Winter Concert Series: Slippery Sneakers Zydeco Band

From the moment the Slippery Sneakers Zydeco Band started to play, the audience was dancing and never stopped. The band’s music mixed zydeco, blues and soul, Cajun waltzes, and a flavoring of rock ’n roll, and the result was audience joy.

Next concert: Sunday, March 26, 4-6PM, The Driftwoods.

Slippery Sneakers Zydeco Band at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park.

Slippery Sneakers Zydeco Band at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park.

Winter Concert Series: Aurea Ensemble

For the third winter concert at the Botanical Center, the Aurea Ensemble returned to the Center for another of its sparkling performances. The ensemble (Consuelo Sherba, artistic director and viola, Chris Turner, spoken word and harmonica, Katherine Winterstein, violin, and Emmanuel Feldman, cello) moved effortlessly through its program of fused words and music, concluding with the rarely performed Mozart Divertimento K 563. The ensemble’s performance was the perfect antidote for a wintry day.  

Slippery Sneakers Zydeco Band perform on March 19, 2017 at the Botanical Center.


Winter concert Series: Atwater-Donnelly Trio

The Atwater-Donnelly Trio opened the 2017 winter concert series at the Botanical Center with music, dance and laughter. The trio, Aubrey Atwater, Elwood Donnelly and Cathy Clasper-Torch, sounded wonderful throughout. The Center’s gardens and warm temperature were a perfect setting for the trio’s quiet laments, story telling and rousing songs. 

Next concert: Sunday, March 5, 4-6PM, The Jesse Liam Band.  

Second Annual Fall Plant Sale

The Second Annual Fall Plant Sale had an impressive array of plants  for sale in Greenhouse 3. Included were some plants thinned from the Botanical Center’s outdoor gardens and some propagated from the Botanical Center’s greenhouses. Master Gardeners and volunteers from the Botanical Center’s gardening crews helped visitors make the best selections for their gardening and home needs. Fun conversations about gardening were the talk of the day!

The next Plant Sale will be a weekend in mid May. It’s held outdoors on the lawn in front of the Botanical Center and it includes veggies along with perennials from the gardens and indoor plants from the greenhouse. Drop us an email at to make sure you’re on our mailing list.

2016 Plant Sale

We had a great turnout for the Second Annual Spring Plant Sale at the Botanical Center. The weather cooperated (for most of the time) and lots of plants will enjoy a “productive” summer. We have more veggies and lots of tomatoes so come this Saturday and Sunday and bring home a few more plants for your garden.

Photos by Charlene Williams

The Gnomes Play the Botanical Center

Spring was welcomed at the Botanical Center with a rousing performance by The Gnomes, the final concert in the March concert series. The audience was dancing in the aisles to music that was engaging, high-spirited, and created an extraordinary mood of pure delight.

Mark your calendars for the summer concerts: July 10, Atwater-Donnelly. July 17, Magnolia Cajun Band. July 24, The Black and White Band.

Aurea Ensemble Play the Botanical Center

Photo by Sue Dunn

Photo by Sue Dunn

The six members of the Aurea Ensemble celebrated the life of Roger Williams combining his powerful words with the music of Purcell, Handel, old American hymns and more. The Sunday concert, the second in the March concert series at the Botanical Center, opened with remarks about Williams’ vast achievements by John McNiff, the National Park ranger at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence. The standing room only audience was then treated to a remarkable blending of music and the spoken word, revealing both familiar and unfamiliar sounds and instruments in an utterly captivating performance.      

French Roast Play the Botanical Center

The Conservancy’s March 2016 concerts began with a rousing performance by French Roast. Greeted with enthusiasm by an overflow audience, Cajun music has perhaps never had such an affirming venue as the Botanical Center’s tropical gardens. French Roast--Michelle Kaminsky, Rachel Panitch, Alan Bradbury, and Mark Wholley--played a range of music that was irresistible.  

French Roast perform at the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island.

Celebration of Cultures

Many families new to the Botanical Center enjoyed The Celebration of Cultures on Saturday, December 5.

Storyteller Raffini from the RI Black Storytellers, Congolese Youth Group from Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, Bollywood Dancers from the Indian Association of RI, and Latin Dancers from Grupo Arcoiris Youth and Children’s Talent Connection shared their talents with an enthusiastic audience.

The day was beautiful. Visitors enjoyed a tour of the fabulous poinsettia display interspersed among the more permanent tropicals or stopped at the various information tables to learn something about URI Extension offerings at the Botanical Center. Kids and their families were busy at the educational and decorative botanical arts areas. And plant lovers learned about and made purchases of indoor plants grown and nurtured at the Botanical Center polyhouses.


2015 Photo Contest Winners

Photo by Brigit Cotter Best in Show

The Photo Contest registrants brought fabulous photos to the exhibition and sale on Sunday, October 4 at the Botanical Center. Three judges had close to 150 entries to consider from 49 participants. First, second and third place prizes were awarded in each of three categories: Photo Club members, General Public, and Student (youths under 19 years old).  Hunt’s Photo and Video awarded a $500 gift certificate to the Best in Show, $100 gift certificates to the three first place winners, $50 gift certificates to the six second place winners, and $25 gift certificates to the nine third place winners. Additional prizes were awarded in 4 special categories: the best photo of an insect, the best photo in black and white, the best photo of a rose in the rose maze, and the best use of lighting. All photos were taken at the Botanical Center during the summer 2015 and the photographers did an amazing job reminding us of how beautiful the Botanical Center gardens are. 

Kids Volunteering at the Botanical Center

On Monday October 19, 46 8th grade students from the Pegasus Program at La Salle Academy in Providence volunteered at the Botanical Center. Under the auspices of the URI Master Gardeners' Garden Management crew at the Botanical Center they raked, weeded, mulched and pruned, tidying up the perennial summer garden for the winter. They also used their creative talents painting pumpkins for the Botanical Center’s pumpkin trail. The students placed their pumpkins on the pumpkin trail joining the pumpkins painted on Sunday, October 11 by Botanical Center visitors. 

Photos by Sue Dunn

Fall Plant Sale Success

The first-ever Fall plant sale, sponsored by the Botanical Center Conservancy, took place on Sunday, October 4 in greenhouse 3 at the Botanical Center.

Botanical Center volunteers propagated plants from the Botanical Center’s indoor spaces, thinned plants from the outdoor gardens and brought plants from personal collections. Master gardener volunteers shared information about the best growing conditions for the plants, the Rhode Island Orchid Society sold orchid planting medium and answered questions, the Rhode Island Begonia Society sold a wide array of easy-to-care-for begonias, and Master Gardener soil testers and kiosk experts were on hand to offer advice and answer questions. Plants and visitors enjoyed a beautiful day. 

Photos by Charlene Williams

Pumpkin Painting at the Botanical Center

In a first-time event at the Botanical Center this past Sunday, children, adults and families enthusiastically painted pumpkins to keep for themselves and to display at the Center. Colors and designs for the pumpkins delight the eye, and the pumpkins that are displayed on the Botanical Center’s pumpkin trail are wonderfully enchanting.  The pumpkins, which were donated by Rhode Island Nurseries Inc., can be seen every day at the Botanical Center (Tuesday-Sunday, 11-4). And if you have a painted pumpkin that you would like to put on the pumpkin trail, bring it along. We will be happy to display it. 

Photos by Sue Dunn

Central Nurseries in Johnston RI is having its first ever artisan evening Thursday, August 20, 5:30-8:30.  Artisan evenings will take place the third Thursday of every month, and Central Nurseries has generously pledged 10 per cent of sales each month to a non-profit organization. The Botanical Center Conservancy Is the first recipient of Central Nurseries generosity. Please mark your calendars for August 20. It promises to be a delightful evening. 




Trinity Repertory and Julius Caesar

The Young Actors Summer Institute (YASI) of the Trinity Repertory Company concluded the 2015 season on August 7 and 8 with a performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. For the first time, YASI performed outdoors on the lawn at the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park. Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky, the energetic students gave excellent performances under early summer evening skies flecked with pink and orange. The audiences showed their appreciation with standing ovations.  


Photo by Mitch Williams

The Botanical Center’s second summer concert featured Superchief Trio, the largest trio in New England. Weather forecasts were mixed, but no rain came and the five members of the trio brought down the house with their electric rhythms and driving beats. The Center’s gardens were and are at their blooming best.

Next concert: Sunday, July 26, 6-8PM, French Roast (Cajun).

New England Begonia Revolution

The New England Begonia Revolution will take place in Natick, MA Crowne Plaza Hotel July 29-August 2 and the Rhode Island Begonia Society will host two bus tours from the convention at the Botanical Center. Greenhouse 4 has been transformed into a begonia extravaganza. One bed is planted with the most familiar begonias…the wax begonias, also called fibrous rooted, in shades of pink and white. Also on display are sun-loving begonias, shade lovers from Borneo and Brazil and a very hairy begonia from the jungles of Viet Nam. The old fashioned ‘Angel Wing’ and some very new hybrids create additional interest.

Check out for more information about the American Begonia Society and the upcoming event.