This is a great tour for anyone who wants relaxing and tranquil strolls outside in nature. We have 5 options. We offer 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7-hour tours. These are self-guided unless noted otherwise. The ideal time of the year for comfort and flowers for such a tour is in March, April, and May. The environments are still peaceful, if not full of flowers, in October. Be prepared to sweat in June, July, August, and September and dress warmly from November through February.
The tours begin at the Houston Visitors Center in downtown. Please click here to be connected to the address and parking information.
The tours normally begin at 9:00 AM.
The two-hour tour includes the:
- Gardens of Rienzi. Allow 25 to 30 minutes. Rienzi was built in 1952; however, we do not enter the house. The gardens were designed in the 1950s by landscape architect Ralph Ellis Gunn. It has 4.4 acres. Two steep ravines that lead to Buffalo Bayou slice through the area that has a variety of native plants as well as a reflecting pool. A bayou is a slow moving river whose movement is so slow that it may be imperceptible to the eye.
- Houston Garden Center. Allow 25 to 30 minutes. This redesigned area opened in December 2014. It has 8 acres. This includes seeing the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Confucius, approximately one-dozen busts of Latin American revolutionary leaders, rock formations, climbing a ziggurat-like structure and seeing a waterfall, a Chinese pagoda, and more.
- Japanese Gardens. Allow 25 to 30 minutes. This was dedicated on May 4, 1992. It is on 5 acres. World recognized landscape architect Ken Nakajima designed the gardens. It is built in the Daimyo style. It has a small pond and waterfall, stone lantern, winding stone paths, crepe myrtles, Japanese maples, irises, a grove of pine trees, peach trees, and more. Twenty cherry trees were planted in 2012.
The three-hour tour includes everything in the two-hour tour plus:
- Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Allow 45 minutes. This covers 155 acres. It is home to over 75 varieties of native trees and shrubs, 160 species of birds, and 5 miles of walking trails. It has a pond, overlook, children’s playground, and a small museum and gift shop. Guided.
The four-hour tour includes everything in the three-hour tour plus:
- Bayou Bend Collection Gardens on Tuesday through Sunday. Allow 30 to 45 minutes. The house was erected in 1928; however, we do not enter it. The gardens began in the 1920s, were largely designed between 1934 and 1942, but are an ongoing project. The gardens are nestles on 14 acres. The organically maintained gardens have azaleas, camellias, magnolias, and dogwoods. Separate gardens exist with statues of classic Greek mythical characters and muses (Diana, Clio, and Euterpe) and themes and shapes (fountains, woodlands with trails, a white flower garden, and the butterfly shape garden). To approach and depart from the property, one walks on the suspension bridge that crosses over Buffalo Bayou. The property is called Bayou Bend as it is on a bend in Buffalo Bayou.
The five-hour tour includes everything in the four-hour tour plus:
- Stopping for lunch at Beck’s Prime overlooking the golf course at Memorial Park. This has a lovely view and flowers around it. Each person pays for his/her own lunch.
A seven-hour tour includes everything in the five-hour tour plus going to the:
- Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Humble, Texas. Allow 45 minutes. It has 325 acres. This is Harris County’s premier botanical park. Thelma and Charles Mercer began this private garden on 14.5 acres, in the 1940s. Harris County bought it in 1974 and beginning in 1984, has greatly expanded it. It has several species of hawthorns, camphor, Ginkgo, Bauhinia, Philadelphus, tung oil, black-haw viburnum, bamboo, endangered and tropical species, ferns, daylilies, gingers, herbs, courtyards, memorials, maple collection, ponds, cypress swamps, boardwalks, several miles of walking trails, hickory bogs, woodlands, and more. It has a visitors center and gift shop where the Arboretum sells plants.