Thirty reopened acres include Creekside Ramble and Storey Lake.

Nature lovers now have 30 additional acres of trails and water features to explore, thanks to the long-awaited reopening of two beloved amenities at Mercer Botanic Gardens.

Storey Lake and the Creekside Ramble reopened recently after closing more than five years ago, marking a critical step in Mercer’s recovery from flooding and drought over the past decade.

The area sustained significant damage during Hurricane Ike and again during the Tax Day Flood in 2016. Weeks before the planned reopening of the Creekside Ramble in August 2017, Mercer suffered yet another devastating flood from Hurricane Harvey.

During its renovation, Storey Lake received a few improvements. The area features a new irrigation and drainage system. The gravel paths also were upgraded with brick pavers, beautifying the site and making the trail more convenient for visitors using strollers or wheelchairs.

The serene landscape around the lake highlights various flowers and plants, such as Louisiana irises and a bamboo collection. Benches and a pergola resembling a Japanese teahouse provide a place of relaxation.

The area between Storey Lake and the Central Garden, known as the Creekside Ramble, was once a heavily wooded walkway to the lake, but a drought in 2011 killed many trees in the area. It now features a large lawn area, gravel trails, and landscaped beds featuring trees, native grasses, and flowering perennial plants.

Visitors can explore the reopened section in the back of Mercer’s East Side Gardens.

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