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: October 13 – November 17, 2017   Register
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: December 8 – January 12, 2018    Register
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: February 2 – March 9, 2018    Register
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.

REGISTRATION
Select the appropriate class link below to register online. You may also register by calling or stopping by the office (Wednesday – Friday, 9am – 4pm)
If you choose to register online and are a member please LOGIN to your account before adding the class to your cart.

Botanical Art I: Graphite
Botanical Art II: Colored Pencil
Botanical Art III: Watercolor

Amanda Wilkins, Curator of Collections

It’s been awhile since spring plant sale, but now we’re moving into the time when we’re seeing out beloved bees and butterflies return to the region. With that, we’re reminded we have the botanical tools to lure them to our gardens and lend them a hand as they complete their life cycles.

The MarketPlace at the Mobile Botanical Gardens has a host of lovely nectar plants that we know and love, such as Salvias, Coneflowers (Rubeckia ssp. and Echinacea ssp.), and Coreopsis. But we also have many of the plants some species of butterfly need to have to feed their caterpillars.

Well, we’ve got a deal for you!

We’ve developed a wagon of the last few native pollinator plants left from Plantasia, and they’re going to be for sale for $65, more than 10 percent off!

The cart consists of:

  • 1- Alabama ox-eye daisy- Heliopsis helianthoides– Small butterflies, like skippers, love to get nectar form these. They are one of the first things to come up with the spring and the last to go down in the winter. This one likes more sun than most, but can tolerate some shade during a part of the day. Definitely prefers well-drained soils.
  • 1- Indian Blanket- Gaillardia sp.– The red and yellow flowers on this sunflower-relative really get the little butterflies going.
  • 1- Hammock Snakeroot- Ageratina jucunda– I have seen all sorts of bees and butterflies on this plant. Pale blue/purple flowers make a great accent in a naturalistic garden.
  • 1- Stiff Bluestar- Amsonia rigida– The feathery habit of this plant paired with the blue star-shaped flowers will have those butterflies coming back for more. Make sure the site is moist, but well-drained.
  • 2- Golden Alexander- Zizia aurea– HOST FOR: black swallowtails. Ever had black swallowtail caterpillars eat your fennel? Well try this native relative to see if you can get a piece of that licorice action this year. This plant has dainty yellow flowers and ours have been blooming in the nursery since February!
  • 1- Small-flower Pawpaw- Asimina parviflora– HOST FOR: Zebra swallowtails. When you don’t have room for the pawpaw we love to eat (Asimina triloba), you can make some for this shrubby (to 6-8 ft.) one. The rusty, golden hairs on the obovate leaves add an interesting texture to a garden, but it is the bizarre fruits that’ll have you scratching your head.
  • 1- Starry Rosinweed- Silphium asteriscus – The Longleaf Pine Forest at MBG is graced with this plant in the summer time and there are few things lovelier than going out to watch the bees go to town on the disk florets. They love them! The flowers get to a good height (3-4 ft.) so they can be planted behind something for an airy effect.
  • 1- Coreopsis– An all-time favorite of bees and butterflies of all types.

~

If those don’t trip your trigger, consider adding these to your butterfly hospitality suite:

Hop Wafer, or Wafer Ash – Ptelea trifoliate
Host for: Giant and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
The common name comes from the wafer-like fruits this plant makes in April and May. It is deceptive, but it is related to lemons and limes (in the family Rutaceae!). It flowers in large, terminal heads and little flies and bees like to collect the oils for their hives. The larva (caterpillars) of two species of swallowtail like to munch on the leaves, so don’t be afraid if you see something eating the leaves.

Sweet Gum – Liquidambar styraciflua
Host for: Luna Moth
The sap from this tree used to be used for making candy. I’ve never tried it, but who knows, maybe it was tasty! We do know, however, that this is one of the host plants for luna moths, those gorgeous, large, green moths we sometimes see in the summertime outside on the porch. If you’ve got a well-drained spot in your yard and a spot in your heart for the lovely rainbow of fall foliage this tree creates, this is the one for you.

Hercules’ Club, or Toothache Tree – Zanthoxylum clava-herculis
Host for: Giant Swallowtail
This gnarly plant is a show-stopper: it has shiny, compound leaves with thorns (well, really botanically prickles) down the trunk. The leaves can be used as a temporary numbing agent, due to oil in the plant. It’s also a reason why the larva of the giant swallowtail likes to chew on it (or maybe they have a toothache too!).The reason the plant has this oil is that it is in the citrus family, as well (family Rutaceae).

by Amanda Wilkins

I was Louisiana-bound the last weekend of March for the 2017 National Azalea Conference in Hammond, Louisiana. The Azalea Society of America met for their annual conference in Cajun Country, and rolled out the best food and hospitality for visitors from all over the country. It was only my second time to Louisiana in my life and I was so glad to get a chance to see the state with the locals. Dr. Allen Owings, Jason Stagg and Gina Herbert were excellent hosts (and Gina totally decked MBG out with lots of cool plants to try!!), and were understanding of my probing questions about Louisiana horticulture. To say the least, I was the youngest person there, though.

Hammond Research Station, Hammond, LA


The conference was based at the research station. The terrible weather thankfully moved out just as I was driving over to Louisiana, and showed how incredible the property is. I hope I get to go back over there during the summer to see all of the plant trials! See more photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/th8dNDxVBMRB7M859

Imahara’s Botanical Gardens, St. Francisville, LA


Mr. Imahara has an amazing story to tell, and he is certainly honoring his family’s complex and amazing horticultural and cultural legacy through building this young botanical garden. His father’s haiku wood carvings alone are worth the trip out there! It is only open by appointment, but I am so glad we were able to go as part of the conference. Mr. Imahara had many stories to tell about the plants he chose and the way the land is sculpted. It was a beautiful trip! See more photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/AiaDqEydLNxbQhA28

Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, St. Francisville, LA


Gosh, nothing says the Deep South like an alleé of live oaks (Quercus virginicus), and Rosedown has a really special one. It was a stately home with a beautiful formal garden with an old cold frame and yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) hedges. I especially enjoyed the lower pond. It would be great to come back when the azalea hedges are in bloom though! See more photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/btsaMqoN6CQ5Eavp6

Transcend Nursery and Buddy and Dixie Lee’s Home, Independence, LA

Goodness, the famous Buddy Lee, of Encore Azalea fame, opened his trial nursery and home to us to potter and nose about. Buddy’s trial nursery is on an old nursery property, and Buddy has some really interesting plants out there. Exciting to see broadleaf evergreen Rhododendron trials going on. Then, we went over to Buddy’s home and got to see his seed lots of possible future Encore azaleas (as well as get wooed by Cajun music and food). See more photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/e7xXfmgpgnoLB4Kh6

Bracy’s Nursery, Wilmer, LA

I first visited Bracy’s back in February, as this one of the nurseries we source plants from for MBG’s plant sales. We were given the VIP driving tour of the 200 acre nursery with the owners and then were treated to a generous fish fry lunch at their home across the street. Ms. Regina is a planter genius. See more photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/2KKU2FhvHEWvvFSk7

Plant Show and Tell with Margie Jenkins, Jenkins Plant Farm and Nursery, Amite, LA


Finally, the nursery tours ended with a stop at Ms. Margie’s nursery in Amite (am-eet). My goodness, the lady is a legendary plantswoman, and her passion and love for sharing plants are inspirational. Asking various folks to hold up 3-gallons so she could talk about them, Ms. Margie gave us an overview of what azaleas she had available for sale and told us stories from her 94-years of life. Really, what we all wanted to see was the nursery lots of 30 year old seedlings of native deciduous azaleas, many of which were in flower. Giving Ms. Margie a hug around the neck was a wonderful way to end the trip. See more photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/5kibZu3gc7VpvwYA9

Curator’s Corner: Getting back in the swing of things
Amanda Wilkins
1/13/17

 I found this leaf-shaped variegation on a Camellia x vernalis ‘Egao Shibori’. Oh the wonders of Nature!

I found this leaf-shaped variegation on a Camellia x vernalis ‘Egao Shibori’. Oh the wonders of Nature!

Dear MBG Community,

Oh, it’s so good to be back in Mobile and back out at the Mobile Botanical Gardens. There have been so many needed and worthwhile improvements at the gardens while I was gone. Thank you so much for your continued support. Your support allows me to do my job better!

So, what have I been up to since I got back on Monday, January 2? It seems a little bit of everything, but the new year has offered a lot of opportunities for change and moving forward. I’m really looking forward to what we’ll do this year.

One of my favorite parts of my job is learning the stories about the plants at the garden. This is Camellia japonica ‘TDN-0091’, which is probably an unnamed seedling from Tom Dodd Nursery out in Semmes. Goodness knows how it came to be at MBG (and that will be the next step!), but we’re certainly glad it’s here. It’s made of stunningly perfect layers of pink.

Camellia japonica ‘TDN-0091’

Plant Curation
One of my major projects as curator of collections is to make sure the plants at the gardens are documented and studied through time. I keep the stories about where plants come from, who’s touched their past, and how they relate to the grand scheme of horticulture. The Camellia japonica cultivars in the Kosaku Sawada WinterGarden are just now beginning to come into their own, even with the latest deep freeze! I’m currently working to update our plant records in this area to align with the industry standard for records in botanic gardens. It’s a daunting task, but little by little, and with a lot of help from volunteers, we’re set to get it done by February 14th, when the ICS committee will arrive for a review of our collection! If you’re interested in getting involved in the recording project, please feel free to drop me a line at awilkins@mbgardens.org.

Camellia japonica ‘TDN-0091’: One of my favorite parts of my job is learning the stories about the plants at the garden. This is Camellia japonica ‘TDN-0091’, which is probably an unnamed seedling from Tom Dodd Nursery out in Semmes. Goodness knows how it came to be at MBG (and that will be the next step!), but we’re certainly glad it’s here. It’s made of stunningly perfect layers of pink.

A view from the front line. It was a lot of fun being on the drip torch (I was the one setting the fires!)

A view from the front line. It was a lot of fun being on the drip torch (I was the one setting the fires!)

Longleaf Treasure Forest Burn
You may notice one section of our Longleaf Treasure Forest has recently been burned. Our tireless Longleaf volunteers, mostly consisting of dedicated members of the neighboring community and forestry professionals, successfully cleared water oaks (which are bad for controlled burns) in the last patch on the south side of the forest and so our forestry management team pulled the trigger on a burn on Wednesday, January 11. It was a small but mighty crew out there for a few hours, dripping fire, raking fuel and putting out burning stumps. It’s looking good post-burn, so look out for little seedlings making an appearance soon!

MBG Cavalry: Volunteering at the Gardens
MBG Cavalry, assemble! Volunteering is a huge part of how the gardens continues to exist and service the community. Whether you are interested in getting involved on the grounds doing horticultural projects or are better suited to easy activities involved with records-keeping, please get in touch with me at awilkins@mbgardens.org. I would love to work with you! Volunteering at the garden gets you out of the house and into the garden, where you can learn more about plants and horticulture just by spending some time at MBG!

Upcoming Pruning Workshop
Finally, I will be running a pruning workshop at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 20. We’ll cover topics, such as pruning techniques, timing, and pruning tools. The session will finish up with a hands-on pruning project in the Japanese Maple Garden. Whether you know nothing at all or need a refresher on the techniques, this class is for you. Feel free to bring your own tools and any burning horticulture questions with you. Registration required. Please call the office at

251-342-0555 or email jkrchak@mbgardens.org. Free for members, $10 non-members.

I appreciate your continued support and look forward to seeing you at the garden. Stay tuned for more news from the garden, and future posts about cool plants and interesting horticultural topics!

Most sincerely,

~Amanda Wilkins

Curator of Collections

A view of the private hills of a hunting estate in Corour, Scotland. I’d got up to help a friend on collection for her Master’s thesis. It was tough work, but someone has to look at those Rhododendrons in the Scottish Highlands when they’re in full bloom!)

A view of the private hills of a hunting estate in Corour, Scotland.

P.S. Curious about where I’ve been since August 2015? Check out my blog to see photos from my time in Scotland, where I did my Masters in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

A view of the private hills of a hunting estate in Corour, Scotland. I’d got up to help a friend on collection for her Master’s thesis. It was tough work, but someone has to look at those Rhododendrons in the Scottish Highlands when they’re in full bloom!)