Society / The Seen

Houston’s New $30 Million Garden Gets a High-Tech Boost: Strolling Through the Piney Woods in Virtual Reality

BY // 11.04.17
photography Wilson Parish

What: Houston Botanic Garden‘s “Botanical Beginnings” luncheon

Where: River Oaks Country Club

PC Moment: Claire Agre, principal and senior architect of West 8, the internationally renowned landscape architecture firm tasked with designing the Houston Botanic Garden, shared a preview of the master plan of the garden that will be built along Sims Bayou, east of the Gulf Freeway. Luncheon-goers were treated to a virtual stroll through the planned garden, the VR piece directed and produced by Pete Scalzitti and designed by Ironbelly Studios based on West 8’s designs. Donning virtual reality goggles, guests explored the project’s piney woods, the bayou gardens and the Texas bloom garden in high-tech wonderment.

That only whetted the appetite for the garden, the first phase of which can now begin thanks to fundraising efforts reaching the financial milestone of $20 million. That announcement made by board member and luncheon emcee Jim Reeder. The biennial event brought in $450,000 thanks to the support of the 500 attendees.

Held on Halloween, the luncheon embraced the theme by offering guests “witches brew” and “warlock mule” cocktails and face painting while costumed tree performers worked the crowd. A nice touch by luncheon chairs Ginni Mithoff, Laura Wheless and Mary Beth Arcidiacono.

Who: HBG founder Nancy Thomas, board chair Nancy O’ Connor Abendshein, Mary and John Eads, former Mayor Annise Parker, Laura Wheless, Susie and Mel Glasscock, Steven J. Lindley, Sharyn Weaver, Cherie Flores, Judy Tate, Emily Crosswell, Lisa and Downing Mears, Barbara Robertson, Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen, Cathy, Joe Cleary and Jenny Elkins and HBG executive director Claudia Gee Vassar.

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