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Japanese apricot tree in full bloom

What’s in Bloom?

Located in a region that supports year-round gardening, Birmingham Botanical Gardens offers beautiful blooms, noteworthy natives, and curated collections through the seasons. Explore these examples of what you’ll find on your next visit.

Spring

Fernwood snake plant (Sansevieria ‘Fernwood’)

This snake plant hybrid is celebrated for its toughness in a range of situations. It tolerates low-light conditions and brightens any room in your house with its cylindrical emerald stalks.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Year-round interest

Northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum)

The Northern maidenhair fern provides lushness in the garden with its delicate fronds that contrast with its dark, wiry stems, bringing vibrancy to moist, shady streambanks.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Spring through fall

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

At the end of spring, the light pink buds of mountain laurel burst into creamy clusters that are highlighted by the backdrop of glossy green foliage on gnarled, twisting branches.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden, Rhododendron Species Garden

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Happy in the shade, the pink and yellow blooms of columbine float through the garden in spring. After the flower stalks are cut back, they leave behind a soft clump of feathery foliage.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden, Kaul Wildflower Garden, Barber Alabama Woodlands

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

‘Chinita’ daffodil (Narcissus ‘Chinita’)

In spring, drifts of the ‘Chinita’ daffodil light up the Southern Living Garden flower border. The tall, late bloomers feature small cream blooms with soft yellow centers. 

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)

Golden Alexander has a fine texture of buttery yellow flower clusters in spring. A member of the carrot family, this hardworking native boasts a long bloom season.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden, Barber Alabama Woodlands

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

This distinctive plant is renowned for its sensational orange sepals, or petal-like extensions, and midnight blue flowers. When a bird perches on the flower to drink its nectar, the flowers open up, covering the bird’s feet in pollen.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox (Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’)

‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox is a great groundcover that lends lilac blooms in spring and silvery evergreen leaves throughout the year.

Where to find it: Landmark Sign, Ireland Iris Garden

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Japanese roof iris (Iris tectorum)

Japanese roof iris is a tough plant with a delicate spring bloom. Even after it blooms in spring, its structural foliage provides yearlong, lime green texture.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: April

Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Fringe tree is a native understory tree that is a spring showstopper with its drooping, white flowers that create a flossy white haze.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: April

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

A daylily is a summertime staple in the Southern garden, with thousands of different varieties to choose from. Although their blooms only last a day, they pack a colorful punch.

Where to find it: Jemison Lily Garden

Peak Times: May, June

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Mayapple has a singular white flower that emerges in spring beneath its umbrella leaves, which create a glossy green mat on the forest floor. In summer, the flower forms an apple-like fruit, inspiring its name.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Early spring – early summer

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Foamflower is a native perennial that stays evergreen in our mild winters and boasts of a long spring bloom. It is a perfect groundcover for those shady bits of your garden.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Early spring – early summer

‘Peach Blossom’ astilbe (Astilbe x rosea ‘Peach Blossom’)

‘Peach Blossom’ astilbe brings a gentle haze of plumes arising from a dense clump of deep green foliage as a welcomed surprise in the late spring.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Late spring

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

Virginia sweetspire has long white spire flowers in spring that offer up the added bonus of fall color as the seasons turn. This native woodland shrub is a great choice for moist sites in your garden.

Where to find it: Landmark Sign

Peak Times: Late spring

Magnolia flower

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

The Southern magnolia is synonymous with summertime in the South. Their fragrant white flowers are offset by the deep glossy green of their evergreen foliage.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden, Ireland Iris Garden

Peak Times: June, July

Summer

Fernwood snake plant (Sansevieria ‘Fernwood’)

This snake plant hybrid is celebrated for its toughness in a range of situations. It tolerates low-light conditions and brightens any room in your house with its cylindrical emerald stalks.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Year-round interest

Northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum)

The Northern maidenhair fern provides lushness in the garden with its delicate fronds that contrast with its dark, wiry stems, bringing vibrancy to moist, shady streambanks.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Spring through fall

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Mayapple has a singular white flower that emerges in spring beneath its umbrella leaves, which create a glossy green mat on the forest floor. In summer, the flower forms an apple-like fruit, inspiring its name.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Early spring – early summer

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Foamflower is a native perennial that stays evergreen in our mild winters and boasts of a long spring bloom. It is a perfect groundcover for those shady bits of your garden.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Early spring – early summer

Magnolia flower

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

The Southern magnolia is synonymous with summertime in the South. Their fragrant white flowers are offset by the deep glossy green of their evergreen foliage.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden, Ireland Iris Garden

Peak Times: June, July

Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

In spring, ostrich fern pushes its large upright fronds that contrast with the dark brown, fertile fronds that emerge from the crown of the foliage in midsummer and persist through winter.

Where to find it: Bog Garden, Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Early summer through fall

‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’)

This shrub brightens shady corners and is true to its name, blooming throughout summer into fall. Depending on your soil pH, the mophead flowers will be hues of blue, purple, or pink.

Where to find it: Formal Lawn

Peak Times: Summer

‘Guacamole’ hosta (Hosta ‘Guacamole’)

Hostas offer bold textures that provide rest for the eye amid colorful blooms. ‘Guacamole’ hosta had a limey green center with darker green margins, bringing welcomed contrast to those shady corners.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Early summer through fall

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Alabama’s native coneflower features a wonderfully long bloom time, which extends through warm summer months. Their seed heads are a favorite of goldfinches!

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Early summer through fall

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

Black-eyed Susan is a beloved sun-loving perennial that is a mainstay of Southern gardens with its bright yellow flowers that put on a show from summer to fall.

Where to find it: Bog Garden, Landmark Sign, Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Summer

Spineless prickly pear cactus (Opuntia cacanapa ‘Ellisiana’)

Native to Southwestern states, the prickly pear cactus is known for its showy blooms that turn into bright red fruit. This particular cultivar takes your prickly cares away by having spineless pads.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Summer through early winter

Fall

Fernwood snake plant (Sansevieria ‘Fernwood’)

This snake plant hybrid is celebrated for its toughness in a range of situations. It tolerates low-light conditions and brightens any room in your house with its cylindrical emerald stalks.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Year-round interest

Northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum)

The Northern maidenhair fern provides lushness in the garden with its delicate fronds that contrast with its dark, wiry stems, bringing vibrancy to moist, shady streambanks.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Spring through fall

Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

In spring, ostrich fern pushes its large upright fronds that contrast with the dark brown, fertile fronds that emerge from the crown of the foliage in midsummer and persist through winter.

Where to find it: Bog Garden, Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Early summer through fall

‘Guacamole’ hosta (Hosta ‘Guacamole’)

Hostas offer bold textures that provide rest for the eye amid colorful blooms. ‘Guacamole’ hosta had a limey green center with darker green margins, bringing welcomed contrast to those shady corners.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Early summer through fall

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Alabama’s native coneflower features a wonderfully long bloom time, which extends through warm summer months. Their seed heads are a favorite of goldfinches!

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Early summer through fall

Spineless prickly pear cactus (Opuntia cacanapa ‘Ellisiana’)

Native to Southwestern states, the prickly pear cactus is known for its showy blooms that turn into bright red fruit. This particular cultivar takes your prickly cares away by having spineless pads.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Summer through early winter

‘White Cloud’ muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

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 to make way for spring growth!

Where to find it: Landmark Sign

Peak Times: Fall

Southern sugar maple ( Acer saccharum subsp. floridanum)

With striking orange foliage that makes for a fall showstopper, this Southern cousin of the sugar maple is a cherished gem in autumn. 

Where to find it: Barber Alabama Woodlands

Peak Times: Fall

American beech (Fagus grandifolia)

The white trunks and translucent brown leaves pull the American beech to the forefront of our woodlands in autumn. It is an asset to any landscape not only aesthetically but also ecologically, as many birds and mammals will flock to the tree to snag one of its tasty nuts.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden, Barber Alabama Woodlands

Peak Times: Fall

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)

This majestic tree once covered large portions of Alabama and is recognized as our state tree. If you have several acres, planting longleaf pines helps preserve an endangered ecosystem, helping to expand the 3 percent of this species’ original range that is still intact.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Fall

Bartlett pear (Pyrus communis ‘Williams’)

Pear trees not only are beautiful, but also they come bearing gifts of delicious fruit! The Bartlett pear is a great choice for its resistance to fire blight (a disease caused by a bacterium) and its flexible personality, which allows it to be trained into interesting espalier forms.

Where to find it: Thompson Enthusiast’s Garden

Peak Times: Fall

Alabama croton (Croton alabamensis)

This rare, semi-evergreen shrub forms thickets in our native landscape and is endemic to only two counties in Alabama. It is a standout in the fall when its lime green leaves turn a vibrant orange highlighted by their silvery undersides.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Fall

Sasanqua camellia (Camellia sasanqua)

We love the spectrum of colorful sasanqua blooms that herald the end of fall in the South.

Where to find it: Hess Camellia Garden

Peak Times: Fall

American beauty berry (Callicarpa americana)

The lime green foliage fades into a vibrant yellow just as the berries ripen into a deep purple, lighting up our woodlands in the fall.

Where to find it: Barber Alabama Woodlands

Peak Times: Fall

Blue star (Amsonia hubrichtii)

This long-season perennial packs a blue spring bloom with feathery green summer foliage and brilliant yellow fall color finale

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Fall

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)

This fall favorite offers up an array of colors and graceful forms in the autumn garden.

Where to find it: Japanese Garden

Peak Times: Fall

Surprise lily (Lycoris radiata)

A delight to behold, surprise lilies appear almost overnight in our Gardens after a warm, heavy rain in September.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Fall

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

The ginkgo tree is a testament to resilience. Sometimes called a living fossil, the ginkgo coexisted with the dinosaurs and has a fossil record that dates back nearly 200 million years. Its fan-shaped leaves turn golden in fall.

Where to find it: Sonat Lake, Dunn Formal Rose Garden

Peak Times: Fall

Winter

Fernwood snake plant (Sansevieria ‘Fernwood’)

This snake plant hybrid is celebrated for its toughness in a range of situations. It tolerates low-light conditions and brightens any room in your house with its cylindrical emerald stalks.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Year-round interest

Cherry blossom

Japanese Apricot (Prunus mume ‘Josephine’)

Japanese apricot is a welcomed sight when it bursts into a haze of translucent, blush pink blooms in the depths of winter, signaling that spring is on the way.

Where to find it: Forman Garden, Japanese Garden

Peak Times: January through February

Spineless prickly pear cactus (Opuntia cacanapa ‘Ellisiana’)

Native to Southwestern states, the prickly pear cactus is known for its showy blooms that turn into bright red fruit. This particular cultivar takes your prickly cares away by having spineless pads.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Summer through early winter

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

At the end of spring, the light pink buds of mountain laurel burst into creamy clusters that are highlighted by the backdrop of glossy green foliage on gnarled, twisting branches.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden, Rhododendron Species Garden

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Happy in the shade, the pink and yellow blooms of columbine float through the garden in spring. After the flower stalks are cut back, they leave behind a soft clump of feathery foliage.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden, Kaul Wildflower Garden, Barber Alabama Woodlands

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

‘Chinita’ daffodil (Narcissus ‘Chinita’)

In spring, drifts of the ‘Chinita’ daffodil light up the Southern Living Garden flower border. The tall, late bloomers feature small cream blooms with soft yellow centers. 

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)

Golden Alexander has a fine texture of buttery yellow flower clusters in spring. A member of the carrot family, this hardworking native boasts a long bloom season.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden, Barber Alabama Woodlands

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

This distinctive plant is renowned for its sensational orange sepals, or petal-like extensions, and midnight blue flowers. When a bird perches on the flower to drink its nectar, the flowers open up, covering the bird’s feet in pollen.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox (Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’)

‘Emerald Blue’ moss phlox is a great groundcover that lends lilac blooms in spring and silvery evergreen leaves throughout the year.

Where to find it: Landmark Sign, Ireland Iris Garden

Peak Times: Early to mid-March through early to mid-April

Possumhaw (Ilex decidua)

This native holly tree is one of six species of deciduous hollies native to the southeastern United States. Its orange-red berries provide food for birds and small mammals and add cheerful color to the winter landscape.

Where to find it: Blount Plaza

Peak Times: 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 persist in your garden in those winter months when their flowering native friends are dormant.

Where to find it: Landmark Sign

Peak Times: Winter

‘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.

Where to find it: Landmark Sign

Peak Times: Winter

Weeping taxodium (Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’)

The weeping form of the bald cypress provides an arching form in the garden while also creating a favorite nook for kids beneath the enveloping branches.

Where to find it: Conservatory

Peak Times: Winter

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)

This prehistoric tree resembles the bald cypress, but its stature is incomparable. Its fernlike foliage turns bronze in autumn and then drops, leaving the bold trunk and horizontal limbs like stairsteps up to the sky.

Where to find it: Formal Lawn, Japanese Garden

Peak Times: Winter

Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica)

Pieris supplies evergreen bones in the garden with an added bonus in winter, when its  drooping, pearl-like flowers are highlighted against the deep glossy-green foliage behind their delicate white blooms.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Winter

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Foamflower is a native perennial that stays evergreen in our mild winters and boasts of a long spring bloom. It is a perfect groundcover for those shady bits of your garden.

Where to find it: Kaul Wildflower Garden

Peak Times: Early spring – early summer

Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)

This evergreen ground cover sends up its blooms with their nodding heads in the middle of winter, a favorite in the garden for both us and the bees.

Where to find it: Southern Living Garden

Peak Times: Winter

Camellia (Camellia japonica)

We love the large blooms of camellias against the deep glossy green of their leaves. As Alabama’s official state flower, the camellia is a great way to ring in the new year.

Where to find it: Hess Camellia Garden

Peak Times: Winter

Okame cherry tree (Prunus x incamp ‘Okame’)

This hybrid cherry is a herald of spring, one of the first blooms at the tail end of winter

Where to find it: Japanese Garden

Peak Times: Winter

Weeping deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)

This conifer is a graceful figure in the winter garden with its arching form, adding a structural backbone to the garden.

Where to find it: Rhododendron Species Garden

Peak Times: Winter