Cocktails with Class: Rum Edition
On Monday, August 25, Junior Board of Birmingham Botanical Gardens gathered with LeNell and Demian Camacho Santa Ana in the Arrington Plant Adventure Zone to mix rum cocktail creations.
Lunch and Learn: The Buzz on Pollinators
On Wednesday, August 6, Sallie Lee of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System led an installment in the Lunch and Learn series. Lee shared how to welcome bee pollinators in colorful and exciting ways into home gardens.
The Lunch and Learn events are FREE. Our next event will be held on Wednesday, August 13 from 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. Titled “Porous, Permeable and Pervious,” the event will be led by Director of Horticulture James Horton. Bring your lunch and we’ll provide the drinks and desserts!
Hike for Tykes
On Saturday, Jule 11, Hike for Tykes explored the Barber Alabama Woodlands. Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion guided our tykes through the Barber Alabama Woodlands where we talked about flower colors, how seeds work and the Alabama state tree Pinus palustris (aka the longleaf pine). Here the little ones investigated the oak-hickory-pine forest, looked under rocks and hunted for bugs.
We then explored the Japanese Gardens with Director of Education, Henry Hughes where we studied turtles and brightly colored koi fish in Long Life Lake, discovered a hidden Buddha statue within a bamboo grove and took turns ringing the Friendship Bell of Celebration.
A Crash Course in Alabama Ecosystems
[Guest blog post by Louise Agee Wrinkle Native Plant Intern Mitchell Vaughan]
Recently, I was part of a group who went on a field trip to the Bibb County Glades, located near Montevallo, Alabama. Described variously as “a botanical lost world” and “a botanical wonder,” as well as other similarly impressive titles, this site is not at all what comes to mind when I hear the word “glade.” I pictured something more like the Everglades, a big grassy wetland broken by the occasional tree hammock. The word glade, however, means an open area surrounded by trees. Much of the Bibb County Glades are comprised of rocky, arid, grass-and-wildflower-covered rocky outcrops. What makes these glades distinctly different is the type of rock of which they are composed, Ketona dolomite.
Dolomite is a type of limestone and this particular type of it is unusually pure and contains large percentages of calcium and magnesium. Magnesium, in high concentrations, can be toxic to many species of plants; this is why the glades are populated by many unique species that have adapted to living in that particular type of limestone. They thrive here without competition from more typical species, which would normally populate the area. Growing on these glades are several rare species, including one third of all Alabama endemic plant species – and eight species unknown to science before their discovery in the 1900s.
After trekking through some steep open terrain, we ventured into the adjacent woodlands where it was noticeably cooler. We hiked along a stretch of the Little Cahaba River and then deeper still into a forested area along a small stream. Here, it became more like walking through a temperate rainforest with lush green vegetation spreading prolifically in every direction. Following the stream, we eventually came to a spot with a particularly interesting botanical inhabitant, one that has yet to be named and described. Its temporary name is Trautvetteria sp. nov. (tassel-rue), and will be definitively named by whomever first describes it botanically.
Finally, we packed up and drove to a nature preserve along the Cahaba River, where we hoped to see Hymenocallis coronaria (Cahaba lily) flowering. And flowering they were! It’s a spectacular sight to see an expanse of showy white flowers bobbing daintily over the river waters in which it grows. Visiting these sites makes it clearly evident why they are described as some of Alabama’s natural wonders.
From sunny glades to shaded woodlands, it was quite a day. Exploring several of Alabama’s ecosystems in rapid succession can offer a newfound appreciation for our state’s biodiversity and unique natural character.
Lunch and Learn: A Change of Scenery
On Wednesday, July 9, Daniel and Andrew McCurry led “A Change of Scenery,” a Lunch and Learn event which showed participants how to make their landscape fit their current lifestyle, physical needs and desires. A new Lunch and Learn series will begin on July 23 with “GrandScapes: Playful Gardening” led by Vasha Rosenblum. Sallie Lee leads “The Buzz on Pollinators” on August 6, while James Horton leads “Porous, Permeable and Pervious” on August 13.
All Lunch and Learn sessions take place from 11:30 – 12:30 p.m., and they’re all FREE! Bring your lunch and we’ll provide the drinks and desserts! Make plans to join our next series!
2014 Member Day Trip
On Friday, June 20, Members at Birmingham Botanical Gardens took their annual day trip. This year’s trip was to Hills and Dales Estate in LaGrange, Ga. The group enjoyed a private tour of the garden and house and lunch by the pool.
The centerpiece of the Hill & Dales Estate is a beautiful Georgian-Italian villa, designed by architects Hal Hentz & Neel Reid for textile magnate Fuller E. Callaway, Sr. Completed in 1916. The home complements the formal boxwood gardens planted earlier in the mid 19th century by Sarah Ferrell.
The property has been lovingly preserved by two generations of the Callaway family and is now open for public visitation. Guests can explore educational exhibits and experience an engaging film that tells the story of the estate.
More information on Hills & Dales Estate is located at: http://www.hillsanddales.org.
Get Into The Gardens: Simple Watering Strategies
Su Reid-St. John and daughter Zoe continued their weekend series on container gardening. Last Saturday’s focus was on simple watering strategies to keep your container plants looking vibrant through the up coming dog days of summer. Su demonstrated the effective uses of having a drip irrigation system.
Earth Day at The Gardens 2014
Community Garden Coalition for Birmingham and Birmingham Botanical Gardens again partnered to bring Alabama’s longest-running Earth Day celebration to Alabama’s largest living museum on April 26. Several vendors and exhibits were on display in the Formal Garden in front of the newly renovated Conservatory.