The Montgomery Botanical Gardens continues to benefit from the significant time and effort that the CCMGA volunteers contribute to developing and nurturing the gardens. One of the responsibilities of Master Gardeners is to volunteer their time and expertise to public gardens in their communities. Each county Master Gardener organization identifies local gardens as on-going volunteer projects for its members. Long term, faithful master gardener volunteers form the core of the MBG project volunteers, but interns from the 2022 MG class have enthusiastically joined the MBG Project Committee and participated on the volunteer workdays. The most recent volunteer workday on August 16, 2022, offered an opportunity for those volunteering to learn about deadheading Hydrangeas; treating fungus on Hydrangeas; identifying and removing weed vines among shrubs; and pruning Crepe Myrtles. The group also had the opportunity to tour the newly upgraded pathways that lead to the Outdoor Classroom and learn about future plans for MBG. As evidence of their productivity that day, a large collection of bags and limbs were stacked at the entrance for pick up by Parks and Recreation staff. Among those who volunteered together that day were interns Alice Jackson and Judy Heinzman (pictured above). The gardens are a great asset to the community and the entire River Region. The MBG Board of Directors, the MBG membership and the citizens of Montgomery can be very proud of CCMGA’s volunteer and financial contributions to MBG from its inception.
The diligent work of volunteers along with guidance and support from the Montgomery Botanical Gardens Board of Directors has resulted in thriving gardens that have not only provided beauty and pleasure for the community but have also earned recognition and award designations. The gardens were founded in 2015 and planting began in 2017. After such a short period of time, it is notable that the gardens have received significant accolades earned from a variety of organizations. This urban oasis of nature and beauty is a tremendous asset to our city and our region for both residents and visitors.
The Montgomery Area Daylily Society adopted an undeveloped area of the Southern Garden for Phase I of MBG development. Many members of MADS are also Master Gardeners. They prepared the soil, planted and nurtured a variety of daylilies and companion plants, and produced a garden that provides continuous beauty. This bed earned the designation as a Daylily Display Garden by the American Daylily Society in 2020. This beautiful example of gardening was also awarded the “Garden of the Week” title for the first week of January in 2022 by the International Daylily Society. Supporters and visitors of MBG are thankful for the work of MADS and are very proud of this recognition and of this beautiful garden.
The Federation of Garden Clubs adopted the Betty Fitzgerald Biblical Garden at MBG in 2015 and worked to revitalize and improve it. This garden was established in the early 1980s, to honor “Miss Betty” who dedicated many years to helping to beautify Montgomery. Over the years, the garden had deteriorated from neglect and overgrowth. The Federation’s replanting, expansion, and restoring of sections of the garden and adding lovely themed benches have resulted in a peaceful, meditative venue for visitors. The National Garden Club bestowed the First Place Award for “Town Beautification/Continuing Project” on the Federation in 2021 to recognize their successful work on revitalizing the Biblical Garden and the achievement of these volunteers. Many individuals and groups enjoy the peace and beauty of this refreshed venue.
The International Gardens of Peace organization bestowed the designation of a “Garden of Peace” on the gardens in 2017. This designation was the 26th in the world at that time. The founder of IGP had visited the gardens and found them to be a place of peace, rest, and meditation. You will see the resulting plaque on a stone at the entrance to MBG. Visitors and members of MBG have confirmed that sense of peace as they stroll through the gardens or paused to sit on one of its benches or gliders.
One of the many wonderful contributions to MBG of the volunteers of the Capital City Master Gardeners Association is their adoption of three areas in the Southern Garden to create garden beds to attract, feed, and provide habitat for desirable pollinators such as bees, butterflies, etc. The National Herb Society has certified these three gardens as “Green Bridges Pollinator Gardens”. Green Bridges Gardens provide habitats for native and traveling pollinators as they move through an area. MBG’s Pollinator gardens join numerous Green Bridges Pollinator Gardens across the nation to support vital pollinators.
The Board of Directors of the Montgomery Botanical Gardens and all of the supporters and members of MBG applaud these opportunities for recognition and are grateful for the consistent volunteer efforts that achieved them. The botanical gardens are located inside Oak Park at 1010 Forest Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama across from Jackson Hospital. To support MBG financially and to become a member of MBG, click here.
Recent visitors to the Montgomery Botanical Gardens have noticed a great improvement in the walkways throughout the educational area. The original crushed red gravel walkways have been replaced by wider, handicap-accessible, well-graded pathways.
While many visitors use the Wisdom Woods steps, the entrance to the Sothern Gardens is handicap accessible. The City of Montgomery had difficulty maintaining a smooth enough surface for access to the educational area. The new handicap-accessible walk ties into an existing Southern Gardens walk, making this area accessible to everyone.
The Gardens Board of Directors sought ways to redesign and redevelop these walkways, resulting in being awarded a generous grant from the Montgomery Kiwanis Club which provided $15, 000 toward the redevelopment project.
As a result, we now have beautiful, easy maintenance walkways which will make navigation much easier for our visitors. The revisions to the existing walks were drawn by Fairlie Rinehart. She worked with Jack Jackson of Jackson Landscape on the installation of the walks.
Additionally, John Tampa donated a large number of Belgian blocks to line the redeveloped walkways.
A variety of Crepe Myrtle trees are blooming profusely now in Montgomery Botanical Gardens. Take a stroll through the gardens and don’t miss the showy blooms. At the entrance is the beautiful, white “Sara’s Favorite” variety. There are also pink, watermelon, purple, and lilac blooms around the gardens and in Oak Park. This time of year is the peak of blooming for Crepe Myrtles, then they drop their beautiful, delicate petals as the blooms fade away until next season.