January/February, 2017

2017: Flora, Fauna and Farmer

In 2017, the Longleaf Botanical Gardens will be teeming with activities for the whole family – from a symposium on getting the most oomph from caladiums, ferns and foliage in the garden to learning about backyard birding, bees and bats!

In addition to all these excellent programs (see related articles) put together by our tireless education committee, you’ll be able to enjoy an entertaining evening with Southern lifestyle expert James Farmer. James is a best-selling author, Southern Living editor-at-large, landscape designer and expert on all things Southern – including farm-to-table menus and the art of entertaining. In addition to being our guest presenter at our second annual Garden Party dinner on April 13, James will be available to sign books for our guests. Details will be coming soon on ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities. You won’t want to miss this!

We are in preliminary stages of planning several hiking experiences here and at other notable nature walks in the region. So, get those hiking shoes on and water bottles ready.

The Museums are using 2017 as our transition year to package our memberships for all three Anniston Museums and Gardens under one Passport Membership, giving you access to all three for a bargain.  As your memberships to any/all of the three attractions expire, you have the opportunity to renew as a Passport member at a basic level of $60 (individual) or $90 (family). For more information on member benefits; other membership levels; and on how to join, please contact Demorra Walls at 256-237-6766, ext. 309.

Don’t miss out!

Julia Segars, Chairman, Longleaf Botanical Gardens Board

Grow and Tell:
A Celebration of Houseplants

Sunday, February 5
2:00 - 4:00 PM

Plants that spend the winter inside with us are especially appreciated during these cold, often dreary days. 

A Sunday afternoon coffee has been planned to enjoy these interesting plants. Ferns, begonias, orchids, amaryllis, African violets, bromelias and mixed containers are a few examples.

We are asking you to help us with the display by bringing your favorite plant(s) to add to the collection. They will be tagged with their identification and the owner's name.  We can all admire them and their owner can give advice on how to care for them.  

The coffee will be at Longleaf Botanical Gardens,  February 5, 2017, from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. Susan Gibbins, Master Gardener, Longleaf Botanical Gardens Board Member, and plant enthusiast will facilitate this event. There will also be plants for sale. 

NOTE:  CHANGE OF PLANS FROM THE ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE DECEMBER NEWSLETTER.  Due to the possibiliity of a February weather event, which might cause a  power outage that could be a disaster for plants left in the building overnight, we are changing the plan. Instead of plants being delivered ahead of time, please bring them with you when you come on Sunday afternoon.

  Forest & Field:
 Fairy Houses!  

Thursday, March 30
10:00 a.m. - Noon

“Build them and the fairies will come!” Join Director of Conservation and the author of the newly released book, Hairy, Scary, but Mostly Merry Fairies: Curing Nature-Deficit Disorder through Folklore, Imagination, and Creative Activities, for fairy stories, fairy house building (leave-in-the-woods fairy houses), and a fairy observation hike at the Longleaf Botanical Garden.  

Building fairy houses gives children, ages 7-107,  an opportunity to balance their play time away from the world of technology. A daily dose of nature will improve attention, focus, and memory. Nature also has a healing power, improving children’s cognitive development. Creative play in nature nurtures language and collaborative skills, awareness, reasoning and observational skills. Creative nature play helps to instill a sense of place and connectivity through observation.

Thousands of participants of all ages have attended Renee Simmons Raney’s  fairy workshops across the nation and even in Ireland and Canada! She received recognition from Oxford University for this unique program and her dedication to environmental education. Renee says, “Fairy houses are excellent tools for increasing observation skills. Thinking on a small scale inspires children to look at everything more closely, whether it is a leaf or a flower or a bug. Instead of looking at the forest as a whole, they begin to see all the diverse components that make up the forest floor, the canopy, and the creatures that inhabit it. There is a whole new world waiting in the woods and the garden! ”

 Karen Zweifel of Portico Magazine wrote, “You might think there’s a little fairy blood running in her veins. She’s quick to smile, a little mischievous and completely at home in the forest. Some have called Renee Raney the “Pied Piper" of storytelling.” Critics say “there is magic in her voice and she mesmerizes her audience. She exudes fairy dust. We’d follow her anywhere, especially into the kingdom of her imagination!” 

This program is FREE including supplies, but registration is required. Space is limited. Funding for Forest & Field is made possible by a grant from the Stringfellow Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama through the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust. 

Date: Thursday, March 30, 2017 (Spring Break for most schools in the area)

Time 10:00 am – Noon CDT

Location: Longleaf Botanical Gardens

Cost: Free, but space is limited so register soon!

Registration information: Call Anniston Museum of Natural History (256-237-6766) to reserve a place for young person(s) and adult. Space is limited to 20 children

  Save the Date: April 13 - An Evening with James Farmer!

James T. Farmer, III is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling garden book, A Time To Plant; Sip & Savor; Porch Living; Wreaths For All Seasons; A Time To Cook, Dinner on the Grounds, and A Time to Celebrate, all published by Gibbs-Smith Publisher.

Southern born and bred, James is a professional garden, floral and interior designer; cook; author and lifestyle expert. In addition, Farmer is editor-at-large for Southern Living and a frequent guest on television and radio. Farmer’s natural Southern grace and warm personality light up any room.

A skilled and entertaining speaker, Farmer is truly a young and fresh voice for his generation. Whether he’s teaching how to plan the perfect summer picnic, using everyday items to create exquisite tabletops, creating drop-dead gorgeous flower arrangements and wreaths, or making his grandmother’s skillet peach pie, Farmer masterfully guides his audience through the art of elegant garden living. James enjoys signing and selling his books at the end of his lectures.

Third Thursdays in the Gardens
Gallery of Camellias

February 16, 2017    
5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

The February Third Thursday program will feature the queen of the winter garden and Alabama’s state flower… the camellia!

Camellias are well-suited to central Alabama landscapes.  The plants are tough once established and make excellent hedges, mass plantings, and foundation plantings. 

Camellias come in a myriad number of varieties and can bloom from late August through April depending on species and variety.

The program will focus on a variety of unusual and stalwart cultivars. Weather permitting and plants cooperating, there will be a nice display of blooms to ogle. Join us to discover the wonderful array of beautiful camellias and talk about camellia culture in central Alabama.

To reserve your spot, call Anniston Museum of Natural History at 256-237-6766. Reservations are required. Cost is $5.00 per person or free to members. Payment is to be made at the time of registration and may be made by cash, check (made payable to Longleaf Botanical Gardens and earmarked for educational programs) or charge card in person or by phone.

Choosing the Right Orchid 

April 20, 2017
5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Caring for orchids can be surprisingly easy!  Dayle Brooks, a longtime member of the American Orchid Society, will show several of her beautiful specimens. She will explain how to care for each type and answer questions.

Many orchids provide long lasting blooms in exchange for minimal care. Some are great winter bloomers, too. Join us April 20 from 5-6 pm. The program will be held in the James P. Roberts Education Room at the Longleaf Botanical Gardens building.

To reserve your spot, call the Anniston Museum of Natural History at
256-237-6766.  Cost is $5.00 per person and free to members. Payment is to be made at the time of registration and may be made by cash, check (made payable to Longleaf Botanical Gardens and earmarked for educational program), or charge card in person or by phone.
Spring Garden Symposium 2017

March 16, 2017
8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.    

In lieu of the typical one-hour Third Thursday event, Longleaf Botanical Gardens is proud to announce its inaugural Spring Garden Symposium for 2017. The theme for 2017 is “Fabulous Foliage.”  The Symposium will feature lectures on utilizing lush and dramatic foliage for garden pizzazz.  

Classic caladiums, verdant ferns, leafy hostas, and a host of other fantastic foliage plants will be the topic of the day.  

Mark your calendars for March 16, 2017. Pre-registration is a must.  

Stay tuned to the Longleaf Botanical Gardens Facebook page for updated details.

2017 Educational Programs 
The Education Committee of the Longleaf Botanical Gardens plans to continue offering a 1-hour Program on the Third Thursday of each month.  The time of the programs can vary, but typically have been between 5:00
6:00 p.m.

In addition, at least four longer workshops and one all-day symposium will be offered.

The following is a list of some of the programs you can look forward to attending.  Mark your calendars and follow us on Facebook and through this newsletter!

For Adults
Jan 19 - Winter Swag for your Landscape
Jan 21 - Fred Spicer: Pruning Lecture
Feb 05 - Grow & Tell - Celebration of Houseplants
Feb 12 - Gallery of Camellias
Mar 16 - Symposium: Fantastic Foliage
Apr 20 - Choosing the right Orchid
May 18 -  Gardening Sustainability
Jun 15 - Gardening for Wildlife
Jul 20 - Herb Lewis: Backyard Birding
Aug 17 - Going Bananas (ornamental bananas)
Sep 21  - Composting for Any Garden
Oct 19 - Creepy Critters in the Garden
Nov 16  - TBA
Dec 21 - No Third Thursday this month

                   For Children
Mar 30 - Forest & Field: Fairy Houses

Stay tuned for details of upcoming programs in future editions of Whispering Pines and on Facebook!
2016 Program Presenters

The Education Committee thanks the following individuals who presented programs in 2016. Your generosity of time and talent enabled the Gardens to offer informative and entertaining monthly programs to the community.













Garden Gems

A Hardy Schefflera for Central Alabama 

Contributed by Hayes Jackson, horticulturist

Most everyone knows Schefflera, that sturdy houseplant that quickly outgrows its space and must be moved to accommodate its stature.

Imagine a smaller growing version that is happy in the Southern landscape despite winter cold and brutal heat. Let me introduce you to Schefflera delavayi, a hardy evergreen with tropicalesque foliage. (Tropicalesque gardening is creating a garden such as this in your colder zone climate.)  

The Chinese native prefers some shade and improved garden soil. I have 3 specimens growing in my garden and growth has been fairly rapid.  Supplemental water in dry periods will keep plants happy.  In the fall, large sprays of tiny flowers appear on the tops of the plants. The common name, Umbrella tree, refers to the canopy of large leaves atop the stems. 

If you are looking to grow this beauty in your garden, do not expect to find it at just any nursery. New to cultivation and considered rare in the trade, this gem is usually found at specialty or mail order nurseries. A simple online search will often reveal sources.

Garden View

"Through the Window"

Contributed by Patricia Patty, Master Gardener

A few weeks ago, I stood at a north-facing window in my home and watched the Cedar Waxwings (pictured) and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks eating the berries from Cestrum, Dogwood, and Chaste Vitex.  It is always fun to watch how they, and the Robins, strip the fruit from top to bottom.  Outside these same windows, are Mahonia ( bealei ) plants that produce berries very early in the spring when migrations occur.

I have not used any pesticides in my yard for over 40 years, except a little fire ant bait under a bucket when needed.  It took a couple of years of going natural for the balance to work out, but the birds and I are so much better off without dangerous chemicals.
When things start to leaf out this spring, and you can see what plants died due to the drought, think about replacing things lost with a fruit or berry plant that will provide food for the birds.  Birds provide the best bug management available.  I take care of the birds, and they take care of the pests.  Anything you can do to attract them to your yard will benefit you - unless you have outdoor cats.
Many berry-producing evergreen shrubs provide winter interest such as the American holly (Ilex opaca) or any blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)  Deciduous plants include Common Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) that produces berries early in the year when fruit is scarce.  Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) provides berries mid-season.  For other suggestions, do an internet search for bird-friendly native plants.

Native trees and shrubs have out-performed the hybrids during the extended dry spells we have endured recently. Consider replacing some of your dead shrubs with something that will take our weather and also provide shelter and food for your pest-consuming birds.  And please be sure there is water for them year around. Make them welcome.

First “Greenery Sale” exceeds expectations! 

The team approach to the Longleaf Botanical Gardens "Greenery Sale" was highly successful and well received by local supporters and customers.  The idea was initially conceived by Board members Brenda Roberts and Arthur Toole and the project continued to build with a cadre of terrific volunteer support.  

Financial Support from Alabama Power, Anniston Star, Dan Johnson Cabinetry, Donna Snider, BB&T Mortgage, Howard Core Co., Kemp & Associates, CPA, PC, Martin’s Pharmacy, Miller’s Sand & Landscape Supply, NobleBank & Trust, Oxford Dental Clinic, The Peerless Saloon  & Grille, Southern Star Motor Company, Southern States Bank, and three other anonymous donors got the ball rolling.  Their underwriting helped the team with necessary printing and advertising for this first time effort. 

Cathy Johnson and Karine Parker oversaw the marketing plan for brochures, signage, etc.  Deborah Lowry marketed the products which consisted of various sizes of wreaths, garland, and red velvet bows. Mary Banks sent out numerous FB advertisements and posts.  And we never could have kept the numbers and dollars straight without the help of CPA Rod Nowlin and Executive Assistant Monica Bennett.

Brenda Roberts led the main sales force with significant help from Ronnie Skinner and Sandra Walker, but other friends promoted the effort among their various groups of friends.  As a result, 181 wreaths, 22 – 6’ garlands, and 31 red velvet bows were purchased generating a net $4,000 to help our gardens grow!  We thank the many volunteers and customers who made this possible.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, Arthur Toole, George Gibbins and Frank Segars made the trip to Cashiers, N.C. to pick up LBG’s greenery order.  What a sight it was to see the two trucks arriving at the LBG entrance on Tuesday stashed full of greenery. (See picture above) Volunteers assisting with unloading greenery and customer pick-up included Susan Gibbins, Dick Pritchett, Laurel Phebus, Sandra Walker, Cheryl Heine, Gene Padgham, Gail Jones, Kathy McCrimmon, Cynthia and Greg Dempsey, and Sue LeGrand. (See Sandra Walker, Cheryl Heine, Brenda Roberts and Laurel Sessions in the photo below.) 

Bow designers included Kathy Bowen, Linda Nunnally, Jane Wood and Brenda Roberts. 

The Greenery Sale more than met our expectations!!  

February Gardening Tips

Take Action Against Invasives -  Remove Japanese honeysuckle  ( Lonicera japonica ) and other weedy vines while many garden plants are still leafless. Control or eliminate English ivy ( Hedera helix ). 

Pruning - February is a good time for vigorous pruning of summer blooming shrubs that flower on new wood. This includes Beautyberry , Abelia, Althea, Hydrangea, Gardenia, Nandina, R ose  of Sharon, Osmanthus and Butterfly Bush. Prune sensibly and hope you attended the recent Fred Spicer program on pruning!

Grass Growing -  If you have a warm season grass such as Bermuda or Centipede, wait until Spring to fertilize. It's also time to mow or otherwise trim to 10 cm (3"-4") Monkey grass (Liriope) and Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon). Just run over with your lawnmower. 

For cool season grasses like fescues, top-dress with 1/2 inch of compost or apply an organic  fertilizer  such as Espoma 'Plant-tone' (5-3-3) to encourage healthy growth. 

Vegetables - Time to plant these veggies: Beets, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Lettuces, Mustard, Onions, Garden Peas, Irish Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnips.  Check out www. aces.edu for additional information.


Memorials & Honorariums

 In Honor of Dr. & Mrs. Arthur Toole by Mr. & Mrs. Keener Hudson


General Contributions

The Ginn Family Foundation

Anonymous donation to the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama to be used for Educational Audio/Visual Equipment and Supplies 

James Rosen Charitable Foundation: To be used to establish Phase One areas at Longleaf Botanical Gardens (area outside the Rotary Room and the event lawn)


 Brick Pavers

Northeast Alabama Orchid Society in memory of Junior Coxwell

If you are interested in purchasing a brick paver, contact David Ford at 256-237-6261 or email: dford@bermanmuseum.org for specifics.  

These pavers make great gifts and can be given in honor or memory.  As you stroll the gardens, you can see examples of the pavers in front and back of the Gardens building. 


Movers & Shakers

Every month, the LBG Board Members recognize those individuals who have contributed in various ways to Longleaf Botanical Gardens during the past month. This month, at the beginning of the new year, we want to recognize those volunteers who contribute every month, on a consistent basis, to help the Board Members and Longleaf Botanical Gardens!

Fiduciary Committee, Julia Segars, Chair 
Rod Nowlin
Art Moore
Jacki Lowry

Education Committee, Sarah Sloan,Chair
Elizabeth Gay
Judy Cole
Kathy McCrimmon
Emily Richardson
Cheryl Heine

Volunteer/Friends Committee, Brenda Roberts, Chair
Sandra Walker
Pat O'Brien
Gene Padgham
Robert Smith
Gail Jones
Mary Banks

Green Team Volunteers, Hayes Jackson, LBG Horticulturist
Jimmy Sloan
Jim Wakefield
Linda Wakefield
Ruth Stewart
Linda Crow
Emily Richardson
Gary Lawson
Constance Sims
Dayle Brooks

If you are interested in volunteering,
please call 256-237-6766 or e-mail: friends.LLBG@gmail.com

Three Attractions, One Membership

Anniston Museum Complex & Gardens is happy to unveil our new Passport Membership program with more added benefits than before! Previously, Members who were interested in joining the Anniston Museum of Natural History, Berman Museum, and Longleaf Botanical Gardens would have to acquire these memberships separately. Now, members will receive benefits from all three facilities under ONE membership.

Members receive benefits which include free admission at all three facilities, invitations to member-only events, bi-monthly newsletter, discounted or free admission to hundreds of museums, 10% discount on gift shop purchases, and a $100 discount on children’s birthday parties.

The Passport Membership program price for one full year is as follows: Individual - $60, Family - $90, Patron - $250, Benefactor - $500, and Director’s Society - $1000. Business Memberships are also available as follows: Emerald $1000, Ruby $2500, and Diamond $5000.

If interested in joining Anniston Museum Complex & Gardens, please contact DeMorra Walls at 256-237-6766.  

Whispering Pines is the electronic newsletter of Longleaf Botanical Gardens.

  We welcome your comments and address corrections. 

  Mary Banks, Editor,  256-453-6524, friends.llbg@gmail.com