Late Winter Blossoms Hint of Spring

The bright, colorful blossoms that appear in the garden in late Winter, give us hints of Spring’s awakening. Your spirits will be lifted when you visit the Montgomery Botanical Gardens and stroll its pathways. 

The tiny white blooms of Snowbells, the nodding faces of Daffodils of various shades of yellow and white, and the glorious mauve petals of the Japanese magnolia tree will bring smiles to your faces as they greet you. Then the great cloud of vibrant yellow blooms along the limbs of the Forsythia shrubs appear like sunshine in the midst of brown and green around them. 

But perhaps the most impressive specimens are the numerous blooms of the large Camellia bushes. Take time to find the perfect blooms for a photograph. Then note the Loropetalum covered in its bright pink feathery blossoms. 

These beauties will be in bloom only a short time before Spring actually appears, so don’t delay your visits to the gardens. 

Montgomery Botanical Gardens Offers Trees and Shrubbery Class in March

The Montgomery Botanical Gardens will present Trees and Shrubbery: Backyard Wildlife Habitat at 10:00 am, on Saturday,  March 9 in the Wisdom Wood outdoor classroom at Oak Park.

The class, which will be taught by the City of Montgomery Urban Forester Russell Stringer, will offer tips on the types of trees and shrubs that thrive in our southern climate. Participants will learn how to plant, the types of soil amendments needed, and how to care for trees and shrubs.          

Mr. Stringer became the city’s Urban Forester in 2004. He manages the city’s urban forest, which includes keeping an inventory of city trees, administering and enforcing the city’s landscape ordinance and tree ordinance, permitting and oversight of tree work on public right-of-way and private property, including work done by private tree companies as well as public utilities, protection of trees in historic districts and the installation and management of new trees on city property.

A graduate of Auburn University, Mr. Stringer received his Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Resources. He is an Alabama Registered Forester as well as an ISA Certified Arborist and  Municipal Specialist. He is a board member of the Alabama Urban Forestry Association, Alabama Invasive Plant Council, Lagoon Park Trails, Montgomery Trees, and Legacy Partners in Environmental Education.

Seating is furnished in the Outdoor Classroom, but participants are encouraged to bring folding chairs for comfort. Montgomery Botanical Gardens classes scheduled for upcoming months include Physical Therapy for Gardeners on Saturday, April 13; Capturing Beauty in Garden Photography, on Saturday, May 11; and Attracting Pollinators, on Saturday, June 8. Classes will be held at 10:00 am in the outdoor classroom.

Montgomery Botanical Gardens Composting Class Draws Enthusiastic Crowd

On a gray, gloomy February Saturday, an enthusiastic crowd gathered to watch Master Gardener Karin Carmichael explain the mystery of making rich, nutritious  composting soil to create black gold for the garden. What had seemed complicated and difficult before the class became simple and environmentally friendly as Karin showed participants how to use what they have on hand to enrich their gardens.

MBG board members Ann Oldham and Charlene Thomas register participants.

Beginning by establishing the need for composting, Karen informed participants that Alabama generates 2.6 million tons of solid waste annually, breaking down to about 2.5 tons of garbage for the average family of four. Nearly half a ton of that garbage is yard waste that can be composted. Karin emphasized that the magnitude of solid waste production is presenting disposal problems in sanitary landfills.

Some of the things that produce good compost include:

  • Kitchen scraps—apples, cabbages, carrots, celery, grapefruit, lettuce, onions, oranges, pears, pineapple, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, turnips, coffee grounds and eggshells;
  • Yard wastes—grass clippings, leaves, weeds, and prunings less than 6 inches in diameter from residences or businesses.

Things that should not be composted are:

  • Fat—butter, bones, cheese, chicken, fish, lard, mayonnaise, meat, milk, peanut butter, salad dressing, sour cream, vegetable oil and yogurt.

Participants Elaine Gault and Yvonne Elmore

Karin showed participants the correct organic components of a compost pile and mixed them during her presentation. She discussed how and when to aerate the mixture, and she offered tips on how to best use the compost mix. She also suggested using items already found around the house rather than purchasing expensive commercial tools to create the compost mix.

Cathy Maddox assists in preparing compost

Montgomery Botanical Gardens will host its next class, Trees & Shrubbery: Backyard Wildlife Habitat, to be taught by City of Montgomery Urban Forester, Russell Stringer, in the Outdoor Classroom at Oak Park on Saturday, March 9 at 10:00 am. Seating is available, but participants may wish to bring folding chairs.

Montgomery Botanical Gardens Opens Season with Composting Class

The Montgomery Botanical Gardens at Oak Park opens its 2024 season of classes with  Composting: Black Gold for Your Garden, to be held in the Gardens Greenhouse on Saturday, February 10 at 10:00 am. The class will be taught by Master Gardener Karin Carmichael and will feature instruction on the simplest and least physically challenging methods to create a compost bed.

The methods Mrs. Carmichael will share can apply to any age group, price range, and size of yard. She will demonstrate preparing a potting mix using compost. Time permitting, participants will learn how to transplant root-bound plants.

Mrs. Carmichael earned a degree in Secondary Education with a major in Biology from Auburn University. She taught in the public and private sectors in the Montgomery area for over 25 years. After retiring, she took the Master Gardener course and has been a member of the Capitol City Master Gardener Association for the past 18 years, where she has held office and served as chairperson for numerous committees. 

Two achievements Mrs. Carmichael is proud of include her involvement in establishing and maintaining the greenhouse at the Montgomery Botanical Gardens and serving as chair of the Master Gardener Montgomery Botanical Gardens Project Committee. In her capacity as chair of volunteers for the MBG Committee, she leads other Master Gardeners in activities that improve and enhance the Gardens. This committee has built three pollinator gardens, two circular entrance beds, and a sensory garden and has planted hundreds of bulbs and other plants.

Because of weather concerns, the Composting class will be taught in the Botanical Gardens greenhouse, which was funded by the Capitol City Master Gardeners Association. Parking will be available in the fenced parking lot next to the greenhouse, with entry on Lake Street.

Upcoming classes include Trees and Shrubbery; Backyard Wildlife Habitat, on Saturday, March 9 at 10:00 am; and Physical Therapy for Gardeners on Saturday, April 13 at 10:00 am. These classes will be held in the Wisdom Wood Outdoor Classroom if weather conditions permit. Participants may bring folding chairs for these two sessions if they wish.