Lydia Pursell of Leaf & Petal Talks Glorious Gardens
The 2012 edition of Glorious Gardens is presented by Leaf & Petal, a Birmingham collection of award-winning garden stores, including one home at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I spoke to owner, buyer and style designer Lydia Pursell about the unique Magic City event coming June 2 – 3 and Leaf & Petal’s involvement.
Blake Ells for Birmingham Botanical Gardens: Why did Leaf & Petal decide to come on board?
Lydia Pursell: We understood there was a need. Fred and Olivia talked to us, and we know what Birmingham Botanical Gardens contributes to our society and our town. So we stepped in.
BE: Why do you think this is such a unique Birmingham event?
LP: Most if not all of the proceeds go to educational programs at The Gardens. I’ve been a docent for years, but until the first time I saw a school bus pulling up outside the shop was the first time I had a chance to fully understand the impact the programs have on dozens and dozens of precious, rowdy children. And all of our schools are underfunded now. And this garden is free for these children. It’s their garden. People take it for granted until they walk around with these kids for a couple of hours and see them light up.
My own daughter takes part in the summer programs and we know that it’s a wonderful thing.
BE: Have you visited any of the gardens on the tour?
LP: What I have noticed most is the range – high end gardens that are inspirational, not always achievable. Even if you can glean one thing from a garden like that, you can be inspired to do something new and interesting and urban and funky. You can find inspiration in each of these gardens. If you find one little thing that inspires you, that’s wonderful. And you can do that on this tour.
BE: Why is it important to support events like this at The Gardens?
LP: There aren’t many gardens left in this country that are still free. That number is dwindling rapidly. Anytime anyone can open up 67 acres to people that can’t afford to spend $10 or $12 on it, as they charge in other cities, it’s worth supporting. Those people may not have a green space of their own. This is their green space. It’s free. And I’m happy to be a part of it.
Leaf & Petal at The Gardens is open Monday – Saturday 9:30 – 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. Visit their website for other locations in the Birmingham area and hours of operation. www.leafnpetal.com