The Buzz

Wishing For Snow (Guest Post by Stephanie Cosby)

On this New Years Eve I am hearing tales of snow, snow, snow from my family in OH. I am seeing photos of my family camping and skiing in the snow in OR. Memphis did receive a light, wet dusting on the day after Christmas and for that I am grateful, yet I find myself still wishing for snow. The fluffy, slow falling kind with fat flakes and that silent hush that accompanies it.  Last year winter of 2012, I was fortunate to snag a quick walk through the Japanese Garden (here at the Memphis... Read More
Posted by chris cosby at Monday, December 31, 2012

Gleaning the Harvest: Farmers Market at the Garden

It's hard to believe it's been a month since the last day of our Farmers' Market at the Garden 2012 season . True to form, my eating habits have spiraled downhill now that I'm not faced with a market full of fresh, local produce every Wednesday. And my husband's " refrigerator blindness " is compounded by the fact that I am hoarding bags upon bags of frozen peas, corn, and okra in our freezer. Yet, even as I wrestle with my avalanche of frozen bounty, I realize how lucky I am to have access... Read More
Posted by Jana Wilson at Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lazy Gardeners Wanted!

Want a garden that is attractive AND easy to care for? Consider xeriscaping with cactus, succulents, grasses, bulbs (yes bulbs!) and other drought tolerant plants.   While these types of gardens are usually thought of as belonging to the desert not the delta, the extremes of hot and cold temperature are similar in both places. In addition, these plants actually prefer poor soil conditions and don’t require soil amendments and constant fertilizing, although good drainage is... Read More
Posted by wendy robson at Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Post: Roots committee member

Christina is a committee member for the Roots , a membership level for young professionals focused on providing rich horticultural and social experiences. For me, coming to the Memphis Botanic Garden gives me a “get away from it all” escape without having to leave the city! Every event I attended in the past gave me a much-needed chance to slow down and RELAX. Wanting to share this feeling of serenity with my family, friends and patients was the main reason I agreed... Read More
Posted by Ashley Mayer at Friday, November 30, 2012

Complimentary Colors In The Fall Landscape (Guest post by Stephanie Cosby)

Late Fall and the onset of Winter light challenges the photographer with it's harsh cool light and cold temperatures. The best times to get softer light referred to as the "Magic Hour" or the "Golden Hour" in photography is the first and last hour of sunlight on a typical sunny day. In Memphis, right now that would be 7am - 8am and 4pm - 5pm, both chilly times when your fingers feel frozen and the camera is sluggish. So, even though I didn't pick the best time of day to shoot for this post (2pm... Read More
Posted by chris cosby at Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fall Colors

An early morning sight not typically seen by visitors at the Garden, unless you arrive really early; the Great Lawn blanketed in frost. Even if they aren't here early enough to catch this morning scene, visitors can still appreciate the fabulous fall color exhibited throughout the various gardens. The Japanese Garden is a riot of colored tranquility surrounding a lake of glass in the cool calmness of the morning.     Trees in the Japanese maple grove offer a... Read More
Posted by wendy robson at Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Thriving First Year For The Herb Garden (guest blog post by Stephanie C. Cosby)

   I was photographing in the new Herb Garden here at the Memphis Botanic Garden and I was marveling at how LUSH it is within just one year of being planted. Granted, some plants just 'go crazy' in one season and are big and bushy by nature, but this garden has a LOT of plant diversity. Some of these plants are finicky and delicate and are still doing well. I know that every garden needs continual care and that this nurturing helps it to thrive (this credit can be given to Sherri... Read More
Posted by chris cosby at Monday, November 12, 2012

Hawks and Owls Call MBG Home

"The quieter you become, the more you can hear." ~Baba Ram Das If you've had the opportunity to explore the Garden as much as I have, you may have had an exciting sighting, as one visitor did recently. After one of our youth education classes, I was notified that a visitor had come upon a large bird sitting in the middle of one of the Wildflower Woodland trails. We went to go see the bird, it didn't want to move, and just sat, uncharacteristically, in the path while she walked... Read More
Posted by Charity Siebert at Thursday, November 8, 2012

Butterfly Garden like Monet's Garden (guest post by Stephanie C. Cosby)

Right now the Butterfly Garden is a riot of color and the butterflies are out enjoying the nectar. Big banks of purple Asters, Butterfly Bushes, Lantana, Salvias...and lots of benches to sit and watch (or listen to butterfly wings!). I love that an entire garden can be created just for the butterflies. I love that in our extremely scheduled and fast lives we can head off to a remote corner of the city; which is the Butterfly Garden, at the back of the Memphis Botanic Garden, and we can just... Read More
Posted by chris cosby at Sunday, October 28, 2012


It’s finally fall!  The weather is turning and so are the leaves!   The ash trees by Ray Deaton Lake (a.k.a. "Audubon Lake) at the back of the Garden provide some of the best fall color at MBG. When you get just enough wind the golden leaves dance in the wind all around. It’s a picture perfect scene. The weather will be perfect tomorrow for our annual Halloween Hike that begins in this beautiful spot and takes you and your family on a fun hike through the Garden, with... Read More
Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at Friday, October 26, 2012

An Apple a Day

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but at Memphis Botanic Garden it also brings school children to the Harvest Festival. Our Harvest Festival is taking place this year October 23-26 and October 29-November 2 . This is an annual event and a tradition for many schools. It helps supplement the lessons they have learned in the classroom.   This year we added a new and exciting station all about apples and apple cider. With the help of a grant from Tennessee... Read More
Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at Friday, October 26, 2012

Behind 'The Back 40' - Natural Garden Design (guest post by Stephanie Cosby)

If you were thinking about stopping by the Botanic Garden for a walk in the next few weeks, you will not be disappointed. Each garden or area has its special purpose, but right now (this month), there is one area not to miss! The Botanic Garden calls it The Back 40 , or among staff, 'toward the compost pile'. It's the area between the MBG side, side bank of Audubon Lake and the Butterfly Garden. You might know it as the area in the back with huge trees.  Further on, behind those trees,... Read More
Posted by chris cosby at Sunday, October 21, 2012

En Plein Air

"En plein air" is a French expression which means "in the open air," and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. For centuries, artists have taken advantage of the benefits of plein air painting, drawing on the inspiration of their natural surroundings, fresh, invigorating breezes, and light conditions that are especially conducive to creating beautiful works of art. Recently, during a walk around the grounds, I happened upon a group of students with instructor Chantel... Read More
Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at Thursday, October 18, 2012

Arrival of the Stone Queen…

Our Herb Garden has a new guardian watching over the five hundred resident plants. Memphian Steven K. Hickman recently donated the statue to MBG in honor of Jimmy and Mary Ann Graham. Steven says that they found the statue several years ago while on an antique-buying trip to Europe. He believes the statue may be portraying Eleanor of Castile…the 13th Century queen who inspired the “Eleanor Crosses”. ( ). Eleanor died in 1290... Read More
Posted by Mary Helen Butler at Thursday, October 18, 2012

To pull or not to pull...

The battle over yellow nut sedge has begun in the new Nature Photography Garden (NPG). This is a serious weed, or plant thug as I like to call it, in the mid south and through out the United States. The major issue with this weed is its tenacity. Growing in low damp areas, it spreads by underground stems (rhizomes), which are attached to small nodules or nuts. This leads to the plant forming small, but growing colonies which can extend to 10 ft. It also spreads by its tiny seeds. Thinking... Read More
Posted by nick esthus at Thursday, October 18, 2012

Botanical Biergarten: a special event celebrating a new partnership! (Guest post by Claire Moss)

(Claire Moss is the Executive Director of Harwood Center, and it has been a pleasure working in partnership with Claire and her staff, board, and volunteers. Thanks, Claire for posting with us!) Harwood Center and the Memphis Botanic Garden are excited to announce our new partnership focusing on children in the Memphis Community.  Founded in 1957, Harwood Center is a specialized education program for children aged 18 months to 5 years who are experiencing delays in their... Read More
Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall at the Garden

  Most people think of the Spring when they consider visiting the Memphis Botanic Garden but if they do, they are missing the wonderful offerings of Fall at the Garden.     Late afternoon especially is nice because the  light from the West adds a special glow to the ground and for some reason, the smells of the garden seem to accelerate during this time.  Whether you are visiting the woodlands, wandering through the year old Herb... Read More
Posted by Jim Duncan at Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gardening in Small Spaces

As time goes by, it seems like all of us have less time for almost everything that is a part of our lives.  Gardening is certainly not an exception.  The trend seems to be larger homes on smaller lots or apartments or zero lots without a really defined garden where often times most gardening is done in pots or other containers.   I prefer using the English term “garden” rather than the American “yard” when referring to an outdoor planting.  A garden could then be a... Read More
Posted by Rick Pudwell at Monday, October 1, 2012

Don't just sit there twiddlin' your green thumbs!

Perhaps you've noticed...the weather is cooling down, rain has greened things up, and fall is officially just around the corner. It's time to get back outside and start working on your own little piece of paradise, and we have plenty of opportunities for education and inspiration at the Garden this month! Wednesday, September 12th, Commercial Appeal columnist Fred Morgan will present a brown bag lunch talk on Tree Care Do's & Don'ts for the Homeowner , from 12 noon-1:00 p.m. ... Read More
Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at Monday, September 10, 2012

Signs of Autumn

Even though our long summer drought has been interrupted by recent rains it is good to be aware that wasps and other stinging insects are irritable and defensive at this time of year. Dry weather, shorter days and a small supply of nectar all added together make them ready to sting if you invade their space. Try to stay away from blooming plants during the hottest and sunny part of the day and move with slow deliberate motion. Usually they are more tolerant of your presence early in the day... Read More
Posted by Rick Pudwell at Monday, September 10, 2012

It's all about 901 on 9/01

What a great morning! It started a little earlier than usual for me, but that's the kind of stuff that builds character, right? I was here at the Garden bright and early to welcome everyone who made the 901 Day kickoff a super event! I'd skipped breakfast so I could fully enjoy an egg & chorizo breakfast taco from the Tamale Trolley , which I did... twice. From there it was off to Gibson's to pick up six dozen or so awesome little pastries known as "donuts," which have somewhat of a... Read More
Posted by Drew Massengale at Saturday, September 1, 2012

Living fossils at the MBG!

Did you ever notice the 2 trees growing in the terrace next to Hardin Hall? They are Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptotroboides. This plant is a living fossil of sorts. It was first described from fossil material in 1941 and later living plants were discovered growing in Szechwan, China 1948. It was found to be easy to propagate from both cuttings and seed. It is now available in the nursery trade worldwide.  Read More
Posted by Rick Pudwell at Friday, August 24, 2012

Shake Your Bon at the Japanese Festival!

  This September it will be time for the biannual Japanese Bon Festival at Memphis Botanic Garden.  Japanese Bon festivals have been taking place for over 500 years.  Historically, these festivals celebrate ones ancestors, but in modern times and in places outside of Japan, bon festivals simply present an indulgent exposition of colorful and lively Japanese culture.  No matter the meaning, you and your family will find the Japanese Garden at MBG filled with engaging... Read More
Posted by Charity Siebert at Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Silver Surfers

Have you noticed the very large gray fish in the pond in My Big Backyard and in the pond in the Butterfly Garden?  They are Grass Carp - an Asian species that is utilized to eat algae and help control unwanted vegetation in ponds and other bodies of water. We like to use them here at the Memphis Botanic Garden because they are vegetarian and therefore they pose no threat to smaller fish.  Also, some of you may be familiar with other carp species that have escaped into the... Read More
Posted by Rick Pudwell at Friday, August 3, 2012

Playhouse Party!

The team of staff and volunteers gathers in front of the Ever After House after a great party! On Friday, July 20, the Education Department held the Grand Opening for our brand new addition to Playhouse Lane. The "Ever After House," donated by Bank of Fayette County and Salvaggio Group , is a two-story, thatched-roof cottage nestled in the northwest corner of My Big Backyard. The cottage, decked in fresh cedar branches that will gradually turn brown, is perfectly set against... Read More
Posted by Drew Massengale at Saturday, July 21, 2012

New Water Garden at MBG!!

 The Water Garden at the Memphis Botanic Garden has taken on many different looks through its almost 50 years of existence.  From tropical water lilies to plantings of Nandinas, Mondo grass and Loropetalum, the garden never seemed to have much permanence; until now.   I would describe the theme of the garden as a modern combination of traditional Japanese garden styles.  One of the styles you will find is kare-sansui, a style dating back to the Muromachi era Japan... Read More
Posted by nick esthus at Monday, July 9, 2012

If you can't take the heat...

If you are wondering about plants that will grow in hot dry situations, take a look at our Desert Garden on the south end of our parking lot. Not only cactus but succulents, perennials, and grasses from temperate climates from around the world are represented. The plants are labeled, so if you see something that you like it will make it easy for you to start your search. All these plants are good choices for sunny areas that have good drainage and gardeners who don’t have time to apply... Read More
Posted by Rick Pudwell at Friday, July 6, 2012

Echinacea purpurea - Say that 3x's fast!

As you walk the MBG  grounds, you may have wondered what the large purple daisies are in Celebration Stroll and the Butterfly Garden. It is Purple Cone Flower, Echinacea purpurea, a native wild that does quite well as a cultivated plant in our gardens. There are a number of named varieties available, some in other colors, but I like the original purple best of all. A great perennial for our hot summers! Read More
Posted by Rick Pudwell at Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hot Time (Cool Drinks) in the Herb Garden:

Well, all, it is just plain hot . It is very hard to drink enough water in this kind of heat (you know it is bad when you've downed lots of water, but can't remember the last time you visited the restroom!) This is the kind of weather that begs for herbal water. Grab a handful of herbs (basil, mint, lemon balm, thyme, Texas tarragon, and or fennel - whatever you like to eat!) - either singly, or mix and match - rinse them, then twist and scrunch them, mash them, and put them into a pitcher.... Read More
Posted by sherri mccalla at Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer doldrums? What summer doldrums?

                Summer has traditionally been a time of relative little activity in the Youth Education Department at MBG. School is out, so booking for field trips and in-school programs tends to drop a bit. But not so this year, according to Kristen Zemaitis, Youth Education Manager: "I just booked three more classes for this week," she tells me on an already busy Tuesday morning. It can be a wonderful break for daycare centers, camps and youth... Read More
Posted by Drew Massengale at Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Education Staffer Heads Out West for Conservation Training!

    Safari Club International Foundation sponsored 2 Tennessee teachers to attend the American Wilderness Leadership School in Wyoming this summer. I, Charity Novick, Education Programs  Coordinator at Memphis Botanic Garden, was one to receive this chance of a lifetime.  Partially sponsored by SCI and Memphis Botanic Garden, I received a week-long training on Wildlife Conservation, National Archery in the Classroom Program, Wilderness Survival, and Outdoor... Read More
Posted by Charity Siebert at Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Missing the mosquitoes? Didn't think so...

Have you wondered why the mosquitoes have not been as much of a problem as usual this year? The answer is fairly simple. We are about 11 inches below normal in rainfall for this year. They just don’t have an abundance of puddles in which to reproduce. So much for the old wives' tale of a mild winter will equal lots of bugs! Click here to learn techniques from the American Mosquito Control Association on how to control the mosquitoes in your own yard. Read More
Posted by Rick Pudwell at Monday, June 25, 2012

Nick Esthus' first blog - New water garden design

Hello everybody, This is my first blog post ever with more to come!! I am the horticulturist who cares over the Japanese garden, Japanese Maple Grove and the now-under-construction Nature Photography garden. But like any good gardener, I must wear many different hats. That is why I am writing on the new design for the Water Garden located in our visitors center. Although simple, the design is harmonious with the small space that encompasses it. It will feature humble yet precise plantings... Read More
Posted by nick esthus at Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Irrigation Anyone?

Behind by 11 inches with the rain.  Need water in the Herb Garden.  Even Mediterranean plants want water! The formal beds are watered by drip irrigation.  Nice - no wet leaves, less mildew, little to no splashback of mud onto leaves bringing disease.  But, I am learning, irrigation lines can clog with trash in the lines (no - I have no idea how trash gets into the water lines! I'll find that out and get back to you!).  The "valves" then may stick in the "on" position... Read More
Posted by sherri mccalla at Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Live from New York…It’s My Botanic Planet!

Last week our Education Department took Outreach to a whole new level.  Educators Julie Baltz (aka “Inspector Nectar”) and Drew Massengale (aka “Flavor Flores”) boarded a plane and headed for the Big Apple to present their engaging classroom lessons to a group of 3rd & 4th graders at P.S. 56 in Brooklyn.  Luckily I was able to tag along as an assistant.  It was a magical experience to see the little faces light up when they met the living characters they’d been studying and... Read More
Posted by Mary Helen Butler at Thursday, May 31, 2012

Foxgloves in Bloom

Digitalis purpurea 'Giant Shirley' is really kicking in to bloom in the Herb Garden.    Our seasonal bed at the west entrance to the formal area is almost in full bloom. Foxgloves rule! Read More
Posted by sherri mccalla at Friday, April 13, 2012

Big Weekend from Jim Duncan

The weather projects to be perfect this weekend and Good Friday will be a great day to walk in the garden.  We are anticpating a really high visitor count but our 96 acres can hold a lot of people without being crowded.   Some early blooming Iris dot this show garden with color and give us a hint of the beauty to come.  Our new Herb Garden is beginning to fill out in this first Spring since opening.  Saturday is our annual Egg Hunt that begins at 1:00 PM.  The... Read More
Posted by Jim Duncan at Thursday, April 5, 2012

Squirrel Aid or Lemonade?

The screeching of nails on metal is what got me.  For over a week there had been stories of a squirrel living above our Lemonade Stand in the Guest House.  There were some initial signs of it.  Of course the leaves littering the floor of the kitchen could be explained by many things when it comes to our Education Department…a new leaf craft for Caterpillar Club…a compost activity over Spring Break Camp.  Next came the reports of little bright eyes peering through the... Read More
Posted by Mary Helen Butler at Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday From Jim Duncan

We had a big weekend with thousands of visitors taking advantage of the weather, the beauty of the grounds, and the envoromental activities in My Big Backyard.   The Garden is always a special place but this time of year, it becomes even more special.  The morning hours between 8:30 and 10:00 a.m are especially nice for walking around the 96 acres.  The air is fresh, the weather is cool and pleasant, and the garden takes on a unique appeal at this time of day.  I predict that if you ever visit... Read More
Posted by Jim Duncan at Monday, April 2, 2012

Friday: From Jim Duncan

Live at the Garden line up was announced today.  Wow!!!  The response has been great.  We anticipate a record season and a lot of fun nights at Live this year.   Follow Live on Facebook.   Read More
Posted by Jim Duncan at Friday, March 30, 2012

Get ready for a great year at Live at the Garden!

Wow!  It’s hard to believe that we just announced our 12th season line-up for Live at the Garden. This year has been particularly hard to keep secret because we have all been so excited about it around here. The process of putting together 5 great shows is not as easy as one might think, but, somehow in the end, it all seems to come together. I know I’m the Co-Director of the series and all, but honestly, it is just my most favorite thing to do during the summer in Memphis! ... Read More
Posted by Sherry May at Thursday, March 29, 2012

Great Day Today

Today was another great day at the Garden.  We had 459 children here today participating in a wonderful learning experience called Spring Festival of Flowers.   The weather was perfect and the children were animated, happy, and (smile) loud.   Their presence really reinforces what we do here to truly make this a resource for the entire community.  This afternoon the garden pathways were dotted with adult visitors enjoying the outdoors, admiring our manicured beds, colorful... Read More
Posted by Jim Duncan at Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Busy Bees

This week the buzz in the Education Department is more of “the Bzzz”…as in bees.  As part of our annual Spring Festival of Flowers, 2800 K-2nd graders have been swarming through the bloom-filled garden stopping at nine different activity stations that teach botanical basics.  They learn about the seed life cycle, pollination, flower adaptations and more through engaging puppet shows, dress-up storytelling, and crafts.  One of the highlights has been the addition of a “Bee Olympics” active play... Read More
Posted by Mary Helen Butler at Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From the Director

Welcome to the new web site for the Memphis Botanic Garden and thanks for visiting our blog. This will be an ongoing feature of the web site and will be another effort for us to keep garden enthusiasts more informed. Even though there is always something interesting and beautiful to view at the Garden, April and May are two of our most beautiful months. Dogwoods, Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Iris, and  Day Lilies are just a few of the colorful offerings blooming right now. If you are... Read More
Posted by Jana G. Wilson at Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome to our Garden blog!

Yep, that's right...with our new website, we're bringing you all the latest Garden Buzz. We'll be introducing you to the staff and showing you the Garden through our eyes. There is so much happening behind the scenes to make Memphis Botanic Garden such a beautiful place to visit, that we thought you might enjoy getting to know who and how it all happens. You can look forward to Jim Duncan's "ride arounds," Rick Pudwell's first-hand updates on what's being planted, fun stories from our... Read More
Posted by Jana G. Wilson at Friday, February 24, 2012


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