Thursday, May 7, 2015

Outdoor Summer Concerts Return to the State Botanical Garden

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is pleased to announce the Sunflower Concert Series schedule for 2015. Concerts will be held Tuesday evenings in June, July, August and September in the Flower Garden and offer an eclectic mix of music in one of the most beautiful and relaxing settings possible.

Tickets are $15 each and $5 for children ages 6-12. Admission to each concert includes beverages and light snacks. Please feel free to bring blankets and picnic dinners.  Lawn chairs are allowed on one designated level of the terraced Flower Garden. In case of inclement weather, the concerts will be held inside the Visitor Center and Conservatory. For information on the concert series or to purchase tickets, visit or the Garden Gift Shop, or call 706-542-9353.

The Sunflower Music Series is sponsored by Friends of the Garden, Northeast Sales Distributing, Inc., Athens Coca-Cola, Musicians Warehouse, and Flagpole.

Tuesday, June 2: Caroline Aiken, with The Twangtown Paramours opening
Caroline is an award-winning folk singer, whose new album “Broken Wings Heal” has just been released. Caroline has recently performed on NPR’s “Mountain Stage,” and in the past toured with the Indigo Girls. The Twangtown Paramours hail from Nashville, and bring fine harmony singing and inventive musicianship to the stage.

Tuesday, July 28:  Grassland String Band, with Claire Campbell
The Grassland String Band will bring their take on bluegrass/Americana music, with a set with special guest Claire Campbell (from the acclaimed band Hope for a Golden Summer).

Tuesday, August 25: Grogus
Grogus, returns for their annual celebration of Latin jazz, traditional Cuban and Caribbean styles and funk versions of jazz standards. The band is a past recipient of the Flagpole Athens Music Award in both the jazz and world music categories. Dancing barefoot on the grass is encouraged!

Tuesday, September 29: Arvin Scott, with Marti Winkler

Drummer/percussionist Arvin Scott, an Athens resident who is world-renowned as a jazz musician, and his combo will deliver a jazz performance. Jazz singer Marti Winkler will open the show. This late September concert offers an earlier nightfall and cooler temperatures than the other concerts.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia will Celebrate National Public Gardens Day on May 8, 2015

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens is proud to join the American Public Gardens Association and 550+ Public Gardens Nationwide In Celebrating an Annual Day of Awareness that Honors the Role Public Gardens Play in Promoting Plant and Water Conservation, Education and Environmental Leadership
Athens, GA 4/30/2015 – The annual tradition of celebrating public gardens on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day weekend will continue this year on Friday, May 8, 2015 as the State Botanical Garden of Georgia joins communities throughout the United States in celebration of National Public Gardens Day. Presented by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), this annual day of awareness invites communities nationwide to explore the diverse beauty of their local green spaces and to take advantage of the conservation, education and environmental preservation resources public gardens provide.
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia will be participating in National Public Gardens Day by offering:
-       live music and garden tours from noon to 1 pm in the Visitor Center & Conservatory
-       Tours of the Cecil B. Day Chapel from noon to 1 pm
-       free gift with purchase at the Garden Gift Shop (open 10 am to 4 pm)
-       free cookie with purchase at Donderos’ Kitchen (open 10 am to 4 pm)
-       drawing for season tickets for two to the Sunflower Concert Series (4 outdoor summer concerts) – enter at the front desk from 9 am to 4:30 pm – winner will be notified by 5 pm
The 2015 National Public Gardens Day will be celebrated by more than 550 North American botanic gardens, arboreta, museums, zoos and entertainment gardens with special events, tours and activities. National Public Gardens Day was created to drive local and national exposure to the importance of building sustainable environments through plant and water conservation, education and community engagement.
In celebration of botanical gardens, arboreta, conservatories, educational gardens and historical landscapes, many of the APGA’s 550+ member institutions will mark the day with special events and activities for schools, families, garden enthusiasts and other visitors. Many of the activities will continue through Mother’s Day weekend, offering visitors time to enjoy the beauty of the gardens while learning about each garden’s commitment to education, research and environmental stewardship.

For more information on National Public Gardens Day, visit or “LIKE” the National Public Gardens Day Facebook page.

A unit of the University of Georgia’s Office of Public Service and Outreach, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia is one of the state’s most treasured resources, attracting more than 200,000 guests each year. “Not only does the State Botanical Garden attract visitors from all over the state and the country,” said Wilf Nicholls, Garden Director, “but it also has a truly international appeal. Just recently, Best Masters ranked our Garden 14th on its list of the 50 Most Stunning University Gardens and Arboretums in the world, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Founded in 1940, Pennsylvania-based American Public Gardens Association is an organization devoted to strengthening the public gardens throughout North America. With 75 years of work increasing cooperation and awareness among the gardens, APGA has built a membership of more than 550 public gardens located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and fourteen other countries. Their members include public gardens as well as arboreta and zoos. APGA has also built up an international network of individual members in the U.S., Canada and 24 other countries. The APGA is committed to increasing public awareness of public gardens, and to advancing public gardens as a force for positive change in their communities through leadership, advocacy and innovation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Celebrating Earth Day 2015

This Wednesday, Earth Day, SBG had a large seed sowing work day for the Elaine Nash Piedmont Prairie Project. An SBG team and volunteers sowed three years’ worth of increase seed of Georgia native grasses and wildflowers. All seeds were sourced from the Georgia Piedmont. This is a second planting of seeds developed through a partnership with the US Forest Service, working to restore and recreate two sites for Piedmont Prairies, one of Georgia’s most critically rare habitats, and a priority project listed in the State Wildlife Action Plan.
Botanical Garden staff member Heather Alley, an expert on prairie restoration, led this seed development project for SBG. Linda Chafin, another staff member involved, is an expert in the biology and botany of Piedmont Prairies.


Friday, April 17, 2015

National Center for Plant Conservation Meeting Happening at the State Botanical Garden

The Center for Plant Conservation 2015 National Meeting is being held April 16-19, 2015 at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. The Center for Plant Conservation is a national network of 36 of America’s leading botanical institutions dedicated to preventing the extinction of imperiled native flora. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, who broke the mold in plant conservation through networking and safeguarding projects for the last 20 years, was invited to join this group in 2007.
National leaders in plant conservation will be attending, including plant conservation professionals (titled by CPC as Conservation Officers) from 17 states, six botanical garden directors. Twenty-one accredited Center for Plant Conservation partner botanical gardens will be represented.

Among the 50 attendees are professionals from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and several universities, plus several partners in the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance – US Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy of Georgia, GA DNR Nongame Conservation Section. This meeting will include talks, tours of the Garden and the Mimsie Lanier Center for Native Plant Studies, and field trips to Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area and Tallulah Gorge.

Thursday, April 2, 2015



                Sue and Ed Wilde began leading volunteer groups to remove privet, ivy and other invasive plants at the State Botanical Garden in 2006. Later they helped start the Memorial Park/Birchmore Trail Weed Warriors, who have cleared invasives from more than 12 acres of park land.
Bruno Giri, a leader in efforts to protect waterways and improve water quality in the Athens area was also a recipient of the award.
 (Sue Wilde, preparing to plant Christmas Ferns at Memorial Park in a site she recently cleared of English Ivy.)

                The Alec Little Environmental Award was established in 1991 to honor John A. (Alec) Little of Athens, who worked closely with many environmental organizations in Georgia before his death that year. It was the first major prize to recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding efforts in environmental activism and education in the Athens area.
                Winners of the award are chosen by an advisory board composed of past winners and representatives of the organizations that created the award shortly after Little died of a heart attack.
                This year's award will be presented April 17 at the annual GreenFest Awards Ceremony at Flinchum's Phoenix.
                Sue and Ed Wilde have lived in Athens since the early 1970s and previously were co-owners of Sparky's Seafood CafĂ© and Jackson Street Books.  Graduates of the Master Naturalist course, they began a campaign against invasive plants by learning to identify native plants and clearing their half-acre backyard of non-natives such as ivy, privet and honeysuckle. 
                Sue helped remove invasives at Sandy Creek Nature Center to create a meadow/prairie, and she and Ed began volunteering at the State Botanical Garden, where they led groups and worked on their own to fight ivy and other invasives.  
                In 2009, Sue and friends Linda Chafin and Dorothy O'Niell formed the Weed Warriors, and they were soon joined by Ed and Gary Crider.  The group gathers at Memorial Park every other Saturday from October to March to clear invasive plants and has generated more than 4,000 volunteer hours. In 2010 the Weed Warriors received the Facility/Grounds Volunteer Award from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association.

 Previous winners of the Alec Little Environmental Award are Nancy Lindbloom, Laurie Fowler, Walter  Cook, Joan Gould, Leo Smith Jr., Al Ike, Pam McClure, Jere Bowden, Charles Carter, Bud and Mary Freeman, Sigrid Sanders, Dick Field, Melanie Ruhlman, Smith Wilson, Dan Hope, Larry Dendy, Beth Gavrilles, Bob Barker, Nancy Stangle, Skipper StipeMass, Laura Hall, Russ Page, Elizabeth Little, Maureen O'Brien, Carl Jordan, Suzanne Lindsay, Dorothy O'Niell, Craig Page, Eric Waggoner, Gary Crider, David Berle and Hugh and Carol Nourse.
                Previous organization winners are Sandy Creek Nature Center, the Broad River Watershed Association, the Community Tree Council, the UGA Environmental Law Association, the Creek Kids, the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, the Athens Grow Green Coalition, the Upper Oconee Watershed Network, the Athens Land Trust, the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, Bike Athens, the Oconee River Land Trust, R.E.M., the Newland Family Foundation, the UGA Go Green Alliance, Hill First Baptist Church and the EcoFocus Film Festival.
                The late University of Georgia ecologist Eugene Odum received a Lifetime Achievement Award.