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: Porous, Permeable and Pervious
On Wednesday, August 13, the final Lunch and Learn of 2014 was held in the Auditorium. Director of Horticulture James Horton led a talk called “Porous, Permeable and Pervious.” We’re already making plans for the 2015 series! Stay tuned for what’s to come!
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.
Birmingham Youth Serve assists The Gardens
Young Professionals from Birmingham Rotaract Club and Parker High School students join forces to assist The Gardens
Growing Through Yoga
“Growing Through Yoga” was led by Annie Damsky of Villager Yoga.
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!
A Week of Field Trips
[Guest Blog Post by Intern Sanitra Lawrence]
On Sunday, June 1, I had the opportunity to canoe down the Cahaba River with friends from Birmingham Botanical Gardens to the largest population of the Cahaba lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) on earth. The Cahaba lily is an aquatic, white flowering perennial found growing nestled in between shoals in the Cahaba River. The Cahaba lilies are very specialized in their habitat and the type of rock they grow in, which makes them so rare. The rocks are pliable enough to allow the roots to penetrate through them for easy establishment. Dr. Randy Haddock, field director of the Cahaba River Society, demonstrated how to extract nectar from the Cahaba lily using a small, plastic capillary tube. He instructed us to place the tube deep into the corolla of the flower. Once the tube was inserted, we gently placed the bloom upside down and pressed the nectar into capillary tube. The nectar was somewhat sweet, followed by a strange aftertaste. Everyone except me seemed to enjoy the taste because I expected a honeysuckle-like taste. Randy also showed us different organisms found in the river, such as crayfish and common aquatic insect larvae. This was my first canoe trip; traveling downstream was a lot easier than traveling upstream, but I will look forward to experiencing canoeing again.
The following Monday, June 2, Mitchell Vaughan, Alex Dumont and I were given a great tour of The Archives and Rare Book Room at The Library at The Gardens by Archivist Jason Kirby and Director of Library Services Hope Long. It was interesting to see actual historical and botanical documentation dating back to the sixteenth century. Included in the collection were also rare maps, gardens plans and antique seed catalogs. Jason and Hope were very knowledgeable of the library and offered help if we needed guidance on future projects.
On Tuesday, June 3, I went to visit Southern Organics in Columbiana, Alabama, which company specializes in aquaponics, the process of recycling fish waste for fertilizing vegetables. It was great to witness them experimenting with aquaponics in the early stages of their business. The warehouse consisted of tanks where they produced tilapia. The staff explained how they converted fish waste into useful sources of nitrogen for the plants. Next to the tanks were experimental stations, where different vegetables were tested before being grown in the production greenhouse. Above the stations were artificial light sources for the plants to use in photosynthesis. The plants were transplanted into Styrofoam blocks, where the roots grew though holes into a liquid base medium. For biological control of insect pests, beneficial ladybugs were used. Southern Organics not only produces fish, but also vegetables. Their plan is to expand in supplying organic vegetables to stores.
Our last field trip for the week consisted of going to Hale County, Alabama on June 4 where we traveled through the woods to view a rare fern population. Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion returned a fern back to its habitat where he had been growing it on a petri dish in the micro-propagation lab at The Gardens. It was also the first time that he brought a rare fern back to its native habitat in hopes of increasing the population. Preserving the ferns and their habitat is vital to their survival.
On Thursday, June 5, I enjoyed working with Amanda Clark in the vegetable garden. I never had much hands-on experience with vegetable gardening at Mississippi State, but Amanda is very knowledgeable about cultural practices. She showed me how to prune, sucker and train tomato plants on a trellis system properly. In addition, she explained the importance of composting and how one should turn the pile every other day in order to speed up the process of decomposition.
Although I have experienced a lot of things this week, it only covered a small portion of this internship. I am very excited to participate in many other activities this summer.