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Published by the Georgia Native Plant Society
April 2010
Volume XVI, Number 2

GNPS Partners with Amicalola Falls State Park to Restore a Native Habitat
by Jane Trentin Page 3 On January 23rd through the 25th, several GNPS members and friends plus one Pickens County Master Gardener undertook a restoration project at Amicalola Falls State Park.

President’s Message Plant Rescue News Chapter News Plant Focus Upcoming GNPS Events

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Members Garden Tour Coming Soon!
by Jane Trentin Page 4 The annual Members Garden Tour is scheduled for Sunday, April 18th, 2010. We have four garden sites on the tour this year. .

Mosses at Stone Mountain Park
by Faye Borthick Page 5 The walk began at the Stone Mountain Propagation Project (SMPP) site with a sweep of Atrichum angustatum tumbling over granite and soil...

Have You Heard About SMPP?
Newsletter Editor Karen Wilkins Newsletter staff: Sharon Parry, 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 2010 by the Georgia Native Plant Society. All rights reserved. Articles may not be reprinted without permission of the author. by Marshall Wilson Page 11 The Stone Mountain Propagation Project, or SMPP, has two primary goals. .

2010 GNPS Annual Spring Plant Sale
by Sheri George Page 13 Don’t know about y’all, but to this southerner, winter has been extremely long and cold, making this spring’s woodland flora seem extra beautiful.

GNPS Exhibits 3 R’s at the Southeastern Flower Show
by Paula Reith Page 14 The GNPS entry in the Discovery (Educational) Division of the 2010 Southeastern Flower Show, held in February, was entitled “Rescue, Reuse, Recycle”...

Native Alternatives to Introduced Grass Lawns
by Bill Stringer Page 16 For most of us, a lawn is the more or less green, more or less short, uniform area of grass out front.

Membership Renewal Form

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Georgia Native Plant Society P.O. Box 422085 Atlanta, GA 30342-2085 770-343-6000 GNPS Board of Directors President Ellen Honeycutt Vice President Don Stewart Secretary Shirley Center Treasurer Paula Reith Members-at-Large: Julie Newell Paul Shivers David Haimbach Director of Communications Sharon Parry Director of Conservation Marcia Winchester Director of Education Jacqueline McRae Director of Membership Jane Trentin
About your membership in the Georgia Native Plant Society Your membership dues and donations help support our mission which is: To promote the stewardship and conservation of Georgia’s native plants and their habitats By sponsoring meetings, workshops, an annual symposium, grants, scholarships, the native plant rescue program, and this newsletter utilizing an all-volunteer staff of dedicated native plant enthusiasts. We look forward to and appreciate your continued support. Membership renewal forms for 2010 can now be completed online or by completing the form on the last page of this news letter

NativeSCAPE April 2010
President’s Message
By Ellen Honeycutt

My trout lilies (Erythronium umbilicatum) came up in time this year to be covered in snow a few days later. Now that the snow has melted away under a fierce blue sky, they are just as beautiful as ever – the snow didn’t bother them one bit. As many of you know, our Georgia native wildflowers are used to whatever Mother Nature decides to throw their way. Fly poison (Amianthium muscitoxicum) tips are poking bright green through the leaves now, and the bright white flowers of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) will not be far behind. However, beauty doesn’t just belong to the herbaceous plants: I noticed today that leaves are emerging along the woody stems of my young southern crabapple (Malus angustifolia) – they look like tiny little rubies sparkling in the sun. And fat yellow buds are swelling on my spicebush (Lindera benzoin); they are bright buttons of color even before they become flowers. Spring is on its way. As usual, we have some activities to look forward to in the coming months. GNPS volunteers have been hard at work putting together our members-only Garden Tour for Sunday, April 18th. Thanks to those who have agreed to open their gardens for our tour so that we might delight in their handiwork. The very next weekend, Saturday, April 24th, will be our Annual Plant Sale after a two-year absence (remember the drought?). Sheri George and her committee have been busy for months: growing plants, potting up rescued plants from members, and soliciting nursery donations. Please come peruse the selection and bring a friend. May activities like the Hike Inn field trip and our May member meeting are in the works. Check the GNPS events page on the website for details, new items and updates as they come along. If you appreciate these activities, please consider volunteering to help plan more of them. A number of our committees still need volunteers – we could do so much more with your help. Enthusiasm is the only requirement! Speaking of our events page, have you visited the GNPS website lately? Our webmaster and the website committee ensure that the website is not only up to date, but also that it is full of useful information about GNPS and native plants. The home page provides quick links to the latest Announcements, the Events page and also any major upcoming items (the Plant Sale is featured right now). The links along the left side of the page, however, provide access to all our permanent resources: membership forms, rescue information, projects, links, plants charts, previous newsletter copies and articles, plant pictures … too many things to name! Be sure to stop by and explore some of the resources. The GNPS website is truly one of the finest native plant society sites that I have seen. I hope that by the time you read this, delicate spring flowers are delighting you wherever you garden. If not, stop by the plant sale and get some! While the enthusiasm of spring is upon you, be sure to share your passion for native plants with other gardeners. Word of mouth and personal conviction are some of the best ways to educate others about native plants and encourage their use in the landscape.


NativeSCAPE April 2010
GNPS Partners with Amicalola Falls State Park to Restore a Native Habitat
by Jane Trentin On January 23rd through the 25th, several GNPS members and friends plus one Pickens County Master Gardener undertook a restoration project at Amicalola Falls State Park. The area targeted for restoration was along the paved walkway and stairs alongside Amicalola Falls. After coordinating our plans with park ranger Elisabeth Pinion, who arranged for the five Atlanta area workers to stay on site in a cabin Saturday and Sunday nights, we all arrived and began work on a cold clear Saturday afternoon in late January. Using a homemade tool designed to spear trash that had been dropped under the 400 plus stairs leading to the top of the Falls, we began at the top of the Falls and worked our way down. We picked up everthing from pink flip flops and head bands to soda bottles and candy wrappers. One especially tedious project was undertaken by Board member David Haimbach and friend Sarah Stephens. They painstakingly removed wads of bubblegum from a tree branch that was within reach of the stairs. Over a month later, there was no evidence that this unsavory practice of affixing discarded gum had begun again. As we descended the stairs we started seeing Japanese honeysuckle growing alongside the stairs. Very cautiously, several volunteers ventured off the stairs and began David Haimbach & Sarah Stephens removing this unwelcome vine by the roots and handing it Photo Credit: Jane Trentin up to bag holder, Jane Trentin, on the stairs above. Once we made it down to the recycled tire path midway down, we encountered the worst, actually the healthiest stand of honeysuckle. Since it was growing in full sun, and getting a constant supply of water from the mist off the falls, it was growing quite vigorously. But thanks to the equally vigorous efforts of volunteers, John Little and Paul Shivers, its presence can hardly be detected any more. Maureen Donahue, Marcia Winchester and prospective member Jane Tessier tackled the honeysuckle growing on the cliffs above the path, while the bubblegum couple continued to pick up trash all the way down to the paved trail at the bottom of the trail. Master gardener Michael Blackwell learned about native plants while energetically picking up trash and removing honeysuckle by the bag full. By day’s end, we had filled seven large trash bags with honeysuckle and trash! The next morning brought rain, which gave us all a welcome change of pace. Three of the five who stayed in the cabin spent the day reading up on native plants, while the hikers in the group put on rain gear and explored the trails in the park. After dinner that night, we discussed possible goals for GNPS in the coming year, kind of a "preBoard members retreat" brainstorming.

John Little, Maureen Donahue & Jane Tessier Photo Credit: Jane Trentin

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
GNPS Partners with Amicalola Falls State Park to Restore a Native Habitat
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The next morning, we packed up and headed to the pool at the bottom of the falls to continue our restoration project. A stand of vinca minor that covered probably twelve square feet on the far bank of the pond was removed by the roots and placed in trash bags. Wintercreeper on the other side of the pool was similarly "relocated." More honeysuckle was removed alongside the falls, and by morning's end another several trash bags had been filled. Not one to rest on her laurels, past president Marcia Winchester found another area of invasives to tackle across the parking lot from the pool.

Marcia Winchester “Not Resting on Her Laurels” Photo Credit: Jane Trentin

Anxious to see the fruits of our labors, trip organizer Jane Trentin climbed to the top of the falls to enjoy the relatively invasive and trash free path we had made. On a return trip in late February, she noted only one discarded water bottle and one plastic cup littering the ground under the stairs. But just like in our own yards, there were still some weeds to be pulled another time.
John Little, Marcia Winchester, Jane Tessier & Maureen Donahue Photo Credit: Jane Trentin

Members Garden Tour Coming Soon
by Jane Trentin The annual Members Garden Tour is scheduled for Sunday, April 18th, 2010. We have four garden sites on the tour this year. Two will be in the Stone Mountain area and two will be in Marietta. They are all first time tour gardens and should all be at their peak of Spring bloom on the day of the tour. Plan to learn from the two Marietta gardeners how they transformed their suburban lots into native plant habitats. Expect to get ideas for gardening with natives in the sun as well as in the shade. See how rescued plants have been incorporated into these two suburban landscapes. In Stone Mountain, you will be treated to two garden sites a short walk from each other within Stone Mountain Park. One is our own GNPS Restoration Site, also the site last year of a Native Plant Sale. The other is the park's Nature Garden, which has undergone a transformation from a home for invasives to a mostly native garden. Just three miles from Stone Mountain Park, GNPS's own moss and lichen expert will share how she gardens on granite outcrop terrain. Expect to see plants that thrive in a riparian habitat as well as a meadow with columbine and Stone Mountain daisies. The hours of this year's tour will be 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Mosses at Stone Mountain Park
By A. Faye Borthick

In mid-January, a few days after Dr. Robert Wyatt’s presentation on mosses at the January GNPS meeting, 14 GNPS’ers were able to enjoy a rare treat—seeing partially hydrated mosses and their fully hydrated selves in one walk at Stone Mountain Park. This visual bounty was due to a week with no rain or snow followed by rain during the walk. The walk began at the Stone Mountain Propagation Project (SMPP) site with a sweep of Atrichum angustatum tumbling over granite and soil, typical of the rather dry, more or less exposed disturbed habitats such as roadbanks or mounds caused by windthrown trees in woods. Green, yellowish glossy mats of Entodon seductrix sprawled over the driveway asphalt. This moss occurs on rotten wood, at the base of trees, rocks, and soil among hardwoods in dry or open woodlands. Mats of dark green to yellowish green Anomodon attenuatus clung to the edges of wooden steps. At the edge of broken asphalt on sand and soil were tufts of a dense green Bryum sp. The mosses at the SMPP site are widely distributed, including in urban areas.

Examining Byrum sp. on asphalt Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland

Mats of dark green to yellowish green Anomodon attenuatus clung to the edges of wooden steps. At the edge of broken asphalt on sand and soil were tufts of dense silvery-green Bryum argenteum. The mosses at the SMPP site are widely distributed, including in urban areas.

Examining Anomodon attenuatus Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

On the other side of the road, on the main walkup trail to the top of Stone Mountain, were the mosses generally associated with granitic outcrops. Before the rain, the dense, rigid tufts of Grimmia laevigata were silvery black. After the rain, they turned silvery green, a phenomenon that prompted the common name of resurrection moss. Along with Xanthoparmelia conspersa and other lichens, this moss is a primary successor on the vast expanses of flat granitic rocks in the Piedmont. The moss tufts catch sand and organic debris, which builds up over time to a level that supports herbaceous plants such as Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge), Opuntia humifusa (cactus), Yucca filamentosa (bear grass), and Helianthus porteri (Stone Mountain daisy). Eventually, woody plants such as Pinus and Juniperus may get established.

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
Mosses at Stone Mountain Park
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Grimmia laevigata while still dry, on granite, with lichens Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland

Grimmia laevigata fully hydrated (lower and left), on granite; Polytrichum commune (bright green, top center) Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland

Grimmia laevigata fully hydrated, on granite, with lichens Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
Mosses at Stone Mountain Park
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The second abundant moss on the granite slabs was Polytrichum commune, colonizing the relatively flat granite slabs with mats of varying thicknesses, green on top and brown underneath. While G. lavigata occurs in tufts or drifts of tufts on bare granite, P. commune occurs mostly on the down side of runoff from seeps. Mosses have no roots but absorb water from the atmosphere or from water flowing over or under them.
Mat of Polytrichum commune, where the brown areas are prior season’s growth Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

Late fall through spring, Diamorpha smallii (a diminutive succulent annual) grows alone in solution pits (shallow depressions in the granite slabs) or among mosses.

Grimmia laevigata, Polytrichum commune, and Diamorpha smallii Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
Mosses at Stone Mountain Park
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Invading the moss mats were frilly, pale light-grey tumbles of Cladina rangiferina, known as reindeer moss although it’s a lichen rather than a moss, and Cladina subtenuis (Dixie reindeer lichen).

In swampy areas, other mosses were common. The yellow, yellow-green, or yellow-brown tufts of Aulacomnium palustre danced among mats of P. commune. In boggy areas, Spaghnum hugged the moss mats. Fully hydrated after the rain, the mosaic of different mosses created a rich tapestry of greens, yellows, creams, and browns. In drier areas such as atop tree roots or perched on or hugging the horizontal face of granite chunks were cushions or sheets of Leucobryum albidum and L. glaucum. They are whitish or yellow-gray when dry and gray-green or lime green when hydrated. These often cover decomposing logs or stumps. Another moss in the understory was the green or yellowish green Thuidium delicatulum, called fern moss on account of its fernlike appearance. It occurs on moist, shaded soil, rock, and stumps.

On granite, Grimmia laevigata (mostly) with Diamorpha smallii, Aulacomnium palustre, and last year’s Hypericum gentianoides (pineweed, three stems across the top) Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

Symposium Rescheduled!!!!
The 2010 Symposium is being rescheduled for Saturday, September 25 at the same location (Acworth, GA). We have been able to book most of the same speakers. More information will be published as we get closer to the date, and brochures will be mailed to all current members.

Thank you to all of you that sent such kind words after the February event was cancelled by the snowstorm. In addition, many of you donated part or all of your registration to help offset our sunk costs. Your donations helped ensure that GNPS was able to recoup its losses and provided the inspiration to reschedule this event.

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
Mosses at Stone Mountain Park
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Cledonia subtenuis (Dixie reindeer lichen) hanging out with Polytrichum commune Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

Polytrichum commune with the lichen Cladonia cristatella (British soldiers) and another cup lichen (Cladonia sp.) Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

Invading the moss mats were frilly, pale light-grey tumbles of Cladonia rangiferina, known as reindeer moss although it’s a lichen rather than a moss, and Cledonia subtenuis (Dixie reindeer lichen).

Spaghnum on left; Polytrichum commune on right Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland

Aulacomnium palustre Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
Mosses at Stone Mountain Park
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In swampy areas, other mosses were common. The yellow, yellow -green, or yellow-brown tufts of Aulacomnium palustre danced among mats of P. commune. In boggy areas, Spaghnum hugged the moss mats. Fully hydrated after the rain, the mosaic of different mosses created a rich tapestry of greens, yellows, creams, and browns. In drier areas such as atop tree roots or perched on or hugging the horizontal face of granite chunks were cushions or sheets of Leucobryum albidum and L. glaucum. They are whitish or yellowgray when dry and gray-green or lime green when hydrated. These often cover decomposing logs or stumps. Another moss in the understory was the green or yellowish green Thuidium delicatulum, called fern moss because of its fernlike appearance. It occurs on moist, shaded soil, rock, and stumps.

Leucobryum glaucum with lichens on granite Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland

The last moss inhabits dry, open woods and dense, moist forests, occurring on rock, tree bases, and rotten wood—Dicranum scoparium. Called the broom moss due to a swept appearance caused by the leaves being oriented the same way, its color varies from yellowish green to bright green. Its mounds are conspicuous in woodlands.

Dicranum scoparium. Photo Credit: Barbara Dorfman


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Have You Heard About SMPP?
By Marshall Wilson, Karen McCaustland, Elaine Nash and Barbara Dorfman

The Stone Mountain Propagation Project, or SMPP, has two primary goals. One is to propagate native plants for restoration projects and plant sales. Through those activities we accomplish our second goal, educating our members in plant propagation techniques. The two goals are complimentary efforts. The SMPP activities are open to members and non-members alike, and the calendar is posted on the GNPS web site. Workshops for hardwood cuttings, propagation of native azaleas, and seed collection and starting have already been held. Upcoming workshops include “Herbaceous Cuttings” and “Seed Collection and Management.” Volunteers at SMPP can attend workshops free of charge, while others are asked for a small fee to help mitigate workshop costs. Maintenance of the plants after propagation requires year-round participation of SMPP volunteers. In addition to workshops, SMPP has started seeds for approximately 30 different species of plants. So far, spice bush seed planted last fall is germinating and several herbaceous seeds sown in late winter, Coreopsis grandiflora, C. major, and Confederate daisy (Helianthus porteri) are up and growing. Hardwood cuttings of woody plants, including some specialty species from Stone Mountain, were stuck in early winter to harden off. With the warming temperatures they should be setting roots and ready for potting soon. The list of plants put into propagation is growing as the number of active volunteers increases. Currently, there are 18 people propagating seeds and/or tending hardwood cuttings for SMPP.
Barbara Dorfman collecting Helianthus porteri seed last fall, seed will be used for propagation in April ‘10 Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland & CeCe Morgan

Lynn Arnold tending one of the nursery beds at SMPP Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland & CeCe Morgan

On February 19, SMPP volunteers and other GNPS members took a field trip to the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Director Henning von Schmeling gave us a tour of the green roof on the new Nature Center, as well as his greenhouse operation and plant nursery.

Each person participating in a rescue can indirectly help SMPP serve the GNPS mission through plant donations. Rescue facilitators are prepared to accept your plant contributions. They can be potted up at the SMPP for use in restorations or to raise funds for other important projects of GNPS. They also increase the stock of plants available for seeds and cuttings, a crucial factor in plants that require 2 different clones to set fertile seed.
Leaf sprouts on hardwood cuttings ‘stuck’ in Dec ‘09 at our hardwood cutting workshop - cuttings from Granie gooseberry [in the foreground] and Viburnum rufidulum were harvested at Stone Mountain. Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland & CeCe Morgan
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NativeSCAPE April 2010
Have You Heard About SMPP?
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SMPP is experimenting with different growing mediums, pot sizes, watering schedules, and fertilizing techniques to see what works best. The biggest constraint on the success of SMPP at present is volunteer support. Volunteers are much appreciated, whether on a regular or occasional basis, and can pursue their own area of interest: Seed Propagation, Cuttings Propagation, Construction projects like deer protection, Nursery Operations, Program Management or Educational Programs in Stone Mountain. The Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) deserves a big thank you for the support they have given the SMPP by providing acreage with water and power, secure storage areas, access to cuttings and seeds from plants on the mountain, and more at no cost to GNPS or SMPP. Sharing the environmental and educational goals of our organization, the SMMA is aggressively removing invasive species, undertaking rare plant restoration, improving trails, offering nature walks and educational programs on native plants and animals. SMPP in return makes plants available to them for restoration and educational events and leads interpretive hikes in the park for the benefit of visitors.
Materials scavenged from many sources have been used for numerous projects. David Saunders has designed & built a potting bench, as well as a number of deer deterrent covers for the nursery plants Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland & CeCe Morgan

Contact information, activity days, directions and more are available on the GNPS website. If you don’t yet have a Stone Mountain Park sticker, arrangements can be made on workdays to carpool into the park free of charge. On special event days a gate waiver allows GNPS members free entry. There is a lot more to Stone Mountain Park than laser shows, picnics and river boat rides. It is a great natural resource right in Atlanta. . Come give SMPP a hand, share plants, learn a lot, have fun and support restoration and the GNPS mission.

Elaine Nash & Marshall Wilson planting fly poison, Amianthium muscitoxicum, at the Nature Garden last fall. Photo Credit: Karen McCaustland & CeCe Morgan


NativeSCAPE April 2010
2010 GNPS Annual Spring Plant Sale
By Sheri George

Don’t know about y’all, but to this southerner, winter has been extremely long and cold, making this spring’s woodland flora seem extra beautiful. While waiting for the beauty of spring, my sanctuary during the cold months is my greenhouse. This is where I grow plants, mostly from seed, to augment plants that have been rescued, all of them waiting for the Saturday, April 24 GNPS Spring Plant Sale. Facilitators have been hard at work collecting rescued plants, donations from nurseries have been solicited, and plants have been selected for purchase. But the majority of the plants needed to make the GNPS Spring Plant Sale a success comes from all of you. Please join a rescue (or two) and/or look in your garden to see what has happily multiplied into the path or other part of your garden. We’d love to have your contributions. If you don’t have pots, don’t want to pot them up, or have plants potted that your spouse wants off the driveway before April 23 (Set-Up Day), please contact me through the Plant Sale Page and arrangements will be made to help you out. You may also drop off plants at McFarlane Nature Park anytime as arrangements have been made with the Caretaker and McFarlane’s Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County to care for the plants. Deliveries can be made any day but please “call ahead” (again, see the Plant Sale Page), so someone will be available to place the plants within the fence. The 2010 GNPS Spring Plant Sale countdown has begun…literally, on the GNPS Main Page beside the Plant Sale link. I am very excited about the Plant Sale Page that our wonderful webmaster, Mike Strickland, has created for us. It helps not only GNPS members keep updated on the Plant Sale, but visitors gain access to the information below, some of which includes: • • • • • An interactive map for directions to McFarlane Nature Park “Wanted” Plant List (updated frequently) Plant Sale Flyer for printing or emailing to friends, neighborhoods, clubs or anyone else who would be interested in native plants. How to Pot Up Rescued Plants by Marcia Winchester Online Volunteer Form - Have you signed up to volunteer Friday, April 23, Set-up Day and/or Saturday, April 24, Plant Sale Day? If yes, thank you! No? The Plant Sale Page has made it easy to do so.

Knowing so many of you have already donated plants, signed up to volunteer and have expressed excitement about the fellowship of the plant sale almost makes the beauty of the spring woodlands pale in comparison…almost. See you soon! Sheri George Chair, GNPS Spring Plant Sale


NativeSCAPE April 2010
GNPS Exhibits 3 R’s at the Southeastern Flower Show
By Paula Reith

The GNPS entry in the Discovery (Educational) Division of the 2010 Southeastern Flower Show held in February was entitled “Rescue, Reuse, Recycle” and was emblematic of key issues facing us all today. This back yard garden patio display was so exceptional that no one would hesitate to follow the maxims of sustainability and be inspired to add beautiful natives to their own landscapes.

Firepit and Seating Area Photo Credit: Shannon Pable

The exhibit fulfilled its educational purpose very effectively and was acknowledged by winning five major awards: • • Governor's Trophy - the educational exhibit of greatest distinction. American Horticultural Society Environmental Award - for an exhibit of horticultural excellence that best demonstrates the bond between horticulture and the environment, and inspires the viewer to beautify the home and community through skillful design and appropriate plant material. Boxwood Garden Club Trophy - for the educational garden with most year-round interest emphasizing the use of native Southeastern plants. Garden Club of Georgia Medal - for the exhibit that best exemplifies the mission of the Garden Club of Georgia: Beautification, Conservation and Education. SFS Trophy of Special Merit - for a garden of special merit.

• • •

Brilliantly designed by Shannon Pable, the exhibit was creative, humorous, and glowed with gorgeous native plant specimens which were purchased, borrowed and rescued. GNPS greatly appreciates Shannon’s efforts for the many, many hours she spent on this project.

Weeping White Pine and Water Feature Photo Credit: Shannon Pable

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
GNPS Exhibits 3 R’s at the Southeastern Flower Show
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We thank Shannon’s team of suppliers for their generosity and hard work: • Unlimited Landscaping of Buford provided labor to install hardscape, procured, transported and installed the native plant material, helped staff the exhibit, and managed takedown after the show. • Just Add Water Nursery (JAWS) loaned us some exceptional native plant material. • Perimeter Takeuchi provided a shiny new excavator. • Atlanta Landscape Materials loaned the hardscape material.

Agaves in Containers Photo Credit: Shannon Pable

We also thank the 30 GNPS members who volunteered to staff the exhibit and assist in takedown. As ambassadors for GNPS, these volunteers described to the public the exhibit as well as the many educational and conservation activities and projects undertaken by the society. Due to these generous donations of in-kind services and GNPS selling plants purchased for the exhibit, this project was completed at no expense to the organization.

Detail of Tea Lights and Sedum Photo Credit: Shannon Pable

A photo gallery and more details about the exhibit can be found on GNPS website:


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Native Alternatives to Introduced Grass Lawns
By Bill Stringer, Originally Printed in The Journal of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, Volume 3, Issue 2

For most of us, a lawn is the more or less green, more or less short, uniform area of grass out front. But, let’s look a little closer at the concept. A lawn is defined as an area of recreational or amenity land planted with grass, which is maintained at a low, uniform height. The key element in that definition is the “low, uniform height”. Lawns are usually mowed at 1 to 2 inches, as often as every 5 to 10 days. For most plants, being mown closely and frequently is unnatural. Up to this point, American lawns have comprised almost exclusively introduced grasses. There will be more natives in lawns of the future. We will examine lawn management, and then some native species which may be adapted to lawn use. Grasses, like all herbaceous plants, go through vegetative, reproductive and dormant stages. The vegetative stage is the least problematic stage, as grass plants are usually leafy, short and compact in that stage. Mowing during the vegetative stage is easy, and imposes less stress on the grass plant, because only small amounts of growth are removed at each mowing. Mowing during the vegetative stage does not remove the meristems, the part of the grass plant that produces new leaf growth. Inevitably, grass plants grow into the reproductive stage, in which the plants grow taller, and produce flowers and seed. Grasses devote a lot of energy to producing stems, flowers, and seeds. The tall stems, flowers and seedheads produce a “scruffy” look, and it takes regular mowing to remove this scruffy growth. Plant recovery from mowing takes more energy during the reproductive stage, when much more plant material is removed at each mowing. The energy shortage thus created leaves less energy available to grow new leaves and roots. The energy shortage also makes the plant more subject to heat and drought stresses, diseases and insect pests. Mowing reduces the regrowth capacity of a grass plant, and just as importantly, reduces the depth and vigor of the root system. So the close, regular mowing of a lawn, while producing the short, neat look we treasure in a lawn, is very stressful to the plant. In order to help the plant survive the stress of regular mowing, we have to add large amounts of fertilizer nutrients and water, and we have to protect the plant from diseases and other pests with pesticide applications. So maintaining a dense, green, uniform grass lawn takes a lot of effort and costly inputs.

Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium Photo Credit: Bill Stringer

Carpetgrass Axonopus fissifolius Photo Credit: Bill Stringer

Most of the grasses we use for lawns are introduced cool -season and warm-season grasses. But there is an ecological cost that we don’t notice because it doesn’t affect the appearance of the lawn. Areas of closely mown introduced grasses offer almost no habitat value to wildlife. Songbirds need insects to feed to their growing nestlings, and lawns produce very little in the way of insect biomass. When we devote more of our home landscape to manicured lawn, we are disproportionately reducing the habitat value to wildlife and songbirds. In addition, native species usually require less fertilizer, pesticides and irrigation than similar introduced species. The dark green color of a conventional lawn comes almost entirely from

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NativeSCAPE April 2010
Native Alternatives to Introduced Grass Lawns
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copious nitrogen fertilizer. Lawns produce more pesti-

introduced cool-season tall fescue, bluegrass and ryegrass; and the introduced warm-season bermudagrass, bahiagrass, and St. Augustine, tolerate much better than the native grasses, the mowing regimes that result in the treasured manicured lawn look. So to increase the use of native plants in our lawns, we may have to make some compromises. We may have to mow the lawn a little higher, and less frequently. This means that we may need to change our appearance standards a bit. We may have to accept a taller, less uniform turf, and we may have to be satisfied with a lighter green color in our new natives based lawn. The look of our natives-based lawn will be less manicured, as we will have to raise the mower up to 3-4 inches, instead of 1-2 inches. We will also be mowing less frequently. The color may be a lighter green to silvergreen, and maybe even a red-brown in the winter. With the forbs, we can leave areas un-mowed during their blooming season, and find ourselves with strips of colored flowers (yellows and blues). We can make the lawn even more interesting by planting warm-season and cool–season natives together. These native grasses are compatible with each other, and will give us growth over more of the 12 months. We may be able to have a multi-colored lawn if we plant a native mixture. But this will be achieved at a lower use of chemical inputs, water and labor. And we will be rewarded with many more wildlife viewing opportunities, and the knowledge that we are contributing much less polluting runoff into our local water bodies.

Panicgrass—Dichanthelium commutatum Photo Credit: Bill Stringer

cide residue and nutrient runoff per acre than most agricultural fields. So reducing the proportion of lawn in our landscape, and using native alternatives to introduced grasses, will reduce the monetary and ecological costliness of our landscapes. So, why don’t we just replace the introduced grasses in our lawns with native grasses? This would reduce the inputs costs, and increase the habitat value of our lawns, right? The main reason that we don’t is that the

Grass Leafed aster—Pityopsis graminifolia Photo Credit: Bill Stringer

(Continued on page 18)


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Native Alternatives to Introduced Grass Lawns
(Continued from page 17)

There are several native species that are worthy of investigation. These are species that I have observed to persist in mowed highway medians, or that have low-growing to prostrate leaves. Some produce large numbers of new vegetative shoots during much of the growing season. Many are fairly short (up to 18 inches) in the mature growth form (see lists below) Other alternatives to sterile, manicured lawns include converting more of the lawn area into native trees and beds of native herbaceous plants and shrubs. These will serve to dramatically increase the habitat value of the landscape to songbirds and other wildlife. We have long imposed our human-centered aesthetic on our private landscapes. When our ancestors first came to these shores they brought with them their favorite plants from home. Since that time we have developed a burgeoning industry of importing and introducing exotic plants and landscaping concepts. The well-manicured lawn was a major product of this approach to personal landscaping. But this was before research highlighted the unintended consequences of importing our landscapes. Now that we are becoming painfully aware of the negative impacts of this approach, we need to focus just as intently on going back to the landscaping that Mother Nature so effortlessly designs and implements. We need to listen to our Mother!

Winter color of splitbeard bluestem Photo Credit: Bill Stringer

Warm season perennial native grasses: Broomsedge bluestem* – Andropogon virginicus Splitbeard bluestem – Andropogon ternarius Little bluestem – Schizachyrium scoparium Beaked panicum* – Panicum anceps Purpletop – Tridens flavus Carpetgrass – Axonopus fissifolius
Creeping lespedeza—Lespedeza repens Photo Credit: Bill Stringer

(Continued on page 19)


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Native Alternatives to Introduced Grass Lawns
(Continued from page 18)

Cool-season perennial native grasses Silky oatgrass* – Danthonia sericea Needlegrass* (aka speargrass) – Piptochaetium avenaceum Panicgrass* – Dichanthelium commutatum Perennial forbs with lawn potential Grass leafed aster* – Pityopsis graminifolia Elephantsfoot* – Elephantopus carolinianus Spiked hoarypea* – Tephrosia spicata Blue-eyed grass* – Sisyrinchium angustifolium Creeping lespedeza* – Lespedeza repens *Seeds of most of the species in the lists above are not available commercially yet. Small amounts of seeds are easily collected by hand locally if you wish to experiment. We commonly collect these seeds and more on SCNPS native seed collection field trips. Definitions Cool-season grasses - grass species that are reproductive in late spring, and make most of their yearly growth during spring, fall and winter - (tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrasses, etc.). Warm-season grasses - grass species that are reproductive in late summer & fall, and make most of their annual growth in late spring, summer, and early fall. - (bermudagrasses, zoysia. St. Augustine, bahiagrass, etc.)


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Native Plant Rescue News
By Lynn Almand

As I write this, we’ve moved into daylight savings time, my muscles ache from too many hours in the garden, and the ephemeral grin cannot be wiped off my face. What a winter, but I’m ready to stop thinking about it and revel in what is coming up in my woodland garden. Part of the aches and pains are from bending over for the last month trying to will the plants out of the ground. My early spring daily ritual is to see which plants I rescued over the years (or bought at our plant sale) are finally coming up. The trout lilies (Erythronium umbilicatum) are usually first. The green mottled leaves emerge followed by that cheery little yellow flower. And they spread! Babies have a single non-flowering leaf that will mature in a year or two. Small ones are the best to rescue because as the plant matures, the bulb goes deeper into the ground. I’m finding new ones across the garden where I’m sure I didn’t plant them. star chickweed (Stellaria pubera), hepatica (Hepatica americana), toothwort (Cardamine spp.), fly poison (Amianthium muscaetoxicum), pussy toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata), blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis), and trillium (Trillium spp.) are some of my ephemeral treasures from plant rescues. Well, if that doesn’t whet your appetite to sign up for a rescue, go to Mike Strickland’s website,, then click on photos for that month. You’ll see pictures of plants as they normally look in the current month. What a great tool to teach ourselves how to find plants in every season. The plants we expect to find on rescues are listed in each month’s rescue schedule, so try taking one of those lists and look for the plants you may discover on your next rescue. Reminders Please, please, please help our facilitators and your fellow rescuers by keeping your commitment to come to the rescue when you sign up. When you don’t come, you may have kept another person from signing up if the rescue is full. We know that emergencies can happen to each of us, and if one does, please let your facilitator know as soon as possible. When you are on a rescue or out in your garden, pick a couple of plants that you would like to find at our plant sales, dig them and share at the spring plant sale or the Stone Mountain Propagation Project for later sales. You will be helping grow a stronger GNPS. Sharing Speaking of sharing, I know many of you rescue native plants for a project—school, church, public or private garden. We’d like to hear about it, so if you are supporting a project with rescued plants or natives from your own garden, please let me know at Include pictures if you’d like. I’d like to write an article for NativeScape about the generosity of our members. Hope to see you soon on a rescue.
“An early March rescue in Cherokee County” Photo Credit: Mike Strickland


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Chapter News
By Flo Hayes

Next to the Carroll County Ag Center is a 40 acre tract of land known as the Buffalo Creek Outdoor Education Center. The area has all the major growing habitat conditions from a year round running creek to dry upland pine/ hardwood. The floods and wind storms of the last few years have downed large old growth trees and destroyed some of the natural creek edge habitats. In addition, privet and honeysuckle are finding a firm footing. The West Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society has decided to make this area our first restoration project in the West Georgia area. We have applied and are awaiting approval to be recognized as an official GNPS restoration project. We have the blessing and encouragement of Bill Hodge, County Extension Coordinator. Flo Hayes will chair the project and Wendell Hoomes is the co-chair.
Sign at Buffalo Creek Entrance A walkover of the property was conducted to determine the extent of Photo Credit: Gina Strickland damage, immediate needs and some plant identification. Included in the walk were, Gina Strickland, President of WGC-GNPS, Mike Strickland, Kent Johnston, Director of Parks for Carrollton, Ian Davis, County Extension Secretary, Flo Hayes, and Wendell Hoomes. The plans at this time involve working on the front area of about 4 or 5 acres to remove privet and honeysuckle, continue to identify plant material and prepare some areas for planting of rescued plants.

We hope to obtain our plants from rescue sites and member donations. We are all excited to help develop an area that includes a walking trail and is planned to be included in a green belt area for Carrollton in the future. The opportunity to provide a natural area of this size for future generations is exciting and will keep us busy for months to come.


NativeSCAPE April 2010
Plant Focus: Star Chickweed
Stellaria pubera (Stel-AIR-ee-ah pew-BEAR-ah)
By Lynn Almand

Now, don’t get excited and get your weeder out. I’m not talking about the common annual chickweed some of us battle in our lawns and vegetable/flower beds. Although it is related to the introduced lawn weed (Stellaria media), Star Chickweed is a NE American native that is a desirable plant in the woodland garden. Its native habitat is moist woodlands, and unlike its thug family relation, it is a slow spreader. It looks a little like common chickweed gone Hollywood. The white star-like flowers first appear in April and are about one-half inch wide. The flower has five petals that are so deeply divided they appear as ten, and there are ten stamens that form a ring above the petals. The plant forms a clump with several pairs of dark green oval leaves on thin stems 6 to 12 inches tall. When not in bloom, it is rather ordinary, but the combination of the bright white blooms against the dark green leaves make it a striking plant. Laura Martin, in Wildflower Folklore says, “For positive identification of the plant, look through a magnifying glass at the hairs on the stems. A row of hairs goes up one side of the stem to a pair of leaves and then switches over and goes up the other side of the stem to the next pair of leaves and so on.” The flowers produce many seeds—hence the common names birdseed and chickweed, and the flower formation explains the use of the word star. The generic name Stellaria comes from the Latin word stellar, meaning starlike. It is grazed by wildlife and is rich in copper, vitamins A and C. It can be found in some European markets as an early spring green, and when cooked is said to have a fresh -cooked spinach flavor. I have neither grazed nor cooked it, but this just might be the year I try it. Folklore suggests this plant can be used to predict the weather. If it is in full bloom there will be no rain for at least four hours. If the blooms shut—be prepared for rain.

Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera) Photo Credit: Mike Strickland

Marcia Winchester likes to combine it with bloodroot and rue anemone to have three different sizes of white flowers together. Give it a try when you find it on a rescue. It will put the weedy chickweed to shame! Plant Characteristics • • • • Perennial Leaf: simple, oval, dark green Fruit color: purple, red in clusters on stems Bloom: conspicuous one-half inch white in AprilMay; sometimes longer if adequate moisture Growing Conditions • • • • • Water Use: Medium Light requirement: shade Soil description: moist, well-drained soils Native habitat: rocky woods & slopes Frequently browsed by animals; birds love the seeds

Propagation • • Self seeding. Can be divided

References:, Wildflower Folklore by Laura C. Martin, Favorite Wildflower Walks of Georgia by Hugh Nourse and Carol Nourse, Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail by Leonard M. Adkins, Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb


NativeSCAPE April 2010
April 18, Members Garden Tour Georgia Native Plant Society Members Tour - Sunday, April 18, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. GNPS is pleased to offer our membership the opportunity to tour gardens of some of our members. This year there are 2 gardens in Marietta and 2 in Stone Mountain that will be showcased. More information has been provided via the membership listserv. Please contact Jane Trentin for more information. April 18, SMPP Garden Tour SMPP Garden Tour: Nature Garden and SMPP. In cooperation with SMMA. For more information, please email Marshall Wilson. April 24, Annual Plant Sale Mark Your Calendars-(for more details, please refer to page 12 of this newsletter) We have a date for the 2010 GNPS Spring Plant Sale! When? Saturday, April 24 with set-up Friday, April 23

Where? McFarlane Nature Park 280 Farm Road SE Marietta, GA 30067 If you have any questions, please send an email to Sheri George, or if you would like to volunteer to help, we have set up an Online Form to make it easy. May 2, Fourth Annual GNPS Hike Inn Field Trip On Sunday, May 2nd, up to twenty four lucky GNPS members will have the opportunity to hike the five mile trail from Amicalola Falls State Park to the environmentally friendly Len Foote Hike Inn in the North Georgia mountains near Dawsonville. Last year, at almost this same time, we saw the pink ladies slippers at their peak of bloom along the trail! Twelve rooms have been reserved for our group with discounted room rates thanks to member Lynn Almand's husband Bob, who is on the board of the Hike Inn. Anyone wanting a single room will pay only $100.05, and each person in a double room will pay only $73.03. Dinner on Sunday night and breakfast on Monday morning will be included in this room rate. Meals are prepared on site and served family style in the dining hall. After dinner, there will be some type of entertainment and/or educational program. There are books and games in the sunrise room for those wanting to read or play until bedtime. Quiet time starts at 10 p.m. The dining room opens early for coffee the next morning, and breakfast is at 8 a.m. Trail lunches can be ordered the night before and paid for ($6) upon checkout. As of press time, this field trip is full. If you'd like to be added to a waiting list for a cancellation, please contact trip leader Jane Trentinfor further information.or to sign up.


NativeSCAPE April 2010
May 11, Member Meeting—”The Wonderful World of Ferns” May Meeting: The Wonderful World of Ferns - May 11. Eleanor Craig will talk on the Wonderful World of Ferns, and will not only introduce you to many new and unusual varieties but will cover care, planting and many misconceptions we all have about ferns. Eleanor Craig is the owner of Fern Ridge Farms, a small specialty nursery specializing in perennial garden ferns. The nursery has recently moved from Canton Georgia to Cedar Bluff Alabama. They have won numerous awards at the Southeastern Flower Show, introducing many new varieties of hardy garden ferns. In addition to over 60 varieties of perennial ferns they grow tropical ferns, select annuals, perennials, and native plants. The May meeting is held at Day Hall at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA. Normal schedule: Social Hour at 6:45, Speaker at 7:30 PM June 1, Field Trip to Southern Highlands Reserve at Lake Toxaway, NC Southern Highlands Reserve, at Lake Toxaway. NC, has invited GNPS and Georgia Botanical Society 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. Tuesday, June 1st 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 am Tuesday, June 1. 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 PM. You need only to pack your lunch. On the trails you 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 Highland 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 Monday 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: June 12, SMPP Trails Day Open House SMPP Trails Day Open House and Cherokee Trail Hike - June 12. In cooperation with SMMA. Casual Plant Sale for attendees and visitors. For more information, please email Marshall Wilson.


Georgia Native Plant Society Membership & Renewal
Memberships are effective for one calendar year, beginning January 1st.

Choose membership level: (Select one) ___Individual/Family ($20) ___Full-Time Student ($15) ___Lifetime Individual/Family ($250) ___Senior, 55 and older ($15) ___Corporate/Commercial/Educational ($50)

Affiliation: ___No Chapter Affiliation ___West Georgia Chapter

___Check here if in addition to my membership renewal, I have included ______ to be distributed as follows: ___Education ___Jeane Reeves Memorial Grants and Scholarship Program Total Enclosed: ____________ ___Conservation/Propagation/Restoration ___Unrestricted Check # _______________

Trade Name (if applicable): _______________________________________________________________________ First Name: ______________________ Middle Initial: ____ Last Name: __________________________________ If Family, list additional names: ____________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________________________________ Home Phone: ___________________________________ Work Phone: ____________________________________ Email Address: ___________________________________________________________________________________ (Email address is required if you wish to receive the Listserv and/or Electronic Newsletter.)

___ Check here if you prefer NOT to receive emails from our list server which contain information about meetings, plant rescues, work parties and other items of interest to the membership.

The full-color newsletter will be sent electronically. If you require a print version, which will be black and white, check here: ___

Please mail completed renewal form to the following address: GNPS, PO Box 422085, Atlanta, GA 30342-2085