Small Talk: Bloom where you are planted — and you’ll be planted very soon!
by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star
Oct 03, 2010 | 2713 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Museum complex director Cheryl Bragg invites the public to a sneak peek of the future Longleaf Botanical Gardens on Sunday, Oct. 10; drop in between 2 and 4 p.m. You’ve known the location for years as Lenlock Community Center at the end of Museum Drive. The property’s use, granted by the City of Anniston, will allow it to become a third highlight in Lagarde Park, along with the Anniston Museum of Natural History and Berman Museum of World History.

“For decades, our community has yearned for a public garden,” Bragg noted. “The space, plus a phenomenally talented cadre of volunteers and museum staff, meshed at the ideal time to move forward with the project.”

Curator Dan Spaulding and his volunteer “Green Team” have worked on the now-luscious grounds of both the Anniston and Berman museums, which draw many visitors. A public garden, broader and much larger in scope, can attract many thousands annually, boosting the area’s economy.

Bragg will also announce a challenge grant from the Ginn Family Foundation, a California charitable organization with familial ties to Anniston.

Eagle Scout-to-be Justin Westley will present longleaf pine saplings to the first 1,000 guests. He has “owned” this project — from concept to funding to receiving and storing these starter trees — as his contribution to his community, garnering him a big three-finger Scout salute for this amazing project.

Longleaf Garden Committee members have worked for a year on plans, logistics, volunteer efforts and some fundraising ideas to make this project a reality. Many will be on hand to talk with visitors that day. This dedicated group includes Frank Segars, Larry K. Martin, Josephine Ayers, Dr. Ashley Stewart, Juliette Doster, Denise Webb, David Boozer, David Cummings, Robert Jackson, Janice Powell, Bobby Wingo, Paula Watkins, and urban regional extension agent Hayes Jackson.

The City of Anniston has played a vital role in making the Longleaf Botanical Gardens come to life. Parks & Recreation director Steven Folkes, city planner Toby Bennington and city manager Don Hoyt, along with mayor Gene Robinson and vice mayor John Spain, sat in on a recent planning charette to offer ideas.

An exciting announcement will come from Brenda Blanton, Salena Cook, Cody Pricket, Michael Magouyrk and Brandon Glover. This group, and others from the Alabama Power Service Organization, will become Longleaf Botanical Gardens’ first corporate volunteer team. They will prepare the front lawn of the building as an inviting initial view.

Cool punch will be offered by hospitality volunteers Barbara Walters, Crystal Mashburn and Connie Freeman, along with Art Moore and JoAnn Scherer and other members of the Northeast Alabama Orchid Society. Newly elected Anniston Museum League president Jean Ann Oglesby will talk with guests about volunteer opportunities, whether digging in the dirt, painting interior walls, or organizing the new garden reference mini-library.

Hope to see you there!

To share your news with Small Talk, contact Annette Maddox at

Save the date

Ticket sales have begun for this year’s 22nd annual Empty Stocking Gala, on Nov. 5 at the Anniston City Meeting Center. Proceeds from this annual black-tie-optional event will be used to put gifts under the trees for hundreds of Calhoun/Cleburne County foster children. For incredible food, fabulous music and open bar — for only $125 per couple — make your reservations NOW by contacting Ball Chairperson Sherlyn McWhorter at 256-239-5729 or  
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