New atrium

A brightly remodeled atrium at Longleaf Botanical Gardens was shown off to board members Monday.

Five volunteers on Monday were honored for their work at Longleaf Botanical Gardens as board members unveiled the remodeled atrium.

“Volunteers are who run a botanical gardens,” Brenda Roberts, a board member, said during an open house. “We couldn’t have done this without them.”

The room, once muted in color by concrete floors, exploded in various shades of green thanks the work of the volunteers and donors, Roberts said.

Robert Smith and Gene Padgham worked together to put up lattice against one wall, breaking up the freshly painted, pastel green room.

“This project was an ego check for me,” said Smith, a volunteer, referring to lattice. “Gene figured out how to cut this into seven pieces and when you put it all back together, it looked like this.”

A table, chairs and window flower boxes overflowing with greenery each listed the name of one of the volunteers. Donors also purchased many of the furnishings in the atrium, dedicating each piece to a person of their choice. At least three of those pieces were donated in honor of Art Moore, an orchid enthusiast and local philanthropist who died in April.

“He was such a big part of us,” Roberts said. “He was well loved and will be well remembered.”

Roberts said the new floor, a $25,000 expense, was paid for by two anonymous donors.

“It brings life into the room,” Roberts said of the faux marble tiles. “Everything in this room is brighter and full of life.”



​Staff writer Kirsten Fiscus: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @kfiscus_star.