Mosquito Control Spraying

As summer arrives, so to will our shared annoyance with the mosquito.  This month we take a look at the growing national trend of using mosquito control pesticides to rid our backyards and communities of this dreaded nuisance, and the collateral damage to our non-targeted beneficial insects that comes with it.  Doug Lockard investigates the more common chemicals and application processes, the impact on native habitats, and some insights into dealing with their use in his article Reflections on Mosquito Control Spraying.  


Field Trip Report: Wildcat Falls

Trip leaders Rick Hoffman and Dan Whitten recently led a small group into the forests of the Blue Ridge in Western North Carolina.  Although we all had rain jackets due to the threat of misting rain, it proved to be a glorious day.   We reached the gorgeous Wildcat Falls pretty quickly and decided to continue on to see the incredible high mountain river where we stopped for lunch.  The six mile round trip was easy to moderate and although the falls, the river and the views were excellent, it was the incredible native plant diversity that topped the perks of the hike.  The high point was a multi-stemmed (trunk) Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) tree that may well be a national champion.  Checking after the trip the American Forest National Database of Champion trees and the NC Forest Service Champion Trees, and although we didn’t measure this tree, it seemed a likely candidate to be a contender.  It would certainly make a worthwhile project for someone.  The SC Champion Tree database was down for updating.


Changing Landscaping Pardigms

Former SCNPS President and life-long native plant advocate Rick Huffman reflects on the challenges of changing paradigms toward a more ecologically sound landscape design basis that takes into consideration a better understanding of soils, water, hydrology, light, shadow and micro-climates.  The article is a must-read for those of us looking to move their landscapes toward the ‘Living Landscape’ concept, and it’s an inspirational commentary for all native plant enthusiasts.

Read Landscape Design through the Lens of Ecology here.


Upstate Propagation Class

It’s that time again for the free Native Plant Propagation course at the Upstate Native Nursery.  We had to set aside this SCNPS favorite due to Covid for the past year and are pleased to announce the upcoming course at the Upstate Native Nursery. The three-hour course  includes the basics of both sexual and asexual (vegetative) plant reproduction and hands-on propagation.

Instructors Miller Putnam and Jon Fritz will guide you in the planting of your own seed flat from our Upstate Native Seed Bank. You’ll learn methods for bringing seeds out of dormancy (i.e., scarification, stratification), and through germination using a variety of recipes of soil, light, water, time and temperature.

The second and final class for this season will be held on Saturday June 5th from 9am-noon.  For more information on the class and to sign-up CLICK HERE or contact:

Miller Putnam, 864 325 9700  [email protected]


Pickens County Museum Native Plant Garden

Photo by Rick Huffman

In 2008, the Pickens County Museum and Culture Commission undertook the addition of an indigenous heritage landscape around the new addition of the Pickens County Museum.  With the initial design by Rick Huffman and Richard Powers, the Joe and Maggie Ramply Native Plant Garden was opened in 2009.

Since then, a team of volunteers have lovingly maintained this unique garden as one of the premier exhibits native plants in the Upstate.  It’s also another example of how our Upstate organizations work together for the betterment of our ecosystems.  For more than 13 years now, volunteers from the Upstate Chapter of the SC Native Plant Society, the Master Gardeners of the Foothills, and the Upstate Master Naturalists Association have collaborated to maintain this showcase.

If you haven’t made it yet, you need to, and if you have, it’s time for another visit as the display is constantly changing.

CLICK HERE for more information on the garden or for volunteer opportunities contact Judy Seeley at [email protected]

Carbon Landscaping

an essay by Doug Lockard

“Human activity is driving climate change.  If we want to mitigate the worst impacts, it’s going to take a deliberate focus on finding ways to further remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”  Colm Sweeney, NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory

NOAA announced recently that carbon dioxide in our atmosphere was recorded at a record-high 421 ppm; about 50% higher than prior to the Industrial Revolution.  In fact, they reported, the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is now higher than it has been in at least 3.6 million years.

Because soil holds four times the amount of carbon stored in the atmosphere, how we use the land under our care will determine how well it sequesters carbon.  Good land stewardship practices that include deep-rooted perennials, woody plants and trees will help sequester carbon in the soil.  Native plants are ideal for this purpose as they have the best chance of thriving and long-life in our ecosystems without chemicals or irrigation.