Thursday, October 15, 2009

Horticultural Therapy Program Wins John Walker Community Service Award

Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ horticultural therapy program has won the 2009 John Walker Community Service Award from the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). This is the first national honor won by the program, which is managed by Horticultural Therapy Coordinator Susan Grimes with help from a team of dedicated volunteers. The John Walker Community Service Award is given each year to an organization that has made a “significant contribution to horticultural therapy in the area of program services provided for a community.”

“This award reinforces The Gardens’ outstanding commitment to service in the community,” said Ms. Grimes, who traveled to California this past week to accept the honor. “It places Birmingham Botanical Gardens in the same company as other prestigious gardens throughout the United States.” The only other public gardens to win the award in the past were Chicago Botanic Garden in 1987 and the Holden Arboretum in 1981.

Horticultural therapy uses gardening as a rehabilitation and life-enrichment tool for a diverse population that includes people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, physical limitations, mental and emotional impairment or other special needs. Some of The Gardens’ clients include United Cerebral Palsy, Children’s Hospital, St. Martin’s in the Pines and Putnam Middle School. For more information about Birmingham Botanical Gardens' horticultural therapy program, go to or call 205.414.3950.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall Plant Sale Extended to Two Days!

Saturday, October 17
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, October 18
Noon-4 p.m.

As you've no doubt noticed, autumn has arrived and the weather is cooling down in a hurry, which means it's the perfect time for planting! Plants enter dormancy, soil is very warm with excellent moisture content to promote healthy root development and rapid plant establishment before spring.

We've extended our Fall Plant Sale to two days this year to offer more plants than ever before. The annual autumn event is a one-of-a-kind ritual for local gardeners, new homeowners and plant aficionados who come out to The Gardens to stock up on everything they need for their homes and gardens. Scroll down for a list of the plant varieties that will be available.

Proceeds benefit our mission to promote public knowledge and appreciation of plants, gardens and the environment. For more information, contact Shelly McCarty at 205.414.3965.

Below is a list of plants that we will have available this weekend:
  • Annuals
  • Bedding plants
  • Biannuals
  • Camellias
  • Daylilies
  • Fall lettuces
  • Ferns
  • Herbs
  • Hostas
  • Irises
  • Natives
  • Perennials
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
  • and much, much more...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Local Garden Clubs Reforest George Ward Park

Little Garden Club and Red Mountain Garden Club are teaming up with Birmingham Botanical Gardens and holding a tree planting ceremony at George Ward Park on Saturday, October 24 at 8 a.m. to reforest what is considered the gem of the Birmingham park system. The Garden Club of America (GCA) issued a challenge to its affiliated clubs across the nation to develop and enact a project in their local community focusing on trees to celebrate and honor 100th anniversary in 2013.

The Garden Club of America itself is doing a renovation project in New York City's Central Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr. The city of Birmingham commissioned his son, Frederick Olmstead, Jr., to develop the Birmingham park system, beginning with the "naturalistic" Green Spring Park, now known as George Ward Park. Since the creation of the park, however, not one native seedling has been able to take root and mature because of the poor soil conditions and erosion problems in the park.

Henry Hughes, director of education at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, has been collecting and germinating blackjack oak, post oak and red hickory seeds from the older park trees for the past two years for future planting. Part of the project includes scattering clippings and brush throughout the park to regenerate the soil’s organic nutrients; it is believed that seeds from the native trees will eventually germinate naturally, initiating the forest’s self-regeneration over time. Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the Glen Iris Neighborhood Association and Friends of George Ward Park are also contributing to the project.