Posts Tagged ‘Birmingham’

Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff members tour Conservatory renovation project

Monday, March 18th, 2013

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 and Ben Page headline 2013 Spencer Lecture Series

Friday, March 8th, 2013

(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)

Building an outdoor classroom

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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 Renovation Project

Monday, January 28th, 2013

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!

Snow Day at The Gardens

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Snow Day at The Gardens

On the afternoon of Thursday, January 17, The Gardens transformed into a Winter Wonderland as Birmingham was hit with heavy snowfall. Despite its brief stay, we managed to capture a few gorgeous images of Alabama’s largest living museum blanketed. Enjoy!

Inaugural Dirt Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Inaugural Dirt Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk

Junior Board of Birmingham Botanical Gardens presented the inaugural Dirt Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk on November 17. Over 200 runners and walkers competed in various age groups, utilizing the paths and trails of Alabama’s largest living museum. The overall winner Julien Bousquet, who completed the run in 17:48.7. For a complete list of winners in each age group, visit

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Joins Reforestation Effort at George Ward Park

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Joins Reforestation Effort at George Ward Park

On Saturday, October 27, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff members joined the Glen Iris Neighborhood Association and volunteers from Impact Alabama in an effort to replant George Ward Park. Over time, many of the trees in the park have vanished due to mowing. With the support of Little Garden Club and Red Mountain Garden Club, this five-year project continued on Saturday.

Meet the Tastemakers: Karen Luce & Cathy Harvey – The Gallery

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Meet the Tastemakers: Karen Luce & Cathy Harvey – The Gallery

Loretta Goodwin opened Loretta Goodwin Gallery in 1982 making it one of the oldest operating art galleries in the Magic City. For over 20 years the gallery has nurtured a passion for art, offering a variety of artistic styles to collectors in not only the Birmingham area, but across the country.

Art captures life sometimes only for a moment – sometimes for centuries – and has a way of imparting certainty to our humanity. It lifts our spirits, nourishes our souls and makes us cherish the sheer awesomeness of our being.

Dirk Walker became the owner in 2002 and has preserved the gallery’s goal of presenting original works of art and fine art graphics which are revered and collected for their artistic integrity.

Meet the Tastemakers: Mary Evelyn McKee – Pied-a-terre

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Meet the Tastemakers: Mary Evelyn McKee – Pied-a-terre

Mary Evelyn McKee has design and artistry in her genes. Painting classes with her grandmother taught her how to really see, and her artist father spurred her talents. “He was so encouraging. I could put two dandelions in a bottle, and he would proclaim it gorgeous. And my mother, an accomplished pianist, taught us tempo and movement to Mozart and Bach,” she says. From her richly artistic upbringing, she studied art history, cusing on decorative arts and architecture at Hollins College.

Her approach is personal, pragmatic and artistic. “When a client is updating, I look for solutions that are timeless, elegant and comfortable. I try to create something fresh and forward-looking, and use personal collections that reflect the individual,” she says. Her style is elegant but not fussy and informed by history yet fresh and surprising. Formulaic design is not in her vocabulary. She seeks the singular piece that creates the frission necessary for dramatic but inviting rooms.

Mary Evelyn began her design enterprise in 1986. Its success led to opening her retail interiors shop offering her signature palette of sunny neutrals and her eye for great design.

Whether in New York, Paris or Birmingham, her interiors shop exhibits designs for a lofty Pied-a-terre with midcentury and contemporary decor. Antiques add frission and gravitas.

Mary Evelyn has been published in Coastal Living, Southern Accents, Elle Decor, Traditional Home and many local publications.

Meet the Tastemakers: Ware Porter – Behind the Privet Hedge

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Meet the Tastemakers: Ware Porter

Ware M. Porter’s design aesthetic reflects how we live our lives today. On the forefront of New Traditional design, Ware’s projects have engaged him from the Gulf Coast of Alabama to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Carefully curated, his laid back and well-lived style is grounded in classical proportions with modern sensibilities.

Learn more about Ware Porter by visiting

For more information about Antiques at The Gardens, featuring 12 national and local Tastemakers visit There, you can purchase tickets to the show, the lecture and luncheon with Alex Hitz and Gala in The Gardens.