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May 2022 Newsletter

Engage | Learn Support  | Plant  | Garden  |  Research

Family enjoying picnic near Big Bugs ant

This Time, the Ants Invite You to the Picnic

Usually, ants at a picnic are unwelcome, but what if they’re the main attraction? The Botanic Garden is at the height of its early summer beauty, and we invite you to celebrate on the grounds with a picnic – perhaps near the giant, whimsical ants that are part of the David Rogers’ Big Bugs exhibition. “Now is a great time to dine al fresco at the Garden,” says CEO and President Patrick Newman. “Explore our landscape as late spring and summer blooms reach their peak, and visit sculptor David Rogers’ giant insects before the exhibition closes in June.”

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Learn: Stay Curious

Garden sign that reads "As I work on the garden, the garden works on me"

Get Your Hands Dirty in a Garden to Boost Your Mental Health

One of the best things about working outside in a garden is the visibility of the results. You can see your hard work pay off as flowers bloom. But there’s another benefit, one that is just as real but less obvious to the eye: Gardening supports your mental health. Experts from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will teach a workshop on wellness in the garden this month that will share tips on reducing stress and anxiety through gardening.

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Plant: The Seeds of an Environmental STEM Education

Build Your Own (Not So Big) Bugs at Upcoming Family Workshop

The clock is counting down the days that we get to enjoy David Roger’s Big Bugs exhibition at the Garden. The Bugs will fly, scuttle and hop away. on June 12. One way to enjoy the Bugs before they depart, plus create a keepsake of the exhibition, is to join our family workshop, Big Bug Builders.

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Garden: What's in Bloom

Blue plumbago - pale blue flowers against a dark green background of leaves

Plants that Take the Heat and Fill Your Summer Garden with Color

One of the major goals of gardening in Texas is finding colorful, high-performing plants that add drama to our summer landscapes and hold up to Texas heat. “Fortunately, there are many to choose from, including both perennials and annuals and both native and adapted plants,” says Sr. Horticulturist Steve Huddleston. “In fact, you might find you have more options that you realized.”

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Research: From Plant to Planet

Floral illustration from 1829 of stemless evening primrose

What Is This Thing? Discovering Stemless Evening Primrose.

It’s one thing to identify a flower when it’s in bloom. Petals, stamens and other features provide all sorts of information to botanists to narrow down the plant’s name and history. Starting with a seed pod is a different matter – especially when the pod is hard, dried, and an indistinct brown. When friends Carol and Cynthia both found particularly tough, dried pods that superficially resemble pine cones, they were baffled. But it takes more than a dried-up pod to baffle the botanists at the BRIT Herbarium. They were able to let Cynthia and Carol know that they had found the dried fruits of Oenothera triloba, or stemless evening primrose.

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NSF Awards Nearly $1M for Plant Digitization

The National Science Foundation recently awarded the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and the California Botanic Garden nearly $1 million to support the digitization and linking of plant specimens and other archival materials.

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Water droplets pour over a garden plant
Variegated tapioca (Manihot exculenta)
Periwinkle or vinca