Cardinal Flower (not mentioned, but a hummingbird magnet!)
Adding beauty to our home landscapes is reason enough to grow native plants. Some of these plants have the additional value of attracting birds, insect pollinators and other interesting wildlife to our yards. Most of us know that milkweeds attract monarch butterflies. Many of the wildlife-attracting plants in the upcoming Native Plant Society sale are just as effective but are not as well known.
Following are just a few examples:
Phyla nodifloraor frog fruit is a low, spreading plant in the verbena family. Different publications give very different information on the plant’s cold hardiness but local Native Plant Society members report that they have grown it successfully in their gardens. Frog fruit is a groundcover that tolerates a wide range of conditions including dry, sunny sites where turf struggles. It is a host for the caterpillars of phaon crescent and buckeye butterflies. The small flowers attract an assortment of small pollinating insects throughout the summer.
Several species of goldenrod, Solidago, will be available at the sale. The bright yellow flowers in summer and fall attract a tremendous variety of pollinating insects. In Nature’s Best Hope, Douglas Tallamy states that 181 different species of caterpillars feed on goldenrods. More than forty species of goldenrod grow naturally in South Carolina. One of the sale plants, dwarf goldenrod or Solidago nemoralis, is noteworthy because it grows to only about two feet tall. Despite the stories you have heard, goldenrod does not cause allergies. Its pollen is comparatively heavy and is distributed by pollinators – not wind.
Lonicera sempervirens or coral honeysuckle is a beautiful evergreen vine. It is small enough to be grown on a chainlink fence with a little trimming. Clusters of red trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and long-tongued butterflies. You may know about the clearwing moths that fly during the day and look like miniature hummingbirds. The caterpillars of one species, snowberry clearwing moth, feed on the leaves of this honeysuckle. In late summer and fall, the small red fruits of this honeysuckle provide food for birds.
Celtis laevigatus, sugarberry, and Celtis occidentalis, hackberry, are medium-sized native trees that are not commonly found in area nurseries. The trunk of sugarberry tends to be light gray and smooth while hackberry has distinctive corky ridges on the trunk. Both trees are host to the caterpillars of several butterfly species including the mourning cloak, question mark, American snout, tawny emporer and hackberry butterflies. Their fruits are eaten by a wide variety of birds. Plus, you get the benefit of the shade.
Numbers of most native plant species in the sale will limited, and when they’re gone, they’re gone! Remember, paid-up members and plant sale volunteers get 24 hours of early access beginning October 9, so join, renew, or volunteer today!
The SCNPS is seeking officers for the next term (starting in 2024). South Carolina requires a minimum of 3 officers as part of the 501(c)(3) status to meet IRS requirements: President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Two or more offices may be held by the same person.
If you or anyone you know might be interested in serving, please contact current President Katie Ellis at [email protected] for more information.
The State President presides at all meetings of the organization and Board of Directors, and serves as the official spokesperson of the SCNPS. The President represents the organization, its missions, goals and objectives, and projects and programs to the general public. The President serves as an ex-officio member of all state committees and all regional chapters.
The State Vice-President assumes the duties of the President in the absence of the President or at the President’s direction, and assists the President in those functions necessary for the leadership and development of the organization. In the event the President is no longer able to serve, the Vice-President shall become the President for the remainder of the term.
The State Secretary shall maintain all official records of the organization as well as minutes of the Board of Directors’ meetings. Actions handled remotely via email discussion and voting must also be recorded. The Secretary or his/her designee shall distribute official minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors. The Secretary will assure that all minutes and other documents are placed into a permanent archive, the nature of which will be established by Board action.
The State Treasurer has the charge and custody of and responsibility for all funds of the organization, and for the administration of such funds. The Treasurer deposits all such monies in the name of the organization as designated by the Board of Directors and maintains accurate records of all receipts and disbursements. Upon approval of the annual budget, the Treasurer is authorized to incur obligations on accounts and expenses provided in the annual budget without further approval of the Board of Director. In addition, the State Treasurer prepares a report for each meeting of the Board of Directors and the Annual Meeting of the Membership. The Treasurer executes and maintains all official correspondence with local, state, and federal entities related to the corporate and tax status of the organization. The Treasurer may be required to furnish a surety bond as determined by the Board of Directors. Candidates for the State Treasurer position should have knowledge of basic accounting procedures, a working knowledge of QuickBooks, and experience with Stripe.
As a follow-on to our earlier post on the subject, our Grand Strand chapter reminds us that Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve, home to rare and endangered wildlife such as Venus flytraps, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and black bears, remains under threat.
Conway Medical Center is proposing to build a new hospital directly adjacent to the site, limiting the ability of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and SC Forestry Commission to carry out their prescribed burns, essential for the health of the Preserve’s ecosystem.
We encourage readers to visit Change.org and sign the petition there. As of this writing, the campaign is only 2,700 signatures short of its 25,000 goal. As the petition puts it, “fire, smoke, and hospitals do not mix!” Let’s make our voices heard!
While most of these articles are at least partially behind paywalls, we encourage you to access them if you can. But here, for those that can’t, is the main takeaway: Native plantings are gaining traction, both in residential and corporate landscapes. But not without pushback.
Per the NY Times: “Lawns continue to polarize Americans, with traditionalists prizing manicured emerald expanses and environmentalists seeing them as ecological deserts that suck up excessive amounts of water and pesticides. The locus of power in many of these disputes are community or homeowner associations.” (According to one source, HOAs represent a staggering 29% of Americans, or 74 million people nationwide!)
Our own Editor’s advice to help explain to your neighbors what the heck is going on with your native plantings?
Tell them this: “One gas-powered leaf blower used for an hour generates the same amount of emissions as a car driving 1,100 miles” (factoid from the NY Times)
Post signs around your property that help explain “Why.” (Visit the National Wildlife Federation’s website to get a free certificate you can laminate and post — or splurge and get this nifty metal sign; or, on Etsy, search “native habitat sign” and you’ll find a ton of options for sale at reasonable prices; or make your own!)
Play the Pied Piper: Get the kids in your neighborhood involved with your yard. For every child who becomes entranced by a plant, a bird, a bug, or any other wildlife critter, a parent will follow!
South Carolina’s Heritage Preserves, most open to the public for fishing, boating, hiking, etc.
For the Upstate Chapter’s June meeting, State Botanist Keith Bradley presented “Conservation of South Carolina’s Botanical Heritage: A special Flora and its Future,” a talk dedicated to a discussion of the importance of South Carolina’s 77 Heritage Preserves (H.P.), which protect a whopping 111,575 acres statewide.
Where once King Cotton threatened South Carolina’s native landscapes, now King Loblolly is outgrowing and overtaking our Longleaf Pines, which are home to a number of unique species. The Midlands and Lowcountry host other unique plants, such as the May White Azalea. And new plants, such as a sunflower found at the Cartwheel Bay H.P. and a mint found only at the Brasstown Creek H.P. and one other place in Georgia, are still being found.
“We are THE ONLY CUSTODIANS of several species,” Keith told us, “and if we know where the plants are, we can do something about it: We can buy properties, we can do controlled burns, we can implement restorations.”
Todd Martin, landscape architect for the City of Columbia, introduces Midlands chapter members to the revitalized Hyatt Park stream. Photo by Lynn Yenkey
The Midlands Chapter toured Columbia’s Hyatt Park last week with Todd Martin, landscape architect for the city. The recent park renovation “daylighted” a stream, removing 1150 feet of stormwater pipe to open up the water and mimic a natural creek. Martin showed the group the stream banks engineered with stone and a mix of native herbaceous and woody plants. The result echoes the nearby Smith Branch stream. In just a year, cattails and native willows have volunteered, too.
Todd Martin, landscape architect for the City of Columbia, points out bioengineering features of the stream, including logs that mimic a beaver dam at Hyatt Park. Photo by Lynn Yenkey
A series of pools and small dams, including large cedar logs to make an artificial beaver dam, slow and spread out storm water.
Now, instead of charging through a pipe unchanged, the water spreads in the shallow banks, slows down, and is allowed to absorb into soil and roots, along with pollutants and sediments. The change was visible: compared to the more turbid pools close to the storm water inlet, the water in the larger basin at the end of the stream is clearer and cleaner–improving the quality of water flowing into the Broad river and Columbia’s drinking water system.
Martin handed out photos of the former stream bed–a series of manhole covers–plans for the bioengineered banks and pools, and a list of native shrubs, trees, and seed mixes used. He kindly allowed us to share them here.
Todd Martin shows Midlands chapter members the native planting bed below the splash pad above the stream at Hyatt Park in Columbia. Signs describe the project for visitors. Photo by Lynn Yenkey
The project team worked closely with the Hyatt Park Keenan Terrace Neighborhood Association on their goals for the park, and identified a gathering space as a strong priority. The renovation includes a naturalistic play area on the hillside between the stream and community building, adjacent to a new amphitheater for events. In warm weather, families can cool off at a splashpad at the amphitheater’s base, with water flowing from there into a wide garden bed and into the stream. In the open field downhill, large sections of the former water pipe form hillocks and a natural play space.
A similar stormwater management project in Columbia parks finished in 2020 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Columbia’s Five Points. Read more about it here. At Page Ellington Park in the Bull St. development, 2600 feet of stream was daylighted, and ponds created to make wetland habitat in a nature-based city park.
In addition to our sale plants, two local vendors will be here: Sal’s Old Timey Feed & Seed and Native Plants to the People. Chapter member Clay Parker has grown a variety of milkweed species (and more) just for the sale. There will be a great selection for a variety of soil and sun conditions!
It’ll be a festival atmosphere with food, art, and books for sale! Read more below.
Friday, April 14, 2023 6:00 pm until… Members-Only Happy Hour and Early Sales
Bring your beverage of choice and come hang out, shop, and enjoy MNPS-provided snacks by the river.
Saturday April 15, 2023
8:30 am – 9:30 am: Final set-up and training morning volunteers
9:30 am – 10:00 am: Open to members
10:00 am – 5:00 pm: Open to general public
Canoeing for Kids HQ 114 Riverchase Court, Lexington SC (MAP)
Conestee Park, 840 Mauldin Road, Greenville (near baseball stadium; a 3-minute drive south of I-85 exit to Mauldin Rd)
Pre-Sale Inventory: Take plant inventory at UNN. Day: Saturday, April 1, 10-1
Pre-Sale Orders: Pull pre-sale orders for members and volunteers at UNN. Days: Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday
Prep for General Sale: Label and prepare plants at UNN. Day: Thursday
Load and Transport: Load and unload plants and equipment in and out of trucks from the UNN Greenhouse and Storage Unit to Conestee Park. Need “strong” backs. Bring your truck, trailer, or SUV if you can. Day: Friday
Friday Help with plant sale site layout at Conestee Park. Help unload and arrange plants. Water Plants. Check for price tags. Set up checkout and holding area, and place traffic barriers. Saturday set up tents, tables, and chairs, and put out signs.
Vehicle Traffic Directors: Stationed in the upper parking lot to make sure cars don’t get in the way of customers lining up to enter the sale and that customers line up safely. Also stationed at the lower parking lot to make sure cars drive through in the right direction. Day: Saturday
Front Entrance Team: Work at Entrance Table and Line Management. Greet customers at entry, hand out plant lists and membership forms. Use a clicker to count customers entering the gate. Manage customer lines during sale and direct customers to holding, checkout, and exits. Answer questions and explain the holding and checkout process. Direct customers to plant experts and guest vendors. Training will be provided. Day: Saturday
Sales Team: The “orange vest” team provides education and advocacy to customers (and other volunteers) and helps customers locate and select plants. Day: Saturday
Holding / Loading Area Team: Place plants in numbered spaces and give customer matching token. Help pull price stakes in preparation for checkout. Load plants into customer vehicles. Some heavy lifting and lots of walking are involved. Day: Saturday
Invoicing Team: Work at Checkout table as an invoicer: Pull, sort, and count price stakes; fill out invoices; calculate subtotals. **Must be familiar with calculators, and comfortable with numbers and invoicing. Training provided. Day: Saturday
Cashier Team: Work at Checkout table as a cashier: Add subtotals for a grand total on customer tickets. Receive payment from customers (cash, check, credit/debit cards). **Must be comfortable with calculators and using card readers and making change — retail experience helpful. Training will be provided. Day: Saturday
Hospitality Team/Volunteer Welcome Tables: Provide information and refreshments for volunteers. Set up water cooler for everyone and keep table neat and stocked. Day: Saturday
Snack Maker: Provide cookies and snacks for volunteers. Day: Saturday
Information and Book Table: Talk to customers. Provide information on SCNPS, as well as Upstate Chapter and Membership. Sell books and provide handouts. Get customers to sign up for future plant sale emails. Day: Saturday
Help take post-sale inventory. Help break down the sale and reload remaining plants and equipment for unloading at the Greenhouse and storage unit. Take down barriers and clean up the area. Day: Saturday
To dive right in and tell us how you can help, click HERE.
To get more general information about the sale, click HERE.
“You are Nature’s Best Hope!” — a talk by Doug Tallamy at GFLP
On March 4 from 1-5pm our friends at the Gardening For Life Project are sponsoring a “Gardening for Life Celebration,” featuring the renowned Doug Tallamy (entomologist, esteemed ecologist, and author of the NY Times bestselling book Nature’s Best Hope) as keynote speaker, to be held live and in-person at Polk County High School in Columbus, NC. In addition to the speech, the celebration will feature exhibitions, book signings, and more. Tickets for the keynote are free, but registration is required.
SCNPS will be exhibiting; volunteers are needed! Contact Judy Seeley to learn more.