Birmingham Botanical Gardens Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

By on March 18, 2014

Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) has been a local favorite of plant enthusiasts for over 50 years. Alabama’s largest living museum continues to blossom in 2014 with two key events.

On February 24, the Conservatory doors reopened to the public for the first time since April 2012. Plant and garden lovers can also look forward to the city’s largest plant sale fundraiser of 2014 at BBG’s Spring Plant Sale this April.

The Conservatory at The Gardens reopened last month after undergoing a $1.3 million renovation project for Phase I, which aims to include a new re-glazed safety glass, an upgraded electrical distribution and automated ventilation sashes, restoration of the original entrance, and an installation of an internal mylar shade blanket and insulation system.

“People have been thrilled with the renovations made over the last year and are eager for the space to again be available as an outdoor classroom for Discovery Field Trips,” the Gardens Public Relations Coordinator, Blake Ells said.

The Conservatory has long been used as a classroom for hhe Gardens’ award-winning Discovery field trips, a curriculum-based, hands-on learning experience for Birmingham students. In the past 15 years, over 100,000 students in the Birmingham area have received free science education through the program.

The Discovery theme for March through May is “Alabama Woodlands,” which teaches first through sixth grade students the interdependence of animals and plants as they explore the Barber Alabama Woodlands. Birmingham Audubon Society is offering a Bird Walk where birds will be identified and teachers and students will be taught how to properly use binoculars and field guides.

Another BBG education program is Plant Adventures, which allows children and adults to foster the interaction between people and plants through hands-on activities. Educational programs such as Discovery Field Trips and Plant Adventures is supported by BBG’s annual Plant Sale.

“Our mission is education, and fundraisers like Spring Plant Sale allow an opportunity for The Gardens to utilize Alabama’s largest living museum as an outdoor classroom for Birmingham citizens of all ages,” Ells said.

Phase I of the Conservatory’s remodeling was made possible by members and the donations of: The Lucille S. Beeson Charitable Trust, The Brooke Family Foundation, City of Birmingham, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Lyndra and Bill Daniel, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Lorol Roden Bowron Foundation and two anonymous donors. Additional funding was provided by The Butrus Family Advised Fund, Valley Off-Shoots Garden Club and The Holly Oak Garden Club.

BBG’s 2014 Spring Plant Sale will be held at the former J.C. Penney at Century Plaza in Birmingham April 11-13. The sale is open April 11, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; April 12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and April 13, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is free.

The Preview Party and Members-Only Sale kicks off Thursday, April 10 at 5 p.m. Admission is $45 in advance and $50 at the door. The Preview Party admission includes food, wine, and a golden-themed Signature Plant. The Members-Only Sale is free to members April 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Memberships can be purchased online at

Over 100,000 plants will be available to the public for purchase at the Spring Plant Sale, many of which have been nurtured by volunteers at the Gardens. “Our volunteers are passionate gardeners that spend a lot of time, year long, preparing for Spring and Fall Plant Sales,” said Ells.

In honor of BBG’s 50th Anniversary celebration, the Signature Plants of 2014 have a golden theme and include GoldDust hybrid mecardonia, Gold Lace coleus, deep yellow calibrachoa, Lucky pure gold lantana and golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’). Each Signature Plant is $5.

“The Spring Plant Sale furthers The Gardens’ mission of promoting public knowledge and appreciation of plants, gardens and the environment while providing consumers seasonally appropriate planting advice from experts and satisfaction from supporting a worthwhile cause with each purchase,” said Ells.

The Spring Plant Sale is sponsored in part by the Howard Hughes Corporation, Leaf & Petal at The Gardens, Birmingham Home & Garden Magazine, Buffalo Rock, Fox 6, ValPak of Central Alabama and

To learn more about the Spring Plant Sale or for volunteer opportunities, visit


About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama’s largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens’ 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 10,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

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