Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring Plant Sale 2009 - Most Successful Ever!

Despite a lingering financial crisis, last weekend's Spring Plant Sale was the most successful of all time. In its 40th year, Birmingham Botanical Gardens' annual sale brought in over $265,000 with nearly 7,400 visitors coming through the doors. There were more than 85,000 plants available with the Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' being the signature plant (which was clearly a hit, as it sold out on Saturday).

This massive undertaking was made possible by the hundreds of loyal and knowledgeable volunteers at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. As any volunteer-based organization can atest, these tireless workers are the heart and soul of Birmingham Botanical Gardens; from working events to sitting on committees to being field trip docents, our volunteers do it all.

Money earned at the Spring Plant Sale goes to Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens' education programs and activities. Friends' mission is to promote public knowledge and appreciation of plants, gardens, and the environment and to receive, raise and administer resources for these purposes. Some of these programs include Discovery Field Trips, Children's Summer Workshops, Adult & Family Classes and Horticultural Therapy. Last year more than 10,000 school children were able to take advantage of the free Discovery Field Trips to learn about science and nature.

Stay tuned for some fun videos and pics from the Spring Plant Sale

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gardening Tips for April

Here are some good tips for gardening in Alabama during the month of April. We'll update these regularly each month, so stay tuned for more in the Gardening Tips series!

Tips courtesy of Alabama Cooperative Extension System; for more information, see

Fruits and Nuts
  • Season for strawberry planting continues.
  • Start spray program for all fruits.
  • Plant raspberries and blackberries and continue budding apples and peaches.

  • Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering.
  • Fertilize azaleas and camellias.
  • When new growth is half completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.

  • Planting continues.
  • New lawns may need supplementary watering.
  • Also, fertilize at 3- to 6-week intervals.
  • Keep ryegrass cut low, particularly if over planted on bermuda lawns.

  • Watch for insects and diseases
  • Keep old flower heads removed
  • Plant container-grown plants from nurseries or garden centers.

Annuals and Perennials
  • Plant early started annuals or bedding plants from nurseries or garden centers.
  • Divide mums or root cuttings.
  • Dig and divide dahlias.

  • Plant gladiolus, fancy-leaved caladiums, milk and wine lilies, and ginger and gloriosa lilies.
  • Feed bearded iris with superphosphate and spray for borers.
  • Avoid cutting foliage of narcissus or other bulbs until it has turned brown naturally.

  • Spray camellias, hollies, etc., for scale insects.
  • Carefully water new plantings of shrubs and trees.
  • Pinching out tips of new shoots promotes more compact shrubs.

Vegetable Seed
  • Plant tender vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, melons, and cucumbers.
  • Plant heat-loving vegetables in lower South Alabama.

Vegetable Plants
  • Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, and parsley.