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National Public Gardens Day is May 11


Explore the beauty of local green spaces at Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

This garden at Mercer is part of the east side of the 325-acre park that includes 5 miles of walking trails. v (opposite page) Mercer shelters more than 24 rare plants and several of the plants are on display to view close-up as guests walk around the trails in the Endangered Species Garden.

The fourth annual National Public Gardens Day, scheduled for May 11, is a national day of celebration that invites communities to explore the beauty of their local green spaces while raising awareness of the important role public gardens play in promoting conservation, education and environmental preservation. Annually scheduled on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day weekend, schools, families, garden enthusiasts and visitors are invited to visit public gardens in their local community for special events and activities.

A partnership between the American Public Gardens Association and irrigation product and service provider Rain Bird, the 2012 National Public Gardens Day will showcase the contributions of public gardens with special events at many of the more than 500 North American public gardens.

Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens in the Houston area is one of the 38 leading botanical gardens and arboretums in the United States that maintains the National Collection of Endangered Plants for the Center of Plant Conservation.

More than three-fourths of the endangered plants in the United States occur in the highly diverse ecosystems of Texas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mercer shelters more than 24 rare plants and several plants are on display to view close-up as guests walk around the trails in the Endangered Species Garden.

This garden at Mercer is part of east side of the 325-acre park that includes 5 miles of walking trails. The west side has a children’s playground and picnic area for families to enjoy. It is located at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road in Humble.

“Public gardens are indispensable —they provide places to recreate, learn about the environment, and observe the beauty of nature,” said Casey Sclar, interim executive director of the American Public Gardens Association.  “There is a common commitment of North American public gardens to engage and contribute to their communities, and to educate everyone about the importance of plant, soil and water conservation practices.”

National Public Gardens Day is supported by a national awareness campaign that includes broadcast public service announcements, media partnerships, local and national spokespeople, online contests and media tours  all focused on communicating the importance of building sustainable environments through improved plant manage­ment and water conservation, education and community engagement.

“As a presenting partner and co-founder of National Public Gardens Day, Rain Bird is committed to increasing awareness of how important public gardens are in demonstrating water conservation both locally and nationally,” said Dave Johnson, Rain Bird’s director of corporate marketing. “National Public Gardens Day wonderfully supports our company’s Intelligent Use of Water philosophy because public gardens are living evidence that green spaces can entertain, educate and inspire us while positively contributing to the environment and conserving the world’s most precious resource.”

In celebration of botanical gardens, arboreta, conservatories, educational gardens and historical landscapes, many of the APGA’s 500 member institutions will mark the day with special events and activities for schools, families, garden enthusiasts and other visitors. Many of the activities will continue through Mother’s Day weekend, offering visitors time to enjoy the beauty of the gardens while learning about each garden’s commitment to education, research and environmental stewardship.

Visit NationalPublicGardensDay.org for more information on National Public Gardens Day, “LIKE” the National Public Gardens Day Facebook page and follow the National Public Gardens Day Twitter feed, @NPGD.

Hours of operation for the Mercer Arboretum are Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information, call 281-443-8731 or go to hcp4.net/mercer.

Mercer shelters more than 24 rare plants and several of the plants are on display to view close-up as guests walk around the trails in the Endangered Species Garden.


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