Just days after the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Mercer Botanic Gardens will officially reopen the Tropical Garden on Monday, Aug. 27.
Although the garden required work after last year’s flood, plans to update the garden actually began six years ago.
“The garden needed wider paths to meet ADA standards, along with other improvements,” said Jeff Heilers, Mercer’s horticulture operations manager. “We thought as long as we were making the updates, we should also incorporate another photo area for those Kodak moments.”
With visions of tropical bromeliads and bougainvillea covering ancient stone walls, the decision was made to recreate a stone plaza with the feel and sound of an ancient tropical jungle, like you might find in the Yucatan areas of Mexico.
“We started looking in statuary catalogs and found the perfect focal point – a fountain resembling one of the 20-ton stone heads carved thousands of years ago during the time of the Olmec civilization,” added Heilers. “The fountain will run continuously, but we’ve added a few surprise elements for special occasions, including fog and glowing eyes that change color!”
With all palms now trimmed from the severe winter weather, Mercer staff is concentrating on final irrigation repairs and bed preparation. “We’ll be adding a lot more tropical plants, including banana trees, plumeria, anthuriums, Coppertone loquats, and other plants that have been growing in and around our greenhouses,” he said. “The final piece of the garden will be the completion of the second plaza wall, which will have a curved stone bench to seat garden guests.”
The Tropical garden will be the third enhancement to Mercer following the opening of the Shakespeare Garden in April and the Children’s Garden in May.