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About Us

About the Gardens

A cherished place of respite and inspiration since 1962, Birmingham Botanical Gardens promotes a passion for plants, gardens, and the natural world. Located in the heart of Birmingham, Alabama—in one of the most biodiverse areas in the United States—this urban oasis encompasses 67 acres featuring more than two dozen garden spaces that reflect the region’s rich and varied terrain and showcase the many plants that thrive in Southern gardens. Each year, the Gardens welcomes more than 330,000 visitors from across the region and around the world, providing both a meaningful connection to nature and a vibrant source of plant, gardening, wellness, and environmental education. 

A facility of the Birmingham Park & Recreation Board, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is the result of a public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a mission-driven membership organization that seeks to protect, nurture, and share the wonders of the Gardens. Together, the City and Friends work side by side to fulfill the Gardens’ mission.

About the Friends

Because funding from the City of Birmingham covers only part of the Gardens’ core, day-to-day operating expenses, the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens plays a critical role in raising funds to supplement the Gardens’ operational needs. Annual memberships and donor support also enable the Friends to provide impactful educational programs and outreach, to tell the Gardens’ story, and to ensure the ongoing stewardship and enhancement of this beloved community treasure.

Guided by its mission—to protect, nurture, and share the Gardens’ countless wonders—the Friends is dedicated to serving the Gardens; serving the community; serving visitors; and inspiring a passion for plants, gardens, and the environment.

Garden History

1934

Dedication of Lane Park Celebrated

The Birmingham City Council dedicates Lane Park in memory of late Mayor A.O. Lane. The 200-acre park will become the future home of the Birmingham Zoo and Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

1960

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First Master Plan Takes Shape

The first Master Plan for the Gardens is commissioned. Created by Dr. Henry Teuscher, curator of the Jardin Botanique of Montreal, the plan calls for an emphasis on native plants.

1962

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Conservatory Opens

Designed by Teuscher, the Gardens’ glass Conservatory opens. It is manufactured by Lord & Burnham, considered the foremost company of its kind for over a century.

1960s

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First Garden Spaces Developed

The formal rose garden, wildflower garden, and Japanese Garden are the first garden spaces developed. The rose and wildflower gardens become the Dunn Formal Rose Garden and Kaul Wildflower Garden in the 1980s in honor of major gifts from the Dunn and Kaul families.

1964

Birmingham Botanical Society Established

The Birmingham Park Board establishes the Birmingham Botanical Society (renamed the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens in 2003) to help support the 67-acre Gardens while also extending its reach and impact.

1969

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First Annual Spring Plant Sale Held

The first annual Garden Fiesta takes place. The fundraiser, now called the Friends’ Spring Plant Sale, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019. It is the Friends’ largest plant sale fundraiser of the year.

1971

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Garden Center Opens

The Garden Center opens thanks to the diligent efforts of local garden clubs and generous community supporters.

1970s

Specialty Gardens Added

The Fern Glade, Bruno Vegetable Garden, and Southern Living Garden are created. The Moon Tree, planted from, seeds that traveled to the moon and back on Apollo 14, is dedicated.

1980s

Second Master Plan Brings Enhancements

Following the Gardens’ second master plan, Blount Plaza, the Hill Garden, Ireland Old-fashioned Rose Garden, Hess Camellia Garden, Jemison Daylily Garden, and Sonat Lake are developed.

1988

Garden Center Expands

The Garden Center is reimagined and expanded. Phase 2 includes meeting rooms, the café, shop, and bridge to the Hill Garden.

1989

First Native Plant Conference Held

The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens hosts the first biennial Native Plant Conference at the Gardens.

1990s

New Garden Spaces Added

The Rhododendron Species Garden, Barber Alabama Woodlands, Rushton Garden, Bog Garden, and Hulsey Woods take shape.

1998

Programs for Kids, Families Introduced

The Friends’ free, curriculum-based Discovery Field Trips series is launched, and the Gardens hosts its first annual Earth Day celebration.

2000s

Phase Three Brings Continued Growth

The Forman Garden and Little Ones Memory Garden are established. A third phase of capital enhancements adds a lecture hall, classrooms, and library to the Garden Center.

2006

First Antiques at the Gardens Hosted

The first Antiques at the Gardens fundraiser benefiting the Gardens and all that it makes possible is hosted by the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

2019

New Enhancement Plan Completed

The “Refresh, Engage, Celebrate” enhancement plan identifies top priorities to allow the Gardens to grow into the future. These include increased capacity for community engagement and added destinations for families and children.

2021

Landmark Sign Installed

A new landmark sign for the Gardens is installed at the intersection of Cahaba and Lane Park roads thanks to a planned gift from late Southern Living Editor at Large Philip Morris.

Media Inquiries

The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Communications and Marketing Department is happy to help with stories, interviews, access to experts, and photos.

Mindy Keyes Black
Director of Communications & Marketing
205.414.3950, ext. 112
communications@bbgardens.org
(8:30am–5pm, Monday–Friday)

Photo RequestS

Media may request photographs to be used in publications and electronic communications.

Please credit all photographs “Courtesy of Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.” Photos may not be used for commercial purposes. Photographs found on this website are not suitable for printing purposes.

Contact 205.414.3950, ext. 112 communications@bbgardens.org for more information.

On-site Filming

All on-site filming requires advance approval by the Birmingham Park and Recreation Department.

Virgil Mathews
Gardens Director with Birmingham Park & Recreation
205.414.3904
virgil.mathews@bbgardens.org

Quick Facts


Free Admission

Open 365 days per year

330,000+ guests annually

67.5 acres

24+ garden spaces

16,000+ volunteer hours logged annually

Adult, classes, lectures, and workshops

Family-friendly programs

Free Discovery Field Trips

Children’s Summer Camps

Free Preschool Storytime

Biennial native plant conference

Library with 14,000+ items

Archives & Rare Book Room

Seed Exchange

Thyme to Read Book Club

Gardens and Garden Center spaces are available for event rental

The Garden Dirt

Enjoy The Garden Dirt, the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ award-winning quarterly publication for friends of the Gardens. In 2021, The Garden Dirt received a prestigious Platinum Award in the 2021 Hermes Creative Awards and a Gold Medal of Achievement in the 2021 GardenComm Media Awards. We are grateful for these international honors and all who contribute. Thank you for your readership, and for being a part of the Gardens’ story.

Careers

Join our team! Positions listed here are openings with the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. For information regarding openings with the City of Birmingham team at the Gardens, click here. Thank you for your interest!

We have no current job openings. Please check back or subscribe to our e-newsletter for updates.


The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is an equal opportunity employer and accepts employment applications and resumes for currently open positions only. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, is a federal law that protects applicants and employees from discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training,

classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or national origin.

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, protects qualified individuals from discrimination on the basis of disability in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment.

Internships

The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is excited to offer internship opportunities to college and high school students to expose young people to the possibilities of rewarding careers in public gardens.

Native Plant Internship

The Friends’ Native Plant Internship is awarded annually to a rising junior or senior attending a four-year college or university full-time or to a recent graduate of a two- or four-year college.

Preference is given to students who are majoring in horticulture, landscape design, landscape architecture, biology, botany, ecology, plant science, environmental science, or a closely related discipline. Please note that we are unable to accept applications from international students at this time.

Rotary Club of Shades Valley Internship

The Rotary Club of Shades Valley Summer Internship is awarded annually to a rising junior or senior attending a four-year college or university in Alabama full-time or to a recent graduate (within 12 months) of a two- or four-year college in Alabama. It is also open to Alabama residents attending colleges outside the state.

The Rotary Club of Shades Valley has a long history of supporting Birmingham Botanical Gardens. We are grateful for the club’s ongoing commitment to our summer internship program.

High School Internship

Our high school summer internship is open to a rising junior or senior or to a recent (within 12 months) high school graduate. The internship is unpaid but is offered to provide experience and direction to a young person interested in a profession in or related to plant sciences.

This and other internships for college and high school students may be arranged by special request. Contact the Friends’ Director of Education & Visitor Experience Dr. Tyler Mason to learn more.

Volunteering

Volunteering has been a part of the culture of this community treasure since it opened six decades ago, and it remains integral to what we achieve—in our programming, our fundraising, and our stewardship of this special place.

No experience is required. As a volunteer, you’ll learn as you grow while also sustaining this community treasure and all that it makes possible.

Member Partners & Allied Organizations

Member Partners 

​These local nurseries, garden centers, and flower shops support the Gardens and all that it makes possible by extending 10% discounts to members of the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

  • Botanica 
  • Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market 
  • FarmStand by Stone Hollow
  • House Plant Collective
  • Leaf & Petal at the Gardens
  • Myers Plants & Pottery
  • Petals from the Past
  • SHOPPE: Birmingham
  • Sweet Peas Garden Shop
  • Wild Things
Allied Organizations

With missions aligned to our own, these organizations bring their expertise to our programming and volunteer efforts. By joining with us, they add depth and breadth to the Gardens’ reach and impact.

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System
  • Alabama Bonsai Society
  • Alabama Orchid Society
  • Birmingham Camellia Society
  • Birmingham Fern Society
  • Birmingham Rose Society
  • Federated Garden Clubs
  • Jefferson County Library Cooperative
  • Jefferson County Master Gardener Association