Athens, Ga. – The State Botanical Garden of Georgia’s visitor center and conservatory is now open to the public on Tuesdays until 8:30 p.m. The later time includes longer hours for Donderos’ Kitchen, the garden’s new coffee and sandwich shop; the garden’s gift shop; conservatory plantings; display gardens; and visitor center’s art exhibit.
In addition, activities are offered throughout February.
• Camellias: On Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., Stuart Cofer of Cofer’s Home and Garden Showplace will speak about the classic Southern shrub that was a 2011 Georgia Gold Medal winner. He will discuss camellia selection, pruning and care. Cofer also will bring examples of camellias that bloom in February.
• Valentine’s Day dinner: On Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m., the garden will host a Valentine’s Day dinner in the conservatory. Catered by Donderos’ Kitchen, the buffet is $70 per couple or $40 per person (add $10 per person if reservations are made after Feb. 10). Guests may bring their own wine. For more information or reservations, call 706/542-6359 or 706/389-7955.
• The Gardens of Japan: On Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., horticulturist Allan Armitage will speak about Japanese gardens as part of “The World is My Garden” series, which is co-sponsored by the Friends of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the Friends of the Athens-Clarke County Library. Proceeds benefit the State Botanical Garden, the UGA Trial Gardens and the library. For more information or to purchase $10 tickets, see http://botgarden.uga.edu/ or call 706/542-6138.
• Live music: On Feb. 28, the garden will host a live music session. The artists will be announced.
Garden staff encourages visitors to take advantage of its later hours. “We welcome musicians to gather for an impromptu jam session in the garden on Tuesday evenings,” said William Tonks, the garden’s director of facilities and a musician himself. “We can always find a spot for you to play. We also welcome painters, book groups, writing groups and more. Our cafe is wireless and surrounded by tropical plants-what a great spot to gather.”