Construction is underway on the new botanical gardens at Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden. Friday, crews were on site digging irrigation trenches, pouring concrete and wiring electricity in the space.

The garden will contain different areas that feature a variety of plants. One section will feature ferns and other plants that are native to the local area. Another will showcase brightly colored annual flowers. A third area will be turned into a sensory garden with plants that appeal to all five senses spread throughout.

The new garden is being built in the same spot as the old botanical garden, a sunny area just off the train tracks between the park entrance and “fat man squeeze” rocks near the waterfall overlook. The old garden was torn down four years ago because it had deteriorated and became dangerous, Park Supervisor Christina Richardson said.

Originally, park officials wanted to rebuild the garden soon after the old one was removed, but funding delayed the project. Instead of sacrificing features they wanted to include, Richardson said they decided to just wait until they could build it right.

“To me, this entire park is a botanical garden. This is just our more colorful spot,” she said, speaking of all the sunlight the area gets and the options for colorful flowers that provides.

In addition to plenty of plants, a few new sidewalks and water features, the area will feature a new outdoor wedding space as well.

The concrete pad for that wedding space was poured on Friday and a crew from Archer was on site smoothing it out. Workers from CopeLandScapes, which is overseeing the hardscape project, and Jeff Phillips Electrical also were working on the site.

Josh Brooks of CopeLandScapes said he has seen the designs for the full project and thinks the area will look beautiful once it is complete.

Richardson said she expects the hardscape to be done by the end of September. The landscape crew at Noccalula will do the majority of the planting themselves early next year.

Waiting until spring will allow them to have more options for plants and also will keep from conflicting with another of the landscape crew’s responsibilities — running all the lights for Christmas at the Falls.

Speaking of the lights, that area of the park has been lit up with Christmas lights in the past, and Richardson said it still will be a part of the lights experience this year.

“It won’t be fully planted, but it will be lit up for Christmas,” she said.

Once the plants are in the ground, she expects the garden to serve as another educational experience within the park.

“I want to be able to provide more educational options for our school groups, because we have a lot of school groups that come through here,” she said, adding that kiosks in the garden will explain the sensory areas and some of the native plants on display.

“I think everybody can enjoy it and learn from it,” she said.