of course I'm not saying that more arid or temperate climates aren't as complex, but they certainly have a more consistent climate that one can reasonably adapt too, and be successful over longer stretches of time. For instance the past few years Houston had very well balanced seasons, but then later we went to a simple hot and cold season with lots of rain, and many years before that we had several years of drought with simple hot and cold. Then of course I say we had nice balanced seasons the past few years, but then all the sudden a hurricane rolls on by. Its utterly ridiculous. Austin just has to prepare for one thing...that its going to be hot in the summer, and more often than not they will experience drought. There is just so many moving pieces in our climate and its different if I were in Katy than if I were in Spring, or in Downtown.

 

I will say this, I've become a devote follower of the SandyLeaf Fig. Such an awesome plant. Green all year round, yet can handle massive rains, and withstand some punishing heat, and is better for the soil than a lot of undergrowth, and it helps with water runoff, plus its beautiful. There are many others like it, but its the one plant I've seen thus far that just works in our crazy climate.

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It is complex. The Houston metro appears to have three large ecosystems: The Northern swath north of Beltway 8 is heavily forested to the point it is jungle like especially in the northeast (where I live).  It is an especially thick version of the Southern Pinelands. It has much in common with Southern Louisiana. The western metro appears drier and more prairie like, and the southeast region has a wet coastal environment. There are not to many cities with this variety. It is one of the things (among many) which is fascinating about our area. I think this area is gifted with the ability to grow an enormous variety of plants.

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20 minutes ago, Twinsanity02 said:

It is complex. The Houston metro appears to have three large ecosystems: The Northern swath north of Beltway 8 is heavily forested to the point it is jungle like especially in the northeast (where I live).  It is an especially thick version of the Southern Pinelands. It has much in common with Southern Louisiana. The western metro appears drier and more prairie like, and the southeast region has a wet coastal environment. There are not to many cities with this variety. It is one of the things (among many) which is fascinating about our area. I think this area is gifted with the ability to grow an enormous variety of plants.

 

You really notice it when you drive all of 99. Not only does it drive like the Autobahn haha, but you also get the chance to see just how much variety in our ecosystem we have. We might lack elevation, but we more than make up for it with ecosystem variety.

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1 hour ago, HoustonIsHome said:

Modern landscaping is tough on soil health.

Ground that is continuously mowed gets compact because mowed grass leads to shallow roots which do little to open up the soil.

 

That's not even taking to account the stress from walking back and forth on the soil by mowing and golfers.

 

Other negative habits we do to keeping things picture perfect is blowing grass clippings and raking up leaves. The plants and grass are actively soaking up nutrients from the soil and what do we do? We actively remove nutrients by blowing away the organic matter.

 

Soils then get depleted of nutrients so what do we do? We buy fertilizers to compensate. As with all things, excessive human intervention corrects one imbalance while Knocking off a range of others. Inorganic fertilizers salt the ground and along with pesticides and herbicides, harm beneficial organisms necessary for good soil health. So I can see why few things grow the first few years.

 

golf courses are very unique circumstances, and I don't think we can compare the rest of Houston to how they are maintained.

 

while I agree the soil is very compacted, golf courses are aerated at least twice a year. 

 

you also can't compare how different parts of the course are maintained. the greens are cut exceedingly short, and very often, which does result in exactly what you are saying with a root system that is very shallow. fairways are going to be longer, and not cut as often, and then there's the first rough cut which is even longer still. that's not taking any consideration for things like sand traps, or other course hazards.

 

the biggest problem that golf courses introduce and that stays in the soil is chemicals that are used (thanks Monsanto, probably) to fertilize so that the grass you want to grow grows healthy, but everything else is stunted, or doesn't grow at all. these chemicals likely stay in the soil having an effect longer than the root systems would make a difference. 

 

I mean, if roundup can build up in the system of people who deploy it and they get cancer from it, then I imagine it can stay in the soil for a period of time too, still having an effect on the plants that can grow in the space.

 

the reality is not that Houston doesn't know how to maintain things, it's that golf courses have very specific needs, and Monsanto is the devil.

Edited by samagon
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I agree with responses, but I should have mentioned that I live very close to that area so the climatic conditions are the same.

 

@Luminare I like the Sandy leaf fig too. I was tempted to get some of the variegated ones but I might wait until I prepare a spot in the back yard to give it room to do its thing.

 

@Twinsanity02 yes it is fascinating. Houston straddles between zones 8b through 9b towards the coast. Since most tropicals survive in zone 9 and higher while temperate plants thrive in zone 9 or lower we are able to grow a large variety of plants. 

 

@samagon I didn't mean to imply that Houston knows less than other cities ( for example I mentioned that Austin is going away from lawned front yards out of necessity. What I mean to say is that for a city that changes every time you blink your eye, in terms of gardening trends we resist change fiercely.

 

A single family home set in the middle of the lot with vast lawnscape and scant foundation planting is something that has been since about the 1950s. The fact that this style has been the standard says something. It is a really picture perfect style. But for me it is a very boring style. Apart from the negative effects of so much of the landsurface covered in concrete and lawn, I also am not a fan of foundation plantings that often go with the lawns. Plants such as ligustrums are overly used as a foundation plant but it shouldn't be at all. These are trees with an eventual height of 15 plus feet and although they make cute hedges for a few years, eventually it becomes very difficult to Keep it looking pleasant when planted 2 feet from your house.  Ligustrums make beautiful ever green trees.

 

Also @samagon although the greens are worse in terms of root depth the rest of the course is still very bad. For beginners the variety of grass used for lawns don't have deep roots to begin with. Then you don't have to cut the grass as low as the greens to have reduced root growth.

We usually buy lawn grass in sheets with about an inch of roots. Those roots don't grow much further in the soil even if we don't clip the grass that short. 

 

The prairie grasses native to our area have deeper roots and held our soils better and aided in flood mitigation by absorbing water. St Augustine, Bermuda grass etc are not native and have very shallow roots. Kentucky blue Grass and various fescues have much deeper roots. 

 

Compacted soil act like the seas of concrete that plague or city. The water just runs off and doesn't help with the flooding. When I bought the house my yard was consistently soupy when it rained and that would last for days. Since I got rid of the grass and planted deeper rooted pants the yard no longer floods and the water gets absorbed days quicker. 

 

I am very happy that the poster mentioned the more naturalistic approach the botanical gardens are taking by letting things sit undisturbed for a while and reusing most of what grew on the land instead of hauling it off.

Apart from nourishing the soil, using felled trees as edging creates habitats for organisms that also contribute to good soil health and I really like the natural look. Instead of termites, now when I lift a log I see tons of worms, bugs, mushrooms. 

 

I am very excited about this project and being 5 minutes from my house I might be a frequent visitor. I love Herman Park, but was hoping the gardens wouldn't be Hermann 2.0 and so far it doesn't sound like it is being planned that way. Crossing my fingers that it will become a medium for showcasing something different for our city. 

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Spoke yesterday with a lady at the Azalea trail. She is a volunteer at the Botanic Garden. Told me they've had a "soft opening" of the Botanic Garden with the major opening scheduled for the Fall. 

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I asked the Director of Communications of HBC:

 

He replied

We held a community sneak peek event on Sunday, Jan. 26. It was primarily for residents of the three zip codes closest to our site, but Houstonia magazine did include details on its website, so word got out a little more broadly than we expected. We had almost 1,000 RSVPs (many of which came in quickly once word got out), so we didn’t do much broad promotion of it after that.

 

Volunteering on-site or attending one of our spring programs are the current ways people can get in to see how things have progressed.

 

Justin Lacey

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

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