Arlington School helps prepare for Spring Plant Sale
Students from Arlington School recently joined staff members and volunteers at Birmingham Botanical Gardens for a service day project which supports their environmental science and biology curriculum standards.
Over 30 students and teachers, and 12 Birmingham Botanical Gardens volunteers from the native woodies group assisted in planting more than 2,500 germinated tree seeds including: Northern Red Oak , Post Oak, Chestnut Oak, Black Jack Oak, Mockernut Hickory, White Oak, Dog Wood, Southern Red Oak, Scarlet Oak and Laurel Oak
The Arlington School will assist with Spring Plant Sale on Friday, April 5, and will continue to work with The Gardens with the Centennial Tree Planting project through next fall planting at George Ward Park, Pratt City and Northeast Jefferson County.
To learn more about Spring Plant Sale, which will be held at the former J.C. Penney location at Century Plaza, visit www.bbgardens.org/springplantsale
. Join us for The Gardens’ largest plant sale of the year!
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)
Native Plants Group celebrates Larry Michalove’s birthday
On February 13, the Native Plants Group celebrated the 80th birthday of one of their long-time members. Larry Michalove is a dedicated volunteer whose cheerful nature and optimistic outlook make him a joy to have as part of the group. Native Plants group leader Betsy Fleenor said, “Larry is one of those people who always makes you feel good. He’s ready with a hug or a corny joke that makes you groan, and is willing to help in any way.” Larry is pictured with his wife, Sybil, who dropped by for the party.
Larry took a few moments to tell about his life, including the circumstances that resulted in his popular children’s book, “The Four Little Children.” The imaginative stories were originally mailed home as bedtime stories for Larry’s children while he served in the Viet Nam War. From the book jacket, “Larry didn’t write about the war or the 114 combat missions he flew, earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross and 8 air medals. Instead, he wrote tales about Martians and moon people and mermaids and the sea.”
Thanks to Larry for his service to America, his creative writing and humor, dedication to family and his years of service to The Birmingham Botanical Gardens. True to form, he refused to take home his left-over cake, instead leaving it for the gardening staff to enjoy.
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.
Bush Hills Academy visits The Gardens
Recently, 2nd grade students from Bush Hills Academy in Birmingham visited The Gardens to take part in the Garden Gates Discovery Field Trip and Treasure Map activity outdoors. Docent Alana Maxey of Junior League of Birmingham’s “Can You Dig It?” led the students, along with Education Program Coordinator Ellen Hardy.
Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens joins Urban Forestry and Conservation Fair at Boutwell Auditorium
On Wednesday, February 13, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff members and volunteers joined the Urban Forestry and Conservation Fair at Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Ala. to help educate Birmingham schoolchildren about how the urban environments they are familiar with connect to the environments they often hear about – rain forests, state and national parks, the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve and more. The day long fair showed children they can grow up to work in an environmental arena in any setting.
Volunteers Spring into Action for our upcoming BBG Spring Plant Sale!
The Gardens held a volunteer seeding and potting workday last Saturday. Over 50 volunteers helped us gear up for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale in April. Our volunteer group consisted of Jefferson County Master Gardeners, students from Arlington School and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The tasks for the day included planting over 3800 tomato seeds into cellpacks and potting up more than 600 hosta varieties into one gallon trade pots. If you are interested in helping The Gardens bring spring back sooner, please let us know!
If you are interested in helping us another Saturday before the April sale, or would like to volunteer for our spring plant sale, contact Taylor Steele, Volunteer Coordiantor, 205.414.6962, or email@example.com
Thanks again to all who participated in our workday, we hope to see you back for the sale!
Rite of Spring
By: Betsy Fleenor, volunteer
It happens every spring. The new year dawns, and the new seeds are sown. Always with this goal: grow plants that will be large enough and interesting enough to catch your eye at the spring plant sale. No tender seedlings will do come April. We are looking for robust, healthy plants with a good root system, lots of leaves and we wouldn’t argue about a flower bud or two.
For the volunteers who work with the volunteer propagation groups at The Gardens, work goes on year round preparing the plants for your buying pleasure. But things really start to heat up once the new year arrives. For those growing native plants, it’s time to delve into the rich storehouse of seeds collected from the Kaul Wildflower Garden and pre-treated in various ways. Some are sprinkled, others carefully placed in their soil-filled trays topped with a thin layer of granite chicken grit to improve their chances.
Weeks spent on the mist tables located in the plant sale greenhouse eventually provide the perfect environment for the green miracle. The lifeless, brown seeds are touched with the vital moisture, warmth and light that cause them to germinate.
At first the specks of green are nearly microscopic. Was that a dot of green I saw or not? Soon eyes adjust to the microenvironment and indeed, that dot was just one of hundreds of barely perceptible green dots. They’re off and running!
As the weeks wear on, first leaves give way to true leaves, and roots start to explore the soil. Soon it’s time to rudely tease them from their seed trays into their first individual pots. Volunteers carefully prick out the most tender, pull apart the more robust, and take them to the next step on their journey from seed to sale.
Granite Garden repairs overseen by sculptor Jesus Moroles
Sculptor Jesus Moroles, who created Granite Garden in 1988, was back in town to consult with The Gardens on maintenance and repairs. A severe freeze last winter, coupled with a power failure that knocked out a heater, resulted in a few broken pipes and small cracks in the granite. People may have noticed that water in several of the uprights had not been flowing. With in-kind assistance from City of Birmingham plumbers and Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff, several of the large base stones were removed and several broken pipes were repaired. Moroles is putting together a plan for continued maintenance, and specifications for fixing the cracks, replacing all the copper piping with freeze-resistant polyethylene pipe, and re-setting some of the base stones.
The Gardens houses more than 30 unique works of original outdoor sculpture.
(Funding for Granite Garden was provided by Arnold and Rose Steiner and the National Endowment for the Arts. The consultation is being funded by The Friends.)