The 2023 Upstate SCNPS Spring Sale Call for Volunteers


Here’s the skinny: The in-person plant sale is back, but with a hybrid twist. The General Sale (details below) will take place on Saturday, April 15, but MEMBERS & VOLUNTEERS will have the opportunity to purchase plants in advance (online-only), on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 & 9.

It takes a whole host of enthusiastic volunteers to put on a great plant sale. In the immortal words of longtime SCNPS member and mainstay Judy Seeley, “If everyone does a little, no one does too much!”

And, no worries: You don’t have to be an expert, just ready and willing to help. It takes a village to make magic. Read on for all the details!

UPDATE as of March 29th:

Some of the areas where we still need the most help are:

    • Equipment Transport (vehicles and people)
    • Day-of-Sale Set-Up
    • Traffic Direction/Management
    • Front Entrance Staffing
    • Checkout (Invoicers, Cashiers, Receipt Checkers)
    • Holding/Loading
    • Day-of-Sale Breakdown


Pre-Sale: Saturday, April 1, 10-1 – FILLED
Pre-Sale: Monday and Tuesday, April 10 & 11, 9-4 – FILLED
Sale Setup: Friday, April 14, 2023, 8 am – 4 pm – FILLED
Sale: Saturday, April 15, 8:00 am – 1 pm
Breakdown: Saturday, April 15, 1 pm – 4 pm

Pre-Sale Orders: Saturday-Sunday, April 8 & 9 (Members & Volunteers) (Online ONLY)
Pickup at the Upstate Native Nursery (UNN), 180 Lakewood Dr., Mauldin, SC 29667, by Wednesday, April 12 

General SaleSaturday, April 15, 2023
Conestee Park, 840 Mauldin Road, Greenville, SC 29607. Gates Open 9 O’Clock! Gates Close 1 pm!

Just a few of the areas of expertise (or willingness to learn) that we’re seeking include:


  • Got an in at a local paper or online newsletter? How about an Upstate-oriented podcast or radio program? Or, willing to distribute flyers to local businesses all over the Upstate? We can use your help!

Volunteer Recruitment

  • Please help us spread the word that we need volunteers.  College students would be great helpers in the holding and loading areas!


  • Have you got a strong back? Or a pickup truck? Or, even better, both? We need you! There’s a lot of physical labor involved in throwing this party. Tables and barricades need to be pulled out of storage, transported to the sale site and set up (and the reverse once the sale is over). The plants have to be moved from the SCNPS greenhouse and gardens to Conestee, and back again. (Not that there will be a single one left, of course!)
  • Not really feeling the machismo? That’s okay, we need you, too! We’ll be marking chalk lines, laying out row markers, and setting up the cashier stations. And, during the sale, we’ll need folks staffing the holding and pickup areas, manning the cash registers, monitoring/directing the flow of traffic into and out of the sale, and helping to keep the arteries clear.
  • Can’t be there for the whole day? We also need volunteers to help take inventory of the plants, both before the sale and after.

And It Wouldn’t be a Party…

  • …without refreshments! Do you bake, cater, or know someone who does? We need to keep our volunteers fed, caffeinated, hydrated, and happy!

Have we Mentioned the PERK?

  • Volunteers and members get first crack at the plants, during the presale, Saturday & Sunday, April 8th and 9th (online only). There’s a limit on what you can buy (because otherwise, we’d get wiped out before we opened!), but if you’ve got your heart set on a few special somethings, sign up today and be first in line!
For details about all the positions we need filled, click HERE.
Or, to dive right in and tell us how you can help, click HERE!

As much as we love our furry friends, only identified service dogs will be allowed inside the sale area. There is a dog park next to the upper parking lot where supervised dogs can play!



2023 Upstate Spring Native Plant Sale


Once again this spring, the Upstate Chapter will be throwing a large, in-person sale at Conestee Park, 840 Mauldin Road in Greenville on Saturday, April 15th from 9:00am to 1pm.

Knowledgeable advisors will be on the sale floor to assist customers with plant selection!

As always, the sale will include a wide selection of native shrubs, trees, perennial wildflowers, ferns, vines, and grasses. Please assume lots of impulse buying and bring your own cart or wagon! (Regretfully, we won’t have any to loan out this year).

Cash, credit cards, and checks will be accepted. (PLEASE NOTE: There will be a 3% surcharge on credit card payments to help us cover our Square charges.)

Visit the 2023 Spring Upstate Plant Sale page in April for updated information and a list of plants available (target date April 5).


Guest plant vendors include Carolina Wild, Jeff Miller’s carnivorous plants and Saturnia Farm. There will also be educational exhibits, including some of our favorite beekeepers, a book booth with tomes on Native plants, and an Exotic Invasive Species public service booth.


Many volunteers are needed to run the sale. You don’t need to be a member to volunteer, and you don’t need to be an expert, either! We will be most pleased to train you on the various jobs, from moving plants, assisting customers, writing up invoices, to holding plants while customers continue to shop and loading plants into vehicles once they’re done!  Click HERE to see all the ways and time slots where you can help make the sale a success.


Paid up members and Upstate Native Plant Society volunteers get early access to the plants! There will be an online presale on April 8 and 9. Read the full details on our 2023 Spring Upstate Plant Sale Page. And, please note: There will NOT be early access on the day of the sale. BE ONLINE OR BE — well. You know the rest!

Upstate Chapter Monthly Meeting: Trillium of the Carolinas

Posted on |

Tim Lee

Did you know that a trillium (a beautiful, delicate plant, which blooms only briefly each Spring) may take seven years or longer to develop from seed to blossom — and can then bloom for more than a hundred years?

At this month’s meeting (in person at Landrum Depot, and via Zoom, and available thereafter on our YouTube Channel) Tim Lee, Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, will present “Trillium of The Carolinas,” bringing us up to date on the current debate over trillium’s botanical classification, and shedding more light on the plant’s life-cycle, including its pollination and dispersion by bees, native ants, and yellow jackets. 

CLICK HERE for more information, the Zoom link and to add the meeting to your calendar.

Upstate Chapter Meeting: Three Lifetimes of Experience Exploring and Conserving South Carolina’s Flora

Posted on |

Photo Credit: Patrick McMillan

At our May meeting (in-person at Tri-County, and via Zoom), Dr. Patrick McMillan will present “Three Lifetimes of Experience Exploring and Conserving South Carolina’s Flora,” highlighting some of our state’s most significant rare plants. Dr. McMillan, along with Richard Porcher, Jr. and Douglas Rayner, is the author of the new edition of A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina, a must-have for all native plant lovers.

READ MORE HERE or to add the event to your calendar and get the Zoom link if you are unable to attend in person.

Post & Courier Exposé Reveals a Carolina Native at Risk: ACTION NEEDED!

Posted on |


Dwarf-flowered heartleafs like to hide near creeks; their velveteen flowers lie low, practically kissing the moist forest floor of the Carolina foothills. Now, as spring begins, they begin to grow, but slower than a human-centric time-scale might recognize: Sometimes one or two new leaves grow each year. Sometimes it takes decades for just one new leaf to form.

Tiny ants visit the plants. Unlikely but industrious pollinators, these ants spread seeds, not far and wide, but close to the source, keeping the heartleaf kin tightly bunched.

Peer inside a flower’s ridges and little larvae are sometimes snuggled. One insect has evolved to make the plant its nursery. Which insect? That is still one of nature’s secrets — in this case, the good kind of secret.

Few people have ever seen a heartleaf. It was given officially given “threatened” status 30 years ago, and in the interim, things have only grown more dire. By law, being listed as an official “threatened” species should have triggered a formal recovery plan, but no such plan has ever been put into place.

The most recent U.S government figures, from 2009, say that only 119 patches of forest, most “no larger than a soccer field,” provide refuge for these tiny plants. But even that estimate, besides being woefully out of date, is overly optimistic. According to the actual, on-the-ground experts here in the Carolinas, there are likely only a handful of sites where the plant can still be found — every single one of them in the South Carolina Upstate and in Western NC.

Yet, over the last several years, using their own internal quota system, the agencies entrusted with the preservation of our ecosystems and wildlife have been moving toward taking the dwarf-flowered heartleaf off of the Threatened and Endangered Species list.

State scientists are dumbfounded. Professors from biology departments from across the Carolinas are pleading with State and Federal agencies. The SELC has filed a lawsuit, and the SCNPS has signed on.

The way we got here is complicated, and worthy of your full attention. Read the complete Post & Courier article by clicking the link below, and, when you’re done, please contact your elected officials.

As Post & Courier reporter Clare Fieseler (on Twitter @clarefieseler, or via email at [email protected]) puts it:

The issue here is bigger than any one species. The case of the dwarf-flowered heartleaf sheds light on the way powerful people wield science for nature’s benefit, or twist it for their own, and then use secrecy as a tool so that we, the public, never know the difference.


Annual Open House Announcement for the Parks Mill Rocky Shoals Spiderlily Preserve

Spider Lily Dates are set for the annual Open House at Parks Mill Rocky Shoals Spiderlily Preserve during peak season again.  We will be hosting guided visits on Saturday, May 20 and Saturday May 27 this year.

About the Site:

In July of 2016, the South Carolina Native Plant Society (SCNPS), Naturaland Trust (NT), and Upper Savannah Land Trust (USLT) collaborated to protect a creek full of rocky shoals spiderlilies and a historic gristmill on 13 acres of land and creek-bed on Stevens Creek near Plum Branch, SC.  The Site is owned by NT, the Site and resources are managed by the SCNPS, and USLT holds the conservation easement that legally protects the Site from future development.Grist Mill

This site boasts a wonderful population of the rare native Rocky Shoals Spiderlily (Hymenocallis coronaria), as well as a reasonably well preserved, (restoration in-progress) late 19th-century water-powered grist mill structure.

Since 2016, we have been hosting public open house events during the expected peak Lily flowering period.  At these events the public is invited to come see the beautiful lily population in the Creek, as well as the gristmill complex.  Guides will be available to tour the site and field questions.

To Register:

This year the dates will be Saturday, May 20, and Saturday, May 27. On both dates the site will be open from 10:00 till 12:00 and again from 1:00 till 3:00 pm. The blooming is pretty uniform, so opting for either the morning or afternoon on either Saturday shouldn’t make a difference in the quality of the show. We do ask that you select a morning or afternoon visit time so we can anticipate potential crowding problems.

2023 Parks Mill/Stevens Creek Open House

Reservation form
  • Please enter a number from 1 to 4.
  • Enter the names and email addresses of everyone in your party.


There is a sizeable front porch on the Mill building with seating in case of rain. The site has good tree cover, so temperatures should be reasonably comfortable. Just remember that this is a site set aside to protect and preserve a magnificent native wildflower community and a wonderfully historic grist mill. Tread lightly, stay on trails and “pack-it-in-pack-it-out.”   Wading in the Creek is prohibited for the sake of personal safety, and for the protection of the Lilies. There is a trail from the Mill house to the Creekside to get good lily photo opportunities. However due to frequent high-water flows in the area adjacent to the Creek, exposed rocks and roots can make the footing very treacherous, so children and seniors must be extremely careful. (There is a project in the works to get a trail installed that will offer Creek views with much safer footing — stay tuned!)

We also strongly suggest that everyone wear long pants cuffed inside sturdy socks to ward off ticks.


To find the site, look for SC Highway 283 just east of Plum Branch in McCormick County. The site is on Stevens Creek, just downstream from the SC 283 Bridge over the Creek. The site entrance is directly across Hwy 283 from William Self Road and will be clearly highlighted by signage. Parking is along William Self Road. If anyone in your party is mobility-challenged, you may drive to the site, drop them off, and return to find parking along William Self Road.


All visitors will be required to sign a waiver form that holds The South Carolina Native Plant Society, Naturaland Trust, and Upper Savannah Land Trust all blameless in case of injury during these events.  

Seeing Daylight and Cleaning Water at Columbia’s Hyatt Park

A man speaks to a group of people on a boardwalk at the head of an artificial stream.

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.

A group of people stand by a group of logs in a streambed. A man points downstream.

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.

A group of people stands near a streambed at Hyatt Park in Columbia

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.

You can read more about innovative project, featured in Landscape Architect magazine in 2022.

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.



Launch of the Upstate Community Grants Program

The Upstate chapter has provided funding to Upstate organizations for more than 20 years for projects that help preserve and restore native plants and/or for the education of the Upstate community on the importance of the biodiversity in South Carolina, and the importance of our heritage native plants.

This year, we celebrate our 20th year of the Upstate Native Nursery plant sales that have provided funding for a wide variety of projects in pursuit of the SCNPS mission.  In recognition of this milestone, this year, we have formed an Upstate Grants Committee and are very pleased to announce the launch of our Community Grants Program.  Each year, we’ll be setting aside funding for special projects in the Upstate that align with our Mission. We’ve created an online application process to make grant requests easier and more streamlined.

Please visit our new Upstate Community Grants page on the SCNPS website to learn more about this new program and help us get the word out to the community for the inaugural grant invitation period opening March 15th through April 15th.

Thanks to all of you for your continuing support of the Upstate Native Nursery that makes this possible and we hope to see you at Conestee Park on April 15th for this year’s sale!

Reed Environmental Writing Awards Announced

On March 24 at 5 p.m. ET (in person or online), the winners of the 2023 Reed Awards will be honored. This year’s awardees, Corban Addison (on his book, “Wastelands: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial”) and Isabelle Chapman (on her CNN story, “Gambling ‘America’s Amazon’”) will speak.

Come help celebrate these extraordinary writers who brought attention to the polluting practices of industrial hog farming in rural North Carolina and concerns over toxic coal ash sitting on the banks of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta in Alabama. For more information, click HERE.


Greater Greenville Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale

If the Upstate Sale hasn’t sated your need for new plants by then, the GGMGA will be holding their popular annual plant sale on Saturday April 29th at Jeff Lynch Appliances (17 Roper Mountain Rd, Greenville), from 8 am to noon, rain or shine! Hundreds of healthy plants will be available for sale at bargain prices, and Master Gardeners will be on hand to help you find the perfect plants for your yard. They will accept credit cards for purchases over $25 purchases as well as cash or checks. For more information, visit their website.