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Warm Welcome: Native Plants in the Landscape

Around the Gardens Blog

Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ new signature sign and surrounding planting sing the spirit of the place through the seasons with some of our native gems.

By Molly Hendry

This post is the third in a three-part series about the Gardens’ new signature sign. We invite you to enjoy parts one and two via the links at the end of the post.

Capping off the design of the Gardens’ new signature sign are native plants that reflect Birmingham through the seasons. Well adapted to the region’s growing conditions, these plants require less maintenance and conserve water while also celebrating our native flora. They also let visitors know that what they will find at the Gardens is of this community, region, and place.


‘Emerald Blue’ Moss Phlox 
(Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’)

Above the sign’s stone retaining wall is a solid mat of moss phlox, whose silvery-blue evergreen foliage is covered in violet-blue blooms in spring.

Henry’s Garnet’ Virginia Sweetspire 
(Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’)

You will spot this Virginia sweetspire on either side of the sign with its long white spire flowers in spring and the added bonus of fall color as the seasons turn.


Brido’ Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea 
(Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Brido’)

This shrub is about as native to the Birmingham area as you can get! Local nurseryman Eddie Aldridge discovered this doubleflowered variety in the woods. Now we get double the bang for our buck when this beauty blooms!

Black-eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii  ‘Goldsturm’)

This beloved perennial is a mainstay of the Southern garden with its bright yellow flowers that put on a show from summer to autumn. Black-eyed Susans are happy in those full sun spots in the garden, which is why we chose to have them front and center.


Wildfire’ Black Gum 
(Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’)

The ‘Wildfire’ black gum is the statement canopy tree for the Point, providing protective shade for the plants below. Its brilliant red fall color is sure to catch your eye here this autumn! 

White Cloud’ Muhly Grass 
(Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘White Cloud’

The green wiry foliage of muhly grass gives way in fall to fluffy white flowering plumes that persist through winter. The only care this easygoing perennial grass needs is a cutback at the end of winter.


Cherokee Sedge (Carex cherokeensis)

One of the best choices for a native ground cover in Birmingham is Cherokee sedge, an evergreen native grass that will thrive in your garden in those winter months when the native plants are dormant.

Gem Box’ Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra ‘Gem Box’)

Below the stone wall is a hedge of inkberry, a great native alternative to boxwood. These evergreen shrubs will hold those structural elements of a native planting design with their deep green, glossy foliage.

Warm Welcome: A Three-Part Series about the Gardens’ New Signature Sign

Part One: A New Sign for the Gardens

Part Two: Sense of Place

Part Three: Native Plants in the Landscape