Secure your spot now for the Native Plant Conference—Mar. 10-11 at Birmingham Botanical Gardens


Written by Lacey Spear

Native Plants, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Associate Director of Gardens Support Molly Hendry and Kaul Wildflower Garden Horticulturist Keith Turney talk with summer interns about the habitat of mountain mint. (Birmingham Botanical Gardens)

If you’re an avid Alabama gardener or plant enthusiast, we have good news for you—the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ 2023 Native Plant Conference is this March, offering you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of native plants for two full days. This year’s theme is Native Plants of the Southeast: Beautiful and Beneficial, specifically emphasizing the Alabama region and its beauty. 

Read on for all the details and go ahead and register now. 

Know before you go to the Native Plant Conference

Native Plants Conference, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Spring flowers are blooming, and it’s the perfect time to attend the Native Plant Conference. (Birmingham Botanical Gardens)

What courses will be offered at the Native Plant Conference?

Native Plant Conference, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Molly Hendry reviews maps created to guide volunteer work and the Kaul Wildflower Garden’s future development. (Birmingham Botanical Gardens)

Get ready to hear from world-class gardening experts. The conference will feature sessions with nine leading landscape design experts, horticulturists, and visionaries of the natural world. 

  1. Douglas Tallamy: Ecologist, Professor at the University of Delaware, New York Times best-selling author
    • Course: Opening Keynote Speaker 
  2. Wayne Barger: Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    • Course: Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance
  3. Molly Hendry: Associate Director of Gardens Support–Horticulture Planning and Design Leader with the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens
    • Course: Crafting a Wildflower Garden
  4. Keith Turney: Kaul Wildflower Garden Horticulturist with the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens
    • Course: Tour Guide for Kaul Wildflower Garden 
  5. June Mays: Founder of June Mays Gardens
    • Course: Designing with Native Plants 
  6. Mikey Berkley: Founder of GroWild, Inc.
    • Course: Installing Native Landscapes 
  7. Richard Carroll: Geologist for the Geological Survey of Alabama
    • Course: A Pollen’s Life 
  8. Patrick Thompson: Arborist, Conservation Gardener at Davis Arboretum
    • Course: A Spotlight on Alabama Sandstone Oak
  9. Brian Keener: PhD, Biology Professor at University of West Alabama
    • Course: Growing the Alabama Flora Through Exploration and Discovery

Conference attendees additionally will have the exciting opportunity to listen to a live podcast recorded onsite by Kyle Lybarger, Molly Hendry, and Keith Turney.

What fun adventures will be included? 

Native Plant Conference, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Keith Turney ensures that the Kaul Wildflower Garden thrives. (Birmingham Botanical Gardens)

Every good educator knows that learning should not be limited to the classroom. That’s why the outstanding speakers of the Native Plant Conference have integrated enriching field trips into the conference schedule. 

Conference attendees will not only explore the magnificent grounds of Birmingham Botanical Gardens—they will also traverse other local landscapes. 

On the second day of the conference, the group will visit Ruffner Mountain to study the flora and ecosystems of this 1,040-acre nature preserve. 

Additionally, the conference offers an optional field trip to the incredible 11,632-acre Oak Mountain State Park. Oak Mountain is the largest park in the state and host to the rare Boynton Oaks— a North American oak species only found in Alabama. 

Continental breakfast and lunches are included, and attendees can register to enjoy a gourmet farm-to-table dinner

Get your tickets today for the Native Plant Conference at Birmingham Botanical Gardens March 10-11. To learn about more ways to get involved, check out Birmingham Botanical Garden’s website + follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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