Back by popular demand, landscape architect Sarah Newbery will take us this spring on a private tour of Peckerwood Garden, an exceptional garden just outside of Houston in Hempstead. Poised on the edge of three climatic zones, it rests in one of America’s most unique garden environments. We will depart Houston on Saturday morning for a 50-minute motor-coach ride to Peckerwood for a gourmet lunch, tour of the garden, and visit to Peckerwood’s nursery before returning to Houston in the afternoon.
John Fairey acquired seven acres near Hempstead in 1971, and since then his
garden has grown and evolved into one of international renown. In 1998, it
was designated a Preservation Project Garden by the Garden Conservancy, a
national organization that saves and shares outstanding American gardens for
the education and inspiration of the public. At 39 acres today, Peckerwood is
unique in its multidisciplinary approach and appeal, combining and blurring
the boundaries between plants and place, art and design, architecture and
landscape architecture, inside and outside, wild and cultivated, and mundane
object and artwork. A professor of design at Texas A&M, Mr. Fairey’s fine arts
background is evident in the garden’s stunning design.
A demonstration garden for how to garden in the southwestern environment
wisely and with style, Peckerwood is also a laboratory for horticulture and
conservation, with over 3,000 species growing there, many from seed, and
many of which are rare and endangered. It features multiple plant collections
including agaves, cactus, crinum, yuccas, dasylirion, palms, zephyranthes,
cycads, magnolia, sycamore, cornus, mahonia, and styrax. It houses the most
comprehensive collection of oaks in North America.
Peckerwood Garden is also a cultural bridge between the United States
and Mexico. Mr. Fairey has made over 100 trips to Mexico collecting plants
and Mexican folk art, and the garden is a showcase for the biodiversity of
northeastern Mexico as well as its cultural traditions.
Sarah Newbery is an architect and landscape designer. In 2013 she was
named project director for the Memorial Park long-range master planning
process. Previously, she worked at Curtis & Windham Architects. She
received master’s degrees in both architecture and landscape architecture at
the Graduate School of Design at Harvard.