Mercer is a place I often go visit, sometimes for classes, sometimes for plant sales, and sometimes just to wander about and take photos.
In the late 1940s, Thelma and Charles Mercer purchased a beautiful 14.5 acre tract of natural land along Cypress Creek. Thelma was an avid horticulturist, and she and Charles did much of the initial selective clearing to make space for some of her favorite native trees that included dogwoods, rusty black-haw viburnum, several species of hawthorns, plus many others. Thelma also planted large camellias that are still seen throughout the central gardens. She also introduced many other plant species, such as camphor, Ginkgo, Bauhinia, Philadelphus and tung oil that naturalized and are still growing beautifully.
When it came time for the Mercers to retire, they could not bear the thought of a developer bulldozing their paradise. So, in 1974, they convinced Harris County to purchase their original 14.5 acre tract with the stipulation that it would grow and be maintained as an educational and horticultural facility for the public.s enjoyment.