Exciting progress! The Centennial Gardens taking shape

Most visitors to Hermann Park have been watching in anticipation as the new 15-acre McGovern Centennial Gardens site takes shape. Those familiar with parking in lot “C” in front of the old Houston Garden Center along Hermann Park Drive may now access the new parking lot “C” from Hermann Drive along the north side of the Gardens site at Crawford St. Just follow the red and white signs to the lot entrance–note that there are no bus spaces in the new lot just as there were none in the old lot. From the parking spaces, take one of three gravel paths from the lot south to the Marvin Taylor Exercise Trail, turn right on Mr. Taylor’s live oak trail, and follow the path across Hermann Park Drive to access Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Zoo, the miniature train and pedal boats, the playground and water play, and the Japanese Garden.

You will notice that the Chinese Pavilion has been moved from its temporary site in the old parking lot to its new permanent location visible from Hermann Park Drive just feet from where it rested for the past few months while the new lot was being built.

And very exciting indeed is that the new Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion entry building designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (Peter Bohlin designs the glass Apple stores world-wide!) is going vertical! If you close your eyes and imagine walking through the Pavilion entry, you can envision the imposing Garden Mount with its rippling waterfall being the first landmark you see ahead of you as you enter through the open crape myrtle-lined gateway from the parking lot. So stay tuned for further progress notes.

The grand opening of the Gardens is scheduled for October 18, 2014, so put it on your calendar to come visit YOUR beautiful new public gardens free to the public this fall!


Construction marches toward the grand opening of the McGovern Centennial Gardens!


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESProgress continues on Hermann Park’s McGovern Centennial Gardens toward the October 18th opening!  As you may have noticed, the 30-foot Garden Mount, with a spiraling ADA-accessible concrete pathway to the top, is almost completed at the west end of the Garden site.  Once the waterfall down the front of the Mount has been installed and the landscaping planted, the Garden Mount will truly stand out as a high point above the Gardens. 

Another major occurrence that has taken place on the Garden site is the moving of a 43-inch diameter live oak to make room for the soon-to-be-relocated Chinese pavilion. The new home for this spectacular live oak is 100 feet to the east, along the west fence of the golf course just off of Hermann Park Drive across from Miller Outdoor Theatre.  Environmental Design (ED) prepped the tree’s 36-foot diameter root ball before the move with intense hydration, boring under the roots to place the oilfield pipe that would stabilize the root ball and serve as a base for the balloons  that would inflate under the tree and help move it. Environmental Design also built a ramp from the existing location to the new site to keep the tree upright while it is moved.  Drainage is in place to achieve a fine balance in preventing the tree’s root ball from drowning as the tree is watered, and to prevent too much water from accumulating under the ball.

The most obvious progress visible to all is the building of the new parking lot which will be accessed from Hermann Drive on the northeast side of the Gardens site.  The concrete surface has been laid, and the trees and shrubs are being planted on the medians throughout the lot to provide shade for patrons and cooling of the parking surface. Pathways are in place to take people from their vehicles to the live oak canopy that is the Marvin Taylor Trail, and new pedestrian paths will lead people from the parking lot to Miller Outdoor Theatre. 

Stay tuned, as construction is moving quickly toward the grand opening in October.