Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Andrea Wulf and Ben Page headline 2013 Spencer Lecture Series

Friday, March 8th, 2013

(Andrea Wulf, Director of Devlopment Olivia Alison, Spencer Lecture committee member Sue Ellen Lucas)

Andrea Wulf and Ben Page headline 2013 Spencer Lecture Series

The 2013 Spencer Lecture Series was held in the Linn-Henley Lecture Hall at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on March 7. New York Times best-selling author Andrea Wulf spoke at 10:30, while renowned architect Ben Page spoke at 6:30 p.m. The morning lecture, preceded by a book signing, saw 137 guests in attendance, while 214 attended the evening session.

(Murray Spencer South, Ben Page, Nancy Spencer Smith)

Urban Forestry and Conservation Fair

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens joins Urban Forestry and Conservation Fair at Boutwell Auditorium

On Wednesday, February 13, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff members and volunteers joined the Urban Forestry and Conservation Fair at Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Ala. to help educate Birmingham schoolchildren about how the urban environments they are familiar with connect to the environments they often hear about – rain forests, state and national parks, the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve and more. The day long fair showed children they can grow up to work in an environmental arena in any setting.

Rite of Spring

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Rite of Spring

By: Betsy Fleenor, volunteer 

It happens every spring. The new year dawns, and the new seeds are sown. Always with this goal: grow plants that will be large enough and interesting enough to catch your eye at the spring plant sale. No tender seedlings will do come April. We are looking for robust, healthy plants with a good root system, lots of leaves and we wouldn’t argue about a flower bud or two.

For the volunteers who work with the volunteer propagation groups at The Gardens, work goes on year round preparing the plants for your buying pleasure. But things really start to heat up once the new year arrives. For those growing native plants, it’s time to delve into the rich storehouse of seeds collected from the Kaul Wildflower Garden and pre-treated in various ways. Some are sprinkled, others carefully placed in their soil-filled trays topped with a thin layer of granite chicken grit to improve their chances.

Weeks spent on the mist tables located in the plant sale greenhouse eventually provide the perfect environment for the green miracle. The lifeless, brown seeds are touched with the vital moisture, warmth and light that cause them to germinate.

 At first the specks of green are nearly microscopic. Was that a dot of green I saw or not? Soon eyes adjust to the microenvironment and indeed, that dot was just one of hundreds of barely perceptible green dots. They’re off and running!

As the weeks wear on, first leaves give way to true leaves, and roots start to explore the soil. Soon it’s time to rudely tease them from their seed trays into their first individual pots. Volunteers carefully prick out the most tender, pull apart the more robust, and take them to the next step on their journey from seed to sale.

Sculptor Jesus Moroles visits Granite Garden

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Granite Garden repairs overseen by sculptor Jesus Moroles

Sculptor Jesus Moroles, who created Granite Garden in 1988, was back in town to consult with The Gardens on maintenance and repairs. A severe freeze last winter, coupled with a power failure that knocked out a heater, resulted in a few broken pipes and small cracks in the granite. People may have noticed that water in several of the uprights had not been flowing. With in-kind assistance from City of Birmingham plumbers and Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff, several of the large base stones were removed and several broken pipes were repaired. Moroles is putting together a plan for continued maintenance, and specifications for fixing the cracks, replacing all the copper piping with freeze-resistant polyethylene pipe, and re-setting some of the base stones.

The Gardens houses more than 30 unique works of original outdoor sculpture.

(Funding for Granite Garden was provided by Arnold and Rose Steiner and the National Endowment for the Arts. The consultation is being funded by The Friends.)


48th Annual Member Celebration

Friday, January 25th, 2013

(Emily Bowron, Bill Bowron, Frieda Murfee, Frances Wheelock, George Wheelock)

48th Annual Member Celebration

On Thursday, January 24, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens held its 48th Annual Member Celebration at the Garden Center. More than 150 members and staff gathered in Strange Auditorium for drinks and hors d’oeuvres catered by Savoie Catering. The festivities moved to the Linn-Henley Lecture Hall for the evening’s featured speaker, Kerry Smith. Smith, the State Master Gardener Coordinator for Alabama Cooperative Extension System (A.C.E.S.) led a talk titled “Your A.C.E.S. in the Hole,” a discussion about the unique relationship between Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Alabama Cooperative Extension System, which houses a satellite office at the Garden Center. 

Martha Espy, Fred Spicer, Peggy Bonfield, Orrin Ford, Valerie Abbott

Annette Drummonds, Pat Cosgrove, Bethany O’Rear, Joann Wissinger

Tricia Noble, Alleen Cater, Chris Boles

Orrin Ford, Peggy Bonfield

Coquette Barnes, Tommy Amason, Yates Amason, Bill Barnes

Alpha Goings, Betsy Gresham, Louise Walton

Fletcher Harvey, Roger Clarke, Susan Jackson, Kerry Smith

Nina Miranda, Anita Dark, Bonnie McDonald

Mary Williamson, Lex Williamson

Jeanie Sherlock, Scott Walton, Kelley Walton

Katy Eldridge, Jamey Eldridge

Janet Taylor, Jerry Taylor

Spencer Lecture: Andrea Wulf

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Spencer Lecture – Andrea Wulf: Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens – Thursday, March 7 | 10:30 a.m.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is delighted to welcome Andrea Wulf for the second year, offering a second lecture in the Spencer Lecture Series to complement Ben Page’s talk. This summer an extremely rare celestial event took place – the transit of Venus. In the eighteenth century the transit held the answer for one of the most pressing questions of the age: the size of the solar system. This would require triangulated data to be compiled from various exact points dotted all around the four corners of the globe – all taken simultaneously during the short period of the actual transit. Hundreds of astronomers from European countries and the North American colonies were dispatched across the world to observe the rare celestial encounter. At a time when war was tearing Europe and much of the rest of the world apart, they overcame political, geographical and intellectual boundaries. CHASING VENUS is rich with tales of obsession, featuring Catherine the Great and Captain Cook as well as Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, Benjamin Franklin and American astronomer David Rittenhouse. In CHASING VENUS, New York Times Best Selling and award-winning author Andrea Wulf tells the extraordinary story of the first global scientific collaboration set amid warring armies, hurricanes, scientific endeavour and personal tragedy. It’s a story bursting with action, wonderful detail and scientific excitement, revealing the spirit of the Enlightenment and man’s quest to understand the world.

To reserve your seat online, visit


Friday, January 18th, 2013

Spencer Lecture – Ben Page: Traditions and Transitions – Thursday, March 7 | 6:30 p.m.

Ben Page comes to Birmingham Botanical Gardens for an intriguing talk titled “Traditions and Transitions.” This beautifully illustrated talk weaves together some historical threads (going back as far as ancient Rome) as well as some history of Belle Meade (area of Nashville where Cheekwood is located).Page will share the influence of landscape architect Bryant Fleming and his personal approach to garden design. He’ll offer a modern relevance and provide context through work he has done on Birmingham-area gardens.
The founding partner in the Nashville-based firm Page/Duke, Ben received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree with honors from the University of Georgia in 1973. A recipient of a 2009 Aurora Award (a design competition for the Southeast Building Conference) and the 2002 Metro Nashville Historical Commission’s Preservation Award, he is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Southern Garden History Society.

Largely influenced by their childhood experiences in — and love for — the countryside, Page/Duke has expanded the firm’s focus to include equine-management facilities, hunting-plantation management and master planning for environmentally based communities. The goal for every project, whether an expansive public space or an intimate secret garden, is to create a seamless integration of the built environment and its surroundings.

Page/Duke’s impressive national clientele spans the Southeast, the Atlantic Seaboard and Texas. The firm’s work has appeared in numerous magazines such as Veranda, House Beautiful, Traditional Home and Architectural 
Digest, and its projects have been featured on HGTV’s “Secret Gardens.”

Kerry Smith – Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Kerry Smith – Alabama Cooperative Extension System

On January 24, Birmingham Botanical Gardens welcomes Kerry Smith as the featured speaker at the 48th Annual Member Celebration.

Kerry Smith is the Home Grounds team Co-leader in the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.  Working with County and Regional Extension personnel she develops, supports and delivers programs that inspire smart yards for home landscapes.  Kerry is also the State Program Coordinator for the Alabama Master Gardener Program, a large volunteer group assisting the same mission of promoting sustainable, smart yard landscapes. 

Most recently Kerry was an Interpretive Horticulturist with the Education Department at Callaway Gardens.  She has also been a school teacher, an estate gardener, and many things in between.  

A native of north Florida, she earned a Master of Science in Ornamental Horticulture from Auburn University with a minor in Urban Forestry.  She inherited a love of flowers from her mother’s daylilies and an appreciation of the earth from her father’s vegetable rows.  Her family now includes Chris, her husband and avid plant rescuer, and a 19 lb. menace named Scooby. 

 To learn more about the Annual Member Celebration, visit There, you can also reserve your seats online.

Inaugural Dirt Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Inaugural Dirt Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk

Junior Board of Birmingham Botanical Gardens presented the inaugural Dirt Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk on November 17. Over 200 runners and walkers competed in various age groups, utilizing the paths and trails of Alabama’s largest living museum. The overall winner Julien Bousquet, who completed the run in 17:48.7. For a complete list of winners in each age group, visit

2012 Fall Donor Event

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

(Carolyn and Henry Ray)

2013 Fall Donor Event

On November 1, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens held its annual Fall DonorAppreciation Event at the Swann House owned by Daniel and Brooke Coleman. Nearly 100donors gathered for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the Magic City landmark. Among guests in attendance were Robert and Holly de Buys, Margi Ingram, Lyle Hohnke, Zachary Westall, Brad White, Diana Slaughter, Philip Morris, Barbara Sauer, Scott and Kelley Walton, William and Carolyn Satterfield, Thomas and Cathy Adams, Frances Blount, Tom and Elizabeth Broughton, Barbara Burton, Mike and Paula Rushing, Gene and Chris Boles, June Mays and Charles and Cheryl Mayer. A toast was raised to outgoing board president Henry Ray, while the group welcomed Tricia Noble into the position for 2013 and 2014.

(Alleen Cater, Lyle Hohnke)

(Bill and Carolyn Satterfield)

(Brad White and Barbara Saurer)

(Brooke and Daniel Coleman)

(Charles and Cheryl Mayer)

(Diana Slaughter, Brooke Coleman, Renee Blalock)

(Frances Blount, Dorothy Taloe, Margi Ingram)

(Gene and Chris Boles)

(Henry Ray, Margi Ingram)

(Holly and Bob de Buys)

(Leo and Jackie Shaia, Phillip Morris)

(Lou Willie and Cindy Comford)

(Natalie Lee, Joy Kloess)

(Kelley and Scott Walton)

(Zack Westall Tiffany and Cliff Campbell Andrew Urbain)