Garden guests have multiple opportunities this year to experience the Garden in a new way: After dark. Usually the gates close before sunset, and guests to evening events such as After Hours or Concerts at the Garden are restricted to well-lit, defined areas. This autumn, both Lightscape and the Night Hike will take guests on magical treks that will give them a new perspective on this well-known place.
Consider the following statistics: Roughly one third of Americans report experiencing an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Around 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Forty-one percent of Americans said in 2021 that their anxiety increased in 2021 over 2020, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Life is just … hard right now, and Americans are suffering the consequences. They are also looking for solutions, and one solution proposed by nationally recognized psychologist G. Frank Lawlis is an increased connection to nature. Lawlis will be presenting three workshops this fall designed to help participants find healing and wholeness through nature.
The natural world is filled with flowers of all shapes and colors. What’s surprising is that a great many of these flowers are all related. About one quarter of flowering plants are members of the Asteraceae family, which contains more than 32,000 known species of flowering plants. The sheer variety of sunflowers can make the plant a challenge to identify. Yet correctly identifying Asteraceae is important when conducting plant surveys, assessing the ecological health of a habitat, managing land or simply exploring nature. Fortunately, sunflower experts Richard Spellenberg and Naida Zucker can help. Join us for their book talk and workshop on sunflowers and never be confounded by sunflowers again.
It still feels like the height of summer, but fall is just around the corner, and that means the Community Education program is rolling out a new slate of classes, workshops and events. “We’ve got a mix of long-time favorites and completely new experiences,” says Community Education Manager Crissa Nugen. “I think almost everyone will find something they want to explore.”
If you love nature, love to read, and love to discuss reading about nature with like-minded companions, consider joining the FWBG | BRIT Book Club. You’ll find a community of readers who enjoy in-depth conversations about botany, biology, ecology and the natural world.
Many area residents find the Garden a place of respite and renewal—a home away from home. But the Garden is also a different kind of sanctuary: It is home to dozens of bird species. The Garden is a hotspot for birds, who find safe nesting places in our trees and shrubs as well as numerous sources of food and water. Many enthusiastic bird watchers make regular trips to the Garden to look for both common and uncommon species.
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.
Exercise can sometimes feel like a chore. You know it’s good for you, and you’re always glad you’ve done it, but it can seem like yet another obligation. But what if exercising wasn’t a burden but rather a treat? That’s what yoga in the Garden offers, says yoga instructor Edwina Taylor. “The Garden is so peaceful and invigorating. You feel the breeze and the warmth of the sun. And it’s so relaxing to be outside moving and breathing.”
Today we have a pretty clear idea where our food comes from: the grocery store. Of course, we know that food is actually grown and raised on farms, but most Americans today have spent little to no time at a farm or ranch. True, some keep a garden, raise backyard chickens or hunt, but for the majority of us, food comes from the store and is wrapped in plastic. Author Eric Knight would like to change that. He encourages Texans to get outside and find their food by foraging for the edible plants. Knight will introduce foraging with a book talk and signing on March 26 at the Garden.
Many people give little thought to the soil under their feet. It’s just dirt, after all. But gardeners know that healthy soil is essential to healthy plants. If you’re looking to up your gardening game this year, invest in your soil.