The Gardens Blog

Birmingham City Schools host science fair at the Gardens

published: 02/14/2017

Last week, Birmingham City Schools held its' annual Science Fair at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Approximately 200 elementary and middle school students participated in the following categories: biology, chemistry, environmental and earth science, physical science and engineering. The winners this year are below.

Biology

1. Benjamin Barnett - "Osmosis in Eggs" - Huffman Middle School.

2. Connor Gaines - "Taste as Good as it Smells" - Smith Middle School.

3. Jeremiah Brown - "Preventing Mold" - W.J. Christian School.

Chemistry

1. Devyn Cook - "How Fast Will it Fizz?" - Huffman Middle School.

2. Amro Nasser - "Pants on Fire" - Huffman Middle School.

3. Jimyce Watson - "Antacid Potency" - Green Acres Middle.

Environmental and Earth Science

1. Hailey Burnett - "Homemade Water Filter" - Hayes K-8.

2. Jaxson Jones - "Why Doesn't the Ocean Freeze in Water?" - South Hampton K-8.

3. Nikolas Barnes - "The Effect of Grey Water on Plant Growth" - W.J. Christian School Physical

Science

1. Briyanna Brownlee - "Circus Circuiting" - W.J. Christian School.

2. Isaiah Wrenn - "Lights Camera Action" - Phillips Academy.

3. Lakoria Williams - "Ball Drop" - Wylam K-8.

Engineering

1. Aaliyah Shabazz & Azaria LaVender - "Stop Flooding" - W.J. Christian School.

2. Vince Jackson - "Tornado Safety in Schools" - W. J. Christian School.

3. Lauryn Green - "Ice, Ice Baby" - W.J. Christian School.

Best of Show

Briyanna Brownlee - "Circus Circuiting" - W.J. Christian School.


To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 11,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

Weekend classes celebrate Valentine's Day at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

published: 02/08/2017

Weekend classes celebrate Valentine's Day at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Sandor Katz is a fermentation revivalist that was raised in New York, but 24 years ago, he relocated to Cannon County, Tennessee, just Southeast of Nashville. He is the author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation, and he will visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens in March to discuss and demonstrate the craft. His lecture will take place March 10 from 6-8 p.m. and can be combined with his first workshop, which takes place on March 11 from 9-noon. An advanced workshop will also be offered on March 11 from 2-5 p.m.

To reserve a seat, visit www.bbgardens.org/classes.

Why were you first drawn to fermentation?

There were a few steps to my interest developing. Like almost every person in almost every part of the world, I grew up with flavors of fermentation; certain flavors of fermentation, I was always drawn to - like pickles. I grew up in New York City eating what we call sour pickles. That was just a favorite flavor of mine, but no one was talking about fermentation; I wasn't watching my grandmother do it or anything like that. For a couple of years in my mid-twenties, I was following a macrobiotic diet. One of the aspects of macrobiotics was that they placed a great deal of emphasis on the digestive benefit of pickles and other live cultured foods. I started noticing that - these pickles that I had been eating all of my life - when I would eat them or, even now when I think about them or talk about them, my salivary glands start to squirt out saliva. In a very tangible way, I started associating these foods with getting my digestive juices flowing - quite literally. But really what got me trying out fermentation and trying out fermentation was when I moved from New York City to rural Tennessee in 1993. I got involved in keeping a garden, and I was such a naive city kid that I had never thought about the idea that in a garden, you get all of your cabbages ready around the same time; you get all of your radishes ready around the same time. Suddenly, the practical aspect of these fermented vegetables was manifest for me. I learned how to make sauerkraut and I learned how to make pickles and then I started investigating other realms of fermentation. I learned how to make yogurt and how to make bread using a sourdough using leavening; playing around with wine - making some elderberry wine and some blackberry wine. Within a year, I was obsessed with all things fermented and grew to become interested in learning about fermenting processes from all over the world.

Why has fermentation grown to become such a trend recently?

I would challenge that a little bit. Fermentation gives us bread, cheese, beer, wine, chocolate, vanilla, cured meats, vinegar and other condiments - I would say that it's had a pretty enduring popularity. I don't think any of the products of fermentation have ever been obscure; they've always been at the center of our culinary practices and tastes. That said, the story of the 20th century is all about people becoming disconnected from their food and its production and how it's transformed. So over the course of the 20th century, while people kept eating products of fermentation, fewer and fewer people were connected to it, and I would say that two things happened around the end of the 20th century. One thing that happened is that after two solid generations of full embrace of convenience food, people started critiquing it and saying, "This food that is so abundantly available and so cheap and so convenient is nutritionally diminished. It's creating these new disease epidemics related to diet. Look at the methods of food mas production and how environmentally destructive they are. Look what it's done to the economics of our communities when we remove food production from the community." People wanted to understand their food more and wanted to be connected to their food. Once you start asking questions like this of your food and want to understand it more, fermentation is inevitably part of the answer; so many of the foods that are integral to our daily diet in all different parts of the world are products of fermentation. The other reason is from the emergence of microbiology until the end of the 20th century, bacteria were, in the popular imagination, associated exclusively with danger and disease and death. Around the new millennium in the emergence of these new scientific methods of genetic analysis, we started having the ability to study communities of bacteria rather than single bacteria propagated in a petri dish - the older style of studying bacteria - and there started to become a growing recognition of the importance of bacteria. In our healthy bodies, there are a trillion bacteria, and it turns out that they're important for al different aspects of our functionality. It turns out that most of us have diminished biodiversity in our gut because all of our contact to chemicals designed to destroy bacteria - so there became in interest in restoring bacteria and biodiversity in our bodies.

When did you first create "Sandorkraut?"

Once I learned how to create sauerkraut, that became a staple in my kitchen. Since that time - 24 years ago - I've probably not had a batch of sauerkraut going in my kitchen. So I kind of got a reputation among my friends and neighbors for always showing up with sauerkraut. That's how I earned that name; that was before I had really begun teaching.


To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 11,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

Sandor Katz brings fermentation workshop to The Gardens

published: 02/08/2017

Sandor Katz brings fermentation workshop to The Gardens

Sandor Katz is a fermentation revivalist that was raised in New York, but 24 years ago, he relocated to Cannon County, Tennessee, just Southeast of Nashville. He is the author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation, and he will visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens in March to discuss and demonstrate the craft. His lecture will take place March 10 from 6-8 p.m. and can be combined with his first workshop, which takes place on March 11 from 9-noon. An advanced workshop will also be offered on March 11 from 2-5 p.m.

To reserve a seat, visit www.bbgardens.org/classes.

Why were you first drawn to fermentation?

There were a few steps to my interest developing. Like almost every person in almost every part of the world, I grew up with flavors of fermentation; certain flavors of fermentation, I was always drawn to - like pickles. I grew up in New York City eating what we call sour pickles. That was just a favorite flavor of mine, but no one was talking about fermentation; I wasn't watching my grandmother do it or anything like that. For a couple of years in my mid-twenties, I was following a macrobiotic diet. One of the aspects of macrobiotics was that they placed a great deal of emphasis on the digestive benefit of pickles and other live cultured foods. I started noticing that - these pickles that I had been eating all of my life - when I would eat them or, even now when I think about them or talk about them, my salivary glands start to squirt out saliva. In a very tangible way, I started associating these foods with getting my digestive juices flowing - quite literally. But really what got me trying out fermentation and trying out fermentation was when I moved from New York City to rural Tennessee in 1993. I got involved in keeping a garden, and I was such a naive city kid that I had never thought about the idea that in a garden, you get all of your cabbages ready around the same time; you get all of your radishes ready around the same time. Suddenly, the practical aspect of these fermented vegetables was manifest for me. I learned how to make sauerkraut and I learned how to make pickles and then I started investigating other realms of fermentation. I learned how to make yogurt and how to make bread using a sourdough using leavening; playing around with wine - making some elderberry wine and some blackberry wine. Within a year, I was obsessed with all things fermented and grew to become interested in learning about fermenting processes from all over the world.

Why has fermentation grown to become such a trend recently?

I would challenge that a little bit. Fermentation gives us bread, cheese, beer, wine, chocolate, vanilla, cured meats, vinegar and other condiments - I would say that it's had a pretty enduring popularity. I don't think any of the products of fermentation have ever been obscure; they've always been at the center of our culinary practices and tastes. That said, the story of the 20th century is all about people becoming disconnected from their food and its production and how it's transformed. So over the course of the 20th century, while people kept eating products of fermentation, fewer and fewer people were connected to it, and I would say that two things happened around the end of the 20th century. One thing that happened is that after two solid generations of full embrace of convenience food, people started critiquing it and saying, "This food that is so abundantly available and so cheap and so convenient is nutritionally diminished. It's creating these new disease epidemics related to diet. Look at the methods of food mas production and how environmentally destructive they are. Look what it's done to the economics of our communities when we remove food production from the community." People wanted to understand their food more and wanted to be connected to their food. Once you start asking questions like this of your food and want to understand it more, fermentation is inevitably part of the answer; so many of the foods that are integral to our daily diet in all different parts of the world are products of fermentation. The other reason is from the emergence of microbiology until the end of the 20th century, bacteria were, in the popular imagination, associated exclusively with danger and disease and death. Around the new millennium in the emergence of these new scientific methods of genetic analysis, we started having the ability to study communities of bacteria rather than single bacteria propagated in a petri dish - the older style of studying bacteria - and there started to become a growing recognition of the importance of bacteria. In our healthy bodies, there are a trillion bacteria, and it turns out that they're important for al different aspects of our functionality. It turns out that most of us have diminished biodiversity in our gut because all of our contact to chemicals designed to destroy bacteria - so there became in interest in restoring bacteria and biodiversity in our bodies.

When did you first create "Sandorkraut?"

Once I learned how to create sauerkraut, that became a staple in my kitchen. Since that time - 24 years ago - I've probably not had a batch of sauerkraut going in my kitchen. So I kind of got a reputation among my friends and neighbors for always showing up with sauerkraut. That's how I earned that name; that was before I had really begun teaching.


To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 11,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

Children's summer camps registration open at The Gardens

published: 02/03/2017

Children's summer camps registration open at The Gardens

Registration for Children's Summer Camps at Birmingham Botanical Gardens is now open. This year, campers can hone their art skills, cook, practice yoga and explore the outdoors with week-long morning, afternoon and day camps. Camps take place from June 5 until July 28.

Check out the full schedule and register your child for Children's Summer Camps at www.bbgardens.org/summercamps. Full schedule below:

June 5-9 Young Artists in The Gardens 9-1 p.m. [5K-2nd] Instructor: Shellye Lucas, Masters of Education, K-6. Explore a new garden and new artist each day to experience life in The Gardens in living color. All new artists for 2017! Dip your brush in watercolor, craft a summer mosaic, and even create your own special painting on canvas. It will be tons of creative, colorful fun! Invite guests to your very own art show!

June 5-9 Young Artists in The Gardens 9-1 p.m. [3rd-6th] Instructor: Donna Long, B.S. Elementary Education. Explore a new garden and new artist each day to experience life in The Gardens in living color. All new artists for 2017! Dip your brush in watercolor, craft a summer mosaic and even create your own special painting on canvas. It will be tons of creative, colorful fun! Invite guests to your very own art show!

June 5-9 Growing through Yoga 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-4 Instructor: Annie Damsky, Owner of Villager Yoga. Go on a yoga adventure in The Gardens as we grow like trees, flowers, butterflies and other garden creatures. We will build strength and balance in yoga poses inspired by the landscape and architecture of The Gardens while calming and focusing our minds with nature walks and meditations. Yoga games and special crafts like bubble snakes, herbal sugar scrubs, garden dream catchers and more will round out this unique camp that will leave you feeling joyful and refreshed. Healthy snacks included!

June 19-23 Let's Get Growing: The Tiny Seed 9-1 p.m. For children ages 4-5 years Instructor: Sheryl Lee, Masters Early Childhood Education. Explore The Gardens and investigate plants and plant growth through children's literature adventures including The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and more. Arts, crafts and fun included! Students Engaging Exploring Developing Seeds!

June 19-23 Microworlds in The Gardens: Creepy Crawlers & Insects 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-2 Instructor: Sharon Pollard, Masters Elementary Education. Explore Barber Alabama Woodlands and beyond as we investigate a micro world of living soil! Discover creepy crawlers like earthworms, roly polies and all kinds of micro-animals, even flying insects! Magnification investigations, stories, arts and crafts included!

June 26-30 Summer Garden Chefs 9-1 p.m. [K-2nd] Instructors: Jo Dale, MEd, NBCT, Gifted Specialist & Nancy B. Cadenhead Trucks, Early Childhood Development, BS, MA. Join us for five days full of exploring, planting, smelling, tasting, creating and cooking! We'll discover summer vegetables growing in Bruno Vegetable Garden, fragrant herbs from the Herb Terrace and mix up tasty cuisine each day using fresh ingredients. Share your favorite recipe for our camp cookbook, paint an apron and plant your very own kitchen garden to take home so you can have fun cooking and tasting all summer!

June 26-30 Summer Garden Chefs 9-1 p.m. [3rd-6th] Instructors: Jo Dale, MEd, NBCT, Gifted Specialist & Nancy B. Cadenhead Trucks, Early Childhood Development, BS, MA. Join us for five days full of exploring, planting, smelling, tasting, creating and cooking! We'll discover summer vegetables growing in Bruno Vegetable Garden, fragrant herbs from the Herb Terrace and mix up tasty cuisine each day using fresh ingredients. Share your favorite recipe for our camp cookbook, paint an apron and plant your very own kitchen garden to take home so you can have fun cooking and tasting all summer!

July 10-14 Enchanted Garden Parties 9-1 p.m. For children ages 4-5 years Lisa Dolensky, AELG Credentialed and UA Graduate School of Education LWP Fellow. Be our Birmingham Botanical Gardens guests as we explore The Gardens and party with a different theme every day from Dinosaurs to Beauties, Beasts and fairy tales galore.

July 10-14 American Girl * Girls Just Like Me 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-2 Instructors: Robin & Emmeline Geurs, Mother-Daughter Team of eight years. Let's celebrate your favorite American Girl characters with daily creative art projects, music, stories, nature walks and homemade snacks as we explore the beauty of The Gardens.

July 17-21 Growing through Yoga 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-4 Instructor: Annie Damsky, Owner of Villager Yoga. Go on a yoga adventure in The Gardens as we grow like trees, flowers, butterflies and other garden creatures. We will build strength and balance in yoga poses inspired by the landscape and architecture of The Gardens while calming and focusing our minds with nature walks and meditations. Yoga games and special crafts like bubble snakes, herbal sugar scrubs, garden dream catchers and more will round out this unique camp that will leave you feeling joyful and refreshed. Healthy snacks included!

July 17-21 BBG Wonderland Explorers 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-2 Instructor: Lisa Dolensky, AELG Credentialed and UA Graduate School of Education LWP Fellow. Down a rabbit hole and through a magnifying glass explore The Gardens as never before. Grow your imagination with creative movement, dramatic play, story telling, arts/crafts, puppets and science investigations!

July 24-28 Ahoy! Treasure Gardens 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-2 Instructor: Lisa Dolensky, AELG Credentialed and UA Graduate School of Education LWP Fellow. Ahoy! Pirates, mermaids and fish with land legs! Birmingham Botanical Gardens adventure and treasure awaits with arts/crafts, music, games, dramatic play, sensory science centers and scavenger hunts!

July 24-28 Young Builders: Legos in the Landscape 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 3-6 Instructor: Mildred Henderson, Masters Elementary Education. Explore our many gardens and let's build, sketch and design using natural elements and legos. Four Day Camp 9-1 p.m. $128 Members* $160 Non-Members

July 3-7** "I-CAN" Amer-I-CAN-a 9-1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-4 Instructor: Lisa Dolensky, AELG Credentialed and UA Graduate School of Education LWP Fellow Join us for a Fourth of July adventure at The Gardens - a history and STEAM inspired camp celebrating America's birthday, inventors, artists, garden designers and musicians! ** Please note that camp will not meet on July 4. All Day Camp 9-3 p.m. $280 Members* $350 Non-Members

July 24-28 Summer Garden Chefs: World Class Chefs 9-3 p.m. For children entering grades 3-6 For children entering grades 1-2 who have previously attended Summer Garden Chefs Jo Dale, MEd, NBCT, Gifted Specialist Join us for five days full of exploring, planting, smelling, tasting, creating and cooking as we travel The Gardens and the world in five days to become World Class Chefs! We'll explore world cultures - from Asia, Europe, the Americas and Africa - through art projects, literature, games and food, creating inspired international dishes daily! Birmingham Botanical Gardens' World Class Chefs share your favorite recipes for our camp cookbook and take home culturally inspired art works, crafts and an international kitchen garden so you can travel the world all summer.


To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 11,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

2017 members-only classes at the Gardens announced

published: 01/31/2017

2017 members-only classes at the Gardens announced

Birmingham Botanical Gardens has added four new Members-Only classes for 2017. Members-Only classes are free, and they are just one of the many benefits of membership at The Gardens. To learn more about how to become a Member, visit www.bbgardens.org/membership.

  • Walking Lecture of the Japanese Gardens with Dr. Bob Wendorf. March 17. 5-7 p.m. Join Dr. Wenforf for an exclusive look at the Japanese Gardens the evening before the Cherry Blossom Festival. Dr. Wendorf will be giving a walking lecture through the details, mysteries and traditions dating back thousands of years.
  • Pollinators Landscaping. June 8. 10-noon. Enhance the beauty of your garden while helping nature by learning about pollinator landscaping. Pollinators are essential for garden health and growth. Sallie Lee from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System will be teaching about the types of plants that draw different pollinators and their proper care. A lecture will be held in the Ireland room from 10-noon with a walk to Birmingham Botanical Gardens' hives (weather permitting) and refreshments. Milkweed seeds will be given away and someone will take home a jar of local honey as a door prize.
  • Planting, Transplanting and Re-Potting Trees and Shrubs. September 9. 9-11 a.m. Improper planting is the #1 cause of shortened lifespan for trees and shrubs planted in residential and commercial sites. David Doggett will cover the latest researched-based recommendations for how one should plant, transplant or re-pot.
  • Plant Diseases and Rare Pests. November 2. 6-7 p.m. What is bugging your garden? Come find the pest and the cure with Dr. Jacob Jacobi from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He will guide you through the world of common garden pest and plant diseases and their cures. Refreshments will be provided. Members at Birmingham Botanical Gardens receive free admission to all of the classes above and a discounted rate on all other Adult & Family Classes.


To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 11,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.

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