Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center is scheduled to open to the public in the spring of 2007. The center is extremely well financed. Its director of horticulture is Gary Outenreath, former leader at Galveston's famous Moody Gardens. The center features almost 250 acres of pristine wilderness including various ecosystems. It is positioning itself to become a botanical and ecological educational magnet.
I planned to post these images around the time Hurricane Rita hit us. Orange got hit very hard and Shangri La took the brunt of the attack. We'll look at Shangri La post-hurricane tomorrow. Today, let's remember how beautiful it was a few days before Rita hit.
(Right) A butterfly rests on a flower at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center service center in Orange on Monday, September 8, 2005.
(Below) An heirloom plant from the previous incarnation of the Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center (from 1940s to mid 1950s) grows with other plants in a greenhouse at the service center in Orange.
Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center features educational ecology areas such as the bog area at the main complex in Orange. Due to the large number of birds the area hosts each year, the bog waters need to be reviatalized through skimming and introduction of filtering plants. This will take place before the center opens in 2007.