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Published by the Georgia Native Plant Society
April 2009 Volume XV, Number 2

Natives for Fragrance
By Paula Refi Page 3 Some things are best experienced firsthand, and fragrance is one of them. We can study a garden‘s design in plan view, describe foliage and flowers with a glossary of botanical terms, create accurate color renderings, but we have no comparable devices for conveying the aromatic qualities of plants.

Every Issue:
President‘s Message Project News Plant Rescue News Website Updates Member Page 2 16 18 19 23

Gardening – Sometimes it‘s for the Birds!
By Ellen Honeycutt Page 5 An appreciation of birds and a passion for gardening often go hand in hand. For some, a love of birds comes first, followed by a desire to create a floral sanctuary for them.

Upcoming GNPS Events 20

Georgia State Parks: An Abundance of Natural Wonders
By Mary Tucker Page 8 At the January 2009 GNPS meeting, Cindy Reittinger, chief naturalist with the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, enlightened us on the natural wonders of our state and what the state parks are doing to preserve them.

Newsletter Editor Sharon Parry Newsletter staff: Ellen Honeycutt and Lisa Betz, Proofreaders NativeSCAPE is published quarterly by the Georgia Native Plant Society. A subscription is included with membership in the GNPS. Copyright 2009 by the Georgia Native Plant Society. All rights reserved. Articles may not be reprinted without permission of the author.

Made for Each Other
By Jim Smith Page 11 For me there is no better harbinger of spring than the early blooming red buckeye and the coincident arrival of the returning hummingbirds. The phrase ―made for each other‖ is a singularly appropriate description of their mutualistic relationship.

The ―New‖ Azaleas
By Ken Gohring Page 12 The recognition of these two new species was the result of dedicated plant scientists. Their efforts have resulted in clearer knowledge of native azaleas.


Georgia Native Plant Society P.O. Box 422085 Atlanta, GA 30342-2085 770-343-6000 GNPS Board of Directors President Marcia Winchester Vice President Kathryn Gable Secretary Shirley Center Treasurer Paula Reith Members-at-Large: Tom Painter Dick Reeves Don Stewart Director of Communications Sharon Parry Director of Conservation David Zaparanick Director of Education Ellen Honeycutt Director of Membership Mary Lou Cannamela

NativeSCAPE April 2009
President‘s Message
By Marcia Winchester

Spring seems to be the busiest time of year, especially with the excitement of watching natives leaf out and bloom. Every year, as GNPS grows, we receive an increase in requests to attend events during which we answer questions about GNPS and give out information on native plants in Georgia. If you‘d like to volunteer for events in your area, contact Carole Teja at We have materials to distribute and an educational tri-fold board to use at the events. The only requirement is enthusiasm! Our February 14th symposium was one of our best yet. Many thanks to Ellen Honeycutt for all of the time she spent putting it together, and to all of you who helped make it a success. Doug Tallamy, our first speaker, taught us how important native plants and trees are to wildlife. Now every time I look at an oak I‘m reminded that it provides food for 534 different caterpillars; by contrast, non-native crape myrtles feed only 3 types. This year in our continuing effort to ―go green‖ and be Earth friendly, we sent out a listserv announcement in March with a link to the garden tour brochure rather than having it printed and mailed. If you missed it, see the reminder on Page 20 or check the website. I hope you can take time to visit some of the gardens on tour on Sunday, April 19th. We continue to need volunteers to chair several of our committees. Once again we will not be having our big spring plant sale at Piedmont Park because we do not have a chairperson for the plant sale committee. The propagation committee is planning a much smaller plant sale at our Stone Mountain propagation site on April 25. Even though the event will be scaled down, we will still need help on Friday to set it up and on Saturday to help sell and discuss native plants. Please see our ―Upcoming Events‖ section for more information. Lastly, below are the results from the membership meeting survey. The education committee is working on an action plan. If you want to help, please contact them at

On February 2nd, GNPS launched a survey of our 1000+ members to find out more about how they feel about our bi-monthly meetings and their ability to attend. In the two week survey period, 280 people responded. Thank you! Here is a summary of the results: 63% said they do not attend the bi-monthly meetings at Atlanta Botanical Gardens. 62% of those that do attend said that they attend because ―The scheduled topic is of interest to me.‖ 68% of those that don‘t attend said their primary reason is that ―The meeting location is too far away or difficult to reach.‖ The top secondary reason for not attending is ―Evening meetings are not convenient.‖ 41% of those that answered the carpool question are interested in carpooling. 86% feel that ―general membership meetings are an important part of GNPS member services.‖ 52% said that their primary reason for being a member is ―Education/Learning about native plants.‖ Many of the comments reflected frustrations with attending meetings on weeknights after a long day at work, driving at night, driving alone, dealing with family responsibilities, and other commitments. We would certainly like to be able to enable more members to attend – that was clearly the goal of this effort to survey members. The Board has formed a committee to evaluate the survey results (and comments) and come up with some recommendations. If you‘d like to help on this committee, please email Ellen Honeycutt at


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Natives for Fragrance
By Paula Refi (This article is reprinted from the NativeSCAPE Volume 1 Number 1 - March 1995 with permission from the author. Photographs provided by the editor.)

Some things are best experienced firsthand, and fragrance is one of them. We can study a garden‘s design in plan view, describe foliage and Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) flowers with a glossary of botanical terms, create accurate color renderings, but we have no comparable devices for conveying the aromatic qualities of plants. Chemical formulae for volatile oils released by plants are useless to the average gardener. The best we can do is search for a commonly recognized fragrance that might be similar, and so we may characterize a flower as ―lemon scented‖ or ―fruity.‖ Intangible as scent may be, it is powerful in its ability to immediately summon memories. The aroma of favorite foods, for instance, can mentally trigger dining experiences long forgotten, and a plant‘s fragrant foliage or bloom is equally evocative for the gardener with a well-developed sense of smell. Pity the anosmic ‗olfactorally challenged‘ individual! I find that children, who seem sensitive to all sorts of odors, are especially perceptive when it comes to fragrance in a garden. A friend excitedly described an occasion when her young son stopped suddenly as he passed a stand of Florida leucothoe (Agarista populifolia) in full bloom, to announce that someone must have spilled a jar of honey. Fragrance adds a vital dimension to any landscape, and it is one that is of particular significance to the visually impaired. Many fine public gardens include collections of fragrant plants labeled in Braille. Some bloomers, like the Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens), give up their volatile oils

freely, while others (the masochistic ones?) require that we bruise them. Southern wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) is one of the latter, and bending and twisting its stems to fashion a Christmas wreath is a sensory tradition I wouldn‘t miss. Sometimes a plant‘s distinctive aroma only becomes apparent with senescence, as with Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium pupureum). I find its vanilla-like quality most noticeable as the blooms begin to fade. The fragrance persisted even in stem cuttings I had placed in a rooting box. A client once asked me to design a garden in which every plant would be, in her words, either ―pickable‖ or ―smellable.‖ I wondered if I might uncover some incompatible fragrances or if the result might approach olfactory overload. The outcome was entirely pleasurable. I follow two guidelines in planning fragrant gardens. Plant only species whose fragrance you like and site them where you can enjoy them at the appropriate time. It doesn‘t make sense to position winter bloomers, like vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis), in some far corner of the garden where no one ventures in cold weather.

Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

Fragrance is often our last consideration when planning a garden. Elements like color, form, and structure are immediately apparent; fragrance reveals itself with time. It is the garden‘s most delicious dimension.


(Please see pg 4 for Selected Natives for Fragrance.)


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Selected Natives for Fragrance
Achillea millefolium Asarum canadensis Crinum americanum Dennstaedtia punctilobula Gaultheria procumbens Hymenocallis occidentalis Monarda didyma Oenothera missouriensis Smilacina racemosa Solidago odora Yarrow Wild Ginger Swamp Lilly Hay Scented Fern Wintergreen Spider Lily Bee Balm Ozark Sundrop False Solomon‘s Seal Sweet Goldenrod

(Shrubs continued)
Fothergilla gardenii Hamamelis Virginiana H. vernalis Illicium floridanum I. parviflorum Itea virginica Lindera benzoin Morella cerifera Osmanthus americanus Rhododendron alabamensis R. arborescens Fothergilla Witch Hazel Vernal Witch Hazel Florida Anise Tree Small Anise Tree Virginia Sweetspire Spicebush Southern Wax Myrtle American Devilwood Alabama Azalea Sweet Azalea Coast Azalea Florida Azalea Piedmont Azalea Hammocksweet Azalea Swamp Azalea

Decumaria barbara Gelsemium sempervirens Smilax smallii Wisteria frutescens Climbing Hydrangea Carolina Jessamine Sweet-scented Smilax American Wisteria

R. atlanticum R. austrinum R. canescens R. serrulatum R. viscosum

Agarista populifolia Calycanthus floridus Cephalanthus occidentalis Clethra alnifolia Clinopodium georgianum Florida Leucothoe Sweetshrub Buttonbush Summersweet Georgia Savory

Chionanthus virginicus Cladrastis lutea Franklinia alatamaha Juniperus virginiana Liquidambar styraciflua Magnolia grandiflora Grancy Graybeard American Yellowwood Franklin Tree Eastern Red Cedar Sweetgum Southern Magnolia


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Gardening – Sometimes it‘s for the Birds!
By Ellen Honeycutt

An appreciation of birds and a passion for gardening often go hand in hand. For some, a love of birds comes first, followed by a desire to create a floral sanctuary for them. As for me, I learned to love plants first and noticed the beauty of birds while spending time outdoors in the yard. However you arrive at this happy junction of birds and plants, there are four simple goals to consider to ensure that your garden supports birds as well as beauty: food, water, shelter and places for birds to raise their young. Achieving those goals takes you on a journey with many choices. I‘d like to share some considerations with you in making those choices. First, inventory what you have in terms of your four goals: food, water, shelter and a place to raise young. Do consider that your property is a part of a bigger environment. Your property has neighbors and those neighbors have neighbors too. The ―bird‘s eye view‖ of your yard includes those other properties – properties which might contain features that ―your‖ birds might like. For example, my immediate neighbors have a large pond. Creating a water feature in my yard is not so important given the proximity of that pond. In your inventory, consider if you already have sources of food (plants such as hollies, viburnums, or grape vines, and perennials like coneflowers and grasses that produce seed), water (a stream or pond with water year round), shelter (evergreen and densely branched shrubs and trees), and a place to raise young (trees, tree snags, densely branched shrubs and trees). Based on your inventory, you can determine how to supplement what you have. Food The fastest way many people transition into supporting (and enjoying) birds is to put up bird feeders and stock them with seed, suet and even mealworms. Hummingbird nectar feeders are also very popular. Seeds alone, however, will not sustain

the birds. Berry producing plants are often the next step in creating a ―bird friendly‖ habitat. Berries also don‘t complete the diet, however. Birds need protein both for themselves and for their young. The diet of baby birds consists almost entirely of insects! The adult birds need to capture insects to feed their young.

Nuthatch Photo Credit: Konrad Ilg

Am I telling you that you now need to attract insects to your garden as part of your effort to attract and sustain birds? Yes, I am! Not great hordes of insects that defoliate your plants, but well behaved native insects that nibble here and there. These dainty visitors will in turn be consumed by birds and spiders (and the birds will eat some of the spiders too) as well as small lizards, effectively controlling the insect population as nature intended. Many of these insects will never be seen by you. According to Douglas Tallamy, the family of oaks (Quercus genus) supports over 534 different species of Lepidoptera (the order of moths and butterflies) in the larval stage. So imagine these quiet caterpillars, munching high in the canopy of your oaks. What plants would help attract insects to your yard? Although we have non-native insects such as Japanese beetles and azalea lace bugs in our
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NativeSCAPE April 2009
Gardening – Sometimes it‘s for the Birds!
Continued from Page 5

gardens, we mostly have native insects. Native insects prefer to eat native plants – theirs is a relationship that has been forged over thousands and thousands of years. Most insects are not ―generalists‖; that is, they cannot eat just any leaf. They have evolved to eat the leaves of specific plants. Non-native plants proclaimed as ―pest-free‖ are pestfree because native insects have not evolved to eat them and will not be able to do so in their lifetime (or yours). A variety of native plants will help ensure a variety of insects. In Tallamy‘s book, the top ten woody plants that support a variety of Lepidoptera species are: oak (Quercus), willow (Salix), cherry/ plum (Prunus), birch (Betula), cottonwood (Populus), crabapple/apple (Malus), blueberry (Vaccinium),

leave the dried seed heads and fruits on the plants to provide winter foods. Water A supply of fresh water is essential to birds. If there are no sources of fresh water nearby, one of your tasks should be to create one in your habitat. You can start out with a simple birdbath. Keep it clean, changing the water every few days (especially during the summer to deter mosquitos). During winter, change it as needed to keep it from remaining frozen or add a small birdbath heater. As you improve your habitat, you may consider supplementing or replacing your birdbath with a small pond. Adding water loving plants to the area will increase the diversity of plants. Shelter Birds need shelter to hide from predators during the day and to sleep in at night. Cardinals in my yard are very fond of sleeping in the hollies. While evergreen plants like Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) and American holly (Ilex opaca) provide good cover, plants don‘t need to be evergreen to provide shelter, especially in the summer. Densely branched shrubs or shrubs grown close together in a hedgerow effect are perfect for small birds. Thorny plants like hawthorn (Crataegus) add an additional measure of protection. Another way to create shelter is to construct a brush pile by loosely layering sticks and branches of different shapes and sizes. This method of construction creates pockets of air and shelter within the structure, allowing birds to fly in and out as needed to escape predators. Site your brush pile in a corner of your property to hide it from neighbors. You might even train a native vine to grow up one side, but be aware that the pile will shift and compress a bit over time as the branches break down. Occasionally add new sticks to keep it going.
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Southern wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) Photo Credit: Ellen Honeycutt

maple (Acer), elm (Ulmus) and pine (Pinus). Plants can serve a dual food role in your garden. Choose plants with nutritious fruits and seeds and you can provide several kinds of diet for your birds, in addition to the nutritious bugs. Plants like holly (Ilex), viburnum, chokeberry (Photinia), serviceberry (Amelanchier), buckeye (Aesculus), coneflower (Echinacea), sunflower (Helianthus) and many others provide berries, nectar and seeds across the seasons. Research a variety of plants for your sun/shade conditions that will provide a buffet of food throughout the year. Consider trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. At the end of the season,


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Gardening – Sometimes it‘s for the Birds!
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Raising their young Over and above protection for themselves, birds need safe places to build nests to raise their young. Nestboxes, while a wonderful invention, are simply a simulation of what nature would provide - such as a cavity in a tree. If remnants of dead trees can be saved safely in your yard, these provide both nesting sites and food for birds (insects often live in them – think woodpeckers!). Evergreen trees and shrubs provide areas for nests, but many deciduous trees are used as well. When leaves drop in the fall, many a song bird nest is revealed in the branches of deciduous trees. I was delighted recently to drive through a relatively young neighborhood and see that of the newly planted Photo Credit: Ellen Honeycutt deciduous trees in the front yards, many of them contained a bird‘s nest in the crotches of the branches. If you choose to provide nestboxes, be aware that certain species prefer to nest in specific environments. Boxes placed near these environments offer a better chance of attracting the birds you want. Eastern bluebirds, for example, like meadows, grassy backyards and grasslands near mixed hardwood forests. Bluebirds also prefer a box that is constructed in a manner that is big enough for them but not too big for other birds to take it over. The box should not be painted and should be built with a way for it to be opened and cleaned out after nesting season is over. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides a good

overview of nestbox requirements here: http:// features with additional links for requirements for specific birds. Gardening for the birds can be very satisfying. These remarkable creatures are always cheerful, often filling the garden with their songs. Providing shelter, water and natural food and nesting sources should encourage them to visit your garden often. Although you may like to supplement with bird feeders, keep in mind the benefit of natural food sources – fewer squirrels to feast on a free meal! Plant a few oaks (Quercus) for the squirrels. And if you do, the butterflies and moths will thank you as well. If this article has piqued your interest in attracting birds and other wildlife to your garden, you may want to learn more. I can recommend Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy. The author, who spoke at the GNPS Symposium in February, eloquently explains the relationship between insects, native plants and the animals that depend on them.


Trivia Corner In the early spring, the downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) is covered with white flowers. The serviceberry got its name because it is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring. This was the time of year when country preachers could finally brave the weather and have the year‘s first church "service." Shadblow serviceberry or shadbush (Amelanchier canadensis), a northern relative, got its common name because it fruits in June ―when the shad (a northern fish) run.‖ Serviceberry‘s fruit can be used to make pies and sweetbreads and can be dried like raisins. Cherokees used serviceberry tea to aid digestion, and children who had worms were given baths in serviceberry tea. Native Americans used the tree‘s straight wood to make arrow shafts.


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Georgia State Parks: An Abundance of Natural Wonders
By Mary Tucker

At the January 2009 GNPS meeting, Cindy Reittinger, chief naturalist with the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, enlightened us on the natural wonders of our state and what the state parks are doing to preserve them. The Georgia State Park system encompasses more than 85,000 acres and includes 45 state parks, three state historic parks, and 15 historic sites. These sites are scattered throughout the state so that every Georgian is less than an hour‘s drive from at least one site. This accessibility results in more than 10 million visitors each year. A wide range of outdoor activities are available at the parks, depending on the location and amenities of each site. Among the offerings are hiking and backpacking, bicycling, swimming, fishing and boating, picnicking, and horseback riding. Seven of the parks boast golf courses, which provide a beautiful setting for a round of golf at an affordable rate. Many forms of accommodation are available in the parks. Camping comes in the form of tent/trailer/RV camp sites, as well as walk-in tent sites and backcountry camping. Cottages are available in many of the parks, and several of the parks offer hotel-style lodges. Group camps offer dormitory sleeping quarters and dining halls and are appropriate for activities such as scouting events and church retreats. The Len Foote Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls State Park, to which the GNPS offers an annual field trip, is a unique accommodation unlike any other in the park system. The parks offer excellent and rewarding opportunities for volunteers. The Georgia State Parks website allows for you to search for the type and location of volunteer work you are interested in, or you can simply browse the many opportunities that are available. The Georgia State Parks‘ Resource Management unit was created in 2005 to expand efforts to carry out the mission of stewardship, protection, and conservation of our public lands. Numerous Resource Management projects help to protect native plants

and their habitats. For instance, under the ―Plants of Concern‖ project, plant surveys are conducted at state parks and historic sites to determine what species are on park property. Survey information is then used to draft resource management plans to help preserve and protect endangered and unique plant communities. Volunteers from the Georgia Botanical Society have been instrumental in this work. Invasive plant control is an ever increasing issue within the parks. Resource Management efforts have included education of the park staff about the issue, which in turn leads to education of the public. Specific plants of concern vary throughout the state and include Chinese tallow and water hyacinth in the coastal region and ivy, privet, and kudzu throughout the state. Fire is used by the Resource Management program throughout the state. Sprewell Bluff State Park in Thomaston educates the public about this useful management tool at its annual prescribed burn event, ―Fire on the Mountain,‖ which is held in March. In addition to teaching the public about how fire is beneficial for longleaf pine habitat, this event includes bluegrass music, guided hikes, wildlife presentations, and fun for all ages. Several restoration projects are taking place at the state parks, including longleaf pine restoration at General Coffee State Park in Nicholls and at Reed Bingham State Park in Adel, where protection of the gopher tortoise is part of the project. Native grass restoration is taking place at the Etowah Indian Mounds, and the public is being educated about native grasses through display plots and interpretive material. The GNPS has offered support to the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites by providing scholarships to the GNPS symposium to park staff. Cindy expressed her appreciation to the GNPS for its support over the years and noted that several park projects have been inspired by information garnered from the symposium presentations.
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NativeSCAPE April 2009
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The following state parks should be of special interest to GNPS members. These parks are located around the state and offer a wide variety of habitats and scenery and are excellent locations to view native plants and their habitats. Visit the Georgia State Parks website ( for more information on all of the parks in the system. Cloudland Canyon in Rising Fawn Rugged geology and beautiful vistas make Cloudland Canyon State Park, located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, one of the state‘s most scenic parks. The park straddles a deep gorge cut into the mountain by Sitton Gulch Creek, and elevations range from 800 to 1,980 feet. Among the natural scenery that hikers will enjoy are two waterfalls that cascade over layers of sandstone and shale into pools below. Wildflower hikes are offered in April. Fort Mountain in Chatsworth Fort Mountain State Park is located in the Chattahoochee National Forest close to the Cohutta Wilderness area. Fourteen miles of beautiful trails wind through hardwood forest and blueberry thickets and provide hikers and horseback riders with stunning scenery. A 17-acre lake offers swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities. Vogel in Blairsville Vogel is located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest and is Georgia‘s second oldest state park. This park is especially popular during the fall when the autumn colors are at their peak. Seventeen miles of trails, from easy to challenging, provide a variety of scenery for hikers. A 22-acre lake is open to non-motorized boats, and a lakeside beach offers swimming opportunities. A variety of special activities are offered, including spring wildflower walks, an arts and crafts festival in September, a fall hoe-down in October, and a Christmas tree lighting festival in December. Black Rock Mountain in Mountain City Located astride the Eastern Continental Divide at an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is the highest state park in Georgia. Its name comes from its sheer cliffs of dark biotite gneiss. Numerous scenic overlooks provide spectacular 80-mile vistas of the Southern Appalachians, and several hiking trails lead visitors past wildflowers, cascading streams, small waterfalls, and lush forests. Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Falls One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern United States, Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a free permit to hike the strenuous trail down to the gorge floor. A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls. Exhibits in the park‘s interpretive center teach visitors about the history and ecosystem of the area. The park also offers a 63-acre lake for fishing and swimming. Events that are offered include canoeing on the lake, spring wildflower hikes, and Junior Ranger programs. Sweetwater Creek in Lithia Springs Sweetwater Creek is a peaceful tract of wilderness only minutes from downtown Atlanta. Nine miles of trails are available, with one of the most popular trails following a free-flowing stream to the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill burned during the Civil War. Beyond the mill, the trail climbs rocky bluffs to provide views of the beautiful mile-long stretch of whitewater rapids below. The 215-acre lake is popular for fishing and canoeing. Special activities include hikes that focus on the geology of the area and the history of Sweetwater Creek Valley and tours of the visitor‘s center, which is a LEED certified green building. Panola Mountain in Stockbridge This unusual park near Atlanta was created to protect a 100-acre granite monadnock often compared to Stone Mountain and Arabia Mountain. Minimally developed, Panola Mountain shelters rare plants of the Piedmont region. An interpretive center offers animal exhibits that are especially popular with children. The park also includes two fishing lakes. Many classes are offered at the park, including those on fly fishing, canoeing, backpacking, wood carving, and first aid and health-related topics. Ranger programs and hikes explore the plants and animals found in the park.
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NativeSCAPE April 2009
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F.D. Roosevelt in Pine Mountain At over 9,000 acres, this is Georgia‘s largest state park. Located near Callaway Gardens and the town of Warm Springs, the park is deeply rooted in the historical era of four-time President Franklin D. Roosevelt, for this is where FDR built his Little White House. Above Kings Gap is Dowdell‘s Knob, Roosevelt‘s favorite picnic spot overlooking a magnificent view of the valley below. Forty miles of scenic trails are available for hikers. The Pine Mountain Trail, which winds through a mix of hardwoods and pines, reaches an elevation of 1,395 feet, reminding hikers that Pine Mountain is on the southern-most edge of the Appalachian Mountain range. Two lakes offer fishing, boating, and swimming. Twenty-eight miles of trails are available for horseback riding. Special events include astronomy classes, spring hikes, an Earth Day Festival in April, and a Horse Fair in May. Providence Canyon in Lumpkin Known as Georgia‘s ―Little Grand Canyon,‖ this park near the Alabama border offers the exceptional scenery of a canyon colored in hues of pink, orange, and purple. Native plant enthusiasts will delight in seeing the rare plumleaf azalea and numerous other wildflowers. A visitor center explains how the massive gullies (the deepest being 150 feet) were caused by erosion due to poor farming practices in the 1800s. The park offers three miles of hiking trails and seven miles of backcountry trails for backpacking. Numerous hikes and programs are offered, including those that feature geology, astronomy, native plants, birds, and snakes. George L. Smith in Twin City This secluded park offers activities for nature lovers, boaters, birders, and history buffs. A 412-acre lake is popular for fishing, canoeing, and boating. Seven miles of trails are available for hikers and bicyclists. It is best known for the refurbished Parrish Mill, a combination grist mill, saw mill, covered bridge, and dam built in 1880. Visitors are likely to see a wide range of wildlife, including blue heron, white ibis, and Georgia‘s state reptile, the gopher tortoise. The park hosts an annual cane grinding demonstration in November. Stephen C. Foster in Fargo Named after songwriter Stephen Foster, this remote park is a primary entrance to the famed Okefenokee Swamp and is located on the Florida border south of Waycross. The black swamp waters are home to moss-laced cypress trees, alligators, turtles, raccoon, black bear, deer, birds, and numerous other creatures. The park can be toured via hiking trails, or visitors can explore 25 miles of day-use waterways on guided pontoon boat trips or by rented motorized boats, canoes, or kayaks. The park is especially popular with boaters, birders, and fishermen. Skidaway Island in Savannah Located near historic Savannah, this barrier island has both salt and fresh water due to estuaries and marshes that flow through the area. Two nature trails wind through marshes, live oaks, cabbage-palmettos, and longleaf pines, allowing visitors to watch for deer, raccoon, shore birds, and rare migrating birds such as the painted bunting. Observation towers provide another chance for visitors to search for wildlife, and the park‘s nature center features nature exhibits, a reptile room, and a birding station. The park offers ranger programs and hosts an Earth Fest celebration in April. Crooked River in St. Marys Located on Georgia‘s Colonial Coast, this park offers attractions for nature lovers and native plant enthusiasts. A nature trail winds through maritime forest and salt marsh, and hikers may see gopher tortoises, fiddler crabs, herons, and other coastal birds. The park‘s nature center features fish, snakes, turtles, and other animals native to this part of Georgia. Popular activities include saltwater fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking, and birding. Visitors may venture to the nearby ruins of the tabby McIntosh Sugar Works mill, built around 1825 and later used as a starch factory during the Civil War. Nearby is the ferry and visitor center for the famous Cumberland Island National Seashore. The park hosts the Experience Coastal Georgia Festival in September. N


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Made for Each Other
By Jim Smith

My mother often described an exceptionally compatible couple as having been ―made for each other.‖ She borrowed this cliché from an early Carole Lombard movie of the same name. Later, on separate occasions, the phrase was lifted by the ―Monkees‖ and Buck Owens for song lyrics. If a ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris, could give voice to anything but a ―squeak‖, we might hear it serenading the crimsonflowered, red buckeye, Aesculus pavia, around April fool‘s day with the music and lyrics of those songs. For me there is no better harbinger of spring than the early blooming red buckeye and the coincident arrival of the returning hummingbirds. The phrase ―made for each other‖ is a singularly appropriate description of their mutualistic relationship. Over time, hummingbirds and the red tubular flowers of the red buckeye seem to have coevolved. Hummingbirds see color much as we do and seem to be attracted to red flowers. Bees and some of the other insect pollinators seem to prefer yellow. The hummingbird‘s beak seems to have been designed with these tubular flowers in mind. The buckeye‘s nectar chemistry, color and flower morphology coincide with the bird‘s diet, vision and physical characteristics, particularly its long beak and tongue. The male hummingbirds, somewhat smaller than the females, arrive in Georgia about two weeks before the female, and are militantly territorial. You might imagine these tiny birds would flock together in the interest of fraternal self-protection, but they do not. These solitary diminutive migrants depend on their small size and swift flight (25 to 40 miles an hour) to avoid potential predators. Besides, at a weight of 5 grams they don‘t represent much of a meal. Their migratory journey from Central America includes a 20hour non-stop flight over water that can take as long as 4 weeks. On arrival, they are hungry, having lost as much as 40% of their body weight en route. They rely on nectar and

insects as their main food source. Their immediate goal is food and later procreation. The buckeye‘s goal is pollination. The hummingbird is not the buckeye‘s only pollinator. Some competition for accessing tubular flowers comes from butterflies that can probe these flowers with their long proboscis, but usually with the later blooming tubular flowers. The coldblooded butterflies have not warmed up enough by the time the buckeyes bloom to be reliable pollinators. Bees are less attracted to the red color and have some difficulty in accessing the flowers. With a number of red buckeyes in our landscape, we look forward to early visits of the hummingbirds and have tried to extend and sustain their visits by growing a number of native plants that they enjoy. Among the native plants whose nectar they relish are: bee balm (Monarda spp.) ; trumpet-creeper (Campsis radicans); coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens); cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and wild columbine (Aquilegia canandensis).

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) Photo Credit: Sharon Parry

Grow some red buckeyes and get a double portion of pleasure from their flowers and their principal pollinators. N


NativeSCAPE April 2009
The ―New‖ Azaleas
By Ken Gohring

Rhododendron eastmanii A few years ago those who have an affinity for native azaleas were excited about the classification of a native azalea found at that time only in the state of South Carolina. The person primarily responsible for the R. eastmanii classification was Mike Creel, a retired South Carolina Department of Natural Resources employee. Back in the 1980‘s, Charles Eastman visited the South Carolina DNR, bringing an impressive group of native azaleas of diverse colors. This started a friendship that lead to frequent exploration of South Carolina‘s natural areas in search of native azaleas. Eastman showed Creel an attractive white azalea that he had found and the two visited the source and another site. After a period of time, Creel came to the conclusion that his first inclination, that the azalea was R. viscosum, a highly variable species, was incorrect. He was introduced by a DNR associate to Dr. Kathleen Kron, a respected botanist at Wake Forest University. Together the two worked over a period of several years and, in a paper published in 1999, concluded that the azalea was a distinct species that had not been registered. They proposed the name R. eastmanii in honor of Charles Eastman. The species R. eastmanii is similar in many ways to R. alabamense and some thought the new species was R. alabamense. Both species are white with a yellow blotch and both have a very pleasant fragrance. However there are several differences. R. eastmanii usually blooms in May, whereas R.

alabamense is an early bloomer, with blooms usually appearing in April. At the time of the Creel/Kron study, no other native azalea was known to bloom in May at South Carolina‘s latitude. R. eastmanii has a common name of ―May White‖ because of its May bloom time. The blooms of R. alabamense usually occur before the plant‘s leaves expand, while R. eastmanii blooms occur after the leaves are full. Also the physical characteristics of the R. eastmanii bud are unique with features not shared by any other native azalea. Perhaps the most thorough work on the culture of R. eastmanii has been conducted by Dr. Charles Horn of Newberry College, Newberry, S.C. From 2000 to 2003, Dr. Horn conducted an extensive study of the species. Some of his findings:

Rhodondendron eastmanii Photo Credit: Mike Creel

1) Twenty-three sites were documented in 11 counties in South Carolina. These sites had varying numbers of specimens, ranging from 5 plants to over 300. Twenty-two of the 23 documented sites are located in the watersheds of the Broad and Congaree Rivers. 2) The sites are located close to streams, usually on north or northeast facing slopes, with tree canopies composed of oaks, hickories and other deciduous trees. The slopes in many cases were quite steep with the plants most commonly found half way up the slope. Most of the sites were on bluffs overlooking the Congaree River or at the head waters
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The ―New‖ Azaleas
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of streams that flow into the Broad-Congaree watershed. However, one such stream flows into the Savannah River. 3) The soil acidity of the sites ranged from 4.8 to 6.8 pH. Originally Creel and Kron indicated that the species appeared to prefer neutral soil. Dr. Horn, based on his measurements, concluded that the species prefers slightly acid to circumneutral soils. 4) The species is not so rare that it is in danger of becoming extinct. The species may not be confined entirely to South Carolina. Dr. Horn concludes that more study is needed to determine if the species is found in Georgia, North Carolina or elsewhere, to get a complete picture of the species‘ distribution. To this end efforts to locate the species present a challenge and should be guided by Dr. Horn‘s studies, with special attention to characteristics of the locales where the species was found. Rhododendron colemanii Another new species was also recently recognized. This azalea is named in honor of S. D. Coleman, a Georgia nurseryman, who did extensive studies of native azaleas in the period of the late 1940s to the 1960s. Coleman had a nursery in the town of Fort Gaines, GA, which is located about 70 miles south of Columbus on the Chattahoochee River. For years Mr. Coleman collected and propagated native azaleas found in the general area of where he lived. One of the plants that he sold, called ―Maypink‖ bloomed in May and was pink in color. It is that particular azalea that has become recognized as R. colemanii, with a common name of ‗Red Hills‘ azalea. The intriguing story of how R. colemanii became recognized was related recently in the Journal of the American Rhododendron Society in an article by Dr. Ron Miller and Steve Yeatts. Some may recognize the name Steve Yeatts, a native of Athens, who has been
Rhodondendron colemanii Photo Credit: Ron Miller

a GNPS member for several years. For some years Steve has been involved in the study of native plants, in particular native azaleas and trilliums. The activities that led to the formal recognition of a distinct species in 2008 took place over a period of several years. Most likely, Mr. Coleman was the first to observe the species in the wild, but Dr. John Thornton, a Louisiana rhododendron authority, also collected and propagated the species. Thornton collected cuttings of what he thought was R. alabamense from a site near Phenix City, AL and later Monroeville, AL. Clippings of these plants were examined by an azalea authority who classified them as R. alabamense. Thornton propagated the plants and sold thousands of them through his nursery to people all over the country. Later the work of the group that pursued the recognition of the species clearly identified these plants as ‗Red Hills‘ azaleas. Prior to Thornton‘s collection, Dr. R. O. Smitherman, an Auburn University professor, found a population of what is now recognized as R. colemanii in Clarke County, AL. These plants were both pink and white. He started a breeding program with these plants and over time observed that the plants had the same characteristics of some of the ‗Maypink‘ azaleas that he had acquired from S. D. Coleman.
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Another person involved in the story is Dr. Alvin Diamond of Troy State University. While a graduate student at Auburn, he observed the species in his studies of the Red Hills salamander. He observed the plants at several sites and collected herbarium samples. He found the more common white blooming plants as well as pink and yellow forms. Originally he thought the plants were hybrids but later became convinced that his finds represented a new species.

through John Thornton. Miller possessed the same inquiring mind and zeal as Yeatts. For a period of time their joint efforts included the study of native populations of azaleas in southern Alabama and Georgia that exhibited features not characteristic of R. alabamense. These differences that they noticed included the following: a) A range of color that included pink, white and yellow. b) Stoloniferous character. c) Time of bloom. d) Character of new growth. e) Qualities of bloom buds. f) Size of adult plants. g) Area where plants were found (Red Hills) After several seasons of visiting south Alabama and southwest Georgia sites, the group consulted Dr. Clarence Towe. Towe was skeptical at first but proceeded to involve prominent botanists at the University of Washington and North Carolina State University. The analysis and study conducted at these universities resulted in a definite recognition of the species. In fact, the work concluded that the new species has a tetraploid rather than the more common diploid chromosome structure found in most native azaleas, including R. alabamense. The recognition of these two new species was the result of dedicated plant scientists. Their efforts have resulted in clearer knowledge of native azaleas. These persons are to be commended for their diligent efforts in providing better classification of native azaleas. It is interesting that neither of these species is new. They have been around for years, just not known to be distinct species. This situation is most likely caused by the fact that azaleas cross pollinate and hybrids exhibit the characters of both parents. This cross pollination occurs usually between species that bloom at the same time. However, cross pollination can occur between species that normally bloom at significantly different
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Rhododendron colemanii Photo Credit: Ron Miller

In the late 1990‘s, Steve Yeatts and his associate, Bob Stevens, went to a site in south Alabama looking for a population of R. alabamense. They were guided by a herbarium sample at the University of Georgia that listed the site. They took cuttings and grew it into a blooming plant that didn‘t resemble the typical R. alabamense. At first they thought the plant might be the recently recognized R. eastmanii. They contacted Dr. Thornton and visited the site where Thornton had collected earlier. They also went to the site discovered by Smitherman. They worked persistently to obtain a proper classification of the azaleas that they had encountered. Yeatts met Dr. Ron Miller, a retired English professor,


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The ‖New‖ Azaleas
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times. For example, weather conditions cause species to delay their bloom time, resulting in opportunities for cross pollination of species which normally bloom at different times. Many hybrid azaleas are found on GNPS plant rescues but most of these are crosses of R. canescens and R. flammeum, common natives in the Atlanta area, whose bloom periods overlap. Both of these ―new‖ azaleas promise to be good plants for native gardens. Both bloom after the earlier blooming natives. Both are fragrant and appear to be easily propagated with stem cuttings. Their landscape use may be dictated by their growth structure—both plants reach 15 feet or more, so they should be located appropriately.

Wendell Hoomes, GNPS member, has received a grant from the Community Foundation of West Georgia to conduct a complete vascular survey and inventory of historic McIntosh Reserve Park. The 470 acre park is a component of Carroll County‘s passive recreation and green space program. The reserve will be surveyed for a full growing year for presence and location of all types of native plant habitats utilizing the expertise of the University of West Georgia Biology Plant Taxonomist, Dr. David Morgan. Plants will be photographed and mapped using GIS (Geographic Information System) technology. The data from the survey/inventory will be a vital tool for education through UWG, community planning programs, scouts, local schools, the extension service, and the local chamber of commerce. The data will be featured in a proposed interpretative center in the park. Results of the study will also be made available to any interested party, especially those who want to use the methodology elsewhere. Questions or comments can be directed to Wendell Hoomes:


Sources: RADFORD, A. E., H. E. AHLES, AND C. R. BELL. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. KRON, K.A. and M. CREEL. 1999. A new species of deciduous azalea (Rhododendron section Pentanthera; Ericaceae) from South Carolina. Novon 9(3):377-380. HORN, CHARLES N. 2005. Distribution and Ecological Preference of Rhododendron eastmanii Kron & Creel (May-white Azalea) in South Carolina, Castanea, March. MILLER, RON and STEVE YEATTS. 2008, Rhododendron colemanii, A Detective Story, Journal of the American Rhododendron Society, 62:79-85.


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Project News: Heritage Park
By Connie Ghosh

The Georgia Native Plant Society‘s commitment to Heritage Park is still strong after eight years, thanks to the dedication of numerous volunteers. With their help, GNPS continues its ongoing involvement with this small, locally-rare remnant of beech and magnolia forest at the corner of Fontaine and Nickajack Roads in west Cobb County. Here‘s a short summary of our involvement. In the 1990‘s, Cobb County began constructing a major new roadway, the East-West Connector. As part of the permitting process, mitigation measures (in the form of setting aside land that is to remain in its natural state) were required; Heritage Park was the result. This park, located near the Silver Comet Trail, consists of a 128-acre parcel of undeveloped land that extends from Fontaine Road to Concord Road, bracketing Nickajack Creek as it does so and including the ruins of a Civil War-era woolen mill. In 2001, Keep Cobb Beautiful (KCB) sent out a call for volunteers to adopt trail segments. Julian Deal, a GNPS officer at the time, responded. And that is how we came to be involved. First, a plan for our portion of the trail was developed and submitted. GNPS was able to obtain the very first adoption segment, which begins at the parking lot of the Park‘s pavilion. With the help of Gretchen Musser, a professional landscape designer, a butterfly garden at the head of the trail was laid out. Julian, a dedicated butterfly enthusiast, made sure that nectar-source plants were part of the plan. The area has grown into a full and lush habitat. Here, beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and blueberry bushes (Vaccinium corymbosum), purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), phlox (Phlox spp.), browneyed susans (Rudbeckia triloba), asters (Symphiotrichum spp.), and other sun-loving plants greet trail users on the left as they start the trail. On the right, azaleas of different types (Rhododendron spp.), mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium), columbines (Aquilegia canadensis), monkshood (Aconitum uncinatum), and other shade-

tolerant species are located under the spreading branches of a huge beech (Fagus grandifolia). As one continues into the woods and on down the trail, many other native species belonging to the southeastern forest complex come into view. Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) are found in abundance as you round the first curve. Native switch cane (Arundinaria gigantea) is found in the wet area. During the initial years of the trail-adoption venture, several operating principles evolved. First, since much of the woods to either side of the trail was smothered in privet, invasives removal became a routine part of the work parties‘ duties. Second, establishing the butterfly garden and reclaiming the trail‘s edges were proving to be an ambitious undertaking, so a monthly workday was established even though the original agreement with KCB required only four workdays per year. And third, as the cleared areas to either side of the trail grew larger, plants from GNPS rescues that were appropriate to this particular type of woodland were brought in and planted. Slowly but surely, the beauty of this minimallydisturbed native forest was re-emerging; and trailusers frequently expressed their appreciation. In 2002, the project received second-place honors nationally in Keep America Beautiful‘s annual recognition awards. In time, the leadership baton passed to Nancy Shofner, a veteran Appalachian Trail volunteer. Being experienced in trail maintenance, she persistently worked on several trail-viability issues: drainage problems that were causing erosion; trailsurface footing; traffic control to keep people from ―short-cutting‖ through the woods; and maintaining a good working relationship with county park personnel. Nancy consulted the GNPS Restoration Committee as well as experts on local and regional ecotypes for
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advice on habitat restoration and preservation. After visiting the site, Elaine Nash suggested that: ―Heritage Park may be a very small relic of original vegetation so it is precious. Catalog and observe it, and don‘t plant stuff that doesn‘t belong. It isn‘t a garden.‖ Soon after, a dramatic event occurred that sharply pointed up the relevance of these concerns. In January 2006 a winter storm downed a huge beech, and its fall obliterated a viewing platform and tore a large limb from another beech. Its massive trunk effectively blocked the trail for the joggers and dogwalkers habituated to using it, while its canopy lay across the steep slope between switchbacks. Cobb Parks sent out a contractor to handle what was essentially a timbering job. When it was done, the huge 4.5 foot-diameter sections were stacked up in the parking lot, and the affected area had been regraded and smoothed by a bulldozer. The once minimally-disturbed piece of woods now contained a section of compacted soil and damaged vegetation and had suffered the loss of almost 600 square feet of tree canopy, exposing that area of forest floor to the sky. In the three years since, however, the processes of reforestation are working effectively and efficiently, given the considerable advantage that no further disturbance to the site has occurred. A stretch of pole-and-rope fencing installed by Rick and Cindy Taylor has helped tremendously in keeping visitors from cutting through the area. Some small beech saplings have been planted and appear to be on their way to becoming well-established. The only other vegetation-altering activity has been to thin the vigorous growths of pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and briars that have sprung up in this section. In October of last year, Nancy turned over the job of trail coordinator to Price Crafts and me. Since that time the work has continued: undesirable weeds and saplings that would shade out the sun-loving plants have been removed from the garden at the top of the

trail; English ivy, Microstegium vimineum (stilt grass), and other exotics are removed from the wooded section on an ongoing basis; and generous amounts of rescued Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), fairy wand (Chamaelyrium luteum), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and other woods-natives have been planted. Marcia Winchester, Ellen Honeycutt, David Zaparanick, Sheri George, and others have taken a special interest in spearheading the addition of rescued plants. The recent February workday was designated as a ―Privet Pull‖: a dozen energetic workers cleared approximately 500 square feet of privet. They celebrated with a hot chili lunch afterwards. In the years ahead, continuing volunteer efforts will be required for the ongoing chores of weeding and invasive plant removal. (As a note of interest, the original agreement with KCB stipulated that neither herbicides nor pesticides would be used.) It is planned that judicious planting of rescued plants will continue. And because one of the primary missions of GNPS is to inform and educate the public about native plants, some type of signage to accomplish these purposes is being considered. So as you can see, even in this natural area there are still plenty of hands-on things for humans to do to support a community of native plants that continues to thrive despite being surrounded by increasing urbanization. This project is a wonderful place to learn. New and experienced members frequently work together, sharing and learning as they go. On any given workday, new people are learning to identify the plants on the trail, and the seasoned members are being revitalized by their excitement. The GNPS segment of the trail is on the GNPS Garden Tour on Sunday, April 19th. This wonderful example of a southeastern deciduous forest and the efforts of many volunteers over the years will be on view. Hopefully you will be able to come and see them!


Visit our webpage: Heritage_Park_Trail.html


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Native Plant Rescue News
By Lynn Almand

The plant rescue program is an important part of the GNPS heritage, and the work we do to save plants from destruction is rewarding to everyone who participates. At every rescue, the diggers are collecting plants not only for their own gardens, but for school, church, public, and private neighborhood gardens as well as restoration projects. The facilitators are a remarkable group of individuals who make the whole process happen. At the committee level, the opportunities to keep the program going offer many rewards and a few challenges. After three and a half years of serving as director of the plant rescue committee, Don Schwarz is ―passing the trowel.‖ For years now, we‘ve been blessed with Don‘s voice of calm and reason, been wrapped in his nurturing nature, and enjoyed his wonderful sense of humor. The good news is that he is not leaving-- the committee asked him to stay on as deputy director, and he agreed! I am delighted to accept Don‘s position as director and work with the best committee in GNPS, a group of dedicated and supportive facilitators, and the hundreds of members who participate in plant rescues. We need new sites: The slow down of development, while not good for the economy, is relief from bulldozers and the resulting plant and habitat loss. For a rescue site procurement coordinator, it makes a tough job even harder. We desperately need your help finding new rescue sites. We want to save plants! How can you help? If you see property that is wooded, especially with large hardwoods, slopes, and possibly a creek, has a big sign in front that says, ‗Coming Soon‘ or ‗For Sale,‘ write down the contact name/phone number, address or nearest intersection and contact one of our site procurement coordinators: West (of GA400) and North Metropolitan Atlanta: Russell Brannon or East (of GA400) and South Metropolitan Atlanta: Nina Harrison. Welcome to our new facilitators: Those of you who participate in plant rescues may notice some new names as facilitators in the rescue announcements. They are our Class of 2008. Please welcome: Andrea Greco, Karen McErnery, Paula Reith, Paul Shivers, and Susan Todd. Without these volunteers and all our volunteer facilitators, the rescue program could not exist. There are lots of plants out there to rescue. If you are not currently an active rescuer and want to join the fun, go to the website, click on Plant Rescue under GNPS information, read all about the program and sign up! Plant Rescue Schedule: Spring brings two changes in our plant rescue process. First, we asked our facilitators to pick days and times convenient for them throughout the month instead of specifying days for each region. They responded with twelve rescues at six different sites in March. They always come through for us and for you! The monthly rescue announcement and any pop-ups continue to be distributed via the listserv, and all rescues are posted on our website. Mike Strickland, the GNPS webmaster (and fellow rescue facilitator), created a new and easy way to sign up for rescues. The monthly rescue announcement contains a link to the rescue schedule page on the website. You just click on the link, select a rescue, fill in the pertinent information, and an email is sent to the facilitator. If you signed up for a rescue in March from the listserv, you know how easy it is. You can also go directly to the rescue schedule at for viewing and easy sign-up. A big thanks to Mike! For questions, contact Lynn Almand at


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Website Updates
By Mike Strickland

The GNPS the website ( is continually updated with additions and news. Below is a section-bysection recap of recent changes and additions. Our thanks go out to the individuals and committee chairs who provide information for many of the pages and who help us keep the website up to date.

Home Page
Botanical names have been added to the seasonal pictures at the top of the Home Page. In addition, clicking on a picture will enlarge it. What's New: 2009 GNPS Symposium papers. Program handouts from the 2009 Symposium have been added. What's New: Len Foote Hike Inn Field Trip. Information is available on the upcoming May 3 field trip to the Len Foote Hike Inn. What's New: GNPS Garden Tour. Information is available on the April 19 GNPS Garden Tour.

GNPS Information
About Us: Board meetings minutes have been added in the About Us section. A link to year-end committee reports is included in the December 2008 minutes. About Us: The GNPS Organizational Chart has been updated in the About Us section. Plant Rescue: An online sign-up procedure for plant rescues has been implemented. Programs and Projects: Jeane Reeves Research Grants Program. Additions have been made to the Reports from Recipients. Volunteer: A link for GNPS Volunteer opportunities has been added to the navigation menu.

Symposium: Pictures from the 2009 GNPS Symposium have been posted.

Symposium Papers: Handouts from the 2009 Symposium have been added to the many papers from past symposia that are posted.


NativeSCAPE April 2009
Upcoming GNPS Events
April 12: Field Trip to Black’s Bluff Preserve (and on May 2) In 2008, GNPS bestowed a significant gift upon the Georgia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to support the expansion of the Black‘s Bluff Preserve in Floyd County near Rome. The 263 acre preserve can be described as a ‗massive rock garden‘ and has exceptional botanical diversity. The site is a rich oak-hickory forest growing on a steep outcrop of 500 million year old Conasauga limestone along the Coosa River. The rare and unusual plants that we hope to see are the threatened large-flowered skullcap (Scutellaria montana), the endangered limerock arrowwood (Viburnum bracteatum), and the endangered Alabama leather flower (Clematis socialis) along with other flowering spring ephemerals and a few northern plants not normally found this far south, like Dutchman‘s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). Come join us as we explore the trail at Black‘s Bluff Preserve on April 12 and May 2. Each trip will be limited to 30 members and prior registration is required on a first come, first served basis. Additional instructions concerning the rendezvous point and time will be sent to each attendee. Please plan to bring water, lunch, and sturdy hiking shoes as we will spend about 2 ½ hours at the site. Please contact Ed McDowell at to reserve your spot. April 19: GNPS Members Garden Tour - 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Kohlbacher Garden, Dallas. The woodland gardens are an outstanding example of the joys and pitfalls of trying to recreate native ecosystems. Growing here are thousands of ferns, native azaleas, dogwoods, and an array of spring ephemerals: bloodroot, wood poppy, Virginia bluebells, trilliums, woodland phlox, hepatica, phacelia, water leaf, foamflower, toothwort, dutchman‘s breeches, and wood anemone. The double stream garden is a good example of mixing native and non-native species and creating an artificial garden that looks natural. Heritage Park Trail, Mableton. The Heritage Park Trail project is featured in this issue of the NativeSCAPE. Come see the established butterfly garden and the lovely woodland ephemerals: cutleaf toothwort, lobed hepatica, mayapple, sweet cicely, and Virginia bluebells. There are also wonderful tall trees: beeches, umbrella magnolias, black walnuts, oaks, basswood, sassafras, hophornbeam, and musclewood. The wetland areas harbor many types of wildlife. McFarlane Nature Park, Marietta. McFarlane Nature Park is an 11.5 acre passive green space in East Cobb County. The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County started on the project in 1995 with a small native plant garden around the old pump house. They have also developed native plant areas around the old barn where the pig sty once was and under a large oak tree, and renovated the 250‘ long sun border that runs along the driveway into the park. EcoAddendum Garden, Decatur. This is a garden with a mission. Plants in the specimen beds throughout the back yard are being propagated for reintroduction into forests and urban areas in the Georgia Piedmont region. The EcoAddendum garden has examples of several Georgia piedmont plant communities ranging from wetland to upland forest. Martin and Gerda Taylor Garden, Doraville. The development of the Taylor's garden has been in progress for over 20 years and is forever changing. It is primarily a shade garden with sunny locations along the edges and front. The gardens surround the home on 1/3 acre and serve as an excellent example of how a wide variety of plants and habitats can thrive in an urban environment. Over 200 varieties of plants are present including an abundance of camellias, azaleas, ferns and hostas. About half of the plants are native to Georgia.
For more details, visit . (If you are unable to download the brochure electronically, and would like to tour the gardens, please call GNPS at 770-343-6000. Leave your name and address, and we will mail you a copy.)

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April 25: GNPS Native Plant Sale From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Stone Mountain Park. We need help on: Friday April 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to set up, price and water plants, and for placing signs; and on Saturday April 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to sell plants and answer questions from the public. We plan to work in 3-hour shifts. Bring gloves, lunch or snacks. Beverages will be provided. If possible, bring a wagon or garden cart with your name on it. To volunteer to work at the plant sale either day contact Carole Teja at Donate plants for the plant sale anytime from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. during scheduled SMPP workdays: Thursday April 2, Saturday April 4, and Thursday April 16. To make other arrangements contact Barbara Dorfman at or Karen McCaustland at Location: Stone Mountain Propagation Project area in Stone Mountain Park. From the West Gate, turn left, turn into the first parking lot on the left at the "WALKING TRAILS" sign. From the Main Gate entering off Hwy. 78, turn right toward Confederate Hall. The "WALKING TRAILS" lot is over a mile on the right. The Park will waive the parking fee for GNPS members on both Friday and Saturday. May 2: Dedication of the Jeane Saylor Reeves Native Fern Garden A dedication ceremony will be held at the Georgia Perimeter College Native Plant Botanical Garden at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 2. The native fern area has been named for Jeane Reeves, one of the founding members of the Georgia Native Plant Society. She was a pioneer plant rescuer starting a word-of-mouth program on her own in 1991. It grew under her direction into the GNPS Rescue Program, starting a short time after GNPS was formed in 1994, until 2000. Jeane passed away in 2006. Bring your picnic lunch and check out the gardens and native plant sale. See for directions and other information about the GPC Garden. (A reminder will be sent later this month via listserv.) May 3: The sixth annual GNPS Field Trip to the Len Foote Hike Inn For the first time, we will be doing a joint trip with members of the Georgia Botanical Society. The hike to the Inn is approximately five moderate miles, and we are sure to see a variety of Spring ephemerals as well as many mature trees and interesting understory plants. Rooms at the Inn contain two bunks, one upper and one lower, and just enough room to get dressed in the morning. There is a bathhouse with showers and "composting toilets." The Hike Inn staff will beat a gentle drum in time for those who want to watch the sun rise from the Sunrise Room before breakfast. A tour of the facility will be given before dinner on Sunday evening, so you can learn how the Inn fulfills its mission of conservation and environmental education. Dinner and breakfast the next morning are included in the room rate of $87.36 for a single person in a room or $125.66 for two people sharing a room. Thanks to Lynn Almand's husband Bob for getting us this discounted rate. Please R.S.V.P. to Jane Trentin at Checks made out to the Len Foote Hike Inn will need to be received by Jane by April 10th to reserve your spot on this field trip. More information on the Hike Inn is available at

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Upcoming GNPS Events
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May 4: Field Trip to Southern Highlands Reserve at Lake Toxaway, NC Southern Highlands Reserve at Lake Toxaway, NC, has invited GNPS members to tour their 100+ acre native plant gardens. Atop the mountain, overlooking Lake Toxaway, SHR is a private native plant garden open by invitation only to horticulturalists and academics. Monday, May 4 th was chosen for the tour in the hopes of seeing the Vaseyi azaleas at their peak. Get a glimpse of spectacular views and the beautiful plants at John Turner, Executive Director, and Richard Bryson, staff native plant specialist, will guide us on a tour of the Reserve, including the Core Park, a series of destination gardens, as well as the waterfall and cliff areas, home to spray cliff communities and many rare and unusual mountain plants. We‘ll meet at SHR at 10 a.m. Monday May 4. Stow your lunch in the ‗fridge at their meeting facility, Chestnut Lodge, and follow the leaders on the Core Park walk. This is an easy stroll with wonderful views. We‘ll return to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, we‘ll walk through acres of Vaseyi azaleas. This is an invigorating, but easy hike. Those who want a strenuous workout can take the waterfall walk afterwards. This is beautiful and fun but not for those with impairments to vertical climbs. If you do the walk to the waterfall, expect the day to end by 4 p.m. You need only to pack your lunch. On the trails you‘ll need a camera, a hand lens if you wish, and a water bottle. A walking stick may be useful on the waterfall walk, but not necessary as there are many handholds. Southern Highlands Reserve is approximately 3.5 hours from metro Atlanta. While it is certainly possible to drive up early that morning, participants can consider staying over on Sunday night in Cashiers, NC or Brevard, NC. Carpooling is encouraged and we can pair up folks closer to the day of the event. Participation is limited. To reserve your spot, please send mail to: May 12: The May meeting of GNPS (new starting time) Our May meeting will involve two speakers and two topics both of which should be of interest to all our members. Starting at 7:00 (yes this is a bit earlier than usual), Dr. John Pickering from UGA will talk to us about one of his new projects, the People‘s Online Plant Atlas. This project offers us both the opportunity to have large amounts of information about native plants available online as well as the ability to contribute to the database for those who would like to be involved in the completion of the POPA for Georgia. You can read about Dr. Pickering at The second part of the May program will be given by Greg Kohlbacher, our Program Director, as he does a follow up to last year's very successful program on the ecology of native plant landscaping. This year's program is entitled "The Microhabitats of Richland Creek and What They Tell Us About the Successful Use of Native Plants." This program has two purposes. The first is to allow people to have a chance to see some of the different habitats of the area. The second is to further educate us as to the importance of understanding the ecology of native plants if we are to be successful in moving them into our yards. Both programs should provide important information to people interested in using and enjoying the native plants of Georgia. Even if you normally don‘t come to the meetings, we encourage you to come early for this one to enjoy these two outstanding speakers.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage April 22-26
This is an annual five-day event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park consisting of a variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars. Most programs are outdoors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while indoor offerings are held in various venues throughout Gatlinburg, TN. For more information visit:


NativeSCAPE April 2009
What‘s in YOUR Garden?
By Eddie Rhoades

Be prepared to listen to me ramble. Let‘s start with my front yard. First of all, I consider every square inch of my entire yard to be my garden and a potential place to plant stuff. I greatly admire native plants and am a big proponent of them but I am not a purist in that I would not limit myself to nothing but native plants because, let‘s face it, we live in the golden renaissance of gardening. Never before in the history of the world have so many plants been available to the general public. I used to not set any limits on my plant purchases and would buy on impulse. But now I have limited my focus to a smaller selection of plants and don‘t have the botanical nightmare I had before. I remember in a previous house I had planted mint along the foundation. Imagine my surprise when I looked in the crawl space and saw mint growing under the house. People ask me how I got rid of it? Very simple, I moved. Recently I had a problem with the sewer line at my house and had to have it dug up from the house to the street. The worst part was that it went under the side walk and across the driveway at a depth of eight feet. We didn‘t have much lawn there before but with all that dirt spread around I have made the decision to have a grassless lawn. In a few select areas I will have dwarf mondo grass, but I will be able to throw away my lawnmower. Since I live on a cul-de-sac I don‘t have such a large front yard anyway. My wife finally had to tell me not to plant any more fruit trees in the front yard. What does she know? She thinks she‘s so smart. Well just look at who she married and tell me how smart a move was that? The narrower focus I mentioned for my garden consists of a good bit of edible landscaping plus a selection of native plants and other ornamentals. I‘m sure you don‘t want to read a big, long laundry list of all the plants I have in my yard so I‘ll just name a few. When I first moved to this house eight years ago I noticed it did NOT have red clay, it had sandy soil. Coupled with all the tall pines, that gave me a

different environment than previously encountered. I found native Saint John‘s wort, pink lady‘s slippers, adder‘s mouth orchid, dwarf pawpaws, a mix of trees including sassafras, sourwood, a sweetgum that was 100 feet tall, and crossvine. I‘ve added more natives: the larger fruiting pawpaw (Asimina triloba), Carolina silverbell, Florida anise, Jerusalem artichoke, seedless American persimmon, dwarf mountain laurels which I highly recommend, mulberries, blueberries, and American beautyberries. I don‘t really like the oriental beautyberries with their loose clusters of smaller berries. Non-native additions include: oriental persimmon, pomegranate, jujube, English walnut, heartnut, pineapple guava (perfectly cold hardy), Thomasville citrangequat (I figured if it would grow in Athens it would be hardy here), Cornus kousa and Cornus mas which are both edible fruited dogwoods, and oriental pears. What are my dreams for the future of my garden? I hope to add even more of the same fruits plus kiwi, ‗Silk Hope‘ mulberry, muscadines, more citrus, more perennials. I have hopes of growing my own mushrooms and starting a few bee hives. Next thing you know I will be a modern day farmer here on my one acre of land. I also think that one day down the road I will be raising enough food to take some to market. Everything will be organic as I don‘t spray but I won‘t be ―certified‖ organic, you‘ll just have to take my word for it. There was a question posed as to who in the organization I admire the most? Good question, and my answer is I admire anyone who is an officer of this organization: Those who give up time in their lives to make this club function - you'll never know what all is done for you behind the scenes, nor should you worry about it but just be thankful these people exist and are willing to do all they do. Now that you‘ve listened to all that, there is one more thing I want you to listen to: My mother passed away a year ago and I wrote a song as a tribute to her. You can hear this song by going to and selecting ―Long Distance Call‖. N