The History & Development of the Gardens
In 1929 an enterprising group of hardworking women banded together to create the first garden club of Amarillo. They set out to prove gardening was possible in the challenging high plains of Texas. The environment and soil of the local area tested their knowledge as they sought out plants which could survive drought, windy conditions, and extensive sun. Soil amending was mandatory to loosen heavy soils and improve pH. After Many successful years, they tackled numerous city beautification projects. By 1945, 125 members belonged to the thriving Amarillo Garden Club. With varied interests and goals the group divided into 13 garden clubs and societies over the next 10 years.
In 1954, under the direction of Vera Deason, the Garden Center was formed in Memorial Park as a home to the various garden clubs and their activities. Later around 1960, a new home for the Garden Center was sought that provided more space for test gardens and the addition of classes for the handicapped. In 1968 after years of fundraising, the new Garden Center was dedicated on November 17th at the current location in the Medical Center Park. The garden clubs and other volunteers tackled amending and preparing the soil for landscaping. They made thousands of cuttings to fill the gardens, started seeds, and also brought plants from their homes to fill the new sizable Garden Center spaces. Jane Meyers guided the clubs and volunteers giving vision to the gardens as Director from 1979 to 1992. Jackie Wilson, as Executive Director from 1992-2007, guided the transition from Garden Center into the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. Under her guidance, the original buildings were expanded, the Mary E. Bivins Tropical Conservatory was built and new programs such as the summer Music in the Gardens began.
We owe a special thanks to local citizens who financially supported, volunteered, and otherwise contributed and continue to contribute to the success and future of the Amarillo Botanical Gardens.