McGovern Centennial Gardens

October 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Events


Hermann Park Conservancy — the nonprofit dedicated to the stewardship and improvement of Hermann Park — is getting ready to celebrate the Park’s largest improvement project to date with the Grand Opening of the McGovern Centennial Gardens and the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion on Saturday, October 18. This spectacular addition to the Park will be yet another reason to visit this 445-acre urban oasis that over six million people enjoy annually.

The McGovern Centennial Gardens, designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects with White Oak Studio Landscape Architecture, is the Conservancy’s largest improvement project ever undertaken and will completely transform the 15-acre Garden Center site into a spectacular new attraction for Park visitors.

The Gardens will feature a Family Garden, Centennial Green, 30’ Garden Mount, Celebration Garden, Rose Garden, and the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, designed by architect Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cynwinski Jackson, famed designer of the glass Apple stores worldwide. As you explore the Gardens you will come across 490+ new trees of over 50 different species, 760 hedge shrubs, 350 new roses in the Rose Garden, 106,875 other shrubs and perennials of 199 varieties, 115 new camellias and 650 new azaleas in the Woodland Garden and so much more.

Landscape Designer Doug Hoerr of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects describes, “The McGovern Centennial Gardens stand alone as a setting for respite, refuge and education and fit into the larger historical footprint of Hermann Park. This civic project provides the citizens of Houston with a memorable place for the community to gather, for education, for beautification, gardening and growing food. The McGovern Centennial Gardens celebrate connecting people to the land.”

Jim Patterson of White Oak Studio Landscape Architecture adds, “Public gardens are an indispensable part of great cities all over the world.  The Garden Center has been a well-loved place to generations of Houstonians.  We are so pleased to be part of building a great public garden for this great city.

Presented to the City of Houston by George Hermann in 1914, Hermann Park is one of Houston’s most popular and historically significant public green spaces. Since its inception, the Park has served as a tranquil refuge from the day-to-day bustle of city life. A hundred years later, the original vision for the Park is finally being realized thanks to a Master Plan and a $123 million Centennial Capital Campaign conceived and executed by the Hermann Park Conservancy, a public/private partnership with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.  The money raised has gone not only into making McGovern Centennial Gardens and Cherie Flores Pavilion a reality, but also into the rebirth of the beautiful Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool; the renovation and expansion of Lake Plaza and Hermann Park Railroad; and the restoration of the Parks’s exercise trails along with many other improvements that have transformed the Park into one of the most idyllic public green spaces in the country.

“McGovern Centennial Gardens is the culmination of a one-hundred-year vision that is finally getting its due. With the opening of the Gardens and the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, visitors will be able to experience this incredible new garden space for free, seven days a week,” said Doreen Stoller, executive director of Hermann Park Conservancy. “We are grateful for the rain. The trees in the Park are happy, but our construction progress has been slowed. After our grand opening celebration, we will close the Gardens for a few more weeks to complete the heavy work. Gardens are never a finished work and this one is just getting started,” explains Stoller. “This project is a labor of love and we are thrilled to be able to present McGovern Centennial Gardens to the City of Houston during Hermann Park’s 100th year.”

Though the Park’s Grand Gateway entrance from Mecom Fountain to the Sam Houston Monument will have to wait until 2015 for its unveiling because of construction delays, Hermann Park Conservancy’s mission to complete the Park’s Master Plan is one step away from being realized after 25 years of fundraising, planning, planting, and building one of America’s great municipal green spaces.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Dedication Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. with:

Danny David, Emcee, Hermann Park Conservancy Board Chair 2014-2016

Mayor Annise D. Parker, City of Houston

Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department

Doreen Stoller, Hermann Park Conservancy Executive Director

Kathrine G. McGovern, John P. McGovern Foundation

Phoebe Tudor, Centennial Campaign Chair

Jim & Cherie Flores, Garden Center Advisory Board

Ann Kennedy, Hermann Park Conservancy Board Chair 2010-2014

Activities and tours will take place throughout the day, including:

  • Free and open to the public – rain or shine
  • Children’s art and educational activities sponsored by Macy’s beginning at 10:00 a.m.
  • Talks and Garden tours include:
    • 11:00 AM      Talk with Peter Bohlin, Cherie Flores Pavilion architect, of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
    • 12:30 PM      Talk with Doug Hoerr, landscape designer of The McGovern Centennial Gardens, of Hoerr Schaudt  Landscape Architects
    • 1:30 PM         Art talk and tour with artist Randy Twaddle
    • 2:30 PM         Sculpture Talk and Tour with Jimmy Castillo, Houston Arts Alliance


Founded in 1992, Hermann Park Conservancy is a nonprofit citizens’ organization dedicated to the stewardship and improvement of Hermann Park, one of Houston’s largest and most loved urban parks. Through a public-private partnership with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the Conservancy has secured nearly $115 million toward a $123 million goal for the Centennial Campaign for Hermann Park, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Beyond raising millions of dollars toward capital improvements in the Park, the Conservancy oversees programs focused on visitor services, conservation and stewardship, and tree care. For more information on the Conservancy, visit Follow the Conservancy at and


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