Posts Tagged ‘John Floyd’

Sara Askew Jones dedication held on Tuesday

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

[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.

Executive Director Fred Spicer and Volunteer Dr. John Floyd to Speak at Alabama Master Gardener Conference in Birmingham

Friday, February 17th, 2012

2012 ALABAMA MASTER GARDENER CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 22-24 IN BIRMNGHAM

BIRMINGHAM (February 14, 2012) The Jefferson County Master Gardeners invite all gardening enthusiasts to attend the 2012 Alabama Master Gardener Association Conference as we celebrate “The Magic of Gardening.” We look forward to welcoming gardeners at all levels of experience to “The Magic City” for the 22nd annual conference on March 22-24, 2012. Conference activities will be centered at the Birmingham Marriott on U.S. Highway 280, near shopping and a variety of other attractions.

Pre-conference activities begin on Thursday afternoon with docent-led tours at either Birmingham Botanical Gardens or Aldridge Gardens, a public garden in nearby Hoover. That evening there will be a Welcome Reception and Barbecue dinner at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Activities continue on Friday and Saturday at the Birmingham Marriott. Friday’s keynote speakers include Dr. John Floyd, former editor-in-chief of Southern Living Magazine, and Fred Spicer, executive director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Attendees will have an opportunity to attend breakout sessions on topics such as native plants, cottage garden design, vermiculture, edible landscaping and vegetable gardening. The Friday evening banquet speaker will be nationally-known storyteller Dolores Hydock. Saturday’s speakers include Robert “Buddy” Lee, developer of the Encore® Azalea, and Paulette Ogard and Sara Bright, authors of “Butterflies of Alabama: Glimpses into Their Lives.” Vendors will offer gardening-related books and wares.

The conference is open to both Master Gardeners and the general public. The full conference schedule and registration forms are available at http://www.amgaconference.org/ or by e-mailing amg2012Reg@gmail.com.

Pruning for Effect: Japanese Maples

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The doctors are in! Our three doctors are on call to guide you through the process of pruning Japanese maple trees. Join their clinic as they deliver an instructional journey through timing and technique. You’ll learn what tools to use and what gardening aesthetics are involved in producing a good specimen tree.

Don’t miss your opportunity to take advantage of this unique educational opportunity, led by John Floyd, Mike Rushing and Bob Wendorf.

Monday, February 20 | 10 – 12 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
$10 Members | $12 Non-Members

Click here to register today!

Voluteer Spotlight: Reid Pearlman

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Reid Pearlman is a sophomore at Vestavia Hills High School. He volunteers in the Japanese Gardens with John Floyd, Mike Rushing and Bob Wendorf. Reid is one of the many young people that choose to take advantage of unique educational opportunities at The Gardens, while helping maintain its beauty. Above, he is front and center, surrounded by the three doctors and the crew that helps maintain the Japanese Gardens.

How did you become interested in working with the Bonsai group?  Volunteering in the Japanese Gardens? I have never seen anything like the Japanese Gardens before. I found it unique and interesting.

What do you think makes a person a good volunteer? Being hardworking and willing to learn.

How or why did you become interested in cultivating Bonsai trees? Dr. Bob Wendorf introduced me to Bonsai. Since then, they have fascinated me.

Where do you see yourself volunteering with the Japanese Gardens and the Bonsai Group? Are you interested in working with any other plant group or society? I see myself trying to help make The Gardens the best that they can be.

Do you feel it is important for your generation to volunteer? Why? Yes. We want to give something back to the great country that has been so generous to us.

What are your academic and/or career goals once you graduate high school? I plan on attending college and then graduate school. I have many interests including botany, ichthyology and zoology.

What attracts you to working/ volunteering at Birmingham Botanical Gardens? The thing that I find most attractive about The Gardens is interacting with all of the knowledgeable people

Do you volunteer with any other organization? Not at this time.

What is important to you as a volunteer at The Gardens? What do you see as the result of your volunteering? As a volunteer, I have been able to learn a great deal about plants, both local and foreign. I have been privileged to be educated by some of the most knowledgeable people in the field of botany.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your experience working and volunteering at The Gardens? I am looking forward to doing it more in the future.

The Three Docs

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

(Pictured, L to R): Dr. John Floyd, Gary Bailey, Reid Pearlman, Mike Rushing, Bob Wendorf

Dr. John Floyd served as editor of Southern Living for 18 years. Today, he greets visitors to the Japanese Gardens as its anonymous, volunteer tour guide.

“How are you doing today?” he asks the parents.

“What did you come to see? The turtles?” he asks the children.

He sweats alongside two other doctors of eclectic practice – Dr. Bob Wendorf and Dr. Mike Rushing – the former, a psychologist and president of the Japanese Garden Society of Alabama (recently published in Alabama Heritage), the latter, a veterinarian who served the USDA. Each Tuesday, the three doctors groom one of The Gardens’ most recognizable, and one of the largest of its kind. Alone. These are “The Three Docs.”

“It’s an enormous garden,” said Wendorf. “Bigger than most in Japan.”

“Portland is the largest in the U.S. and they have 40 gardeners on staff,” said Rushing. “We have zero.”

Still, the three manage to maintain the beauty by practicing the art of “concealing and revealing” – creating lines of sight and allowing visitors to see glimpses of the Japanese Gardens most unique features (like the Japanese Tea House), while not offering complete views – a defining characteristic of Japanese Gardens worldwide.

“(Before we began work in the Japanese Gardens) there were places here you couldn’t tell was a garden,” said Wendorf. “Now you can tell its a garden.”

The three doctors have not spent an eternity together, despite creating a bond that feels that way. “It feels like ten years,” said Rushing. “But I think it’s been ten months.”

The lack of attention the Japanese Gardens received brought them. “Needs!” said Floyd, asked why this group chose this garden. “I was in the Kaul Wildflower Garden until they hired someone full time. I began working on another garden for a while, but then I saw that this one was in bad shape.”

“It was the squeakiest hinge,” said Rushing of the Japanese Gardens need for attention. “So they won’t let me leave. They know all of my embarassing information and I wouldn’t want them putting it on the Internet.”

Maintenance can be daunting. The garden’s grand scale can be difficult to manage for just three men. Still, they have managed to manicure one of the finest of its kind, despite its acreage far outnumbering its caregivers. Typically, similar gardens have at least one gardener per acre.

“In this garden, the problem isn’t grooming the thing we planted,” said Rushing. “It’s the plants that volunteered to be a part of our scheme.”

“Every rock that was put here was put here for a reason,” said Wendorf, uncovering a large rock no longer visible because of its surrounding growth.

Each have carved their own contribution. “Inspiration, education and perspiration,” said Rushing, of what brought these minds together. “And you can guess who’s who. You can learn a lot from these guys. They’re encyclopedias in sundry things.”

But it’s not all work. “We have to laugh,” said Floyd. “It’s good for our souls. They can always hear me laugh, so they always know I’m coming.”

Most visitors can’t detect imperfections. But the three doctors’ marriage to these gardens won’t allow them the same enjoyment.

“We can’t see progress,” said Rushing. “Our trained eye just sees weeds and weeds and weeds. The public just sees a nice garden.”

An education awaits. On this day, these three inconspicuous men are shaping the mind of Vestavia Hills sophomore Reid Pearlman. He can’t yet drive, but his effort to tend this garden affords him a collegiate education from men with doctorates from Illinois (Wendorf), Clemson (Floyd) and Texas A&M (Rushing).

“The Gardens is also an integral part in helping us do what we’ve done here,” said Floyd, crediting men like Nick Majors and Gary Bailey for their work in maintaining and clearing the doctors’ weedy mess.

The Three Doctors need your help. Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to join these unique men, absorbing their knowledge and enjoying their humor. The group currently gathers in the Japanese Gardens on Monday mornings. For more information on how you can offer your services, contact Mary-Bestor Grant at 205.414.3962 or mgrant@bbgardens.org.