Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

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.

2013 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

Friday, December 6th, 2013

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

Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens takes its first look at Conservatory renovations

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Executive Director & CEO Fred Spicer leads Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Conservatory tour

As the Conservatory renovations near completion at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Executive Director & CEO Fred Spicer led staff members on their first tour of the Birmingham landmark since renovations began earlier this year. The interior looked much different on Friday than it did earlier in 2013, and we captured a few photos to share until it is opened to the public.

Parker High School students take part in work training program at The Gardens

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

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.

Community Garden Coalition presents Birmingham Bike Tour

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Community Garden Coalition presents Birmingham Bike Tour

by Gail Harper Yeilding, Community Garden Coalition for Birmingham

On October 26, the Community Garden Coalition in partnership with Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Alabama Bike Coalition collaborated to celebrate National Food Day by a bike tour of Birmingham’s Community Gardens. 

Armed with dahlia decorated helmets and bikes, CGC members made their way through the streets of Birmingham.  Starting and ending at Freshfully, the tour included MPower Community Garden, South Avondale Community Garden, Jones Valley Teaching Garden, Norwood Orchard and Norwood Teaching Gardens.  At each stop, a representative farmer from each garden gave a tour and various treats including: dahlias, cider, basil and Lenell’s now famous rosemary bourbon cider. 

With a crisp, Fall morning, it was the perfect way to see just some of the many community gardens popping up in Birmingham. 

Many thanks to all who participated as well as each community garden that contributed a little something from their garden.

The Gardens plants trees in North Smithfield

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

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.

Students from Arlingon School spend time in the Bruno Vegetable Garden

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Students from Arlingon School spend time in the Bruno Vegetable Garden

Gardener Amanda Clark taught Arlington School students about high density planting or companion planting today. The students helped planting in the Bruno Vegetable Garden.

Native plant preview hosted on Wednesday

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Executive Director Fred Spicer and Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion lead native plant preview

On Wednesday, Executive Director Fred Spicer and Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion led plant enthusiasts on a native plant preview through the lath houses at The Gardens. Fall Plant Sale customers were treated to an opportunity to see many of the things that will be available for purchase at this weekend’s sale.

Fall Plant Sale is the second largest plant sale of the year at The Gardens. This Saturday and Sunday, Blount Plaza will host an array of natives, annuals, perrienials, vegetables, trees, shrubs, herbs, irises, daylilies, ferns, camellias and more. Saturday, the sale will open to the public from 9 – 5 p.m. and on Sunday, from noon – 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Proceeds from plant sales at The Gardens benefit its educational programs including the flagship, Discovery Field Trips. Over the last decade, Discovery Field Trips has provided a free, curriculum-based science education to nearly 100,000 Birmingham schoolchildren.

For more information about Fall Plant Sale, including a partial list of inventory available, visit www.bbgardens.org/fallplantsale.

Fall Gardening with Straw Bales: Innovative Way to Grow Your Fall Garden Plants

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Fall Gardening with Straw Bales: Innovative Way to Grow Your Fall Garden Plants

Last Saturday, Master Gardener Su Reid-St. John and her daughter Zoie demonstrated the fun and innovative way to grow your fall vegetables. Straw bale gardening is a fun and productive way to grow your greens that will have you the talk of the neighborhood (in good fashion of course).

Straw bale gardening has a number of benefits and a few restrictions. Straw bales provide a convenient method to raise the grade of your growing area and reduce the loss of plants to excessive water due to wet areas and/or poor soil. Straw bales also provide a near disease free growing media for your plants if you have difficulty with soil borne diseases. In addition, straw bales are also great for limited spaces in your landscape.

The downside to straw hay bale gardening is the constant need to monitor your plants for moisture content. If you plan a holiday more than a few days, you will need someone to water your plants. With such a large exposed surface area, straw bales will dry out quickly as weather warms and precipitation decreases. You will also need to anchor the bales well or stake
tall growing plants as they grow to prevent them from falling over.

Straw bale gardening is an interesting experiment and worth the investment for those who have difficulty growing in wet areas, poor soils or lack of natural space. However, proper preparation and routine watering is essential for success

Check out Su Ried’s video demonstration from Bonnie Plant http://bonnieplants.com/library/how-to-condition-and-plant-a-straw-bale/

Please join us on Saturday, November 9th for another Get into The Gardens Innovative Gardening demonstration. Check the website and follow us on Facebook for more information.

2013 Fall Plant Sale: Get to Know the Native Ornamental Grasses

Monday, September 30th, 2013

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.