Our Master Plan
More Education; More Sustainable Improvements; More Accessibility; More Activities; More Plants; More Beauty;
Our Master Plan:
Beautiful is a word long associated with Birmingham Botanical Gardens. But our beauty goes beyond thousands of blooming flowers and picturesque scenes. The Gardens’ new master plan respects the important history of Alabama’s most popular free cultural institution while creating a broader vision for its future. It achieves this by focusing on four key concepts that underscore The Gardens’ role as:
- A natural science-based educational institution;
- A role model for environmentally-sound best management practices;
- An important venue for events and activities;
- A plant collections-based living museum.
Underscoring our long-standing mission to educate people about plants, gardens and the environment, the master plan creates numerous new places and opportunities to increase our capacity to meet this mission head-on. Hands-on, science-based educational programming with real examples and exhibits – for students ranging from elementary school to professionals – is emphasized.
Technologies and practices both old and new will be utilized to restore our urban stream, minimize or eliminate erosion and stormwater runoff, promote percolation and biofiltration, reduce potable water usage, harvest rainwater for re-use, make our greenhouses energy-efficient, and reduce and re-use organic waste. Several new buildings will replace outmoded ones and are envisioned as LEED buildings; a new maintenance building is partially earth-sheltered and has a green roof. Each is an educational opportunity as well.
Important arrival and entrance spaces are re-imagined to better facilitate events and activities. The Formal Garden becomes an audience-friendly place for concerts with a grand stage. An event-based garden is created in an elegant Persian theme, with an adjoining catering/teaching kitchen. These areas and paths throughout The Gardens are seamlessly modified to be universally designed for barrier-free accessibility.
To emphasize Alabama’s species-rich natural heritage, native plant collections will be expanded in a series of Alabama Habitat Gardens, highlighting and connecting visitors to the unique character of our beautiful state and the need for conservation. These dovetail with stream restoration and stormwatercontrol measures to create scenes of natural beauty and educational importance. Food-based gardens triple in size, paving the way for more timely programs about what we eat, how we eat it and how it affects our health.