Mercer Botanic Gardens celebrated its 45th anniversary Jan. 8 at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble. The Harris County Precinct 4 facility began as a 14.5-acre homestead owned by Charles and Thelma Mercer and has since evolved into a 400-acre educational and horticultural center, according to a Precinct 4 news release. Mercer Botanic Gardens features 20 acres of cultivated gardens, an arboretum, a herbarium, nature trails, picnic areas and a playground, and draws more than 250,000 visitors annually.

In addition to recently celebrating its anniversary, Mercer Botanic Gardens is also undergoing some renovations. Harris County Commissioners Court approved a contract with Halff Associates Inc. for the redesign of Mercer Botanic Gardens in December, which will transform the gardens and nearby Baldwin Boettcher Library into one location, with the library serving as the entrance for both facilities, according to the news release.

The master plan also includes the replacement of the Central Garden greenhouse with an open lawn area for events, and a new greenhouse will be constructed on a recently acquired 34-acre plot of land. The redesign will also include flood-mitigation improvements to the gardens, according to the news release.

Mercer Botanic Gardens will host its annual fundraiser, March Mart, March 15-16 during which the public can peruse more than 1,200 varieties of plants to purchase and ask local plant specialists gardening-related questions. The free event attracts more than 3,000 attendees annually and will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 15 and from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 16. For more information about March Mart, click here.