Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Spring Donor Tour of the Kaul Wildflower Garden

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Spring Donor Tour of the Kaul Wildflower Garden

On Wednesday, Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion led donors on a tour of his native collection. The group was honored to be joined by trustee and former Board of Directors President Mary Carolyn Cleveland. Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens hopes to host another tour soon, with a date to be announced.

The Gardens welcomes new Louise Agee Wrinkle Native Plant Intern

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

The Gardens welcomes new Louise Agee Wrinkle Native Plant Intern

The Gardens is excited to share the news that our second Louise Agee Wrinkle – Native Plant Intern has been chosen by Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion. Her name is Jennifer Davidson and she’s a recent graduate of the University of Alabama, where she earned her degree in Environmental Decision-Making. The focus of her studies were environmental policy and ecology.

Jennifer says: “In college I studied ecology and environmental policy, but my hobby was always gardening. As an environmentalist, I value all life on earth, but my passion is plants. Thanks to my plant biology class and others like it, I realized that plants were the most fascinating living things on the planet.”  
And: ”When I ponder my dream job, only three things are clear: I want to work outdoors, I want to work with plants, and I need to contribute to the conservation of nature.”
Jennifer has a rich background of work and volunteerism, including being a gardener at Huntsville Botanical Garden and spending time as a volunteer on a cocoa plantation in Ecuador. 
Dr. John Clark, one of Jennifer’s professors said, when speaking of her enrollment in his classes held in Costa Rica and Ecuador, that: “Jennifer acquired skills in plant identification and collections-based research on biodiversity. In particular, Jennifer was outstanding relative to her peers for recognizing plants to family because of her enthusiasm for learning plant morphology and family characters.”
The first day of Jennifer’s internship will be Monday, May 11; John has a very stimulating and meaningful summer planned for her. She, like our intern last year, has applied for a scholarship to attend the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference.

Pollinators are now a Teaching Priority!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Pollinators are now a Teaching Priority!

Last Wednesday, The Gardens, along with Alabama Outdoor Classroom Project hosted 30 teachers for a full-day workshop on developing and sustaining an outdoor garden.

Teachers received valuable information and classroom resources to be successful in creating and maintaining  a sustainable outdoor classroom and pollinator garden.
One of the highlights of the afternoon session, was an interpretive walk around  our newly landscaped pollinator display habitat. The new education  garden will be used in conjunction with our upcoming Discovery Field Trip focusing on pollinators is slated to begin spring of 2015!
Come and check out this wonderful new addition to The Gardens!

Hikes for Tykes

Monday, July 21st, 2014

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.

Sunset Yoga at The Gardens

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Sunset Yoga at The Gardens

Junior Board of Birmingham Botanical Gardens hosted Sunset Yoga at The Gardens on Wednesday, July 16. The weather was perfect and the crowd was, too, and The Gardens is hopeful that the event returns soon!

Birmingham Youth Serve assists The Gardens

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Birmingham Youth Serve assists The Gardens

This week, Birmingham Youth Serve Urban Service Camp assisted The Gardens on two gardens projects. On Tuesday, approximately 15 young leaders from local high schools worked in the Jemison Lily Garden with City of Birmingham Horticulturist, Amanda Clarke. Wednesday, 11 more students worked with Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ staff in Barber Alabama Woodlands spreading mulch, as well as removing a good bit of unwanted plant material.
Thank you Birmingham Youth Serve for partnering with us once again. We’re eager to see you in October for our Fall Plant Sale!

Young Professionals from Birmingham Rotaract Club and Parker High School students join forces to assist The Gardens

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Young Professionals from Birmingham Rotaract Club and Parker High School students join forces to assist The Gardens

On Saturday, The Gardens had the pleasure of having Birmingham Rotaract Club along with students from Parker High School work with on two needed service projects. Approximately 30 students and young professionals assisted in re-mulching the Barber Alabama Woodlands interpretive trails and laying Woven Groundcover Fabric  down in the Herb Army lathe house. Both groups volunteer their time and muscle for 3 hours to complete both needed projects.
 Thank you Birmingham Rotaract Club and Parker High School 
Thundering Herd!

Growing Through Yoga

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Growing Through Yoga

It was a great day for “Growing Through Yoga,” a Children’s Summer Camp, at The Gardens today! Campers have been on a yoga adventure as they grow like trees, flowers, butterflies and other garden creatures. They are learning to build strength and balance in yoga poses inspired by the landscape and architecture of The Gardens while calming and focusing their minds with nature walks and meditations. Yoga games and special crafts like bubble snakes, herbal sugar scrubs, garden dream catchers and more are making it even more fun leaving campers feeling joyful and refreshed! Stay tuned for more classes such as this coming up this year!   

“Growing Through Yoga” was led by Annie Damsky of Villager Yoga.

Lunch and Learn: A Change of Scenery

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

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.