- Jun -
24

Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church visits Bruno Vegetable Garden

Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church visits Bruno Vegetable Garden

Over 100 children from Camp Shiloh visited The Gardens on Friday to learn more about growing vegetables. Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in partnership with Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Christian Service Mission and Jefferson County Master Gardeners Association have constructed raised bed gardens at the church to grow vegetables as part of their community outreach program. As part of their summer mission, the kids from Camp Shiloh visited The Gardens to learn more about vegetables and how they grow by visiting the Bruno Vegetable garden. Birmingham Botanical Gardens volunteers and Jefferson County Master Gardeners Karen Mitchell, Natalie Lee and Volunteer Coordinator Taylor Steele hosted the campers for a hands-on lesson about growing vegetables and herbs. Campers also used our Meet The Gardens Treasure Map to investigate other gardens during their visit.

- Jun -
24

Fresh Air Family presents Gross Out Camps

What’s gross this week? Carnivorous plants at Gross Out Camp!

No two words better describe the bond between carnivorous plants and the insects they attract and then devour. For centuries, these plants have attracted not only the attention of their prey, but also of humans fascinated by the concept of flora feasting on fauna. In the 1800s, Naturalist Charles Darwin conducted experiments on several species, stimulating them with raw meat, drops of milk and bits of hard-boiled eggs.

Insects that wander onto the lips of these cavities topple in, sliding down slippery inner walls into pools of liquid that drown the creatures. Digestion then begins. It’s an elegant death trap, as Gross Out campers discovered when they dissected the pitchers open.

Campers participated in the dissection of Sarracenia leucophylla and Sarracenia rubra var.  to more about the characteristics of these carnivorous plants.

To learn more about the remaining Gross Out Camps for 2013, visit http://www.bbgardens.org/other-events.php.

- Jun -
21

American Garden Award voting continues

American Garden Award voting is ongoing at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is one of thirty-one prestigious public gardens participating in the nation’s only flower popularity contest. The American Garden Award is a unique opportunity for the public to view, choose and vote on a specific flower that they think has the most appealing garden characteristics. Each of the four “contestants” listed below is now planted in our garden and voting began on June 1.

There are three ways to vote: 
1) By texting a given code to a polling number
2) By clicking the voting button above
3) By using postage-paid voting postcards located at the garden

The four entries are: 
Impatiens SunPatiens® Compact Electric Orange
Petunia Surfinia® Summer Double™ Pink
Verbena Lanai® Candy Cane
Zinnia Zahara™ Cherry

Voting remains open until August 31 and winners are announced in September. In the meantime, these flowers, as well as some of the past American Garden Award winners are available at your garden center. Ask for them by name! The 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 winners can be viewed at www.americangardenaward.com

Follow American Garden Award on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the voting results! 
www.facebook.com/americangardenaward or @AmerGardenAward

The American Garden Award program is administered by the All-America Selections® Display Garden program. AGA entries have not been trialed nor awarded a winner status by the AAS® Trial Judges.

For further details about the award itself, please contact:
Diane Blazek
American Garden Award
dblazek@aas-ngb.org

- Jun -
19

Japanese Consul General Kazuo Sunaga visits Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Japanese Consul General Kazuo Sunaga visits Birmingham Botanical Gardens

On Friday, June 14, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Japan America Society of Alabama welcomed Japanese Consul General Kazuo Sunaga to the Japanese Gardens at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Sunaga joined JASA board members including  volunteer at The Gardens, Bob Wendorf, and Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Director of Development Olivia Alison for a tour of The Gardens, notably, the Japanese Gardens. The visit was the first to Birmingham for Sunaga and his wife, who also visited the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in the historic Carver Theatre and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

While at The Gardens, the group also visited the Hulsey Woods and rang the Friendship Bell, donated by the Osaka Central Rotary Club of Japan as part of the club’s efforts to promote world peace, friendship, and understanding. The offer was made during the 100th anniversary of Rotary International in 2005, a year in which Shades Valley’s Glenn Estess served as international president of the organization.

- Jun -
17

Birmingham’s Butterfly Education and Awareness Day

Birmingham’s Butterfly Education and Awareness Day

This past Saturday, Birmingham Botanical Gardens hosted the inaugral Birmingham Butterfly Education and Awareness Day. Among the organizations participating in the event were the Birmingham Zoo, McWane Science Center, Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve and native landscape expert Arnie Rutkis. Over 200 people enjoyed the day learning about butterfly species native to Alabama, native host plants that are essential to butterflies, and the release of over 40 native butterflies to Alabama.
 
The Gardens plans on this unique partnership becoming an annual event; we hope to see you next June!

- Jun -
10

Get Into The Gardens!

Get Into The Gardens!

Get Into The Gardens, The Gardens FREE weekend programming series, returned this weekend with two demonstrations. The first was led by Deanna Cummings and Leigh Ann Hargrove from the Community Garden Coaltion. They taught how to grow food in a small space using the square foot garden method; how to grow 100% of the harvest in 20% of the space in ideal soil conditions with no tilling and significantly reduced water and weeding requirements.

The second was Easy Container Gardening: Simple Watering Strategies. More weekend programming will be announced soon and can be found at www.bbgardens.org/weekends.

- Jun -
6

Sara Askew Jones dedication held on Tuesday

[L to R: John Jones, Fred Spicer, Robert Martin, John Floyd]

Sara Askew Jones dedication held on Tuesday

On Tuesday, June 4, the recently completed Sara Askew Jones Arbor was dedicated at the entrance of the Hess Camellia Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Named for the longtime Healthy Living Editor at Southern Living, the arbor was installed by Robinson Iron Inc. and volunteer John Jones. It was made possible through a generous donation by the Jones family, friends and former co-workers at Southern Living, the Lucille S. Beeson Charitable Trust, Rebar Express and Ready Mix U.S.A. The arbor was also made possible with in-kind service from the City of Birmingham. It was designed by former Southern Living Architecture Editor Robert Martin. 

Martin, a 1992 graduate from Auburn University’s School of Architecture, began his career as a field architectural draftsman for the Historic American Engineering Record before becoming the Architecture Editor for Southern Living. Along with two other Southern Living alums, he created an online business, www.getmorecurbappeal.com, in 2010 where he serves as the Head Residential Designer. A native of Hartselle, Martin now resides in Birmingham.

- Jun -
5

New interns join The Gardens for the Summer of 2013

New interns join The Gardens for the Summer of 2013

Three new interns join The Gardens for the summer of 2013: Caroline Rowan, Ian Hazelhoff and Reid Pearlman. The group joined Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion on Tuesday for some work in The Gardens, and The Gardens Blog had its first opportunity for introductions.

Caroline Rowan (above) is entering her Junior year at Birmingham-Southern College and is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School. She is majoring in Biology with a minor in Urban Environmental Studies and Psychology. After graduation she plans on perusing a career in field biology. Caroline’s passion for nature and learning makes Birmingham Botanical Gardens a great environment for her summer internship. She credits The Gardens as one of the first places to spark her interest in the natural world. Caroline has grown up with The Gardens as a part of her life and is excited to now be working here. As she experiences life at The Gardens she hopes to uncover more of her interests and pursuits. Caroline will be focusing on the George Ward Park replanting project and will be evaluating the reforested area. She will also be exploring other aspects of the Gardens. Her internship is a 10-week program funded by Little Garden Club and Red Mountain Garden Club.

Ian Hazelhoff (above) is the 2013 Shades Valley Rotary Club intern at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. As a recent graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, he is eager to implement ideas in the landscape of Birmingham. A Birmingham native, he attended The Altamont School.  During his time at Sewanee,  he studied plant physiology, water policy, ecology and forestry. Forest dynamics and ecology training have led him to fascination with how natural systems interact with the urban landscape. He believes that effective landscape design and use brings the inherant value of the land to the forefront. He believes that sound environments and green space can increase economic value of their surroundings while providing ecosystem services for communities.  He hopes to be progressive in his approach to design in projects this summer.  
Reid Pearlman has been interested in plants since he was a child. He enjoys spending time outdoors, especially if he is fishing, hiking or botanizing. Reid will be entering his senior year at Vestavia Hills High School this fall. Reid plans to attend college and graduate school and work in the field of botany or medicine.  

- May -
23

Docent Appreciation Luncheon

Docent Appreciation Luncheon

On Tuesday, May 21, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens hosted the annual Birmingham Botanical Gardens Education/Docent Appreciation luncheon to celebrate and acknowledge the great work and dedication of our Discovery Field Trip and Garden Docents. As part of the luncheon festivities, Mr. Jay Eubanks, Education Director of the Alabama Wildlife Center, and Kelly Breland were special guests and speakers discussing the topic of Alabama Native Snakes. Jay gave a PowerPoint Presentation on the various species of venomous and nonvenomous snakes found throughout Alabama; he brought live specimens as part of his interpretive program.
 
Over 33 docent volunteers, Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff and Alabama Cooperative Extension System staff attended the program and luncheon. Lunch was catered by Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe.
- May -
22

Japanese Garden Tour

Japanese Gardens Tour

On May 16, donors at Birmingham Botanical Gardens were led on a tour of the Japanese Gardens by Executive Director Fred Spicer.

[L to R: Gene Boles, Kathryn Jones, Ellie Jones, Chris Boles]

[L to R: Mayor Lawrence Terry Oden, Barbara "Bobbie" Glaze and Dr. Robert P. "Bob" Glaze]

[L to R: Deborah "Debbie" Strauss, Leo Kayser and Sandra Oden]

[L to R: Constance "Connie" O'Brien, Ellen Crowley]