Lunch and Learn
At the Jon Archer Center, 1070 Schillinger Road North
Saturday, March 4th, 2017, 10:00 – 3:00pm
9:30 Registration, Box Lunch and drinks included and more…
Master Gardeners $20
Non-Master Gardener $30

Gardening for Serenity: Outdoor Spaces that Rejuvenate, Heal and Ground
by Jenny Peterson, owner of J. Peterson Garden Designs, and author of The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion: Cultivating Hope, Healing & Joy in the Ground Beneath Your Feet. 10% of Jenny’s book sales is donated to metastatic breast cancer.



Trialed and Trusted Plants, Distinctly Southern
by Robert “Buddy” Lee, Inventor of Encore Azaleas, the world’s best-selling Azaleas, has more than 30 years experience in nursery management, breeding, and propagation, and new plant development.




Non-refundable advanced reservations are required. Limited seating. Reservation deadline Feb. 25th. Send checks made out to MCMG, or call for credit card purchase to:
6419 Willow Brook Run East
Mobile, AL 36608

Please note that this program is presented and hosted by the MOBILE COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS and not MBG

2017 Lecture Series

Exciting Lectures in 2017!

In addition to creating and sharing their Bloomin’ Wild series, Derek and Fred have been working to create an interesting array of speakers for MBG in 2017. Dates and details will be posted once set.

Botany for Botanical Artists
Friday, February 24th & March 3rd, 10 a.m. – noon
A class consisting of two sessions/lectures, each of two hours.
Instructor: Fred Nation
Designed for botanical art students who would appreciate a better understanding of the principles of basic botany from which they draw inspiration (and for anyone who might be interested). While touching on the subjects of morphology and taxonomy the essential focus would be on the botany of flowers and leaves. Highlighting the diagnostic characteristics that are so important to good accurate botanical drawing and documentation, and also for the identification of plants.
Members $40 / NonMem $50
Register through our Online Catalog or call (251)342-0555

“Landscape Design”, Terry Plauché – Landscape Architect & Designer
Friday, March 10th, 2-4:00
Terry Plauché, Landscape Architect, will be presenting from 2-4pm. Terry is well known for his commercial and residential designs and he has long been a friend of MBG.
$10 NonMem, Free Members
Register through our Online Catalog or call (251)342-0555 or email us

“Invasive Exotics”, Fred Nation – Botanist & Author
Friday, April 28th, 2-4:00
$10 NonMem, Free Members

“Paleobotanical Discoveries in Alabama”, Dr. Brian Axsmith – Head of Botany, USA
Friday, May 12th, 2-3:30
$10 NonMem, Free Members

“Wildlife of the Longleaf Pine Forest”, Roger Clay – Alabama Dept. of Conservation
Dates TBA


March 17th-19th
Friday & Saturday, 9am – 4pm
Sunday 11am – 4pm

Preview Party, Thursday 4pm – 7pm
Preview Party Tickets: $25 Members/ $30 Nonmembers  (Tickets will be available online and in the office)

Big changes this year! We will be holding Spring Plant sale in our newly rebuilt and expanded MarketPlace with open air retail building. No more difficult terrain or muddy puddles when it rains – and we can open MarketPlace right after Spring Plant Sale! Preview night will still be held on Thursday and will be catered by Georgia Roussos. In addition to our usual purchasing of plants, Maarten will be working with some of the local growers to bring select plants in on consignment. You will, as always, have a unique selection of plants.

*Look for the plant list to be posted two weeks before the sale.*

Tomatopalooza 2017!

*The Catalog is now closed for orders. Some tomatoes will be available for purchase in limited quantities on the day of pickup.

MarketPlace 9am-noon

Get the best tomato plants for your Gulf Coast garden. For the first time, we will be growing some of the tomato varieties in own recently updated Greenhouse!

Tomato Facts and Tips

  • Grow them in sun – 6-8 hours a day is a must!
  • They need good rich composted soil with a pH from 6.2 to 6.8 – and a time release or organic fertilizer helps them through the season
  • Applying a  2-4 inch layer of mulch in April, after the soil has warmed up, will help keep down weeds and keep the soil evenly moist.
  • The number of days given is the average time between planting out and the maturing of the first fruit.
  • Determinate – The plants reach a certain height and then stop growing. The majority of their fruit matures within a few weeks of each other. Great for those who like to can, make sauce, or freeze their crops.
  • Indeterminate – These plants continue to grow and produce tomatoes throughout the season. They need support (mostly 5ft ) They throw out a lot of shoots, and some like to prune those for optimum-size fruit, or to train them on trellises, but pruning the side shoots is not essential.
  • There are some varieties that are semi-determinate because they are somewhere in between – they are best if supported.
  • Heirloom tomatoes have been around for a while, and are not hybrids
  • Hybrid tomatoes are crosses of different varieties, and offer better disease resistance, higher yield and other improvements.

Pruning 101 Workshop

Friday, January 20th, 10am- noon
Pruning 101 Workshop with Amanda Wilkins, curator of collections – Limited space!

It’s that time of year again! Are your trees and shrubs looking a little scraggly? Are you wondering when to prune those Japanese Maples and Hydrangeas? Want to know how to make a proper pruning cut? Come out on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 10 a.m. to learn the ins-and-outs of pruning your trees and shrubs, and other top tips for pruning. Feel free to bring your own pruners and horticultural/gardening questions for a workshop with Amanda. There will be a brief overview of the science of plants and pruning, a discussion about pruning tools, and then a hands-on pruning portion in the Japanese Maple Garden.

Additionally, Amanda is looking for volunteers in the future to help with pruning projects. If you are interested in this, please look into attending this class!

Registration is required. Please email Amanda or call 251-342-0555 to register.
Cost: Free for MBG Members, $10 Non-Members – Pay day of

Volunteer in WinterGarden!

Saturday, January 28th
9am – 2pm

The Mobile Botanical Gardens is reviving the MBG Cavalry Volunteer program! Amanda Wilkins, curator of collections, would like to invite you out for a volunteer workday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 28 to help clean up the Kosaku Sawada WinterGarden. Tasks will include weeding, raking, cleaning pine needles out of the shrubs and trees, and some pruning. MBG is hosting an afternoon tour with the International Camellia Society folks on Valentine’s Day and we would love to represent the best of Mobile’s Camellias to our visitors. Any help you can give would be most appreciated. Please contact Amanda if you would like to help. We will meet at the Piff Courtyard, near the office.

Additionally, if you are not able to make it out for the workday or you are more able to help with Camellia-related office work, please still feel free to contact Amanda, as she is updating the records and labels for the Camellias in the garden and would love any help!

Look out for future volunteer announcements! If you would like to come out to the garden to help any other time, please let us know.

Saturday, January 14th,  9am-4pm

We are very excited to be hosting a workshop lead by Denise Walser-Kolar, one of America’s finest botanical artists!

Spend a day learning how to draw and paint leaves with Denise Walser-Kolar. We will start with some exercises observing and drawing leaves and spend the rest of the day painting a single leaf. We will also cover mixing greens and dark shadow colors. Denise will demonstrate painting a leaf on vellum and one on paper to show the difference. This class combines demonstrations, discussion of materials and techniques, hands-on time for developing skills, and lots of individual attention and feedback.

Article by Denise about working on vellum
Be sure to take a look at her beautiful work on her website

About our Instructor:

Denise Walser-Kolar earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Commercial Illustration from the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is currently a botanical artist, Annual Meeting & Program Coordinator for the ASBA, and teaches Botanical Art workshops across the country.
Denise’s work has been exhibited at Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibitions presented by The American Society of Botanical Artists and The Horticultural Society of New York. In 2011, she was awarded a Silver-Gilt Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society in London for her series of paintings of The Hybrid Hazelnuts of Badgersett Research Farm. In 2015, she was awarded the ASBA Diane Bouchier Artist Award for Excellence in Botanical Art. Her work is held in the permanent collection of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University and she is represented by Susan Frei Nathan Fine Works on Paper.Denise lives and paints in Rochester, Minnesota.

Many of you might have seen Brad Boland walking around the Gardens and getting upclose and personal with all of the plants and wildlife. Starting this fall, Brad will be teaching Macro and Closeup Photography classes that will help you to capture the world around you.

Future classes to be offered by Brad Boland at MBG- Dates TBD

Introduction to Close Up and Macro Photography
This class is intended to provide an overview of macro photography equipment, Shooting modes that work best, composition for close up shots, and a photowalk in the garden. (2 hours)

Shots that Work: Macro Photography Settings and Composition
This class provides a more advanced look at good starting points for DSLR closeup photography, how to adapt the settings in different lighting, and do’s and don’ts of composition. An hour and a half photowalk will follow the class. (2.5 hours)

(DSLR and a basic understanding of the mode dial settings is required.­ If not, Best to take the class, “Shots that Work,” first) Walk the garden together practicing the best ways to compose and shoot various flowers, insects, and other creatures. (2.5 hours)

Drab to Fab: Basic Lightroom Editing
(a laptop with a recent version of Lightroom is required) Bring out and light up the subject and make photos pop with color.

Please email the office if you would like to be notified when dates are set.


In case you missed this 3-part series with Derek Norman the first time, we will be offering it again beginning this Fall.
All classes last 6 weeks and are held on Fridays from 10am – 1pm
Members: $125
Non-members: $150 (consider becoming a member!)

WORKING WITH GRAPHITE PENCIL: September 2nd – October 7th
If you have long held the desire to learn how to draw then this class is for you. And also, for those who simply wish to take their drawing skills to a higher level.

During this 6-week course, each student will engage in drawing plant specimens as they learn to recognize and create form by understanding the importance of structure, surface texture and light as “value”. Feel the magic of creating “value” as your flower drawing slowly emerges and comes to life with shape, form, depth, and dimension.

WORKING WITH COLORED PENCIL: October 28th – December 13th
*note* two week break after November 18th class
For those who simply wish to take their drawing skills to a higher level and those who continue to explore the world of botanical drawing and painting – this class is specifically designed for you!

Students will progress through sound accurate observation and the fundamentals of proportional drawing technique to an understanding of working with color and colored pencil. A step-by-step process will allow the
student to more fully understand the application of color and color blending be it colored pencil or watercolor.

As the class progresses each student will engage in drawing plant specimens as they learn to apply color to hot press paper and understand the importance of structure, surface texture and color perspective

WORKING WITH WATERCOLOR: January 13th – February 17th
This class is designed as an introduction to the botanical art of painting in
watercolor using the Six-Color-Palette.
Here is an opportunity to develop and further refine your understanding
of basic color, color mixing and sound color selection through a step-bystep
approach. Learn to paint wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry and how to apply a
“glaze”, a “wash” and classic English “dry-brush”. Students will progress
to working with botanical specimens as they build confidence and proficiency.

As the class progresses each student will engage in drawing plant specimens as they learn to apply color to hot press paper and understand the importance of structure, surface texture and color perspective

About our Instructor –
Derek Norman and his wife, Ursel, are members of MBG and they are new to our Gulf Coast community, having moved here from Chicago. Derek was born, bred and educated in England before he moved to the States. His graphic works, paintings, drawings and botanical works have been exhibited in Europe and America. He has won Gold and Silver Gilt Medals at the Royal Horticultural Society in London and he is represented in many private and permanent collections including the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, the Library of Congress, the British Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Florilegium Society.

Select the appropriate class link below to register online. You may also register calling or stopping by the office (Wednesday – Friday, 9am – 4pm)
If you choose to register online and are a member please email the office for your discount code (please include the class that you are interested in)

Botanical Art I: Graphite Pencil

Botanical Art II: Colored Pencil

Botanical Art III: Watercolor

Friday Afternoons (2pm -4pm) in the Gardens weekly
Enjoy an informal afternoon of drawing,taking inspiration from the Gardens’ setting.
An open studio with advice and encouragement offered by Derek Norman.
Please bring your own drawing supplies. Come when you can.

FREE to Members
Non-members will pay admission of $5 to the Gardens

Derek Norman was born, bred and educated (mostly by experience) in England (BFA) and America as an exchange student (great experience).

Since arriving on these shores he has learnt to speak American and drive on the wrong side of the road.
With a fine art background and following a career in advertising, marketing and communications Derek Norman found an avocation in drawing and painting the native flora of the Midwest. Finally, avocation became vocation.

A longtime designer, creative director, television producer, educator, teacher, lecturer and faculty adviser at Columbia College, Chicago and at the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, Illinois. Also, founder and former Principal of the Midwest Center for Botanical Documentation.

Co-author (with Ursel Norman), and designer/illustrator of six cookbooks (William Morrow, New York & Harper/ Collins, London). And various newspaper columns – Look & Cook (Pioneer Press, Chicago),
Greenfingers (Chicago Tribune), Woodland Wildflowers, Plants at a Glance and Prairie Plants (Pioneer Press, Chicago).

A former elected member of the London Creative Circle and the Royal Society of Artists and Designers, London. He is the recipient of many design and professional awards. His graphic works, paintings, drawings and botanical drawings have been exhibited in Europe and America. He has won Gold and Silver Gilt Medals at the Royal Horticultural Society in London and he is represented in many private and permanent collections including the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, the Library of Congress, the British Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Florilegium Society.

Derek Norman together with his wife Ursel, nowadays, are happy to reside in Olde Towne Daphne, Alabama.