Save the Date: SC Native Plant Society Annual Meeting

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Join us Saturday, November 4, 2023 for the SC Native Plant Society Annual Meeting at Columbia’s Saluda Shoals Park. Elections will be held, and updated bylaws will be presented for an approval vote.

More program information will be coming soon but read here about the 20-year project to catalog Saluda Shoals Park plant species, now a Special Collection on at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, UT-Austin.


Fall Upstate Native Plant Sale: Call for Volunteers

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Now seeking volunteers for the Fall Upstate Plant Sale, to be held online only, October 10-14, 2023. (The last day of order pickup will be October 16.)

We’ll be needing volunteers from October 10th through the 15th to pull plants from picklists, check the pulled plants against orders, and help organize the orders pending pickup. Volunteers will be organized into shifts, 9AM-12PM and 1PM-4PM daily.

We are also seeking volunteers to help take a pre-sale inventory in the week leading up to the sale.

All these activities will be taking place at the Upstate Native Nursery.

Remember, membership (and volunteership) has its privileges. Volunteers and Members get the first
bite at the apple! We’ll be opening up online ordering exclusively to Volunteers and paid-up Members
before we open it to the general public. So volunteer and/or renew your membership now! (Even better.
Do both!)
Contact Plant Sale Chair Kathy Harrington for more information, and to sign up today!

South Carolina Forestry Commission Shortleaf Conference – Registration is Open

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Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) is one of the major southern pine species. Its forests and associated habitats contain extraordinary cultural, ecological, and economic value by providing recreational opportunities, enhanced water quality, wildlife habitat, and high-value wood products.

Despite these values, shortleaf pine has significantly declined across much of its native range. To prevent further decline, the South Carolina Forestry Commission intends to increase awareness about the importance of this species with a conference devoted to the shortleaf. They hope to reach local landowner associations, consultants, local conservation easement groups, active landowners interested in timber management, and public organizations promoting shortleaf pine. Topics to be discussed include stand diversity, conservation, wildlife, and recreation.

The conference will take place at the Piedmont Forestry Center on November 16th and is limited to 50 individuals. Cost is $25. For more information and to request a registration form, contact Tim Adams at 803-896-8802 or [email protected]

Rick Huffman to Speak at the Tryon Garden Club

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On September 21, join the Tryon Garden Club in welcoming Rick Huffman as he discusses transitioning a garden over to native plants, from design to plant selection.

The following day, the Gardening for Life Project will be sponsoring a native plant sale in downtown Tryon, featuring plant growers from across the region. Plan a side trip to Pearson’s Falls, do a little hiking in the mountains, and make a weekend of it!

Cullowhee Conference 2024

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After a more-than-successful 2023 Cullowhee Conference, dates have been announced for the next one! The 40th Celebration Conference will take place July 17-20, 2024, and registration will open April 1.

The Conference’s Steering Committee wants to hear from you as they prepare for next year’s event, so make sure to fill out their questionnaire — but not until you’ve marked your calendar!

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

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The mission of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) is “to conserve the unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty, and places for all people to enjoy outdoor recreation in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, enduring for future generations … supporting equitable, healthy and thriving communities for everyone in our region.”

The SAHC conservation/preservation work spans the Southern Appalachians from the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Highlands of Roan. They have also established a Farmland Program which works to preserve agricultural lands, supporting existing family farms and encouraging beginning farmers by lowering the bar for access.

The work they’re doing is fascinating, and inspiring. We encourage readers to visit their website and learn more!

Kudzu Culture: “Eating the Vine that Ate the South”

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It never hurts to approach a problem from both ends, especially one as thorny and insidious as the dreaded Kudzu.

So, what if, in addition to eradication, we tried… Embracing it?

That is just what the folks at Kudzu Culture are doing. A 501(c)3 organization whose mission statement includes finding ways to use kudzu as “food, medicine, fiber, and fodder,” they are committed to approaching kudzu as a useable and useful commodity, rather than an inherent evil.

They intend to tell the story of humans relating with kudzu, from its roots (sorry!) in southeastern Asia and Japan and argue that a “mutualistic and balanced” new kudzu culture can emerge in the southeast U.S. through the creation of a marketplace for kudzu products.

They have a lively blog and are involved in tons of events, from kudzu pulls to educational lectures to art markets. They offer tips for turning kudzu into jelly, tea, rabbit food, and even a woven birdhouse! And, if you’ve got kudzu growing on your property, they want to know about it!

So the next time you see a patch of kudzu and think, “All is lost,” remember, there’s more than one approach to vanquishing the vine!

Dr. Porcher Receives Major Award

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Photo Credit: Jeff Jackson, Lowcountry Roots

At this year’s Cullowhee Native Plant Conference, Dr. Richard Porcher (Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina) received the coveted Tom Dodd Jr. Award of Excellence. This award is presented annually to a person or persons who have made a major contribution to education, conservation, or advancement of native plants in the Southeast.

Dr. Porcher was nominated by Jeff Jackson (past-president of the Lowcountry Chapter) and Rick Huffman (past-president of the Upstate).

Congratulations Dr. Porcher!


Natives in the News

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The recent fires in Hawaii sparked a lot more than flames. A flurry of articles on the non-native grasses that fueled the fires have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Post, the Washington Post, and, among many others.

Sadly, none of this was news, as reported more than a year ago by Hawaii News Now and other outlets, spurring Lahaina residents into action planting natives in an effort to forestall future fires. But, as we all now know, it was too little, too late — and the final cost to Hawaii’s endangered plant species — fully 44% of the nation’s — is still to be tallied.

Ironically, April this year was designated “Hawaii Native Plant Month” by Hawaii’s Governor, Josh Green, celebrating rebounds made by plants and rediscoveries made by botanists in recent years. It will be some time before we know for certain how many of those successes have been undone by the wildfires.

What we do know already is that native plants are our best hope for combatting climate change, and simultaneously under threat from climate change — and us.

So, what to do?

This newsletter goes out to 5,000 recipients each month, and on average, 52.7% of those recipients read at least part of it. It’s not a silver bullet, but if everyone reading this post were to commit to an action, great or small, whether it’s replacing a bit of lawn with natives or volunteering to serve the SCNPS as Board president or anything in between, that would be HUGE.

Don’t get depressed. Get involved. Every little bit helps, truly.

And, after all this serious talk, let’s end with something fun: From the Associated Press, an article on the joys (and deliciousness) of Paw Paws!

Riding the Rabbit: New iNaturalist Guide to the Swamp Rabbit Trail!

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As many readers know, the SCNPS publishes a handy guide to the native wildflowers, shrubs, trees, grasses, and vines growing along the Swamp Rabbit Trail (available to download as a PDF HERE, or in brochure form at the locations listed below).

But now member Phil Harpootlian has created an interactive iNaturalist guide, as well. You, too, can help us document the flora of the Trail by signing up for a free iNaturalist account and adding your observations to the list!

Access the iNaturalist project HERE, or visit one of our partners to pick up a brochure. Or even better: Do both!

The SRT brochure can be found…


in Cleveland:

Janice’s BBQ Hut on Hwy 276


in Greenville:

Greenville County Rec (office)

Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery

REI on Woodruff Road


in Travelers Rest:

Sunrift Adventures

Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse

Travelers Rest City Hall

Travelers Rest History Museum


Image Credit: Judy Seeley