Members of Class XXXIII of Leadership Montgomery volunteered on Thursday, October 12, 2023, at the Montgomery Botanical Gardens. The group included Wheeler Crook, Gerald Jones, Lois Cortell, Phill Johnson and Cheryl Johnson. They were welcomed to the gardens by Board President Cathy Maddox, and given a brief introduction to the history of the botanical gardens.
The plan for the day was to install a long row of ferns beneath the existing row of Limelight Hydrangeas along the end of the Southern Garden near Forest Avenue. The ferns were delivered, the soil amendment was in place and all were ready to tackle the planting task. However, desperately needed rain had finally fallen the day and night before, rendering the ground to wet to dig and plant.While the rain was appreciated, a change in plans for the volunteer day was needed.
As any gardener knows, there is always something that needs attention in a garden. Karin Carmichael, MBG Volunteer, and Chair of the Capital City Master Gardener Association MBG Project, along with Diane Vanella, Horticulturist working with MBG, offered the newly arrived LM Volunteers the option of helping to install the stone edging along the pathways and around planted beds.
The enthusiastic group made short work of several stacks of stones and edged the main pathway and two of the Pollinator Beds working in a drizzling rain until they used all the available stones. The stones not only improve the appearance of the garden but also help to stop erosion and highlight the boundaries of the beds and pathways. The stones used for the edging are ballast stones that accumulated in Montgomery many years ago when the city was an important shipping point for cotton and other products. Ships would arrive with their hulls weighted with the granite ballast stones, unload them at the dock, and then take on cargo. These stones were then used for roadways, walkways, and also along the original pathways in Oak Park. As these stones are rediscovered through property development, they are delivered to the park for use in the botanical gardens.
The fern planting was rescheduled and we look forward to these active volunteers from Leadership Montgomery contributing to the beauty and development of the garden as our relationship continues.