Posts Tagged ‘John Manion’

A New Bog for the Kaul Wildflower Garden

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Today, volunteers began digging in the Kaul Wildflower Garden under the supervision of John Manion, curator. A new bog will be created in the space within the next month or so. We’re eager to see the addition!

Planting at George Ward Park

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Executive Director, Fred Spicer, Director of Education, Henry Hughes, and Kaul Wildflower Garden curator John Manion recently made their annual trip to George Ward Park off Greensprings Avenue to plant trees.  Each year, The Gardens makes an effort to help plant, an effort that is being taken to another level this year as we are currently growing new trees to help replant areas affected by April’s tornado damage.

Digital Photography of Native Plants

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

On Wednesday, November 9, Bob Farley led an elective in our Certificate in Native Plant Studies program – Digital Photography of Native Plants. Instruction was given on how to translate what you see with your eye to a digital image. Topics included:  lenses, tripods and light modifiers to create interesting images. Follow the link above to learn more about all of the educational opportunities in this program and to sign up today!

Do you Have Nature at Home with you?

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Do you Have Nature at Home with you?

KWG Curator, John Manion

I’d like to bring to your attention something about which I am very excited, have worked very hard on and that is near-and-dear to my heart. It’s Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Central South Native Plant Conference on Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5. This year for the first time, we have as our co-sponsors Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve, Jefferson County Master Gardeners, Shelby County Master Gardeners, Alabama Wildflower Society and the Blanche Dean Chapter of the Alabama Wildflower Society. Members of all these organizations receive our member discount on registration.

About a year ago, I was invited to be program director for this event which is only held every three years. Because it is an infrequent event, and because it was my first whack at developing programs, my goal was to make the event so wonderful that participants would eagerly await the next conference.

I wanted to lay the foundation for the conference by selecting a heavy hitter for our keynote speaker. That was an easy decision for me, and if you are attending the conference, you will see why. This individual’s work and writings are so influential, that once I was able to engage him as a presenter, I chose to develop the entire conference theme around his philosophies.

Doug Tallamy, with his very influential book Bringing Nature Home, has prompted a significant paradigm shift in the way people view and understand our world of nature. If there were ever a book that I thought should be required (not just recommended) for anyone interested in nature, this book would be my top choice. I divide my own years of being involved with plants into “pre-Tallamy” and “post-Tallamy” stages.  Some of the comments I receive from people who have read his book are amusing, with an almost religious fervor about them…comments such as “he changed my life!” or “I’ll never see the world the same again!” Anyone that has read the book will completely understand these sentiments.

An example of my pre-and post-Tallamy stages: before reading Doug’s book, if I found something munching some of my plants, my knee-jerk reaction would have been to quickly figure out how to halt the process. Now, when I see this process in motion, I celebrate, realizing that it is a sign that “the system is intact.”

The overarching theme of the two-day event is: Native Plants: The Bigger Picture – How Native Plants Complete the Puzzle.” In addition to discussing many native plants and their related topics, this conference will focus on the numerous important roles they play in our ecosystems and how we can help keep those systems intact. We will address the interrelationships of native plants to the myriad of life forms…birds, bees, butterflies, bugs – and humans!

In addition to Tallamy, we will have 26(!) other presenters ranging from speakers to workshop and field trip leaders. We are excited that Gil Nelson, noted author of the recently published Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens will also speak, as will Rick Lewandowski, the director of one of the pre-eminent native plant gardens worldwide, the stunning Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware. Two other plenary speakers will be our own director of education, Henry Hughes, who will speak about the legacy of native trees in public parks, and Dan Long, the very popular nurseryman who studies, speaks about, grows and sells vines, numerous among them, native species.

To read the full line-up of lectures, break-out sessions, workshops and field trips, see: Four of our speakers who have authored popular books will have them for sale and will be available for signings.

Please forward this announcement to any individuals or groups you think might be interested.

Book Review: Bringing Nature Home

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011


Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants

By Douglas Tallamy

Have you ever had a book completely change the way you think about something?  When John Manion, Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator, suggested this book for The Library book group because it changed his life, I couldn’t imagine a book about gardening/nature changing someone’s life.  So I picked it up and read it (this is a big challenge for me since I listen to most books on CD).  And I have to say that it changed my life too, well at least my gardening life.  Doug Tallamy states in his book, “All plants are not created equal, particularly in their ability to support wildlife.”  Most of our native plant-eaters are not able to eat alien plants, and we are replacing native plants with alien species at an alarming rate, especially in the suburban gardens on which our wildlife increasingly depends.  If our native insect fauna can not, or will not, use alien plants for food, then insect populations in areas with many alien plants will be smaller than insect populations in areas with all natives.  This many sound like a gardener’s dream – a land without insects! But because so many animals depend partially or entirely on insect protein for food, a land without insects is a land without most forms of higher life (Wilson 1987).  I have to say that this scared me at first, I was thinking I would have to get rid of all the non-native plants in my yard but then I realized I just needed to add natives in with all of the other ornamentals that I already have. This book is worth reading, or better yet, join us for the Central South Native Plant Conference where Doug Tallamy will be speaking and hear it straight from him.

BSC Student Kate LeCroy Begins Project at The Gardens

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

On Tuesday, Birmingham-Southern Biology major, Kate LeCroy, dropped by The Gardens to begin a project. Kate is trying to learn more about moth pollination. She placed a trap here here to attract moths. When she collects the moths, she will look at their tongues for pollen. “That way, I hope to make a moth visitation network,” she said.

LeCroy is currently looking at grad schools, but she has already put her stamp on the field. Recently, she discovered the Symphyotrichum laeve var concinnum at Ruffner Mountain Quarry, the first such occurence in Jefferson County.  LeCroy hopes to learn more about her findings from this project in the next few weeks.

Certificate in Native Plant Studies

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Sample of Previous Classes offered in Certificate in Native Plant Studies

– Introduction to the Study of Native Plants (core)

– Non-Native Invasive Plants Workshop (elective)

– Native Woody Plants in Summer (elective)

– Introduction to Botany (core)

– Native Ferns and Their Relatives (elective)

– Introduction to Soil Science (elective)

– Introduction to Plant Taxonomy/Plant Classification (core)

– Native Plants for Pollinators (elective)

– Medicinal and Edible Plants (elective)

– Ecology of Alabama Native Plants (core)

– Nighttime on the Cahaba – by Canoe! (field trip)

Bats and Plants (field trip)

Movable Plants: Creating Beautiful Container Gardens with Native Plants

Spring Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective)

What’s That Plant? A Workshop for Learning How to Identify Plants (elective)

Summer Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective)

The Fascinating World of Carnivorous Plants (elective)

– Autumn at Moss Rock Preserve (field trip)

– Village Creek Canyon (field trip)

– Introduction to Native Plant Conservation (core)

– Autumn Identification of Native Woody Plants (elective)

Photos: Mint Mixology

Friday, August 19th, 2011