the garden dirt FOR FRIENDS OF BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS
OUR LAVENDER LADY For nearly 30 years, volunteer Carol Payne has carefully selected and painstakingly tended specialty lavenders for the Friends’ annual Spring Plant Sale
2022 MEMBER KEEPSAKE BOOKMARKS Join the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens or renew your membership this spring and in addition to discounts at our member partner garden centers and flower shops, reciprocal admission at 340+ botanical gardens nationwide, and other great benefits, enjoy two complimentary bookmarks featuring iconic scenes from the Gardens, part of our new keepsake bookmark collection. Join or renew online at bbgardens.org/ membership or by phone at 205.414.3950.
THANK YOU FOR HELPING US GROW A GREENER TOMORROW
Enjoy our e-news Stay up on Friends classes, events, and special happenings at the Gardens by following us on social media and subscribing to the Friends’ biweekly e-newsletter. You’ll find the Gardens on Facebook and YouTube @birminghambotanicalgardens and on Instagram @bbgardens. Subscribe to our e-news by visiting bbgardens.org. Not seeing the e-newsletter in your inbox? We are happy to help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save when you shop and dine at the Gardens Show your Friends membership card and enjoy 10 percent off at Leaf & Petal at the Gardens and the Gardens Café by Kathy G!
Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens 2022 Board of Directors
Wally Evans ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������.Chair John Smith T ������������������������������������������������������ Immediate Past Chair D.C. Coston ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������Treasurer Brian Barr �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������Secretary Kirk Forrester ���������������� Chair of Communications & Marketing Emily Bowron ���������������������������������������������������Chair of Development Caroline Little �������������Chair of Education & Visitor Experience John Smith T ������������������������������������������������������Chair of Governance Norm Davis ������������������������������������Chair of Government Relations Lee McLemore ������������������������������������������������������Chair of Operations
Members at Large Derick Belden Uday R. Bhate Sharon Brown Stephanie Cooper Bob de Buys Eleanor Estes Wendy Evesque Helen Harmon Leigh Haver
Beverley Hoyt Evelyn Jones Janet Kavinoky Blevins Naff Tiffany Osborne Sharon Sherrod Martha Emmett Sims Larry Thornton, Sr. Jesse Vogtle
Milan Ballard, Junior Board President
The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens seeks to protect, nurture, and share the wonders of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. We are dedicated to serving the Gardens, serving the community, serving our visitors, and inspiring a passion for plants, gardens, and the environment.
Tom Underwood ...................................................Executive Director Stephanie Banks ���������������������������������������������Chief Financial Officer Mindy Keyes Black ���������������������������Director of Communications and Marketing Dawn DeFrank ������������������������������������� Donor Services Coordinator Paige Goldschmidt …...................................Development Associate Ellen Hardy ����������������������������������� Education Program Coordinator Penney Hartline ������������������������������������������ Director of Development Molly Hendry.................. Associate Director of Gardens Support— Horticulture Planning and Design Leader Jason Kirby ������������������������������������� Library Assistant and Archivist Dawn Coleman Lee ���������������������� Education Activities Specialist Hope Long �����������������������������������������������Director of Library Services Tyler Mason ����������������������������������������������Director of Education and Visitor Experience Alice Thompson Moore... ���������������������������� Volunteer Coordinator Tina Nelson ����������������������������������������������������������������Accounting Clerk Michelle Phillips �����������������������������������������������������Office Coordinator Drew Rickel ���������������������������������������������������� Donor Relations Officer Jane Underwood ���������������������������������Director of Gardens Support Editor: Mindy Keyes Black Art Design: Ellen Padgett Cover and Lead Photos: Graham Yelton Contributors: Susan Emack Alison, Dawn DeFrank, Beth Maynor Finch, Bill Finch, Ellen Hardy, Penney Hartline, Molly Hendry, Wendy Wallace Johnson, Jason Kirby, Dawn Coleman Lee, Hope Long, Tyler Mason, Carmen Michael, Alice Thompson Moore, Michelle Phillips, Drew Rickel ©2022 Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. All rights reserved. 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham, AL 35223 205.414.3950 | bbgardens.org email@example.com
A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is the result of a public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a mission-driven membership organization that seeks to protect, nurture, and share the wonders of the Gardens. We hope you enjoy this issue of the Friends’ award-winning quarterly publication, The Garden Dirt. Thank you for visiting and supporting the Gardens! Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens practices a policy of equal opportunity and equal access to services for all persons regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, orientation, or gender identity.
Dear Friend, Part science, part art form, horticulture offers endless ways to find and pursue our passions. Once we discover our individual paths, though the road may twist and turn, they are often lifelong journeys. Shantana “Tan” Blevins, who joined us in December as a gardener with the Birmingham Park & Recreation team, began cultivating plants through a third-grade science project on the sprouting of grass seeds; she has been growing in her garden ever since. Donna Taylor, a group lead for our Herbs volunteer group, discovered her specialty years ago while living in Toledo, Ohio. “I had done my Master Gardener training up there, and the Herb Society took me in,” she recalls. “They said, ‘You must join us.’ Within the first week of moving to Birmingham, I called and learned that our Herbs growing group met on Wednesdays, so I came down and met them. That was 25 years ago.” Whatever our personal journeys and experiences, public gardens like Birmingham Botanical Gardens give us invaluable opportunities to continue to grow by sharing our knowledge and passion. At the Gardens, the distinctive paths and diverse voices of all who care for this special place converge in meaningful, powerful ways. You’ll see the results of our collective efforts in our gardens and throughout this issue. Together, we sustain this urban oasis and, in the process, support one another, our community, and our world. Thank you for growing with us.
AT BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS Our annual Spring Plant Sale is moving back to the Gardens! Grow your green thumb and get ready for spring planting by shopping hard-to-find plants specially selected for our region by our expert volunteer growers. Bring a folding cart or wagon!
Member Priority Shopping: Friday, April 8 Open to the Public: Saturday, April 9 PICK YOUR PLANTS Heirloom Vegetables
20+ Tomatoes and Peppers
Shrubs And much, much more!
bbgardens.org/spring Tom Underwood Executive Director, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens
A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is the result of a public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a mission-driven membership organization that seeks to protect, nurture, and share the wonders of the Gardens.
Introducing March Membership Month!
It’s a great time to be a member of the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Membership support makes so much possible. Because of your annual commitment, the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens has the capacity to educate thousands of schoolchildren each year about the science of plants and our dependence on them, to grow and harvest thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to combat hunger in our community, to help maintain garden spaces and spearhead much-needed improvement projects, and to promote the Gardens as a destination of local and regional significance. This year, we are excited to shine a spotlight on the impact of membership by hosting our first March Membership Month. Throughout the month, we’ll be offering special perks for new, renewing, and current members including:
• Membership Special: Enjoy $10 off any new or gift membership Use code MM22 at bbgardens.org/ membership
• New this year! Choose from tiered promotional items for members joining or renewing starting March 1. (See sidebar for details—while supplies last!)
• Member-exclusive Garden Highlights Tour: Saturday, March 19 | 11 a.m.– noon and noon–1 p.m.
• Member-exclusive Kayser Cherry Walk Tour: Sunday, March 20 | 2–3 p.m. Free | Space is limited | New, renewing, and current members are welcome. Registration required at bbgardens.org/ membertour
• Special giveaways by our member partner nurseries, garden centers, and flower shops
Free | Space is limited | New, renewing, and current members are welcome. Registration required at bbgardens.org/ membertour
Follow us on social media for weekly drawings for gift cards, plants, arrangements, and more from our 10 member partner nurseries, garden centers, and flower shops. (See list at right.) All new, renewing, and current members are eligible.
• One day only! Member-exclusive Native Plants Online Sale: Wednesday, March 16
• Save the date! Member priority access to Spring Plant Sale 2022: Friday, April 8 | 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Shop 60+ native plants specially selected and grown by our Natives growing group—learn more on page 4 of this issue.
The benefits don’t stop in March! Mark your calendar to enjoy member priority access to Spring Plant Sale 2022 on Friday, April 8.
CELEBRATE YOUR FRIENDSHIP Join or renew this year and choose from a new array of tiered promotional items available March 1. 3
FRIEND, DUAL, FAMILY 1. Terra-cotta flowerpot mug (14 oz.) 2. BPA-free aluminum water bottle (26 oz.) 3. “Growing a greener tomorrow” T-shirt 4. Canvas tote CONTRIBUTOR, SUPPORTER 5. Stainless steel, vacuum-seal
tumbler (20 oz.)
6. Pigment-dyed cap with
adjustable leather strap
7. Journal with loop closure and
AMBASSADOR, BENEFACTOR CIRCLE 8. Jumbo compact umbrella with wood handle
Enjoy Your Member Benefits at Our 10 Member Partner Nurseries, Garden Centers, and Flower Shops! The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is grateful for the many ways that local businesses give back to support the Gardens! Be sure to show your membership card when shopping at these local member partners, which offer 10 percent off regularly priced plant purchases* to members of the Friends.
PETALS FROM THE PAST
DOROTHY MCDANIEL'S FLOWER MARKET
FARMSTAND BY STONE HOLLOW
HOUSE PLANT COLLECTIVE
LEAF & PETAL AT THE GARDENS
SWEET PEAS GARDEN SHOP
MYERS PLANTS & POTTERY
BE SURE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR MEMBER BENEFITS IN 2022! Members of the Friends receive: • Membership card and choice of exclusive new member gift • Free or discounted admission to 340+ botanical gardens across North America • 10% off regularly priced plant purchases at partner nurseries, garden centers, and flower shops • Priority access and discounts to select events, classes, and children’s summer camps • Priority access to special tours and plant sales • Member gift plant at our Fall Plant Sale • 10% off at Leaf & Petal at the Gardens and The Gardens Café by Kathy G • Subscription to Birmingham Home & Garden magazine (for members at the Family level and up) • Subscription to our awardwinning quarterly newsletter, The Garden Dirt
Learn more about these businesses and hear their owners’ favorite gardening tips by checking out our member partner video series at youtube.com/birminghambotanicalgardens THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE GARDENS AND ALL THAT IT MAKES POSSIBLE THROUGH YOUR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP
*Certain exclusions apply; visit bbgardens .org/benefits to learn more.
SPRING 2022 ONLINE SALE! One Day, Members Only
During March Membership Month, get ready for spring gardening by shopping our one-day, online native plant sale featuring 60+ varieties of perennials specially selected by our Natives growing group Native perennials are well adapted to the weather conditions of our Southeast region and offer a feast both for the eyes and local pollinators. On Wednesday, March 16, members of the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens will have the opportunity to shop 60+ varieties recommended and cultivated at Birmingham Botanical Gardens by our Natives volunteer growing group. “Just as you may strive to buy quality food that is ‘local,’ we want to provide our bees, butterflies, and birds with the same quality nutrients they need to thrive,” says Natives growing group leader Gail Snyder. “Our group focuses on Southeastern native perennials along with a couple of annuals that are not only good for pollinators but also beautiful in our gardens. “It’s exciting to have a natives-only sale that provides an opportunity to get more natives into our community,” she says. “We have a few select stock plants from Jan Midgley, author of All About Alabama Wildflowers, for sale. We also have cleaned and packaged seeds for five pollinator magnet plants for our first 30 large orders [$100 or more].” The one-day, member-exclusive sale will be available for online preview March 14–15. Shopping will open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16, for pickup during your reserved pickup window on Thursday, March 24, via the Gardens’ service entrance off Cahaba Road ( just north of the Birmingham Zoo’s main entrance). Mark your calendar, and follow the Gardens’ social media and the Friends’ biweekly e-newsletters for updates! Need your member number to shop the sale? Contact us at 205.414.3950 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details, visit bbgardens.org/natives.
SHOP EARLY! The first 30 orders of $100 or more will receive a bonus gift of Southeasterncollected seed packets containing five distinctive perennial varieties native to the Southeast. Varieties include: • Bigelowia nuttallii (Rayless goldenrod) • Coreopsis pubescens (Star tickseed) • Helianthus atrorubens (Purple disk sunflower) • Hibiscus coccineus (Texas star hibiscus) • Rudbeckia maxima (Cabbage leaf coneflower) These special seed packets will include propagation instructions, growing conditions, plant care, and bloom time and will be with your order at pickup.
AROUND THE GARDENS:
New to native plants? Our Natives volunteer growing group highlights some favorites that you’ll want to add to your home garden. Look for them in our Kaul Wildflower Garden this growing season! BY MOLLY HENDRY 1. WHAT IT IS: Cumberland Pagoda (Blephilia subnuda) WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
Stacked whorls of whiteto-lavender flowers ascend the flower stalk, giving it its pagoda-esque look! A favorite of bees, this rare and endangered plant is an asset to any garden. WHERE IT GROWS: open edge of woods and glades 2. WHAT IT IS: Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
The happy pink faces of its flowers are longtime bloomers in the summer months. Keep the seed heads to ripen in your garden after flowering and you might see some goldfinches descend for a snack! WHERE IT GROWS: rocky open woods and prairies 3. WHAT IT IS: Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
Its striking red flowers bloom from end of summer through fall. Not only does this native extend the season of interest, but also it adds a stop for hummingbirds to find nectar. WHERE IT GROWS: moist soils in wet open woods, shady streambanks, marshes
Strong upright stems are covered with lavender/ white flowers—a favorite of pollinators—in summer. A few plants will expand to form a healthy clump in your garden. WHERE IT GROWS: woodland edges, wet woods and streambanks, moist meadows
4. WHAT IT IS: Blue Lobelia
6. WHAT IT IS: Hoary
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
This blue counterpart to the cardinal flower is another showstopper in the late summer/fall garden. The warm purple/ blue flower stalks add a peaceful hue in shady areas. WHERE IT GROWS: moist soils in wet open woods, shady streambanks, marshes 5. WHAT IT IS: Pink
Beardtongue (Penstemon calycosus)
Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum incanum) WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
Noted for its silvery blue/ green foliage, it also offers small lavender white terminal clusters of flowers in summer! It's a member of the mint family, so you might smell its aromatic leaves or hear the hum of pollinators flocking to it before you see it. WHERE IT GROWS: edges of woodlands, dry open woods, and thickets
The Library at the Gardens is a wonderful resource for nature enthusiasts, families, and anyone who would like to learn more about gardening! Bring your Jefferson County library card to check out books. Visit the Library 9 a.m.–4 p.m. weekdays. THYME TO READ A monthly book club hosted by the Library at the Gardens | Virtual via Zoom | Free and open to the public Every first Tuesday | 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman Tuesday, April 5 Beatrix Potter, A Life in Nature by Linda Lear Tuesday, May 3 Think Indigenous: Native American Spirituality for a Modern World by Doug Good Feather Preregister at bbgardens.org/library.
— FOR KIDS — FAMILY FUN DAYS
Select Saturdays | Cost: $15 (adult + child), $5 each additional family member Enjoy fun encounters in nature for the entire family! Topics will provide opportunities for visitors of all ages to discover the wonders of the Gardens. 1. FAMILY STORY WALK FROM COCOA BEANS TO CHOCOLATE Saturday, March 26 | 9–10 a.m. Led by Ellen Hardy, Education Coordinator, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Take a walk in the Gardens’ Conservatory to see a tropical cacao tree and vanilla bean orchid. Learn how cacao beans are processed into our favorite treats. Find out how monkeys impact cacao forests of Central and South America by listening to No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young. 2. FAMILY YOGA Saturdays, April 23, May 21 | 9–10 a.m. Led by Annie Damsky, Owner, Villager Yoga This energetic class in the Formal Garden includes individual and partner yoga poses, which support strength and balance. Master breathing exercises to help restore your focus. 3. FAMILY BIRDWATCHING SPRING BACKYARD BIRDS & THEIR SONGS Saturday, May 7 | 9–11 a.m. Led by Greg Harber, Vice President of Conservation, Alabama Audubon Birdwatching is a hobby everyone can enjoy! Hone your songbird identification skills. This class will consist of a bird walk through the Gardens; we’ll teach participants to identify birds by their field markings and songs.
CREATURE FEATURE 4. Saturday, March 26 | 9 a.m.–noon
Led by Kendra Abbott, Research and Outreach Coordinator, Alabama Museum of Natural History Explore live insects from around the world, including your backyard. Invertebrates make up more than 75 percent of animal life on our planet, yet we know so little about them. Discover the magnificence of beneficial insects.
EARTH DAY AT THE GARDENS 5. Saturday, April 23 | 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Free to all garden visitors Join the Friends of BBG as we cultivate a passion for plants, gardens, and the environment by celebrating sustainable living at our annual Earth Day celebration. The free, family-friendly event will promote healthy communities, sustainable living, and human wellness through educational dialogue, informational displays, and outdoor activities.
SPRINGTIME GARDEN KIT
6. Special seasonal offering for children Order through Friday, April 29 Pickup dates: Wednesday, May 4, through Friday, May 6 Cost: $20 (Members of the Friends) | $25 (Nonmembers) Celebrate the bounty of the springtime garden by crafting with botanicals. We have designed this kit with everything your budding gardener needs to craft a pressed flower suncatcher, botanical bookmark, and handmade card. A specially curated flower ID card will be included for flowers pressed from those grown at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This class is just in time to craft something special for Mother’s Day! Each garden kit is individually wrapped with seasonal ribbon. It includes pressed flowers, suncatcher materials, bookmark materials, special card crafting supplies, and a related children’s bibliography. Kits will be available for pickup in the Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Free to all garden visitors
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Our health and wellness classes will resume in person and out-ofdoors on Monday, March 14; visit bbgardens.org/classes and follow us on social media for more details and to register. Cost: $12 (Members of the Friends) | $15 (Nonmembers) 7. ASHTANGA YOGA IN THE GARDENS Instructor: Jason Kirby, Certified Yoga Instructor Mondays 8:30–9:30 a.m. Moore Cultural Pavilion (Japanese Garden) MINDFUL WALK & YOGA IN THE GARDENS Instructor: Ashley Clarke, Certified Mindful Outdoor Guide Tuesdays 8:30–9:30 a.m. Moore Cultural Pavilion (Japanese Garden)
Photo 2: Kizzie Klaire
SPRING 2022 CALENDAR
Grow your green thumb and explore the Gardens’ springtime wonders by joining us for these fun and inspiring educational offerings. Learn more and preregister at bbgardens.org/classes.
VINYASA YOGA IN THE GARDENS Instructor: Lelia Neil, Certified Yoga Instructor Wednesdays 8:30–9:30 a.m. Moore Cultural Pavilion (Japanese Garden) TAI-JI IN THE GARDENS: BEGINNER Instructor: Stephen Guesman, Tai-Ji Quan Instructor
Thursdays 3:30–4:30 p.m. Moore Cultural Pavilion (Japanese Garden)
FREE BROWN BAG LUNCH & LEARNS
TAI-JI IN THE GARDENS: PRACTICE (INTERMEDIATE) Instructor: Stephen Guesman, Tai-Ji Quan Instructor
Virtual via Zoom | Free and open to the public Preregistration required at bbgardens.org/ classes
Thursdays 4:45–5:45 p.m. Moore Cultural Pavilion (Japanese Garden)
SATURDAYS IN THE GARDENS 8 8. INTRODUCTION TO HERBALISM Instructor: Cameron Strouss, Registered Clinical-Functional Herbalist Saturday, March 12 | 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Cost: $40 (Members of the Friends) | $50 (Nonmembers) Learn the history, development, and applications of herbalism from ClinicalFunctional Herbalist Cameron Strouss. This is a primer that is meant to introduce you to herbalism principles including how herbalism fits inside a model for overall wellness, how to utilize the different warm/cool energies of herbs, and what discerns aromatherapy from herbalism. This class provides a framework for making future herbalism knowledge applicable.
NATIVE PLANT STUDIES
KAUL WILDFLOWER GARDEN PLANT WALK Instructors: Cameron Strouss, ClinicalFunctional Herbalist & Larry Stephens, Friends of BBG volunteer Saturday, March 26 | 10–11:30 a.m. Cost: $20 (Members of the Friends) | $25 (Nonmembers) Join Clinical-Functional Herbalist Cameron Strouss and volunteer Larry Stephens as they walk through the Kaul Wildflower Garden identifying native plants with medicinal purposes. The walk will feature plants of historical and medicinal significance.
Explore the Gardens’ collections, enjoy a sneak peek behind the scenes, and learn how to garden like a pro. Select dates (seasonally)
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. SUMMER PLANS: PLANTING VEGGIES Wednesday, March 23 Led by Jessica Hill, Jones Valley Teaching Farm Learn what and when to plant for your summer garden. PLANNING FOR SUCCESS Wednesday, April 6 Led by Chris Pugh, City of Birmingham Public Works
Gain insight into how to plan and design plantings at home.
Cost: $20 (Members of the Friends) | $25 (Nonmembers)
HERB APPEAL Wednesday, April 20
9. SCULPTURE & HISTORY OF THE GARDENS Saturday, March 19 | 10 a.m.–noon
Led by Olivia Fuller, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Discover the Gardens’ history by viewing art and sculptures across the grounds. Learn how to reflect the spirit and character of a garden with art by joining Jason Kirby, who is an archivist with the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Learn how to grow, preserve, and store your herbs.
Have a closer look into what e-waste is, why it's a problem, and six small ways to minimize it.
Join Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Alabama Cooperative Extension System experts in the Bruno Vegetable Garden to learn how to grow greener at home. A portion of this series is made possible through a gift from the Annie Lee Buce Matthews Fund for Sustainable Gardening.
ELECTRONIC CLEANUP Wednesday, May 4 Led by Allyson Shabel, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
AZALEA AND BOXWOODS 101 Wednesday, May 18 Led by Dr. Jim Jacobi, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Learn about common disease symptoms, detection, and prevention.
Select dates (seasonally) 2–4 p.m. Cost: $20 (Members of the Friends) | $25 (Nonmembers) 10. GROWING VEGETABLES IN SMALL SPACES Sunday, April 10 | 2–4 p.m. Join the Friends’ Director of Library Services, Hope Long, to learn more about the Seed Exchange and a variety of vegetable, fruit, and herb seeds available for smaller-scale gardens. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn how to plant these and other varieties through hands-on time in our Enabling Garden.
NATURE INSPIRES POETRY Magic City Poetry Festival Collaboration Coming in April 2022! Join the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Magic City Poetry Festival for a celebration of poetry and nature at the Gardens. The event will include performances of nature-themed pieces and a scavenger hunt. bbgardens.org/poetry
Lavender Lady OUR
For nearly 30 years, volunteer Carol Payne has carefully selected and painstakingly tended specialty lavenders for the Friends’ annual Spring Plant Sale By
WHEN SPRING PLANT SALE SHOPPERS ASK
Carol Payne what is special about the varieties of lavender she grows for the sale, she encourages them to lean in. “Put your nose over here,” she says. “Now isn’t that wonderful?” For Carol, who has been selecting, growing, and selling lavender to support the Friends’ work at the Gardens for more than a quarter century, there is no substitute for engaging the senses. “You can’t sell this online,” she says. “You’ve got to sell it in-person. I say, ‘Smell!’ ” When Carol joined the Friends’ Herbs volunteer growing group—often called the “Herb Army”— in 1991, she started out growing salvias and rosemaries, learning from mentors Mary Jean Morawetz, Barb Sanders, and Juanita Martinez,
MINDY KEYES BLACK
who led the group at that time. A few years later, she began growing lavenders exclusively. Each Wednesday morning throughout the year, you’ll find her in Greenhouse 4, checking to make sure her lavender plants are warm enough, draining well, and getting the nutrients they need. “There are things that you don’t know when you start working with plants,” she confides. “For instance, you cut them in order to make them grow. I always come in between Christmas and New Year’s and take cuttings so they’ll be ready for the sale in the spring. I start out with one little stem, and when I cut it open and it roots, I cut the main stem, and soon it makes two, and then four. So I try to do three cuttings before our sale, and that way it fills the whole pot.”
AT LEFT: Carol Payne holds a gallon-size pot of sweet lavender that she has grown for Spring Plant Sale 2022. BELOW: Carol shows how cuttings of lavender start out in smaller pots in a Gardens greenhouse to give them a cozy spot to grow.
She chooses varieties proven to do well in our region. “A lot of box stores will have angustifolias [English lavender], but you’re really not supposed to buy them here,” she says. “They are very pretty, and they bloom earlier, but they don’t like our humidity at all—they’ll live maybe a year, and that’s it. Hybrids do much better here.” One of her favorites is sweet lavender. “A number of years ago, I noticed there was none on the market, so I started taking cuttings from my own and propagating them,” she says. “I usually have about 150 sweet lavender plants to sell in the springtime.” (“Here,” she interrupts herself, picking up a pot of sweet lavender and clipping off a few leaves to share. “You can take these cuttings and tuck them in your pillowcase. Doesn’t that smell good?”) Carol continues to research her subject and introduce new varieties of lavender to the sale. “This past year, I came upon one on the market called ‘Sensational,’ a trademarked plant. I had never seen it before,” she says. “We ordered plugs to grow for the sale. It has a wonderful fragrance, and it’s a hybrid, so it does well here.” (“Do you want to see it?” she asks. “Don’t these look great? And the thing about it is they have a longer bloom time—plus that fragrance!”) Through the years, her passion has also impacted how plants are grown and tended for the Friends’ plant sales. Carol, for instance, advocated for installing heating pads in Greenhouse 4. She also mixes the soil she uses, adding bark and lime to a tropical mix to promote good drainage. “Lavenders came from the Mediterranean area, so you have to try to mimic their growing conditions,” she notes. Some time-tested tips, tricks, and tools of the trade are based more on personal experience. “I like to use a cocktail fork,” she says. “It is perfect for getting down where the roots are to see how they are doing. I’ve had it for many years, and it works just fine.” As she gears up to encourage shoppers to “Smell!” at Spring Plant Sale 2022, she laughs about how tired she often feels at the end of a sale. “Lavender people ask the most questions—you can’t imagine,” she says. “I’ll have people come to the sale and say, ‘I got one last year, and I don’t know what it was, but I want one just like it!’”
“Here,” she interrupts herself, picking up a pot of sweet lavender and clipping off a few leaves to share. “You can take these cuttings and tuck them in your pillowcase. Doesn’t that smell good?”
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP:
Katie Stoddard, Phyllis Clay, and Nancy Natter label herbs for Spring Plant Sale 2022. As they grow, herbs are tracked with care. Mimi Boston waters rosemary. Kathy Sherrer checks the progress of herbs for the sale. UAB School of Public Health student Lizzie Valentine takes cuttings of rosemary to plant.
HERB ARMY: NEW FOCUS FOR A NEW DAY
The Friends’ Herbs volunteer growing group has responded to the challenges of the pandemic and a changing marketplace by cultivating specialty herbs you can’t find just anywhere For many years, the Herbs volunteer growing group, or Herb Army, was known for having one of the largest quantities of plant offerings at the Friends’ annual Spring Plant Sales. “We always had upward of 10,000 to 12,000 pots of herbs for the spring sale,” says group leader Donna Taylor. During the past two years, as they adapted to Covid ups and downs, the launch of the Friends’ online plant sales, and the return of in-person plant sales to the Gardens, the Herb Army saw
an opportunity to refine their growing list. “We decided it was time to focus on hard-to-find plants,” says Donna. “Our plan is to offer fewer herbs—closer to 4,000 this year—but they will be very choice herbs.” The Herb Army will offer new varieties they have been excited to discover alongside tried-andtrue bestsellers at Spring Plant Sale 2022. “In essence, we are paying greater attention to what we are growing,” she says. “We’ve met, we’ve talked, we’ve planned,
and we believe we have chosen the best, the most special herbs— our favorites over the years.” Led by Master Gardeners and united by their passion for their plant group’s culinary, aromatic, and therapeutic delights, the Herb Army—now about two dozen members strong—finds success in dividing and conquering the tasks at hand. “The group’s nickname goes way back,” says Donna. “The original members saw themselves as little ants, all busily working toward a common
goal. There’s a lot of spirit—we are attracting new members eager to learn, and it continues to be a very fun group.” Over time, many of the group’s members have gravitated toward particular types of herbs, becoming experts in growing them. Tapped as “chairs” of their herb specialties, they identify varieties that thrive in our region, teach new group members about their specialty, and share growing tips based on long experience at the sale in April. —Mindy Keyes Black
What to watch for this spring? Turn the page to see hard-to-find gems the group’s specialty chairs suggest adding to your 2022 shopping list.
HERB EXPERTS’ RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SPRING PLANT SALE 2022 ‘COOL LAVENDER BLUSH’ SALVIA: “This is a
new salvia,” says salvia chairperson Diana Jones, who test-grows new finds in her home garden. “It’s anise-scented sage. It’s also called Salvia guaranitica. It has pinkish lavender flowers. They bloom prolifically from early summer to first frost and are hardy here to 15 degrees.”
AFRICAN BLUE BASIL: “This variety of basil
is prized primarily for its ability to attract bees and pollinators,” says group lead Donna Taylor. “Beekeepers love this plant. It’s a vigorous grower. It is edible but has an unusual flavor.”
‘COOL LAVENDER BLUSH’ SALVIA
AFRICAN BLUE BASIL
LEMON VERBENA: “This is one of my
favorites right now!” says Kathy Sherrer, who specializes in lemon-scented herbs. “We had none of this last year for sale because we were not at the Gardens (because of Covid) at the time it needed to be propagated. It’s wonderfully fragrant. Just brush by it, and wow, the smell! It has culinary uses such as teas, salad dressings, and desserts (like pound cake). Some want it for medicinal purposes also. And it’s a beautiful plant!”
LEMONGRASS: “I like lemongrass because it’s
different,” says Jerri Barnhill, who took an interest in growing the Gardens’ lemongrass seven years ago. “It’s used in a lot of Asian dishes, and a lot of people use it for cooking and in their yards for decoration. What’s important is that you plant it in really good soil. It needs some help along the way like we all do, but it’s easy to grow and unique at the garden sale.”
PINEAPPLE SAGE: “Red-flowered pineapple sage is one of our favorites,” says Diana Jones. “You can use the leaves for putting in salads or teas. It’s pineapple-scented and pineappleflavored, just really pretty. You can walk by and pinch and smell, and I like to do that.” ‘GORIZIA’ ROSEMARY: “This variety of
rosemary is a favorite of American herbalist Tom DeBaggio, who consulted with his family in Italy and named ‘Gorizia’ the best culinary rosemary,” says rosemary chair Mimi Boston. “This upright shrubby plant has larger than usual leaves, or needles, with complex flavor.”
‘TUSCAN BLUE’ ROSEMARY: “This is another wonderful rosemary,” says Mimi. “It is upright and a beautiful blue bloomer.” MINT: “This year we are focusing our efforts
on four select varieties: ‘Kentucky Colonel,’ ‘Mojito,’ ‘Madeline Hill,’ and ‘Peppermint,’ ” says Donna. “They are each distinctive in their own way—it can be hard to choose!” Shopping the sale is a chance to discover and learn about unusual varieties of herbs like these and many other types of plants grown by the Friends’ other volunteer growing groups, says Herb Army volunteer Katie Stoddard, whose specialty is scented geraniums. “That is what is so fun about the plant sales we have at the Gardens. A lot of what we offer, you can’t easily find. I think that’s why gardeners and garden lovers can’t wait to get into the sale, year after year.”
‘TUSCAN BLUE’ ROSEMARY
LENDING A HAND
Volunteers construct new handrails along the Gardens’ Herb Terrace Ascending the hillside above the Bruno Vegetable Garden, facing the bright southern sunshine, is the Herb Terrace. When members of the Herb Army aren’t hard at work in the greenhouses, they can be found among these garden beds cultivating a vibrant array of herbs. Many of the plants on display are the hard-to-find varieties selected for our climate and offered at the Friends’ plant sales. While the group always has their eye toward the plantings, they also keep a close watch on the visitor experience. This past winter, the group solicited the help of our carpentry volunteers to craft new railings along the steps and terraces to enhance visitor safety as they view the Herb Terrace. This energetic team of craftsmen is often called in to complete construction and repair projects around the Gardens, from crafting level stone terraces for new benches and replacing railings that line paths to refurbishing wooden lathhouse structures and benches. For this project, the team industriously used excess wood from a previous project as well as recycled wood from an old railing to construct new railings. Now guests visiting the Herb Terrace have a secure handle to guide their journey up and down the stairs as well as a defined boundary at the top to enjoy sweeping views of Bruno Vegetable Garden. “It is great to be part of the garden,” says Rick Cybulsky, a dedicated member of the carpentry group. “It is something we all love and enjoy seeing it grow and improve. It makes us all feel good.” —Molly Hendry
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Ray Thweatt, Raymond Lyrene, and Joe Dice
discuss the placement and angle of the Herb Terrace’s new handrails. Joe double-checks a rail’s measurements. Rick Cybulsky (foreground) teams up with (from top left) Ray, Tom Jenkins, Raymond, and Joe to assemble the new railings. Raymond watches as fellow volunteers secure an upper railing.
2022 IS OFF TO A GREAT START
Meet Our New Board Members The Friends is pleased to welcome five new community and business leaders to our board of directors
1. DERICK BELDEN Derick Belden is the owner and creative director for FRED Communication by Design. FRED specializes in place-based branding for commercial and residential real estate projects as well as supporting Birmingham-based privately held businesses and nonprofits, all with the goal of helping build a better Birmingham. Prior to FRED, he was executive editor of Southern Living magazine, where he was responsible for home and garden content and led the team responsible for launching the magazine’s licensed product efforts. A native of Charleston, W.V., and son of two Master Gardeners, Derick is a graduate of Washington and Lee University. He serves on the vestry of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, is active in the community, and is an avid gardener and golfer.
is a graduate of the LEAD program, a year-long executive leadership cohort, offered by Women Unlimited, Inc. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she is an active and committed volunteer in the Birmingham community. She currently serves on the boards of The Exceptional Foundation and ALL IN Mountain Brook. She is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Birmingham and a past president of The Junior League of Birmingham. She co-chaired Antiques at the Gardens, the Friends’ largest annual fundraiser, in 2018 and 2019.
2. ELEANOR ESTES Eleanor Estes was born in Birmingham, and some of her fondest memories include coming to the gardens with her mother and sister for picnics and adventures. She has lived in Birmingham most of her adult life and still loves the Gardens. For high school, she attended The Madeira School in McLean, Va., and then attended college at Sewanee: The University of the South, where she earned her B.A. in European History. She received a Masters of Science in Biology from UAB in 2004. In 2008, she became CEO of Tech Providers, Inc., which provides staffing services. In 2020, she became CEO of Redmont Distilling Co., Birmingham’s largest vodka and gin distillery. She has one daughter, Cromwell, who is 17. She loves to travel, read, and (of course) garden! “I am excited and honored to be on the board and look forward to getting to work on behalf of the Gardens!” says Eleanor.
4. LARRY D. THORNTON, SR. Larry Thornton is president and owner of Thornton Enterprises, Inc., a McDonald’s franchisee. He serves on the boards for Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc.; the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta—Birmingham Branch; Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Foundation; Freshwater Land Trust; and First Commercial Bank (Synovus). He is known primarily as a businessman and artist; however, in 2019 he released his first book, Why Not Win?, a reflection on his 50-year journey from the Jim Crow South to America’s boardrooms and the lessons he learned. Since the book’s release, the Why Not Win Institute, a leadership and professional development initiative, has been delivered at Clemson University, Auburn University, Texas A&M University, the University of Alabama, Fisk University, Alabama A&M University, and his alma mater, Alabama State University. Active in the community, Larry was named State Kiwanian of the Year in 1993. He is a graduate of Project Corporate Leadership Class, Leadership Birmingham, and Leadership Alabama. Proud owners of his art include Oprah Winfrey and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
3. LEIGH HAVER A native of Dothan, Leigh has called Birmingham home for the last 24 years. She currently serves as the Retail Market Manager for First Horizon Bank, providing the strategic direction and leadership of the Birmingham branch network. Her banking career has spanned over two decades, during which she has served as a private banking relationship manager, regional marketing and training director, area sales and marketing coordinator, and in various roles in branch leadership. She
5. MILAN BALLARD, JUNIOR BOARD PRESIDENT Milan Ballard grew up in Birmingham and has been visiting the Gardens since childhood, when she enjoyed picnics by the pond with her mom. She has served on the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Junior Board for three years and is excited to continue to serve as junior board president in 2022. Milan works as marketing manager for an Italian shoe brand, Ballerette. Her favorite areas of the Gardens are the Conservatory and Japanese Garden.
at the Gardens! Thank you so much for your generous support—all gifts make a difference. There are so many ways you can participate: membership, annual donations, memorials and tributes, legacy giving, as well as by volunteering, shopping our plant sales, and joining us for an education program or special event. Please get involved in the Friends and visit often. Thank you for giving back to sustain the Gardens and all it makes possible. —Penney Hartline, Director of Development
November 2021–January 2022 Cathy & Tom Adams Mr. & Mrs. Allen H. McCain Mrs. Russell Alford Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Anne Bailey Mr. Robert E. Heithaus Philippa & Frank* Bainbridge Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Retirement of Brian D. Barr Brasfield & Gorrie City Gardeners & BBG staff who help support the Natives team & other volunteer efforts Mr. & Mrs. Marvin Snyder Emily & Bill Bowron Catherine & Roger Smith D.C. & Debbie Coston Ms. Elisabeth C. Penry Margie & Sidney Davis Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Henrietta S. Emack Susan & James Alison Trudy Evans & Russell Levenson Mr. & Mrs. Art Rogers Mary Farrar Mrs. Marion T. Plylar Craig & Cindy Fravert Catherine & Chris Carter Lucy Gaede Margaret W. Grubb Penney Hartline Sandra & Jerry Parker Richard Healy Trussville Garden Club Molly Hendry Charleston Horticulture Society Margi Ingram Eloise & Bill Doty Birthday of Tilly Isaacson Mom & Dad Birthday of Lynn B. Jackson Mr. & Mrs. Curtis Thompson Jacqueline & Bruce MacClary Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Karen McCaffery & Cris Tucker Mr. & Mrs. Steve I. Smith Dr. Michael L. McInturff Mrs. Robbin C. McInturff William McLure Mr. & Mrs. Frank W. Adkins Thomas Moore & Ben Stillwell Kay Calhoun Dona & John Musgrave Rosemary & Charles Reid *Deceased
Frederick Robert Lehmeyer Joyce Lehmeyer
Susan & Alex Nading Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter
Donna McKinney Lummus Mr. & Mrs. Robert Jensen
Robert P. Parker, Jr. Katherine & James W. Shepherd, Jr.
Margot Kessler Marx Mr. & Mrs. Kerry Stein
Gail & Edward Parrish Mr. & Mrs. Mike Parrish
Sarah Clark McClure Mary Jean & Calvin Clay
J. Randall Pitts, Jr. Mr. J. Otey Hutchinson
Carol Ann McCoy Mr. & Mrs. Gary L. Coleman Ms. Freida S. McCoy
Carol P. Poynor Robin Stewart Carolyn & Henry Ray Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Linda G. Sherk Ms. Sallie M. Lee Jeanie Sherlock Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Van Hauen Gail & Marvin Snyder Betty & Walt Anderson Dianne & John Uhrin Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Barbara & William Viar Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Mrs. James Wall Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Lyda White & Art Steinacker Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter Mrs. Claude White Ellen & Hobart* McWhorter
November 2021–January 2022 Janice Lee Arnsdorff Judge Caryl Privett Frank Mims Bainbridge Mr. Philip Anderson Karen Chapman Mr. & Mrs. Richard P. Cook Donna Hartmann Beauchamp Nancy & Murray Smith Virginia Bonds Black Mr. & Mrs. Gene W. Gray, Jr. Louise Fendley Blackshear Ms. Sydney Smith & Ms. Barbara Brunson Connie “Mumsie” Gillon Blan Dr. & Mrs. Josh Everts Karlee & Ed Bradberry Rebecca & Bob Moody Jane Cole Byrd Mr. & Mrs. John M. Musgrave Lois Jeannette “Jane” Fuller Campbell Lady Jane & Yancey Gillespie Emily Frances Chenoweth (Major) Ms. Leslie B. McLeod Harold Cecil Coghlan Cerda Mr. & Mrs. Harold Coghlan Bess “Bitsy’ Bishop Edmundson Coleman William E. Coleman Hayden Hope Doores Leighton & Cody Doores Mr. & Mrs. Bob Lindstrom Mr. & Mrs. Robert Lindstrom L. Aubrey Drewry Elizabeth Drewry Robert L. Eskew, Sr. Lee & Ed Chapman Dr. Glenn T. Eskew Mr. & Mrs. John R. Eskew Linda & Jerold McIntosh John Alex Floyd, Jr. Dianne Young Joyce Malkove Helzberg Mrs. Amy Baird Sue & Dick Mindlin Oak Street Hair Group Anne M. Oliver Fred Greenstein & Marcia Schoenfeld Winifred Ann Turner Hull Charlie & Bebe Bugg Martha Sulzby Clark Hunnewell Mr. & Mrs. Michael Balliet Mary & Jamie French Helen Lawlor Fran Lawlor
Rev. Julian & Eleanor McPhillips Louise & Frank McPhillips Mary Jane “Janie” Rainer Jenkins Meadows Carol & Rex Alexander Jane & Keith Arendall Mr. & Mrs. Charles J. Arndt IV Ruth & Sandy Bean Mr. & Mrs. Reaves Monroe Crabtree Mary Todd & Jimmy Davis John & Martha DeBuys Debby & Bill Denson Mr. & Mrs. Bo Grisham Martha & Chip Grizzle Penney & Roger Hartline Mr. & Mrs. Timothy S. Healey Ms. Susan E. Inglis Mr. Ed Lindsey Carolyne & David Martin Schuyler & Larry Oaks Ms. Nancy Price Progress Study Club Mrs. Minnie H. Rast Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Rogers Susan & Russell Stutts, Kate Stutts Comini Austin Martin Price Nancy & Jim Price Ina Bredenkamp Retief Ms. Adrienne Retief Walter Francis Scott, Jr. Paige & Walter Scott Robert “Bobby” Wylie Shepherd Mary & Jamie French James Wylie Shepherd, Sr. Catherine & Roger Smith Patricia Hughes Sholund Ms. Jennifer L. Sholund Benigno M. Soto Mrs. Teresa G. Soto Billy Wayne Spain, Sr. Mrs. Elizabeth F. Spain Kathryn Leah Speegle Ryan & Erica Speegle John F. Stadtlander Carolyn Stadtlander Lee J. Styslinger, Jr. Nancy & Murray Smith Fredrick Michael “Mike” Tuttle Anonymous James “Jim” Tavner Yarbro Ely & Isenberg LLC
SPRING 2022 GARDEN SUPPORTERS
Kate Musso Mr. & Mrs. William E. Matthews V
DR. TYLER MASON JOINS FRIENDS TEAM AS NEW DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND VISITOR EXPERIENCE The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is excited to welcome Tyler Mason as its new Director of Education and Visitor Experience. In his new role, he will lead educational program development and management, garden interpretation, conservation programming, and library and information services, as well as community outreach, partnerships, and engagement. Tyler began in the new role on February 14. A familiar face at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Tyler has served for the past year as Urban Regional Extension Agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in the C. Beaty Hanna Horticulture and Environmental Center at the Gardens. In this position, he supported urban agriculture specialty crop producers and urban natural resource clients in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa Counties. He also collaborated with programming partners, including the Friends, to support urban agriculture in Alabama with a special focus on vegetable production and organic gardening. Tyler brings to the position extensive experience in adult and youth programming, field trips, and outreach, along with a passion for horticulture and sustainable gardening. After completing undergraduate degrees in agricultural education and horticulture from Purdue University, Tyler worked for five years at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he served as assistant education director as well as horticulturist. He went on to earn his master’s in agriculture and extension education and a doctorate in horticulture from Colorado State University. For his master’s thesis, he focused on retention of volunteers in a public garden setting. “With his impressive experience rooted in a lifelong love of public gardens, we are delighted to welcome Tyler to the Friends team,” says Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Executive Director Tom Underwood. “He will build on many successful programs and help shape the organization’s programmatic future, enabling us to continue to serve a broad, diverse audience and to offer a rich variety of experiences that promote sustainability, environmental stewardship, and a passion for plants, gardening, and the environment.” “I’m so pleased to be joining the Friends,” says Tyler. “This is a perfect opportunity to combine my passion for horticulture and love for education. I look forward to enhancing educational programs and expanding adult and youth class offerings now and for many years to come. If you have an idea for a class, please consider reaching out.”
November 2021–January 2022 Charlene Chadband Edgewood Garden Club Fletcher Harvey Valley Offshoots Garden Club Jason Kirby Blue Star Garden Club ike Tuttle M Anonymous
LIBRARY MEMORIALS November 2021–January 2022
Donna Hartman Beauchamp Oak Street Garden Shop Employees Betty Espy Grayson Oak Street Garden Shop Employees Mary F. Hawkins Oak Street Garden Shop Employees James Stanley Mackin, Sr. Oak Street Garden Shop Employees Mary Jane Rainer Jenkins Meadows Jim and Ann Moore Sandra Gail Mezzell Edgewood Garden Club William James Rushton, III Oak Street Garden Shop Employees
WELCOME, TAN! Shantana “Tan” Blevins joined the Birmingham Park & Recreation team as a gardener in December. A licensed landscape crew leader and certified heavy equipment operator, she is also working on becoming a Master Gardener. Her experience with cultivating plants began with a third-grade science project on the sprouting of grass seeds and has been growing ever since. “Working at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens gives me a nurturing and motherly feeling,” says Tan. “It has actually become quite natural, and I learn new things on a daily basis.” You’ll see Tan around the Gardens, assisting with plant care and maintenance of garden spaces.
Remembering a Conservation Legend Often called the “father of biodiversity,” celebrated naturalist and Birmingham native E.O. Wilson, who passed away in December, believed that Alabama’s natural diversity holds clues for the world and its future By BILL FINCH
as if this helped explain and confirm the bent of his life. He believed that understanding the biodiversity of Alabama could shape the future of the state, even as it had shaped his future, and as it would shape the world. He had access to every great natural area in the world. But again and again he turned his attention to the national center of tree diversity in Alabama’s Red Hills, to Alabama’s pineland bogs, among the world’s great centers of carnivorous plant diversity. He declared that the Paint Rock Valley in northeast Alabama should become a world center of research into how forests and ecosystems work. For his 88th birthday, he wanted nothing more than a chance to prospect for ants in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. He swatted his net through the reeds, chuckling as he gathered ants that appeared out of nowhere. It was executed like a serious scientific endeavor. But on that day he was a happy boy tromping through the marsh, discovering Alabama diversity as if for the first time. Bill Finch currently serves as founding director of Paint Rock Forest Research Center. Principal Conservation Science Advisor to the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, he has been involved in Alabama conservation for more than 30 years.
Photos courtesy of ©Beth Maynor Finch/PaintRock.org
E.O. WILSON LEFT A LEGACY for the world. But he also left a challenge for that corner of the planet where he had his first encounters with nature. The discovery and celebration of biodiversity was central to his work. Nature for Ed wasn’t just beautiful scenery. Nature was first and foremost its species, each and every one. As Ed gave people new ways of thinking about the world, he gave the world a new way of thinking about Alabama. It may seem odd that the modern concept of biodiversity was born in a region that historically has struggled with understanding and valuing its own diversity. But Ed believed Alabama could become a model for understanding diversity, because he understood the profound effects that state’s exceptional natural riches had on him as he was growing up. Concepts like biophilia were his way of articulating the impulses that drove him as a boy to feel the muscular resistance of snakes in his hands, to arrange the wings of butterflies, to study how the minute habits of ants could rock an entire forest. He was fascinated by the growing recognition that Alabama is the continent’s center of aquatic life, the center of continental tree diversity, the center of turtle diversity in the Western hemisphere,
E.O. WILSON AND BILL FINCH
Plant the Seeds for Your Lasting Legacy at the Gardens JOIN OUR PERENNIAL LEGACY GIVING CIRCLE You can help us perpetuate the wonders of Birmingham Botanical Gardens and all that it means to our community and region by including the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens in your planned giving. Gifts to the Friends ensure that this botanical treasure will remain a place of beauty and source of inspiration to all who visit for generations to come. Every gift makes an impact. Please consider designating the Friends as a beneficiary of your estate through your will, charitable trust, or retirement beneficiary designation. We are grateful to those who have made this special commitment. Please join them in supporting and protecting this beloved community resource. Call Director of Development Penney Hartline at 205.414.3950, ext. 103, to learn more.
PERENNIAL LEGACY GIVING CIRCLE
As of JANUARY 31, 2022 Recognizing those who have made or pledged a planned gift Mr.* & Mrs. Edgar G. Aldridge Mr. & Mrs. Michael Balliet Ms. Camille A. Becker Mrs. Lucille S. Beeson* Peggy Bonfield & Orrin Ford* Ida C. & D. Joseph Burns* Mr. & Mrs. Arthur I. Chenoweth* Mary Carolyn Gibbs Cleveland Suzanne G. Clisby Dr. & Mrs. D.C. Coston Mrs. Martha Stone Cobb Daniel* The Daniel Foundation of Alabama Dr. L. Aubrey* & Elizabeth Drewry The Dunn-French Family Dr. John D. Elmore* Martha B. & Robert L.* Eskew Mrs. Trudy Evans Mr. & Mrs. Wally Evans Mrs. Claire H. Fairley* Bernadine Rushing Faulkner Mr. F. Lewter Ferrell, Jr.* Dorothy Ireland Fletcher Dr.* & Mrs. Charles P. Grant Patti Hammond Jody & Don Hamre* Penney & Roger Hartline Mr. R.R. Herbst* Mrs. Jimmie Hess* Mr. J. Ernest Hill & Mrs. Ora Lee Hill*
Mrs. Jane Hinds Fay B. Ireland* Dr. Susan Jackson Mr. George L. Jenkins Bobbe & Hugh Kaul* Ms. Pamela Kaul* Mr. Jason C. Kirby & Mr. Benjamin J. Faucher Fran Lawlor Dr. Bodil Lindin-Lamon* Hope Long Dr. Michael E. Malone Annie Lee Buce Matthews* Ms. Louise T. McAvoy* Douglas A. & Linda P. McCullough Margaret H. McGowan* Mrs. Mary Jean Morawetz Mr. Philip Morris* Thelma Vaughan Mueller* Mr. & Mrs. Fred W. Murray, Jr. Don & Pat Nelson Dr. James L. Newsome* Dr. & Mrs. A. I. Perley* LeAnne* & Steve Porter Mrs. Carol P. Poynor Mrs. Dorothy L. Renneker* Deborah & John Sellers Sandra S. Simpson Mr. & Mrs. William M. Spencer III* Mr. Douglas Arant Stockham Janet & Jarry Taylor Dr. Wendell H. Taylor, Sr.* Mrs. Barbara D. Thorne* Dr. & Mrs.* Jack W. Trigg, Jr. Mrs. Carolyn D. Tynes* Mrs. Ann H. “Nancy” Warren* Mrs. Robert Wells Anonymous (2)
Children’s Summer Camps AT BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS
Give your child a chance to explore the Gardens’ summertime wonders! FOR AGE 4–6TH GRADE | MAY 31–JULY 29, 2022 With fun themes from Monet’s Gardens and Wild and Wonderful to Summer Gardeners: From Bees to Trees—and more!—our weeklong, half-day summer camps are designed to promote creativity and the joy of discovery in the unmatched natural setting of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. All teachers are certified or otherwise qualified. Members of the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens receive priority registration and discounts on camp registrations.
205.414.3950 bbgardens.org/summercamps A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is the result of a public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a missiondriven membership organization that seeks to protect, nurture, and share the wonders of the Gardens.
Non-Profit Org. US Postage
Birmingham, AL Permit No. 2513
2612 Lane Park Road Birmingham, Alabama 35223 205.414.3950 bbgardens.org
Thank you for your commitment to this community treasure. Your support is vital for the Gardens and those we serve. Please renew or upgrade your membership at bbgardens.org/membership.
The Garden Dirt is printed using vegetable-based inks. Please recycle.
‘Apricot Beauty’ tulips herald the arrival of spring in the flower border of the Southern Living Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. These cheerful blooms kick off a show of color that will continue until first frost.