I am a native of Gadsden, Alabama, and have lived in Birmingham most of my life. I attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a background in Biology. I have worked within the Jefferson County Public Library System for the past nineteen years.
I currently work for the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens (FOBirmingham Botanical Gardens), formally known as the Birmingham Botanical Society, Inc. for over twelve years in the position of Archivist for The Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I’m our institution’s first Archivist!
I created the Archives and Rare Book Room in August 2008. In that position I am in charge of over 300 rare books, Japanese Tea Ceremony artifacts, scrapbooks, antique seed catalogs and garden manuals, plant fossils, botanical prints, photographs and other horticultural and botanical ephemera.
I am currently President of the Society of Alabama Archivist (SALA), and a graduate of the Jefferson County Master Gardeners Association (JCMGA) in 2007 and a recent Harrison Fellow of the Historic Landscape Institute at Monticello in 2016 and a recent yoga teacher graduate at Birmingham Yoga in 2018. I was honored to receive a lifetime membership to the Garden Club of Alabama by the Edgewood Garden Club in 2015. I have a deep love for gardening, science and history and give numerous presentations to different garden clubs and plant societies across Jefferson County.
I can be reached by email or by phone at 205-414-3967 or 205-414-3920.
Note: If you would like to do an honorarium for me speaking to your group and it is much appreciated, please make checks payable to Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In the memo put Jason/Archives. You can give me the check or mail to Jason Kirby, The Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd., Birmingham, AL 35223
1. The Apollo 14 – Moon Tree Project
In honor of the 50th Anniversary (1969-2019) of Apollo mission to the moon, this presentation focuses on Apollo 14 and the Moon Trees. Come learn about this special mission from 1971, and the seeds that became the future Moon Trees. We will also cover our Moon Sycamore here at The Gardens, along with the other Alabama Moon Trees. So let’s blast off, and explore this topic together. (20-30 minutes / PowerPoint presentation)
2. Garden Media: Garden Trends Report (GTR) 2019-
This report is put out annually by the Garden Media Group, whose mission is to instill a passion for nature and a love of gardening to all generations to improve environmental health and support human wellbeing. This presentation will show you what’s hot, and what’s not in gardening today. Along with industry trends to be on the lookout for, and what color to saturate your garden with. So, if you want your green space to be on the cutting edge, this presentation is for you. (20-30 minutes / PowerPoint presentation)
3. The Archives and Rare Book Room at Birmingham Botanical Gardens – This was my first presentation I developed here at The Gardens. This program focuses on what I do as an Archivist, how The Archives developed and a breakdown of some of our collections housed within. I also cover what we collect and how you and your garden club can help us preserve our history and be a part of our Archives here at The Gardens. Come see what an Archivist do! (20-30 minutes / PowerPoint presentation)
4. Digitized Movie: The Grand Opening of The Conservatory at Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Tuesday, December 18, 1962) –
This movie is a digitized copy from the original super 8 film taken over 50 years ago from the very first visitor to walk inside The Conservatory. This shows how The Conservatory and some of the Botanical Gardens originally looked in our earliest beginnings. Come watch our history unfold on the big screen! (20-30 minutes / movie presentation)
5. From Kitchen Gardens to Flora of the Civil War –
This presentation covers the different types of southern historic gardens with a focus on kitchen gardens during the Civil War time period. I cover flora from herbs to common cure-alls, to sweet herbs for hearth and health, to teas and vinegars. Come see how our ancestors did back in the old days! (20-30 minutes / PowerPoint presentation)
6. The Postcard Collection of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens – If you love postcards and the Botanical Gardens, you will love this presentation. This presentation covers: Alabama state botanical emblems, local Birmingham postcards, and the postcards dealing with the Birmingham Botanical Garden. Come take a walk back in time, with these colorful gems! (20-30 minutes / PowerPoint presentation)
7. Celebrating 50 Years at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens (1963-2013) – The Botanical Gardens celebrated its 50th and this presentation covers the major millstones broken into decades. From our earliest formation to where we are now and everything in between. Come take a walk down memory lane with us and see our history come alive! (1 hour / PowerPoint presentation)
8. History of Lane Park (Birmingham, Alabama) – This presentation covers the History of Lane Park, a 200 acre park which becomes the future home of the Birmingham Zoo and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Come see how this park grew from its meager beginnings over the decades to what you see now! (20-30 minutes / PowerPoint presentation)
9. The Gardens of Emily Dickinson – Surprisingly, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was better known more as a gardener than a poet during her lifetime. I will walk you through the seasons of Amherst, Massachusetts (Spring, Summer & Autumn), to highlight the flowers that inspired Emily to write her collection of almost two thousand poems. We will also take a peek at her herbarium book and conservatory. Come get inspired by a poet’s garden! (20-30 minutes / Powerpoint presentation)