In observance of Independence Day, the Nature Center will be closed tomorrow, July 4. The gate will remain open from dawn until dusk, however, so that you can enjoy all of our trails, views, and native flora and fauna. We'd like to wish you and yours a safe, fun, and free Fourth of July. See you on the mountain!
Summer nights in Alabama are hot and sticky and our wetlands are teeming with activity. Frogs and toads that hide during the day come out to call for mates and lay eggs. The females will select the males with the most energetic calls. Beavers are toiling on their lodges, voles and mice are scurrying around picking up insects near the water. It's a world of stealthy hunting and loud breeding.
Alabama has 3.6 million acres of freshwater wetlands across the state. It is home to some of the most biologically diverse freshwater systems in the world.
Wetlands are worth protecting. #nocturnalecology
"Tree Frog" by Tracie Noles-Ross
We had a good recent work day with med students from UAB! They culled small trees, weeded honeysuckle and wild carrot, and pulled kudzu vine out of the rain garden. They also watered the new plantings in the bird zone. And thanks to the always-outstanding Trail Tream that worked on the Quarry Trail. Two great groups!
Saturday, April 7 may go down as the first great winter storm of 2018 in the state of Alabama. But seriously, the weather was pretty weird, so we’d like to thank everyone who showed up in the name of native plants, even in the cold and damp. The Ruffner team is a small one, and the Plant Sale is only a once-a-year event, so we sincerely appreciate your patience and support.
This year’s plant sale saw approximately 2,000 native plants entering yards and gardens in Birmingham and beyond. Some of our most popular natives this year were eastern bluestar, blue false indigo, woodland spider lily, red beebalm, white beardtongue, woodland phlox, Solomon’s seal, mountain mint, Old Cahaba rosinweed, aromatic aster, and scarlet buckeye.
Here's what Charles Yeager, Preserve Manager of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve had to say about the Plant Sale: “Thank you everyone that braved the cold rainy weather to make this year's Native Plant Sale an overwhelming success! It was very exciting to see so many people learning about how they can use native plants to support wildlife in their own yards. We would also like to thank the incredible staff at Ruffner for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this amazing day and for their support of Turkey Creek. We look forward to seeing how this event will continue to grow.”
We’d like to give special thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who helped on Friday and Saturday, including: Michelle Reynolds, Kate Musso of Jefferson County Master Gardeners, Chris Sykes of Birmingham Audubon, Celeste Pfau, our amazing JCIB interns, Friends of Turkey Creek, Linda Gail Sherk, and the Blanche Dean Chapter of the Alabama Wildflower Society.
Till next year, we’ll see you on the mountain!
Say hello to the sunny Silphium integrifolium, otherwise known as wholeleaf rosinweed, just one of the many native plants available this year at our Native Plant Sale. This herbaceous perennial is native to Eastern and Central North America and generally blooms from July to September. A wonderful attractor of birds and butterflies, it is know to grow quite easily in average, medium moisture to well-drained soils in full sun. It can even tolerate a bit of drought once rooted. This sunflower look-alike usually grows 2 to 3 feet tall, but can reach heights up to 6 feet. Find it, and more, on Saturday, April 7 at Ruffner Mountain! Plant Natives. Grow Diversity.
We held a Staff Workday on Friday, March 9, and couldn't have asked for better weather to spend the day outside. The morning was spent down at the Greenhouse, potting shrubs and trees in preparation for our annual spring Native Plant Sale on Saturday, April 7. The plant selection for this year's Sale will include over 40 varieties of native plants, including Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), Grayheaded Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), Silphium, Scarlet Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), Red Oak (Quercus rubra), White Oak (Quercus alba), and so much more.
Later on in the day, new white oaks (Quercus alba) and red oaks (Quercus rubra) were planted near the Quarry. All in all it was a successful Workday for the Ruffner staff!
Don't forget the annual spring Native Plant Sale on Saturday, April 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and find your favorite natives to beautify your yard or home garden. We hope to see you there!