Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale is about giving back

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Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Birmingham Botanical Gardens volunteer Sally Price in her garden with a Zizia aurea the native plant group’s featured plant for 2018 Spring Plant Sale

The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale may be scheduled for April 13-15 at Brookwood Village, but it takes an army of dedicated volunteers working year round “giving back” to make it one of the South’s largest plant sales.

Volunteers make it happen

The massive Spring Plant Sale consists of over 100,000 plants, including 200 species of native plants, 84 different kinds of tomatoes, roses, orchids, shrubs, herbs, and ferns.

Up close photo of Sally Price’s Zizia aurea, the native plant group’s featured plant for 2018 Spring Plant Sale

“It’s unbelievable to see how many plants end up being for sale. It’s a riot of color, people and everyone loving their own plants and wanting to share,” stated Sally Price, a volunteer of the plant sale for two decades.

“It’s a sharing experience,” added Price.

According to Diana Jones, a member of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) “Herb Army” and master gardener, many of the plants such as herbs come from seeds and cuttings provided by the volunteers from their own personal gardens.

Plant Sale
Members of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens”Herb Army”

There will be nearly 10,000 herb plants available for sale at the Spring Plant Sale grown by volunteers at the BBG greenhouses. They include:

Salvias – 350 plants, about 20 varieties
Thyme -1000 plants, several varieties
Rosemary – 500 plants, several varieties
Lavender – 400 plants, several varieties
Mints – 500 plants
Scented geraniums – 450 plants
Topiaries – 24 plants
Lemon grass – 150 plants

Diana Jones with Mexican Bush sage
The “Lavender Lady” Carol Payne

“I enjoy working for three reasons. Camaraderie, to learn and to be outside in nature,” declared Herb Army volunteer Chris Boles.

Lemon grass

Fellow Herb Army volunteer Alleen Cater emphasized, “Speaking personally, over the course of doing this, it has heightened my awareness about the entire outdoors, the ecology, things that we can improve on very easily to clean up the air, attract birds, bees and hummingbirds. Generally, we help change a barren landscape into a haven, which is what the Gardens do.”

What to expect at the Spring Plant Sale

Sally Price best described what to expect at the Spring Plant Sale.

“Right now we are having it at the parking lot of Macy’s at Brookwood Village. And you’ve got two huge tents that are filled to the brim of plants -perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, vegetables, natives, ferns and herbs.”

The proceeds from the sale support BBG educational programs such as their flagship Discovery Field Trips programs. Up to 10,000 Birmingham and Bessemer students participate in this free science -based curriculum. The plant sale also supports the Plant Adventures and Centennial Tree Project.

Spring Plant Sale Birmingham Botanica Gardens Top things to do this week
via Bham Now Calendar

Price concluded with some important words of advice for attendees of the Spring Plant Sale.

“If you want to get the best selection you need to become a member of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and come on Thursday night, because that is when the tent is the most full!”

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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