Blog

Fern’s Favorites!

Mercer’s resident authority on all that is unique and special about our Gardens, Fern is Mercer’s beloved canine mascot who was rescued at Mercer four years ago. She can tell you the location of every squirrel and bunny resident. She also will help you find the best blooms and the best bench for a little quiet meditation. When you plan your next visit, spend a little extra time… perhaps you will see her on one of her walks in the garden.

Check back as Fern will direct you to the best attractions and events in bloom each month.

It’s June and Fern recommends:

Joining Jere Noerager and Darla Harris on June 17 from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon as they explore the wonderful world of ferns, the plant! Jere will teach you how to mount a stag horn fern and Darla has a delightful rabbit foot fern surprise.  For more information and to register, visit the events page.

Wishing all our dad’s Happy Father’s Day!  If you need a special something, stop by The Mercer Gift and Plant Shoppe for truly unique items and spectacular plants.

Happy Summer!  Watch my blog for more details on a special “Welcome Summer” event at the Mercer Gift & Plant Shop!

Plants to see in the Garden – Ferns, of course!  On Friday June 16, our grower will be bringing in a variety of 6-inch ferns – Maidenhair; Birds Nest and Tabletop – to the plant deck at The Mercer Gift and Plant Shoppe. These gems are specially priced at $12.50! Quantities are limited! (Hint…Great gift for Dad!)

See you in the Mercer Garden!

– Fern

What’s new in the Mercer Gift and Plant Shoppe!

Lightweight and bright jewelry for all the ladies spring and summer fashions; necklaces, bracelets and earrings are featured in the collection.  This selection is limited so hurry in for the best selections.

Also featuring Simplified Soaps and Body Lotions.  These natural products are made in nearby Seadrift, Texas and come in a variety of fragrances sure to please a desire for something light and refreshing for a Houston summer.

Looking for a very special and beautiful plant – our grower has been extra busy selecting just the right blooming buds for you this month. On Friday, June 16  a wonderful variety of ferns – Maidenhair, Birds Nest and Tabletop – will be arriving on the plant deck, all specially priced at $12.50!  Quantities are limited. (Get one for Dad!)

We are recruiting volunteers to help out in the Gift & Plant Shoppe. Flexible hours, fun benefits, engaging with delightful garden visitors and knowing that you are helping the Garden, all make for a wonderful experience.  Call Jamie Hartwell, HCP4 Volunteer Coordinator at 713-274-4160 for more details and to get started!

The Mercer Gift and Plant Shoppe is open Monday through Saturday; 10: am to 4:00 pm and Sunday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  All gift shop proceeds benefit Mercer Botanic Gardens.

 

Wild About Woodies

Stephen F. Austin (SFA) Gardens is hosting the Third Annual Industry Day: Wild About Woodies on June 30, 2017 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Industry Day is designed to be tree and shrub based complement to the annual color programs at the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials Field Day and the East Texas Horticultural Field Day at Overton. and will again follow on the heels of both events this coming June.

Dr. David Creech will offer a guided tour at 9:00 a.m. beginning at the Mast Arboretum located adjacent to the SFASU agricultural building.  The SFA Gardens are open for self-guided exploration from dawn to dusk seven days a week. At 1:30 p.m., southern nursery crop presentations will begin at the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

For more details and to register, contact Dawn Stover at 936-468-4404.

Hello world!

At long last, The Mercer Society is delighted to launch our new website.  We hope you are going to enjoy it as much as we enjoyed designing it.  We also hope you will find it easy to navigate, getting all the information you need to  either become a member of  The Mercer Society, enjoy Mercer Botanic Garden, help us with our philanthropic projects through our Donate now button and get complete details on all our special events.

The Mercer Society, in 2016, debuted our signature brand, seen here. The stylistic ginger represents a plant, found at Mercer Botanic Garden and perfect for our sub-tropical climate.  We selected this ginger as our logo as the tri-color pleats represent the collaboration of The Mercer Society, Harris County Precinct 4 and the Community.  These three distinct units all blend together in a harmonious beautiful work of botanical art and collaboration.

Our logo is based upon the Curcuma ‘Laddawan’, an excellent hybrid created by crossing the woodland loving Curcuma cordata with the sun loving curcuma alismatifolia.  The result is clusters of pleated leaves with a towering inflorescence of pink bracts carrying cream colored flowers with yellow flush.  This hardy perennial starts to bloom in late June and continues to bloom again and again until the cool weather of fall signals it into its winter slumber.  It awakens when the spring sun begins to warm the soil.

Blooming Bonnets Tea a delicious success!

Eighty-five ladies gathered on Mercer’s Courtyard Garden, May 12, for The Mercer Society’s inaugural tea service held in joint celebration of National Public Gardens Day and Mother’s Day. Tasty tidbits, fun prizes, great conversation, delightful entertainment, good company and absolutely beautiful weather made the day and  the event a “must do” again.

Mrs. Janet Cagle and daughters, Elizabeth and Victoria co-chaired the festivities awarding prizes for The Most Fashionable Bonnet, Best Blooming Bonnet and the Most Creative Bonnet. The ladies in attendance were serenaded to by Double Infinity, an a cappella quartet, part of The Statesmen Chorus.  And, Hector Silva Studio set up his camera in a delightful outdoor garden studio where the ladies were treated to photos made to capture the memory of this delightful day.

Sincere thanks and appreciation to all our sponsors: A&B Designs, Cacao & Cardamom Artisan Chocolates; Carrabba’s Italian Grill; CatSpring Yaupon Tea Company, Double Infinity A Cappella Quartet; Great Harvest Bread Bakery; H-E-B; Hector Silva Studio; Lawler’s Cheesecakes; Nothing Bundt Cake Bakery; Orchid Express and Leasing; Paper Trends; Sara Wise Strategies; The Hat People; The Mercer Gift and Plant Shoppe and all our table Underwriters.

Mark your calendar now!  We plant to repeat this lovely day again next year on National Public Gardens Day, May 11, 2018!  You do not want to miss it.

Summer Event for Kids!

This Summer we have a full calendar of events for all our children. Find out more about our two four-day summer camps and our monthly events.

The first session of The Time Tunnel (June 20-23) is sold out but we are placing names on our waiting list.  There are limited seats available for the second session for children ages 9-12 (June 27-30).  Call 713-274-4166 to register and check space availability.

 

Seeds of Thought

Tropical Plant Conservation in Hawaii and Across the Globe

A Public Lecture Series – 2017

Wednesday evening, May 17,  The Mercer Society and Mercer Botanic Gardens hosted a complimentary lecture by and reception for National Tropical Botanical Garden’s President and Executive Director Charles “Chipper” Wichman.

Tropical Plant Conservation in Hawaii and Across the Globe was the subject of Mr. Wichman’s lecture which addressed the importance of tropical plant species and how protecting the biodiversity of Hawaii and tropical regions around the world makes a global impact.

Attendees got a glimpse into the important work being done at The National Tropical Botanical Garden’s facilities as it relates to Breadfruit and that plant’s impact on the world’s nutritional front.

 

March Mart Irish Cream Cheesecake

Plants were not the only hit of March Mart, but they were the main attraction!

At the March Mart VIP Preview Reception and Sale Event on Thursday night, guests noshed on a variety of tidbits, one of which we feature here. The dessert table featured a decadent delight we renamed “March Mart Irish Cream Cheesecake” in honor of the occasion. The recipe follows:

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (use whole cookies with filling)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

For the cheesecake filling:

3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup Irish Cream Liquour

 

For Chocolate Ganache:

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

12 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped

Instructions:

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Mix together Oreo crumbs and melted butter, press the mixture into a 9″ springform pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, set aside to cool.

*Once the crust is cooled, wrap pan with two layers of aluminum foil and bring the foil up the sides of the pan, make sure it is tight and secure so no water gets in during the baking process!!

*With electric mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth.

*Add cornstarch and continue to mix until fully incorporated, decrease the speed to low and add eggs one at a time incorporating well, then add vanilla extract and the Irish Cream.

*Pour batter into prepared pan, place into a roasting pan, filling the roasting pan about a quarter of the way with hot water, bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes, rotating once halfway through the set time. (basically until the cheesecake is set around the edges and slightly loose in the center).

*Remove springform pan from the water bath and set on a cooling rack to cool, once cooled, remove aluminum foil and refrigerate (at least 5 hours or preferably overnight). Once completely cooled, run a thin knife around the edge and remove the ring of the springform pan.

*Over a double boiler melt the chopped chocolate until completely smooth with no lumps, stir in heavy whipping cream (from the fridge). The mixture will be very thick and creamy so you can easily spread it on top of the cake and also on the sides without dripping.  Use just 2/3 of the ganache and set the cake in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to harden ganache layer. Remove the cake from the freezer and reheat the remaining ganache but this time it should be smooth (but not too thin) so you can pour it over the cake to make a smooth and shiny surface. Enjoy!

*To keep the shine of the ganache, allow it to cool at room temperature then store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

*Enjoy!

****To make these into mini cheesecakes you will need a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms. The recipe remains the same except: reduce baking time to 20 minutes, checking to make certain  the cheesecakes are set around the edges.  When adding the ganache to the surface, the first layer can be spread on the top but the remaining layer is best applied by dipping the mini cheesecake tops into the melted ganache (the ganache will drip down the sides but that is the desired appearance, then allow to cool at room temperature before refrigerating. Continue to follow the recipe above. especially the enjoy part! (Makes approximately 36 mini cheesecakes).