Photo | Robin Krchak
Mobile Botanical Gardens’ popular Gallery of Gardens tour returns, this year featuring five private gardens, all located on water.
By Greer Wilhelm
Mobile County Master Gardener |CoastalAlabamaGardening@gmail.com
Here along the Gulf Coast we enjoy our gardens and welcome the chance to pick up new ideas and tips to upgrade and enhance them. On April 5 and 6, the Mobile Botanical Gardens (MBG) is offering several opportunities to do just that — bringing Amazon best-selling author Brie Arthur to town to share her passion for plants, design and foodscaping. And MBG’s popular Gallery of Gardens tour is back, with some new twists.
Five private gardens are featured on this year’s tour, all located on water south of the city of Mobile in the unique area referred to as the Peninsula of Mobile. Three lie on Dog River, one on Perch Creek and another on Mobile Bay.
They vary widely in character and style, ranging from an older forest of camellias to a newly installed and curated plant collection. There are sheltered, cozy garden nooks and warm, open spaces to enjoy, as well as a wonderful assortment of container gardens and whimsical, decorative garden art. Peninsula docents will be on hand to explain the unique ecological features of the area, and Master Gardeners will assist visitors with identifying the many diverse plants.
Originally from southeastern Michigan, Brie Arthur studied landscape design and horticulture at Purdue University. With more than a decade of experience as a grower and propagator at leading nurseries, she makes her home now in North Carolina. Arthur appears as a correspondent on the PBS television show “Growing a Greener World” and her debut book, “The Foodscape Revolution,” has become a best seller on Amazon.
In 2017, Arthur was honored as the first recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Emerging Horticulture Professional award. Her second book, “Gardening with Grains,” will be available later this year. She is an inspired, creative advocate for local food production and bringing it into the everyday lives of children and adults.
Delighted at the prospect of celebrating her 40th birthday weekend in the Azalea City, Arthur will share ways to grow the flowers and food you love and create a beautiful, bountiful space in the process. She will cover ways to engage kids, and simple ways to make the most of small spaces with containers and new technologies, including patio-friendly aeroponic systems. Vertical growing will be covered, as will tips on what you can plant instead of mulching. From having a party-ready deck to a bountiful property border, Brie will offer expert growing tips for a successful harvest.
On Friday, April 5, at 4:30 p.m., there will be a casual, family-friendly event with Arthur on the Herb Garden hillside at MBG as a foodscaping garden is installed by adding edibles among established trees, shrubs, and perennials. Attendees will be invited to participate. To whet your family’s appetite for foodscaping, the planting will be followed by a light farm-to-table sampling of foods featuring locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Friday evening at 7 p.m., Arthur will give a presentation on her book, followed by a book signing and dessert reception as part of the MBG Marion Deane Drummond series.
Gardens in this year’s gallery will be open Friday, April 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
New this year is the option to hop onboard a trolley with Brie Arthur Saturday morning at MBG, leaving the driving, map-reading and parking to someone else as you tour the Gallery of Gardens. You can even choose to start things off with a bloody mary made from Arthur’s own recipe. Then enjoy a relaxed full tour, including a gourmet box lunch, in one of the gardens on the bay, returning to MBG midafternoon. Trolley tour space is limited.
Advance tickets and maps are available online at mobilebotanicalgardens.org or at the MBG office. On tour days, ticket sales will also be offered at all of the tour gardens.
GARDENING EVENTS FOR YOUR CALENDAR
What: Gallery of Gardens presented by Mobile Botanical Gardens
When: Friday, April 5 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and Saturday, April 6 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Where: Dog River, Perch Creek, Mobile Bay
What: Brie Arthur presentation on “Foodscape Revolution”
When: Friday, April 5 (4:30-8:30 p.m.)
Included: Planting with Brie Arthur, farm-to-table sampling, presentation and book signing
Where: Mobile Botanical Gardens, 5151 Museum Drive, Mobile
What: Easter Egg Hunt and breakfast with the Easter Bunny
When: Saturday, April 13
Where: Bellingrath Gardens, Theodore
Info: Special hunts for different age groups (bellingrath.org).
Call 251-459-8864 for breakfast reservations.
What: Turf School
When: April 15-16 (6-8 p.m.)
Where: Jon Archer Center, 1070 Schillinger Road N., Mobile
Topic: The Do’s and Don’ts of Grass Care
Cost: $10 covers your meal for both nights\
Register: By April 9; call 251-574-8445
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