The Conservatory renovation project continues
The Conservatory renovation project has begun to take shape, and last week we took some photos. Check them out!
Earth Day at The Gardens
Over 400 visited The Gardens on Saturday, April 27 for Alabama’s longest-running Earth Day celebration. Visitors were able to take advantage of hands-on children’s activities and learn of ways to live environmentally sound. Community gardening was a focus of this year’s event, which invited local vendors like the East Lake Farmers Market, Painted Shovel, Coop and Caboodle and The Backyard Pantry to offer ideas on recycling, raising chickens in an urban environment and building raised planting beds. John Scalici’s Juka Tribe offered an eclectic mix of world music sounds in the Garden Center, while the Get Into The Gardens demonstration series complemented the celebration with “Easy Container Gardening: Planting Peppers.”
Photos from 2013 Spring Plant Sale
It was another successful year for Spring Plant Sale, held this year in the former J.C. Penney location at Century Plaza. Thousands took advantage of the wide selection and expertise offered at The Gardens’ largest plant sale of the year. Because of Birmingham’s support, the money raised by The Gardens at Spring Plant Sale allows it to achieve its educational mission, funding programs like Discovery Field Trips which has provided a free, curriculum-based science education to nearly 100,000 Birmingham area schoolchildren over the last decade. Check out some photos of the volunteers and people that made it great!
Get Into The Gardens!
Get Into The Gardens is a collection of free, educational weekend programming that includes demonstrations on Saturdays, bimonthly, at 1 p.m. Pictured are Su Reid – St. John and her daughter Zoe at the March 16 demonstration, “Easy Container Gardening: Planting a Strawberry Jar.”
Get Into The Gardens also includes Hikes for Tykes, a program offered in partnership with Fresh Air Family which encourages pre-school children and their families to explore The Gardens each Saturday at 10 a.m. The Sunday Scene will also return as part of this collection of programs on May 5 as visitors will explore the Fern Glade.
Check out the schedule of upcoming demonstrations at The Gardens and make plans to join us! To learn more, visit www.bbgardens.org/weekends.
• Saturday, March 16, 1 p.m.: Easy Container Gardening: Planting a Strawberry Jar
• Saturday, April 13, 1 p.m.: Easy Container Gardening: Planting Tomatoes
• Saturday, April 27, 1 p.m.: Easy Container Gardening: Planting Peppers
• Saturday, May 4, 1 p.m.: Easy Container Gardening: Creating a Mother’s Day Herb Garden
• Saturday, May 18, 1 p.m.: Easy Container Gardening: Building a Pollinators’ Paradise
• Saturday, June 8, 1 p.m.: Easy Container Gardening: Simple Watering Strategies
Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff members tour Conservatory renovation project
On Friday, Executive Director Fred Spicer took Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff members on a hard hat tour of the Conservatory renovation project. The $1.4 million project has begun in earnest with hopes of reopening the Birmingham landmark to the public by Fall. The Conservatory will serve as another site for educational programming, including Discovery Field Trips, The Gardens’ flagship program which has provided a free, curriculum-based science education to nearly 100,000 Birmingham students over the last decade. Check out photos from the tour!
(Andrea Wulf, Director of Devlopment Olivia Alison, Spencer Lecture committee member Sue Ellen Lucas)
Andrea Wulf and Ben Page headline 2013 Spencer Lecture Series
The 2013 Spencer Lecture Series was held in the Linn-Henley Lecture Hall at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on March 7. New York Times best-selling author Andrea Wulf spoke at 10:30, while renowned architect Ben Page spoke at 6:30 p.m. The morning lecture, preceded by a book signing, saw 137 guests in attendance, while 214 attended the evening session.
(Murray Spencer South, Ben Page, Nancy Spencer Smith)
Teachers gather at Birmingham Botanical Gardens to discuss building an outdoor classroom
On Friday, February 23, teachers from across Central Alabama gathered in the East Room of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Garden Center to discuss ways to build an outdoor classroom. The workshop, a partnership between Alabama Wildlife Federation, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, was led by Doyle Keasal of ACES, April Lupardus Waltz of AWF and Jennifer Sanders and Taylor Steele of Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Conservatory at Birmingham Botanical Gardens to undergo $1.4 million renovation project
In 2013, one of Birmingham’s most iconic sights will undergo a $1.4 million renovation project, allowing the Conservatory at Birmingham Botanical Gardens to open to the public for the first time since April of 2011. Originally opened in December of 1963 and designed by the now defunct Lord & Burnham firm, the building has become a rare piece of architecture as many similar structures across the nation have since been razed. Though safety concerns about the building’s glass ceiling forced its closure, the structure remains sturdy and especially worthy of preservation as one of the last of its kind.
This project, Phase I of a series envisioned in The Gardens’ master plan, will begin in earnest in May, after the season’s final frost. This phase will include stripping the old glass and cleaning the structure, upgrading base electrical distribution and automating ventilation sashes, repairing interior partition walls and replacing doors, remediating asbestos and lead, re-glazing with safety glass, restoring the original entrance appearance and installing an internal mylar shade blanket and insulation system. Its completion will allow the Conservatory to open for public use for the first time in two years. September is the targeted date for completion, in time for the new school year’s return of Discovery Field Trips, The Gardens’ award-winning, curriculum-based educational programs which have provided a free science education to nearly 100,000 Birmingham children over the last decade. Phase I does not include new exhibits, and some old exhibits have been removed from the Conservatory in order to facilitate the project.
The Pennington Group, Inc. has been awarded the project. Based in Birmingham, The Pennington Group, Inc. is a commercial contractor offering a full range of construction services, registered and licensed in the state of Alabama. The Pennington Group, Inc. has developed a firm foundation for commercial construction and is often selected as the contractor for interior renovation, rebuilding, demolition and build-out projects. The City of Birmingham funded $115,000 for the design and engineering performed by Montgomery Smith, Inc. in 2012; principle Jim Smith has been retained for construction administration Phase I. The City also supplied in-kind services to shepherd this project through the design and bidding process.
The $1.4 million Conservatory Improvement Project, Phase I, was made possible through the generous donations of: The Lucille S. Beeson Charitable Trust, The Brooke Family Foundation, City of Birmingham, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Lyndra and Bill Daniel, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Lorol Roden Bowron Rediker Rucker Foundation and two anonymous donors. Additional funding was provided by The Butrus Family Advised Fund at Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and The Holly Oak Garden Club.
This project is just Phase I of a lengthy plan to maximize the potential of The Gardens’ Conservatory. While it will conclude with the facility being open for Discovery Field Trips, long-term plans envision an even brighter future:
Phase II: addition of indoor exhibits
Phase III: addition of horticulture office and maintenance building
Phase IV: addition of conservatory buildings, concert stage and conservatory terraces
Phase V: addition of new potting shed and production greenhouses
Phase VI: addition of activities building and public restrooms, Persian Garden, expanded Bruno Vegetable Garden, Herb Terrace and Carver crops
We’re eager to see one of the Magic City’s landmarks evolve over the coming years! Come see us grow at Birmingham Botanical Gardens!