Each year, Birmingham Botanical Gardens invites campers with the City of Birmingham Parks and Recreation Department to learn about plants, propagation and more.
Plants: Inside Out! Docent Training
On Thursday, Discovery Field Trips welcomed docents for Plants: Inside Out! its new middle school program. Thirteen volunteers participated, five of which were part of a partnership with UAB professor Dr. Julie Price, a member at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and a past Junior Board president. Dr. Price is teaching a semester long environmental science class, and part of their course requirement is to volunteer 20 hours with a local environmental organization.
This Thursday, four of these volunteers will have their first outing with Arlington School of Birmingham.
2014 Urban Forestry Fair
The Urban Forestry Fair was held this week at Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham. Staff and volunteers from Birmingham Botanical Gardens were on hand to teach students about the life cycle of trees, specifically oak trees. Two activities, “Tree Cookies” and “Freedom Oaks,” were led.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as part of a community-wide day of service, a volunteer workday was held at The Gardens on January 20. Participants engaged in a variety of tasks in a couple areas of The Gardens. Over 55 volunteers, adults and teens, came out from organizations like BBVA Compass, Youth Serve of Birmingham and Hands on Birmingham.
Wenonah High School students spend their day of service in the Kaul Wildflower Garden
2013 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon
On Thursday, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens launched a yearlong celebration of its 50th Anniversary at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. Honored at the luncheon were (L to R):
A. Brand Walton, Jr. Unsung Hero Volunteer of the Year: Natalie Lee
Ida C. Burns Volunteer of the Year: Mike Rushing
Plantspeople of the Year: Alicia and Ken Hall
Educator of the Year: Carol Hagood
Our Volunteer Partner of the Year was awarded to the Native Plant Group, pictured below (L to R): Ann Katholi, Janice Williams, Sally Price, Peggy Thompson, Mary Phillips, Gail Snyder, Jan Holliday, Linda Nolan and Anne Parrish.
Executive Director & CEO Fred Spicer, Former Mayor Bernard Kincaid, Councilor Kim Rafferty, Administrative Assistant to the Mayor Charles Long and former Gardens Director Gary Gerlach
Mary Alice and Bill Thurman
Linda and Archie Blackmon
Verna Gates and Carol Ogle
Peggy Thompson and Mary Phillips
Amanda Clark and Margaret Bish
Membership Assistant Rona Walters, Education Activities Specialist Dawn Coleman, Education Coordinator Ellen Hardy
Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion and Mike Rushing
Conservatory cake created by Pastry Arts
Entertainment provided by Sue Nuckols
Parker High School students take part in work training program at The Gardens
These three young men are from Parker High School, and participate in the Birmingham City Schools Community-Based Work Training Program. On Tuesday, they planted cool season greens in straw bales as part of a interpretive gardening exhibit outside The Library at The Gardens. Each week they will work on various gardening task to learn more about public gardens, landscaping and horiticulture as a possible career choice.
The Gardens plants trees in North Smithfield
On Veteran’s Day, The Gardens continued longterm reforestation efforts across Birmingham with a tree planting in North Smithfield. These efforts have largely focuses on areas devastated by the storms of April 27, 2011.
North Smithfield is an often overlooked, storm-damaged area because it is an unincorporated neighborhood. Because they are unincorporated it’s been hard for them to recover. They came together to rebuild their fire station and and now maintain a volunteer station. They also rebuilt their neighborhood park so that the kids would have somewhere to play. The restored park, which is where the community holds a majority of its events, didn’t have shade trees. So the neighborhood along with The Storm Water Management department of Jefferson county, Hana Burwinkle, approached Birmingham Botanical Gardens to donate trees to help rebuild and shade the park. The neighborhood consists of mostly military veterans so the trees were planted on Veteran’s Day. The park and the main road next to it are in the process of being changed to reflect the veterans of the neighborhood.
The Gardens donated 60 trees for the park, 100 trees for homeowners to plant in their yards and 1 ceremonial tree that was placed near their welcome sign. It was a collaboration between the Storm Water Management Department, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, The Alabama Forestry Commission, The North Smithfield neighborhood committee, Veterans who live in North Smithfield and the volunteer firefighters.
Get to Know the Native Ornamental Grasses
guest blogger: Betsy Fleenor
Landscaping with ornamental grasses is a popular trend. They offer nesting sites and cover for wildlife, excellent erosion control, unusual texture, and four-season interest.
A darker side to this trend is the growing realization that the grasses that are the easiest to purchase are rarely native and can be harmfully invasive. This would include pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), maiden grass (Miscanthus spp.), ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea), and fountain grass (Pennisetum spp.). Maiden grass and fountain grass have made it to the top of some state’s invasive plant lists.
The alternative is to use native grasses which serve the same function in the landscape, are less invasive and extremely drought resistant.
Please note that natives grasses, like all plants, need to be sited and used correctly: River oats (Chasmathium latifolium) are well behaved in the shade with average to dry soil. But give it moisture, enriched soil and a bit of sun and it will soon spread beyond its bounds. In a few years Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) can seed around.
For the last couple of years, the Native Plant booth has featured a variety of native grasses at the Fall Sale. Since they are often hard to find, our offering serves as a sampler to introduce them to you. Though our quantities are small, if customers are interested in a large planting of native grasses, we can put them in touch with sources that can readily supply them.
This year we will have the following grasses at our booth:
Andropogon ternarius – Splitbeard Bluestem
Chasmanthium latifolium – River Oats
Chasmanthium sessiliflorum – Longleaf Wood Oats
Eragrostis elliottii – Elliot’s Lovegrass
Muhlenbergia capillaris – Muhly Grass
Panicum virgatum – Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ – Shenandoah Switchgrass
Schizachyrium scoparium – Little Bluestem
Sorghastrum elliottii – Weeping Indian Grass
Sporobolus junceus – Pineywoods Dropseed
All are in limited quantities so we hope you will shop for them as early in the sale as possible.