Off the Path

Don’t miss the hidden gems of Hermann Park! Step off the beaten path to discover the natural beauty of Bayou Parkland, the serenity of the Japanese Garden, fun, site-specific art installations on loan to Hermann Park, and more. 

STOP 1.

BAYOU PARKLAND

Bayou Parkland is an 80-acre oasis for native plants and wildlife, nestled along Brays Bayou. Scenic trails, wetlands, prairie meadows and an urban forest offer a diverse nature experience. A multi-use pavilion provides a comfortable place for picnics. The area was once cut off from the Heart of the Park, but is now accessible through a pedestrian underpass below North and South MacGregor. 

STOP 2.

JAPANESE GARDEN

Japanese Garden Hours:
March 1 - October 31: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m
November 1 - February 28: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Exciting renovations are underway in the Japanese Garden. A small portion of the garden is blocked for safety during construction. 

With its waterfalls, bridges, and stone paths that wander among crepe myrtles, azaleas, Japanese maples, dogwoods, and cherry trees, the Japanese Garden is a peaceful hideaway in Hermann Park. The garden was designed by world-renowned landscape architect, Ken Nakajima. Natural materials are used, such as rock, wood, and plants, to give a feeling of serenity. The Japanese Garden features a teahouse and winding paths to explore the lush gardens.

On October 19, 2012, 20 cherry trees were planted in the garden to commemorate the original gift of cherry trees to the United States by Japan in 1912.

The Japanese Garden is open daily for your enjoyment and there is no admission charged.

The entrance to the Japanese Garden is near the Pioneer Memorial obelisk just off Molly Ann Smith Plaza near the Heart of the Park. The closest parking lot is Lot A located just off Sam Houston Monument circle. To get to the Japanese Garden from Lot A, follow the decomposed granite path along the Jones Reflection Pool under the double allée of trees and you'll see the entrance just off the plaza with the obelisk. View our interactive map for more information.

For more information on the history of the Japanese Garden, click here to visit the Houston Parks and Recreation Department's page. 

Click here to donate to the Japanese Garden.

The Japanese Garden is not available for rentals.

List of Plants 


1. Oga Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

This Asia native herbaceous perennial produces pink and white flowers from summer to fall. The Oga Lotus was a gift from Houston’s sister city, Chiba City, Japan.

Light: Full sun           

Size: 3 - 6’ tall, 3 - 4’ wide

Water: Wet

Special Cultural Requirements:  Aphids and red spider mites are occasional pests; fish can help control it. Watch out for blights.

2. Taiwan Cherry Tree (Prunus campanulata

This cherry tree comes from Taiwan and blooms bright pink flowers in early spring.  It attracts birds, but its cherries are not edible for human consumption. This cherry tree is well adapted to Houston’s climate.

Light: Full sun - partial shade

Size: 10 - 25’ tall, 10 - 15’ wide

Water: Moderate

3. Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) 

This evergreen tolerates deer, high salt content, and can be grown as a bonsai.

Light: Full sun

Size: 20 - 60’ tall, 12 - 20’ wide

Water: Moderate 

4. Japanese Apricot (Prunus mume 'Kobai')

This deciduous tree blooms in winter with fragrant red flowers. The aromatic plant is native to Japan and attracts butterflies.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Size: 15 - 20’ tall

Water: Moderate

5. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

This deciduous tree blooms in spring with small reddish-purple flowers. This plant is native to Japan and attracts rabbits.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Size: 10 - 25’ tall, 10 - 25’ wide

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Avoid hot and dry sites, and plant in areas protected from strong winds.

6. Osmanthus/Fragrant Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)

This evergreen tree blooms in spring with white flowers. The aromatic plant is native to Japan and attracts butterflies. It tolerates heavy clays, and drought tolerant once established.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Size: 10 - 15’ tall, 10 - 15’ wide

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.

7. Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

This deciduous vine is native to Japan and blooms in spring with lilac flowers.

Light: Sun to partial shade

Size: 30 - 40’ tall

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Do not overwater; also this plant self-sows

8. Camellia (Camellia Japonica)

This evergreen perennial blooms every season with white, pink, red, yellow, and lavender flowers. This aromatic plant is native to Japan and attracts butterflies.

Light: Partial shade

Size: 7 - 12’ tall, 5 - 10’’ wide

Water: Moderate

9. Nandina/Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)

This deciduous shrub blooms in spring with white flowers and produces berries in winter. This plant is native to Japan and is deer resistant and attracts birds.

Light: Partial shade - full sun

Size: 4 - 8’ tall, 2 - 3’ wide

Water: Moderate, but only occasionally once established

Special Cultural Requirements: Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.

10. Indica Hybrid - George Tabor (Rhododenron x 'George Tabor')

This evergreen perennial blooms in mid-spring with pink flowers. It attracts hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.

Light: Full to partial shade

Size: 6 - 8’ tall, 4 - 6’ wide

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Keep roots cool with a thick layer of mulch and feed with an acid fertilizer.

 


STOP 3.

BOB'S FISHING PIER

Fishing is permitted at Bob's Fishing Pier along the western side of the lake beyond the green buoys. It is restricted to those aged 12 and younger and 65 and older. A Texas fishing license is required for those aged 65-70. “Catch and Release” is recommended. 

STOP 4.

DILLIDIIDAE BY SHARON ENGELSTEIN

Sharon Engelstein (Canadian, born 1965), Artist Rendering of Dillidiidae, 2014, foam, polymer concrete shell, Dimensions variable. 

A former Core Fellow and a resident of Houston for many years, Sharon Engelstein is known for her organic, bubbly sculptural forms. For Hermann Park, Engelstein designed one taller element, Mamadillidiidae, poised on the site surrounded by several smaller pieces called Dillidiidae. These “wandering” forms are not immediately recognizable as identical quintuplets but will appear to be quite different in their various positions on the knoll. The tumbling forms invite interactivity and draw visitors due to their vibrant hues.

Dillidiidae will be on view through April 2017.