May 4 and 5 Weekend Hours Update


Life happens to all of us - even to Ruffner staff. Less than a dozen hard-working and passionate employees labor seven days a week to maintain Ruffner Mountain, while also continuing our conservation and education efforts. Unfortunately, this week has been a hard one - our coalition has been beset by illness, overwork, and death in their families.

Because Ruffner is only as strong as its staff, we will have modified hours this weekend in order to let them breathe, grieve, and take care of what needs to be taken care of - namely, themselves.

Ruffner's Nature Center and Offices will be close at 2pm Saturday, the 4th, and remain closed until normal operating hours on Tuesday, the 6th.

That means staff will not be around to answer your questions Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Printed preserve maps will not be available, and the animal exhibits will not be accessible to the public. However, the pavilion bathrooms will be open and preserve maps are available on our website. The trails are open from dawn to dusk and, as always, hike at your own risk.

Thank you for understanding - and if you see a staff member in the near future, thank them for their hard work towards the place we all love.

P.S. No worries about our captive wildlife collection - no matter what the situation, they will always be taken care of with the utmost care

From all of us at Ruffner Mountain THANK YOU for such an amazing Native Plant Sale. It was truly humbling to see so many folks show up to support biodiversity. Thank you for bringing habitat gardening to your own home - that is what makes these plant sales successful. If we, along with Turkey Creek Nature Preserve can convince you that growing natives is vital to sustaining wildlife habitats, combating climate change, and conserving water - then we have done our job.

This year’s plant sale saw approximately 3,245 native plants entering yards and gardens in Birmingham and beyond. Some of our most popular natives this year were Woodland Phlox 'Blue Moon', Purple Coneflower, Heartleaf Foamflower, and Red (Scarlet) Buckeye. 

We’d like to give special thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who helped on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday including: Michelle Reynolds, Bob Farley, Mandy Nobles, Karen Hutchinson, Debbie Dumais, Ruffner Mountain Board of Directors, Friends of Turkey Creek, Officer Glenn Pleasant, Linda Gail Sherk, and the Blanche Dean Chapter of the Alabama Wildflower Society. We would also like to express our gratitude to several vendors who made our lives a lot easier while preparing for the weekend: Mom's Basement, Hop City, Hero Doughnuts, Scott Turner (United-Johnson Brothers of Alabama), El Barrio, Alabama Waldorf School, Revelator, and Diplomat Deli.

All photos by Bob Farley 

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Plant Species List for 2019 Native Plant Sale (Updated March 25)

You’ve asked for it… and here it is!

The 2019 Native Plant Sale, held in conjunction with Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, will be the first weekend of April. The Member Pre-Sale is April 5th from 4:00pm-7:00pm, and the Public Sale is April 6, 9am-2pm, and April 7, 1pm-4pm. Remember, members get first pick this year! (List will be updated throughout the week - availability of plants are not guaranteed)

Know Your Invasives

We continue our series on invasive plant awareness with a few facts about the ever-present English ivy (Hedera helix). English ivy was first introduced to the U.S. by European immigrants for its ornamental appeal. It is an aggressive invader that threatens all vegetation levels of forested and open areas, growing along the ground as well as into the forest canopy. On the ground, English ivy forms dense and extensive monocultures that exclude native plants. English ivy also serves as a reservoir for Bacterial Leaf Scorch (Xylella fastidiosa), a plant pathogen that is harmful to elms, oaks, maples and other native plants.

Looking for a climbing, evergreen vine to plant in your yard similar to English ivy? Opt for native Crossvine (Bigonia capreolata) instead. This cold-hardy, easy to grow vine attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and has beautiful two-toned trumpet flowers.

Grow natives!

English ivy (Hedera helix)

English ivy (Hedera helix)

Native Crossvine (Bigonia capreolata)

Native Crossvine (Bigonia capreolata)

Nandina or Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) is such a common landscaping shrub, you could easily mistake it for a native plant. However, Nandina was brought to North America as an ornamental shrub from Eastern Asia in the 1800s. While the leaves of Nandina provide beautiful fall color and the bright red berries look great as festive centerpieces, the seeds are easily spread by birds and some evidence has shown that the berries could be toxic to birds such as the sleek, migratory cedar waxwing. This shade tolerant shrub also invades forest edges and interiors which can displace surrounding native plants.

If you are looking for plants with vibrant fall color, consider planting native species such as Alabama Croton (Croton alabamensis) or if you want a plant that stays green year round, try the evergreen blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii) which is also beneficial to native bees. As a reminder, we will have a variety of native species beneficial to wildlife at our annual Native Plant sale on April 6th and 7th!

Nandina (Nandina domestica)

Nandina (Nandina domestica)

Alabama Croton (Croton alabamensis)

Alabama Croton (Croton alabamensis)

Thank you to our members, for your help supporting the place that you love.

Frostweed (Verbisina virginica) reminds us that even in winter we can experience the magical beauty of native plants.

Frostweed (Verbisina virginica) reminds us that even in winter we can experience the magical beauty of native plants.

“Donating to Ruffner Mountain will not save the tri-colored bat, it will not ensure the king snake reigns, or preserve the Alabama Larkspur. Donating will not save any of those things, but it will help support the place that you already love, that you already visit. We cannot change the past. We can, however, build a future that protects and values the natural world…” - Carlee Sanford, Executive Director