By Adrienne Roethling, Director of Curation & Mission Delivery
2021 will be a milestone for Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden. 15 years ago, Paul Ciener’s endowment purchased the 7 acre property in the Historic District of Kernersville. Shortly after, the demolition of the old, abandoned Dairy Queen began, land was cleared, and the barren lot became the hot topic of the decade. The next three years brought the advisory team, the master plan, and the first staff for the garden. In 2011, we gained occupancy in the Carriage House or Welcome Center and April 9, 2011, our garden doors officially opened to the public.
In 10 short years, we are proud to share how much we have grown. Thousands of visitors have come to watch over 20 individual displays come to life. Among those displays are the Pattern Garden, Tropical Garden, Xeric Scree, Ginkgo Screen, Kitchen Garden, Hillside Boulder Garden, the Japanese Garden Vignette, and more. Over the last 10 years, the garden has offered classes, lectures, concerts, plant sales, blood drives, a Christmas light show, and so much more. Garden staff and volunteer docents toured hundreds of school-aged groups and led them through the gardens to teach how plants adapt. While here, they sample vegetables grown in the kitchen garden, admire the pollinators and take home a seed kit. Adults alike share the same experience, sans the seed kit, but see the diversity of the displays and plant collections.
Plant Collections grew to over 4000 different species of plants on permanent display, thousands of annuals and vegetables are grown seasonally, and we continue to showcase the largest Tulip and Daffodil display in the Triad. Every year since the fall of 2008, Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden receives a donation of bulbs from our good friends Brent and Becky Heath. The husband and wife team co-own Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, a retail nursery specializing in the sales of bulbs begun by Brent’s grandfather in 1900. Our Pattern Garden, a formal garden with paisley shaped beds edged in boxwoods interplanted with seasonal plants, gets planted with new bulbs every fall. About 25,500 bulbs will be on display this spring. Be sure to visit weekly in April to see what is in bloom. We have early, mid, and late season spring bulbs. Also, you can purchase what you see now by taking advantage of the Bloomin’ Bucks program with Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.
Bloomin’ Bucks is a fundraising program which supports non-profit organizations. Because PJCBG registered for the program, visitors can now come to the gardens, look at our displays, and jot down their favorite bulb companions or combinations. At home, they can visit the website, www.bloominbucks.com or call Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and select Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden to support and place their order. As a reward, 25% of their purchases will come back to the Garden.
Despite the pandemic, our garden displays remain open daily, dawn to dusk. Please follow the garden etiquette by remaining socially distant, carry out what you bring in, do not leave belongings unattended, and leave your pets at home. Visit our website, www.CienerBotanicalGarden.org to plan your visit. Because, without you, this garden would not exist. Your support, whether it is a visit to the garden and sharing on social media or a yearly membership, allows us to showcase horticulture excellence.
With over 20 themes and thousands of plants on display, horticulture excellence is at every turn. The pandemic slowed down the installation of the “Dancing Cranes” sculpture and Rill Garden. It has been a long 2 years, but the cranes are ready to be moved into their permanent home. Many thanks to those who supported this project prior to the pandemic and a few who jumped in at the end of the year. Additionally, 80” of rain, more than twice the amount in a typical year, has slowed this process. But despite the delays, we are excited for the future, and after 15 years of garden development, nearly 5 of the 7 acres are on display. Come Toast to the Tulips with us this April. If you have not seen us in a while, you are due for a visit.