On Monday July 6th, staff moved quickly on Monday to remove the burned debris and plants from the center island in the Fragrance & Texture Garden. After careful removal, a barrier was replaced to stop soil from washing into the Koi Pond.

On the 7th, members of the horticultural committee assessed tree and shrub damage, and apart from the larger trees the area has been cleared. New irrigation to replace damage will be installed, hopefully before the end of this week.

Temporary plantings of annuals and easily transplanted perennials will be planted soon, while a more permanent planting plan is decided.

Although currently a “Moon-scape” the damaged area will rise from the ashes with plantings that echo the vision of the founding members – a garden that can be enjoyed by all through sight, scent and feel.

F&T Fire post update

Brad replacing Koi Pond barrier after fire damaged plants and debris removed. July 6th 2015

Removing burned plants and roots. July 7th 2015

Removing burned plants and roots. July 7th 2015

F&T Fire update July 6

Ground cleared of fire debris- “Moon Scape” July 6th 2015

Koi protected after clearing debris. July 7th 2015

Koi protected after clearing debris. July 7th 2015

JULY 5th

Sometime during the evening or night of Friday, July 3rd, a large area of the Fragrance & Texture garden was gutted by a fire started by random fireworks, according to the fire department.

We have lost lighting, irrigation, signage, most plants, and all the mulch. The bridge was only slightly damaged and the koi are safe, although now more vulnerable with the damage surrounding the pond – we have run temporary electrical supply to the waterfall pump unit.

We may never know the why, who, or where of how they were set off – but be aware fireworks should not be set off in the City limits, and they can cause a lot of damage!

Staff assessed the damage on Saturday, July 4th. Barriers have been erected around the Koi Pond to make sure ash residue does not get into the water. The pond water has been changed, and the pH level of the water is being monitored. We are doing all we can to ensure the health of the Koi.

Clean up and repairs will begin on Monday, July 6th. Irrigation will need to be replaced and/or repaired, electrical elements for the pond waterfall and lighting will need to be assessed, debris cleared, and trees assessed for fire damage before we can think of replanting. If you can help in any way, please let the office know via email or phone (251) 342 0555.

Fragrance & Texture Garden Damage

Fragrance & Texture Garden Damage

Fire Damage July 4th 2015

Fire Damage July 4th 2015

Tim Chapman, pioneer ginger collector, from Gingerwood Nursery near Baton Rouge LA, is coming over to talk Gingers from 10am to 11am. Tim has introduced several ginger varieties into the trade, and has a fine collection of new, rare and unusual plants.

He will be bringing a selection of his gingers for a ‘show & tell” and limited quantities will be available for sale!

Plan a morning at MBG for Saturday the 18th!

Market Place open 9am – noon – many more summer to fall plants for sales – not just gingers!

Tim Chapman – Gingers! 10am – 11am in the Botanical Center.

Members – $10, non-members – $20. Light refreshments provided.

Reservations for the seminar are required. Please email with subject line Tim Chapman Talk

Plain Gardening by Bill Finch – July 2012

What’s the use of summer without gingers?

I hear that some folks have to do without them. They don’t have much to do with gingers in Connecticut, I’m told. I guess there’s not enough summer there to even bother.

But when summer is as long and tropical as it is here on the Gulf Coast, the garden begs for gingers.

Not just the gingers that you eat — though there are many edible gingers, from the common grocery store ginger to turmeric to exotic treats like galangal ginger — that are worth growing in the South.

But we’re here today to talk about the gingers that we along the Gulf Coast know as ginger lilies. And a ginger lily is simply a ginger that is pretty enough to be an ornamental.

There are hundreds of species of gingers, and by now there must be thousands of cultivars, each with a flower of a different color or fragrance or shape, some only inches high, some 10 feet tall. The most famous ginger lily of the South is the one commonly called “butterfly lily” or sometimes, “butterfly ginger.” This is the famously fragrant, white flowering ginger that grows, oh, about shoulder height, and will spread from one end of your yard to the other, if you give it too much time alone.

But there are many other ginger “types” that every Gulf Coast gardener should be familiar with by now:

Bill's Ginger post

Curcuma ‘Khymer Orange’

Bill's Ginger post

Zingiber zerumbet – early cone

Bill's Ginger Post

Hedychium ‘Elizabeth’

Bill's Ginger Post

Curcuma elata

Butterfly and bottlebrush gingers (Kahili gingers and their hybrids in the genus Hedychium)

— These gingers resemble the butterfly ginger, and are closely related, but the flowers are often very colorful, in shades of orange, red, pink, or mauve. Spectacular, tough, fragrant, colorful, and all are about head high when mature. All of these are quite hardy in all of South Alabama. Includes the varieties Elizabeth, Dr. Moy, Ayo, coccineum, red butterfly and yellowheart.

Hidden gingers (Curcuma gingers)

— This group of gingers is an old-fashioned favorite, and it includes the curcuma gingers, which have unusual flower stalks that look like jeweled pagodas, in various shades of pink, lavender, red and yellow. These are big-leafed gingers, but they have short or non-existent stalks, and the tips of the leaves and flowers are rarely more than 4 feet high. Almost all hidden gingers are hardy in South Alabama, but a few of the most recently introduced varieties may not return after a cold winter. Includes the varieties ‘Khymer Orange’, ‘Purple Prince’ and Curcuma elata.

Spiral gingers (Costus gingers)
— The cool thing about the spiral gingers is that they do just that — the plants grow on stems that resemble a leafy corkscrew. But the flowers are often quite distinctive and showy, as well. Many are hardy along the Gulf Coast, but some may be lost in cold wet winters. Includes Costus pictus, Costus speciosus “Crepe ginger,” Costus maletorianus, the velvet stepladder ginger and Costus arabicus.

Shampoo gingers (also known as pinecone gingers, in the genus Zingiber)
— Imagine a large unopened pinecone that has just been dipped in glossy red, yellow or white wax, and you’ll have a good notion of what the flower of this ginger looks like. It has been around Gulf Coast gardens for the better part of a century. Most of these are hardy along the Gulf Coast.

Bill's Ginger Post

Costus speciosus

Bill's Ginger Post

Zingiber zerumbet ‘Darceyii’

Bill's Ginger Post

Kaempferia ‘Grande’

Curcuma longa (Turmeric)

Curcuma longa (Turmeric)

Dwarf peacock gingers (Kaempferia and Cornukaempferia)
— Think of these gingers as tropical hostas. Some are not 12 inches high, most don’t grow much taller than your knees. But the leaves are often bodaciously large and incredibly showy, with colorful patterns and markings that make hostas look dull in comparison. Many have spectacular flowers as well. We’ll list several of these in our catalog in coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Edible gingers
— In theory, all gingers are edible, and some may like to experiment. But some gingers are so sharp and pungent as to be unpleasant. The most refined ginger flavors come from the classic grocery store ginger (Zingiber officinale), the galangal gingers (Alpinia galanga or Kaempferia galangal), and the famous curry spice, turmeric (Curcuma longa).

How to grow gingers

Butterfly gingers can grow almost anywhere, under almost any condition. But the blooms last longer and look their best with some protection from midday sun; conversely, plants in too much shade may produce abundant foliage and few flowers. Dwarf peacock gingers require highly organic soil that is moist but well drained, and they will need some shade at midday and in the afternoon.

The other gingers fall in between those two in their preferences. But provide some midday shade, an abundance of organic matter, water during drought and well drained soil in winter, and they’ll all do well.

This article by Bill Finch was first published in july 2012. Reprinted with permission. Some outdated references to the ReBloom catalog were omitted or deleted.

Our new website is designed to be mobile device friendly – and we hope that you find it friendly to use!

Although we have done our best to test all the links and correct all mistakes, if you have any problems, or find any errors, please let us know! Email Us with corrections and suggestions for website

We are planning more content, including plant information, some of Bill Finch’s archives, links to videos, and more! So keep us in your bookmarks, and join the RSS feed to get notified when there are updates to the posts.

Feel free to comment on any of the posts.. we are looking for input on contents and suggestions for improvements! Even a pat on the back for things that are going on at the Gardens!

Russell Tayler of has been the designer-in-chief and has patiently guided the development of layout of pages and posts. He is also responsible for the drone videos and photos! Liz Duthie has worked on content and layout.

Renewals, upgrades and new memberships keep coming in! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We are happy to have you, and want your neighbors, friends and acquaintances to join us, too.

The Gardens look better every week, and one of your basic membership benefits is unlimited admission for you and others in your household during operating hours, which now include Saturday and Sunday! (The Gardens are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.) For more benefit details go to .

Please invite others to join the Mobile Botanical Gardens. Our membership year runs from July 1 – June 30. The various levels of membership are described at the above link.

To encourage you to help us get new members, we are offering MBG merchandise to existing members. If someone tells us you were responsible for recruiting them (by phone or in “additional info” online), we will give you the following:

1 new member, we will hug you (MBG logo can hugger)
2 new members, we will carry you (MBG logo tote bag)
3 new members, we will protect you from the sun (MBG logo cap)
4 new members, we will feed you (MBG cookbook)
5 new members, we will shelter you from the rain (MBG logo umbrella)

We are dependent on memberships and donations for our operating expenses, so please help us build membership, and consider increasing your own membership level.

July is GINGER Month!

We are introducing a new format for plant sales for the rest of this year! (Except August!)

Details have to be finalized, but we will be selecting a Theme of the Month featuring a plant group for that theme… Think Butterfly Plants, Native Azaleas, Camellias etc.

Selected plants in the theme will be available for ordering on our new Online ReBloom Market Place! And the pick up day will be a Mini Market Place, where you can pick up the pre-paid plant orders AND shop for a large variety of other seasonal plants! (We cannot deliver or mail plants ordered online – pick up only! )

We will also have programs – talks, walks, and workshops – that are related to the Theme!

JULY will be Ginger Month!

We are offering selected gingers for ordering on our New Online ReBloom Store where you can shop in the comfort of your own home! Pre-order, pre-pay and come on July 18th to pick up your plants! AND Market Place will be open for more plant shopping!

We are (fingers crossed) going to have a Gingers Guru come to speak about the many types of gingers that do so well in our area! But that still has to be confirmed!


A Beautiful Controlled Burn at MBG on Tuesday, June 16th!

  • The western-most eight-acre sector we targeted for the burn was thoroughly covered by a good hot fire. The result will be visible and excellent in the coming year and beyond.
  • For the first time ever we invited the public to observe the fire event. This was a successful and interesting public/educational outreach.
  • Over the last dozen years since we began introducing fire into our Longleaf Forest, we have had 14 burns and we are making great progress in our techniques.

Local 15 News WPMI covered the event in their morning broadcast. Some of their coverage can be seen HERE (will open in new tab)

(Featured photo by Amanda Wilkins)

Market Place Madness!

It’s time for Marketplace Madness!
40% Off
8-9 am – MBG Members & Master Gardeners
9-11 am – Come one, come all!
Friday, June 26 AND Saturday, June 27

This is it! After this weekend, MBG Market Place will be closed until next season. We’re going out in style with 40% off select annuals, perennials, fruit trees, flowering shrubs – almost everything in stock!

This is a wonderful opportunity to stock up, or get that fancy plant you’ve had your eye on. The Market Place offers a diverse selection of plants chosen to thrive on the Gulf Coast, many of which you won’t find anywhere else.

Along with plants, you can also get advice: gardening experts will be on hand to help you select just the right plants for your garden.

Come on out to the Sale!

by Amanda Wilkins, June 2015

With the collection of Aromi azaleas coming in in the fall, we have a moment at the Gardens to reflect on our purpose and role as a botanical garden.

The role of botanical gardens is a multifaceted one. Gardens serve as islands of beauty for the soul, natural pharmacies for humans and other animals, havens for local and rare plants, and teachers of children and adults alike. They help give us a sense of time and passing of seasons.

At a time like this, we are reminded of how lucky Mobile is to have the Mobile Botanical Gardens right in its backyard to provide these resources to the community.

We are very excited to be able to conserve and display the life’s work of the late Dr. Eugene Aromi, a native Mobilian who worked on breeding evergreen and deciduous azaleas for more than 40 years. The Garden features many of Aromi’s hybrids in the collection already, but about 90 percent of his hybrids have only been seen by a handful of people. Of the about 108 cultivars of deciduous azaleas Aromi named, 25 have already been lost to the world of horticulture. So, the importance of housing this collection is critical.

Maarten van der Giessen, of van der Giessen Nursery in Semmes, AL, inherited most of Dr. Eugene Aromi’s plants when he passed away and has been looking after them for more than 10 years. He has generously agreed to donate them in the Mobile Botanical Gardens so that they could be shared with Mobile and the world in perpetuity. So, when we started our lecture series, what better way to show off this beautiful collection to the public than to have Maarten make the introductions.

When Maarten sent me the title of his Aromi lecture I laughed out loud: Pretty, Pretty Pictures. His humor wasn’t surprising, or necessarily inaccurate.

I was invited at the beginning of April by Maarten to come out to Aromi World, what he calls the section of the nursery’s property where he’s outplanted Aromi’s hybrids that were rescued from Aromi’s own backyard or Dr. Giordano’s property. It was just to get a taste of what the Mobile Botanical Gardens will be getting later in the year.

Now, I’d seen native deciduous azaleas (taxonomically in the genus Rhododendron) in bloom in the wild before and they are stunning in their own right; however, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see. The morning sun slanting through the live oaks made the flowers of Aromi’s azaleas shimmer so brightly I could see them through the woods. I was out of my seatbelt before the car even stopped. Every plant I looked at made me fall in love with plants again.

On May 28, Maarten gave an Aromi azaleas primer at the Mobile Botanical Gardens, complete with pretty pictures, for members, visitors and Aromi’s daughters and grandchildren. We are so proud to present the video of this lecture on our YouTube channel, which also serves as the inaugural video of our new monthly lecture series. I hope you enjoy the presentation and I look forward to seeing you around the garden!

– Amanda Wilkins. Collections Curator (June 2015)

Friday & Saturday, June 26th & 27th – 7:00am to 2:00pm

Great collectibles, nick-nacks, books, kitchen stuff, golf clubs, small appliances, and even a 20 hp Johnson boat motor! Just a few of the many items that have been donated for the sale!

Come out and shop! And tell your friends, neighbors, and fellow workers! Get the word out!