October 2020
Due to precautions related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), some programs and activities at Mercer Botanic Gardens may be curtailed, postponed, or canceled. Please contact Mercer before making plans.
Virtual Pollinator Festival
And Fall Plant Sale
Mercer Botanic Gardens is celebrating fall virtually with the third annual Pollinator Festival and Plant Sale! Join staff and volunteers for a day of fun featuring an online plant sale, virtual activities, and much more on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Shoppers can begin browsing the online store at 8 a.m. by clicking here.The sale will feature edibles, native plants, trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials, shade-loving plants, and gingers.

Tune into the Mercer Botanic Garden Facebook page each hour starting at 8 a.m. to enjoy virtual presentations on the butterfly life cycle, pollinator plants, native bees, pollinator photography, and monarch butterflies.

This family-friendly event also features virtual story time and children’s crafts, including custom coloring pages and activities. Additionally, participants can browse scarecrows and vote on their favorite submissions during the virtual Scarecrow Contest.

The sale is sponsored by The Mercer Society, a nonprofit that supports Mercer Botanic Gardens. For more information, call 713-274-4160.

Online Educational Resources

There’s plenty to see and learn at Mercer Botanic Gardens! To ensure you get the most out of your visit, we rounded up a few of our top educational resources for all age groups.

Whether you’re a parent looking for educational children’s activities or an adult wanting to learn more about nature, we have something for you.

Follow us online for special event opportunities or call 713-274-4160 to get details about visiting Mercer.

Click here to learn more.
Top Plants for Bringing Birds to Your Garden

Bees and butterflies often get the most attention in the gardening world, but birds also play a significant role in the landscape. They add song to your yard, pollinate the flowers in your garden, and control insect populations.
So why not help these beneficial creatures and create a garden they won't want to leave?

To get started, check out this list of plants and trees guaranteed to bring birds to your yard.

Four Tips to Avoid
Online Seed Scams
We've all seen the rainbow-colored roses, purple sunflowers, blue bananas, and other fantastical plants filling popular e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay. These too-good-to-be-true offers usually feature boldly colored plants in vibrant hues that are impossible to find anywhere else.

But are the offers legitimate? Jacob Martin, Mercer's greenhouse manager, decided to test seeds from online vendors to find out. Below, he shares his findings, along with tips to help you avoid common seed scams.

Volunteer Spotlight: Gardening With Chris Mihalik

Ask Mercer volunteer Chris Mihalik how her garden grows, and she’ll tell you that it’s a labor of love that bears fruit almost year-round.

For the past few months, Mihalik’s garden has produced cucumbers, jalapeños, green and sweet banana peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and cantaloupe. As for herbs, she grows onions, garlic, chives, parsley, purple and green basil, rosemary, mint, yams, and green beans.

Mihalik grows vegetables primarily in one-foot deep raised beds in the back corner of her yard. She fertilizes her garden with homemade compost from kitchen scraps, leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and anything biodegradable, but no meat products.

“I typically don’t use many pine needles in my compost since they create a somewhat acidic soil, but my blueberry bushes love it,” she said.

Mihalik’s garden also includes several citrus trees including a Meyer lemon, a Ruby Red grapefruit, a loquat, and a prolific orange tree that fruited this past December and January. Whatever oranges Mihalik and her husband don’t eat, they juice, freeze, or give away.

“I fill ice trays with juice and add the cubes to give my water some flavor,” she said.

Mihalik purchased a rosemary bush at Mercer’s annual March Mart plant sale two years ago that has been unusually bountiful this year. “I’ve been using the extra rosemary to make flavored cooking and marinating oil,” she said.

Her recipe includes adding sprigs of rosemary to a large pot filled with vegetable oil. After steeping and straining into bottles, the mix is ready for use.

“It also makes a nice gift, straight from the garden,” she added.

Mihalik said she doesn’t need a large area to produce a good crop.

“I have a good-sized backyard that sits right off the bayou, but it’s in a subdivision,” she said. “Anyone can grow vegetables, no matter what size area they have to work with!”
Upcoming Events

Texas Pollinator BioBlitz
Friday, Oct. 2, to Sunday, Oct. 18

Virtual Pollinator Festival & Plant Sale
Saturday, Oct. 3, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Music in the Gardens
Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 10:30 a.m. for ages 2 to 3
Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 10:30 a.m. for ages 4 to 5
Mercer Botanic Gardens Blood Drive
Thursday, Oct. 8, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 22, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Virtual Lunch Bunch: Fabulous Figs!
Wednesday, Oct. 14, at noon
Celebrate Bats!
Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
A Message From
Commissioner R. Jack Cagle
Thank you for reading this edition of Leaflet. I hope you learned something new about the services, activities, and programs Mercer offers to the community.

Please stay tuned for our next issue to learn more about Mercer events, activities, and news!