News from Dr. Jeff Gillman
Director's Report May 2021
Polly's Garden Now Open!
Polly’s Garden is open! On May 22nd, the Polly Rogers Memorial Sensory Garden was officially opened to visitors. This Garden was made possible through the generosity and hard work of over 300 people who came together to create something truly special. Over 60 invited guests joined us including speakers Tim Rogers, Dean Teresa Petty, and Dean Nancy Gutierrez. This garden features a music area, memorial wall, and a fairy garden. Created to celebrate the life of Polly Rogers, a UNC Charlotte student focused on becoming a special education teacher, Polly’s Garden is meant to be utilized by people with a wide range of abilities. Polly was strongly motivated to help others by her uncle, Rusty Rogers, who had Down Syndrome. To honor her memory, Polly’s Garden was designed to be enjoyed by people of all ability levels. It is a place where touch, sound, sight, and smell work together to engage visitors at many different levels. We hope that you will visit and share your experiences with us.  
Garden Updates
The good news is that the Carolina Garden Trail, where crops from different periods of Carolina history come together, is coming along nicely. The bad news is that things have slowed down because the University has granted us some extra funding, so we will be working on hardscapes instead of planting this year. The final product is going to be something special and will be worth the wait!

In other good news, we received a gift from one of our former colleagues here at the Gardens, John Denti, who has made a gift to help support the building of Paula’s Garden. Named after former Associate Director Paula Gross, Paula’s Garden will be a children’s garden. Currently we are scheduled to start work on it sometime this coming winter.
Upcoming Classes
We have three exciting classes coming up in the next few weeks that still have spots open! Click a link below to register:

Keep an eye your inbox: July through December Classes coming soon!

Carolina Garden Trail Symposium
A new IN-PERSON Symposium is now being planned! The Carolina Garden Trail Symposium will focus on the influence of African cultures and crops on Carolina cropland. From African crops like rice and okra to South American crops that benefitted from African involvement like sweet potatoes to peanuts, the influence of Africa and its people on our Carolina crops has been underappreciated and even ignored. This symposium is an initial step to educate the people of the Carolinas about the real background of many of the foods we find on our tables. We are now working on the full line-up, but authors Adrian Miller, Judith Carney and UNC Charlotte Chancellor’s Professor Akinwumi Ogundiran will be participants! The symposium is tentatively scheduled to take place in late October at UNC Charlotte Center City. Keep an eye out for more details, including how to register, as we get closer to the event.
Plant of the Month
Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)
Indian pink is popping up all over the Gardens right now. These amazing red blooms add a tremendous amount of interest to a garden, especially in shaded regions. Once upon a time this was a valued medicinal plan, but we would recommend that you stay away from using it in this way. This plant is quite toxic and shouldn’t be eaten by animals or people. Nonetheless, this is a very special perennial for shaded regions.
That's all for now! We look forward to seeing you in the Gardens soon.
Jeff Gillman, Ph.D.     
Director, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens