What's growing at Memphis Botanic Garden

As the name would imply, the Memphis Botanic Garden is full of specialty gardens brimming with varieties of plants, flowers, and trees, yes. But the non-profit is more than just what is growing in the ground.
The Memphis Botanic Garden is a busy place in the fall. Amidst falling leaves, the Garden hosts a full calendar of events.

"Memphis Botanic Garden serves as a connection between people and nature, a link which is missing for many families living in urban environments,” said Jana Wilson, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at MBG. “Through the help of volunteers, the Garden is able to offer fun, educational learning experiences and special events, in addition to a 96-acre space to relax and commune with the environment. Our hope is that people become more aware of plants and their importance to our environment, while at the same time maintaining our 96-acre garden as a showcase for horticulture and education.”
 
The Garden hosts programs for school groups to give children a unique opportunity to learn about nature through hands-on experiences and nature play. One of the long-time favorites (20 years!) is Harvest Festival, scheduled for October 20 through 23. Staffing this event is no small task, since there are numerous interactive stations such as pumpkin painting, cider making, bats, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and seeds. Also, kids can pick their own pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. Concessions will be available with kiddie concoctions and adult ‘spirits.' Volunteers are critical to making sure each child receives personal attention and learns how these fun fall favorites are transformed from nature into their daily lives.
 
Jan Castillo is a nine-year veteran volunteer at MBG.
 
“I started volunteering at the Memphis Botanic Garden through the Master Gardener program,” recalled Castillo. “Through working with Jim Volgas I learned about Urban Forestry and felt there was a need in Memphis to increase public awareness about Urban Forestry, which is the management and care of trees in urban and suburban areas. Through the MBG I have worked to help establish and maintain their Level IV Arboretum. MBG offers a wide variety of educational programs. I have enjoyed volunteering here so much that I also serve as general volunteer for some of their public events, such as the Old-Fashioned Harvest Festival.”
 
From old to new, the Garden is introducing a new Porktoberfest event this year, October 23 and 24. This two-day festival kicks off the evening of the Oct. 23 with Flick-or-Treat Movie Night on the lawn. Gates will open at 6 p.m., with volunteer-staffed trick-or-treat stations and many of the interactive stations featured during Harvest Festival. Youth band 2nd Gen will play live on the stage at 6:15. At 7, everyone will shake their bones to Thriller on the big screen, followed by the film classic and family favorite “Ghostbusters” at 7:30.
 
On Oct. 24, the TruGreen Lawn and Jim Duncan Stage areas will be transformed into a great outdoor celebration of Memphis’ favorite combos: football, music, brews, and PORK! The football game will be shown via an on-stage big screen, as well as in a giant Beer Garden tent. Approximately 20 local restaurants will feature tastings of their best pork dishes, with concessions and food trucks available for more “pigging out.” There will also be family-friendly live music performed throughout the day.
 
Want to help the Garden grow? Volunteer for the Memphis Botanic Garden.

Read more articles by Emily Adams Keplinger.

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