Bright and shiny renderings from the recently-released master plan for the Houston Botanic Garden show that design firm West 8 is aware of the challenges involved in straddling a world-class park across Sims Bayou, on the site of Glenbrook Park Golf Course just across I-45 north of Hobby Airport. The Dutch firm, known internationally for unusual bridges and unconventional landscape design, has planned for many of the Garden’s displays to flood at will; the shores of Sims Bayou on the Garden’s property will also be resculpted. And to combat Houston’s just-shy-of-year-round heat, shade trees would be preserved or planted throughout the park, including the towering cypresses depicted in the bayou-side wetland gardens shown above (parts of which will be explorable by kayak).
Meanwhile, the more formal garden spaces planned for the park are shown with their own built-in shade (complete with custom ceiling fans): Colonnade structures (like the ones picture below) will ring each of the major collection gardens, which are designed to be “entered, enjoyed, and contemplated from the comfort of the shaded perimeter”:
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Glenbrook Valley Garden
As the clock ticked over into 2016, Houston Botanic Garden and the Houston Golf Association each had something else to celebrate: both groups met end-of-year 5-million-dollar fundraising goals required by agreements with the City to carry forward their respective plans for 2 east Houston golf courses. The golfers raised enough money to move forward with preservation and renovation of Gus Wortham Golf Course, at 7000 Capitol street (south of the Houston Ship Channel Turning Basin, where Wayside meets Polk). Houston Botanic Garden had initially pushed to add some color to the oldest greens in Texas and redevelop the Brays-Bayou-side space as a public garden.
That garden is now planned instead for above-pictured Glenbrook Golf Course, a semi-maintained set of greens-turned-greenspace along Sims Bayou north of 45 from Hobby Airport (just outside the southeast corner of the Loop).
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Teeing Off in East Houston
CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BOTANICAL GARDEN ON GLENBROOK PARK GOLF COURSE, GUS WORTHAM COURSE RENOVATIONS City council voted unanimously this morning to give the go-ahead to plans to renovate the Gus Wortham Golf Course north of Idylwood, and allow the group that had previously attempted to turn that location into a botanical garden to develop a facility instead on the current site of the 18-hole Glenbrook Park Golf Course, along Sims Bayou on the north side of the Gulf Fwy. south of Loop 610. The long-term lease agreements are victories for the operating organizations behind both efforts, but the garden group clearly got its second choice; an Inner Loop garden on site of the oldest golf course in Texas would have had better access to public transportation including the new light-rail line, and would have been surrounded by less freeway noise. If the Houston Golf Association fails to raise $5 million for the Gus Wortham redo before the end of this year, it’s possible the split could be rejiggered; the Houston Botanic Garden Board is being given until the end of 2017 to raise $20 million for its efforts. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Glenbrook Park Golf Course: Houston Golf Nut