What a Celebration!

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Saturday, October 18, 2014, a day of celebration which seemed so far in the future when the Centennial Gardens process began, is now past us! The McGovern Centennial Gardens and Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion was dedicated with a host of activities in the new Gardens. The Dedication Ceremony kicked off the festivities at 9:30 a.m., followed by a day of presentations, Gardens’ tours, children’s activities and entertainment for all ages.

Although the whole of the Gardens will be completed and open to the public in December due to delays caused by inclement weather, there was still so much to see at Saturday’s celebration! Upon entering the Gardens via the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, the imposing 30-foot tall Garden Mount with its cascading waterfall was the first thing you saw as your eye wandered down the length of the formal lawn. Folks walked the spiral paths to the top and viewed the Gardens from above. Along both sides of the central lawn are the perennial borders and arbor walkways, which provided a place to stroll or sit and contemplate the serene spaces. The Celebration Garden was inspected by those that may be interested in tying the knot in a beautiful outdoor space in Hermann Park. The Family Garden was abuzz with children’s activities. The newly refurbished sculptures that called the old garden center home, have a new space on the northwest corner of the Gardens at the Hawkins Sculpture Walk. The Tudor Family Pine Hill Walk meanders through the pines with a view of the Friendship Pavilion donated to Houston by the city of Taipei, Taiwan in 1978. From atop the pine hill and the Garden Mount one could view the new rose garden and arid garden still under construction.

Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion architect Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson spoke about his design concept inside the Pavilion itself. Doug Hoerr, the Centennial Gardens landscape designer of Hoerr Schaudt, talked about the Gardens’ design and plant choices, also inside the Pavilion. Artist Randy Twaddle who designed the artwork at the top of the Garden Mount led an Art Talk and Walk. There was a Tour and Talk by the Houston Arts Alliance discussing the refurbished statues at the Hawkins Sculpture Walk inside the Caroline St. and Hermann Drive entrance to the Gardens. Barrie Scardino Bradley, the author of Houston’s Hermann Park , talked about her book and its coverage of Hermann Park’s 100-year history.

Thank you to all who joined in the celebration of the fulfillment of a dream that took eight years to realize!

Progress Continues on McGovern Centennial Gardens

Time is drawing near for the grand opening of the McGovern Centennial Gardens and Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion on October 18, 2014, scheduled rain or shine from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Take a look at what’s been happening! Tall pines have been planted on the Tudor Family Pine Hill Walk. Irrigation is being installed throughout the Gardens. The Hawkins Sculpture Walk is ready for the sparkling clean sculptures from the former garden center site to be installed in their new homes inside the Caroline/Hermann Drive entrance to the new gardens. The Garden Mount is sporting it’s new Zoysia ground cover, with the spiraling accommodating concrete paths in place. The Family Garden’s vegetable and herb beds are waiting for winter plantings. The perennial borders’ variety of plants are ready and waiting to be placed. The arbor structures are going vertical. The boulder cirque is being stacked near the Friendship Pavilion (which was given to the city of Houston as a gift from the mayor of the city of Taipei, Taiwan in 1978).
So stay tuned for additional progress reports. And although things are moving quickly, rain in the last several weeks has slowed construction. As a result, after the grand opening celebration on the 18th, the Gardens will remain closed to the public as we continue to work to get them completed, so it will be a few weeks thereafter before the Gardens can actually officially open to Park visitors.
Will keep you posted!

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