Birmingham Botanical Gardens is open to all, every day of the week. Fall/winter hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (November 7–March 12). Please note that the City of Birmingham requires face coverings inside City-owned buildings and venues, including the Garden Center and other indoor facilities at the Gardens, effective July 29, 2021. For more information and guidelines for visiting, please click here. We look forward to your visit!

Celebrating Olmsted

Celebrating Olmsted


An Evening with Historian Laurence Cotton

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Morning Lecture: 10 a.m. (Reception at 9:30 a.m.)

Evening Lecture: 6 p.m. (Reception at 5:30 p.m.)

Free and open to the public | Limited seating available | Preregistration is required

The health and safety of guests and staff are important to us. Currently, event occupancy is limited and masks are required in the Garden Center. Please check back prior to the event for the latest Covid-19 safety protocols.



Questions about registering for this event? Please call us at 205.414.3950 or email [email protected].

Often called the founder of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted led the way in preserving and conserving publicly accessible green spaces at a time when urban areas throughout the United States were being developed and growing by leaps and bounds. His work and guiding principles touched thousands of landscapes across the country—including many in Birmingham—and continue to inspire new generations of landscape planners and conservation-minded organizations everywhere.

As organizations nationwide come together in 2022 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Olmsted’s birth, the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is honored to join with our partners in the Blue Skies Green Spaces Collaborative—The Birmingham Zoo, Freshwater Land Trust, Railroad Park Foundation, Red Mountain Park, Ruffner Mountain, Southern Environmental Center, and Vulcan Park & Museum—as well as the Alabama Trails Foundation, Birmingham Historical Society, and Birmingham-Southern College to host special Birmingham-area festivities recognizing Olmsted’s contributions.

Join us Wednesday, February 16, at the Gardens as we welcome writer and filmmaker Laurence Cotton for a special talk about Olmsted’s life and lasting legacy.

Cotton, who served as principal researcher and consulting producer on the PBS documentary Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America, will speak about Olmsted’s landscape projects and what they meant for our nation, the challenges that he faced, and the ideas, such as the public health benefits of spending time in nature, that he championed. Cotton will also highlight why, 200 years later, Olmsted’s philosophy and designs remain relevant today.