Upstate Field Trip: Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve
May 17 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday, May 17, 8:00am to 3:00pm (+-). Join Rick Huffman for a visit to Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve in McCormick County.
Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve is a unique plant community with G1 ranked species such as Miccosukee gooseerry (Ribes echinellum). Unusual mountain wildflowers also seek refuge on the SC site. Imagine seeing trilliums (lance leaved, nodding and faded), False rue anemone, spring beauty, green violets, and Dutchman’s breeches growing just north of Augusta!
The field trip is a lead up to SCNPS May 18th Parks Mill celebration and viewing the Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies. Field trip participants may want to camp or stay over the the 18th event. (see calendar listing for May 18 to register for the Parks Mill Celebration)
Meet at 8am at the Ingles parking lot, Hyw 25 south in Moonville, (7616 Augusta Rd, Piedmont, SC 29673). To register, contact Rick Huffman at <[email protected]> or call 864 901-7583. Please include your phone number. Bring water, lunch and snacks, and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. A hiking stick is recommended.
Rocky Shoals Spider Lilly site permanently preserved
The SC Native Plant Society was able to acquire and protect the last of the land fronting on Stevens Creek at Park’s Mill, where a magnificent population of Rocky Shoals Spider Lily resides. This purchase completes the protection of this wonderful site. To see and appreciate what we are celebrating, go to https://scnps.org/activities/rocky-shoals-spider-lily-preservation-project. We’re sure that you will see why we are in such a jubilant mood.
On Saturday, May 18th, 2019 we will hold an open house and celebration at the Parks Mill site. The lilies will be at peak bloom on that date. We hope that SC Native Plant Society members and guests from all over South Carolina will join us on that day. We will be open from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm. Walking tours of the Site, including the newly acquired acreage, will be available during the morning and afternoon hours, with a break for lunch. There will be catered South Carolina barbecue available on site from 12:00 til 1:00.
The Park’s Mill site is located about 1.8 miles east of Plum Branch, SC, where SC Hwy 283 crosses Stevens Creek. Plum Branch is located about 5 miles south of McCormick on SC Hwy 28. There is limited parking on the Park’s Mill site, so there will be a shuttle running back and forth to downtown Plum Branch from the Mill site.
If you would like to participate, you can come for the morning period or the afternoon period, but plan to be there at noon for the barbecue, and I understand there is fine BBQ to be had in that area. We will be selecting the best catered barbecue for lunch.
Join the Upstate Native Plant Society on Tuesday, March 19, at 7:00 pm as landscaper Jon Fritz shares his expertise in a talk called, “Beyond the Bloom, Native Perennials for Form and Function”
The event is free and open to the public. Arrive at 6:30pm for socializing and refreshments.
The program will be held at Camperdown Academy at 65 Verdae Commons Dr, (not Verdae Blvd) Greenville. Verdae Commons Dr. is a fairly new road and may not show up on older map programs. If you are on Laurens Road, (276) heading north from I-85, cross E. Parkins Mill/ Verdae Blvd. The next intersection will be Henderson Rd.on left and Verdae Commons Dr. on the right. It is across Laurens Road from Bradshaw Mazda at 2512 Laurens Road. Turn right on Verdae Commons and go about 1/8 mile. Look for Camperdown Academy on the left. If you areheading south on Laurens Roadfrom Pleasantburg Rd, pass Haywood Rd and Woodruff Rd on your left. Look for Bradshaw Mazda on the right. Immediately see Henderson Rd. on the right/Verdae Commons Dr. on the left. Turn left onto Verdae Commons Dr. Go about 1/8 mile and look for Camperdown Academy on the left. Look for the SCNPS event signs. You can also put Bradshaw Mazda 2512 Laurens Rd in your map program and that will take you very close to the correct intersection.
The Upstate fall native plant sale is October 13 and 14 from 9am to 2pm each day. There is a wide selection of native trees, shrubs, perennial wildflowers, vines, ferns and some grasses. The sale is at the upstate NPS greenhouse at 180 Lakewood Drive, Greenville, just off of Mauldin Road and one mile from Conestee Park. Cash, checks and credit accepted. The greenhouse is on private property with limited parking. Carpooling suggested.
For a plant and price list, go to: https://scnps.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/SCNPS_2018FallSalePlants_website.pdf
Fall is the best time to plant! Your new plants will have little stress from the heat and can develop a good root system as the soil cools. AND is it a lot more fun to dig holes in October and in June!
In celebration of South Carolina’s Native Plant Week (Oct 16 – 20) the Midlands and Piedmont Chapters of the SC Native Plant Society are hosting field trips to some uniquely interesting natural native plant communities in our area.
South Carolina has a lot of natural diversity for a state of our size, and two of the most interesting sites are the Post Oak Savanna and the Blackjack Oak Savanna.
The Post Oak Savanna is a 50-acre spot in the Long Cane District of the Sumter National Forest. It is located on shallow stony soils in what geologists call the Carolina Slate Belt. These soils restrict rooting depth, so trees on this site are mainly short-statured hardwoods like post oak (Quercus stellata). Larger trees occasionally establish, but with shallow roots, they are subject to wind-throw. Thus the tree canopy is thin, allowing native grasses and wildflowers to establish underneath. So in a region of almost complete forest cover, we find short, thinly spaced trees, and lots of native grasses and wildflowers, similar those in Midwestern tall grass prairies.
The SC Dept. of Natural Resources’ Blackjack Oak Savanna is found on the edge of Rock Hill, in an area of basic rock geology. These basic rocks break down into high calcium, high magnesium soils with near neutral pH. These soils contain a clay type that swells when wet, and shrinks and cracks when dry. This shrinking and swelling is damaging to tree roots. Blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica), another short-statured tree, is more tolerant of these conditions than most other trees. Again, short, thinly spaced trees allow maintenance of native grasses and wildflowers. These two sites contain a large number of prairie-type grasses and wildflowers (some quite rare in our State) that persist naturally, and are unique in the largely forested Piedmont of SC.
The Midlands group will lead a trip to the Post Oak Savanna on Friday, Oct. 20. Meet the group at the Walmart Superstore on Bush River Rd, just off I-20 at 9:30, to carpool to the site, arriving about 10:30. Wear long pants and sturdy shoes, and bring water and a snack. There is a half-mile level walk to the site.
On Saturday, October 21 the Piedmont group will lead a trip to the Blackjacks site. The 10:00 meeting spot in Rock Hill is at the Blackjack Oaks Heritage Preserve parking area off Blackmon Rd. There is limited parking, so please carpool.
Three species have recently been added to South Carolina’s list of regulated pest plant species (also referred to as the Plant Pest List):
Fig Buttercup, also known as Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna/Ranunculus ficaria),
Crested Floating Heart (Nymphoides cristata), and
Yellow Floating Heart (Nymphoides peltata).
It is illegal to buy, sell, trade, or possess a regulated pest plant species within the state; if it is on your property you are legally obligated to remove it.
For the three most recently added species, these regulations are now in effect.
The state plant pest list is maintained and enforced by Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry and can be viewed at this link: www.clemson.edu/invasives
Many of the plants on this list are not familiar to us — and for that we can be grateful. Regulators on the state or federal level have seen how they have behaved in other areas and managed to keep them (mostly) out of our state.
On the other hand, familiar invasive thugs such as Kudzu, Chinese Privet, Tree of Heaven, and Japanese Stiltgrass are noticeably absent from the list. Why? Because by the time their invasiveness was acknowledged, they were so widespread that banning would no longer be effective. It would be like closing the barn door after the cows have gotten out (or in this case, in).
This underscores the importance of timely regulations and knowledgeable and alert regulators — as well as the importance of each of us paying attention to the identity of the plants we see taking up residence in our green spaces! Learn more at the Upstate Chapter’s upcoming meeting in Landrum on Oct 17.
Fig Buttercup is an early-blooming perennial with showy yellow flowers, which gardeners sometimes confuse with the native Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris). Recently, its behavior has transitioned to that of an aggressive invasive species that threatens bottomlands throughout its adopted range.
Its 2013 discovery at Lake Conestee Nature Park was the first documentation of its naturalizing in South Carolina; since then, SCNPS volunteers have worked every year to eradicate it there and in the waterways upstream. An infestation has also been found in York County.
Crested Floating Heart (Nymphoides cristata) and Yellow Floating Heart (N. peltata) are aquatic plants often found in water gardens, which are the source of many of the introductions.
Photo by Keith Bradley.
Crested Floating Heart was first detected at the southeastern end of Lake Marion (Orangeburg County) in 2006, which was the first time that free-living populations of the plant had been found in the US outside of Florida. It has spread throughout the Santee Cooper Lake System (Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie) with a total of some 6,000 acres infested as of October 2012. If not controlled, biologists estimate that it could ultimately infest as much as 40% of the 160,000-acre lake system.
William Bartram called it Pancratium fluitans, we call it Hymenocallis coronaria, but either way the Rocky Shoals Spider Lily is a large, beautiful and rare lily that inhabits shoals and rapids in piedmont streams. Agricultural sedimentation and hydropower development of shoals have drastically reduced the occurrence of this spectacular native plant.
McCormick County Site
In collaboration with the South Carolina Native Plant Society, a site with excellent habitat on 12.8 acres of land and stream bed on Stevens Creek in McCormick County has been purchased by the Naturaland Trust. The stream arises and flows through a largely undeveloped, forested watershed, so the water quality in the stream is good. Several native fish species and a diverse community of aquatic insects, as well as some native mussel species are found in the stream. The lilies site comprises approximately 150 yards of shoals and rapids in the Creek.
The land contains mature pine timber as well as diverse mixed hardwoods. There is a turn-of-the-century grist mill with hydro-power structure and drive train largely intact but non-functional, and 200 yards of mill race canal. Just upstream from the property is an intact impoundment structure and gating for control of water flow to the mill. There is electricity and water on-site, as well as a toilet facility (attached to the mill building).
Although funds are available for the land purchase, additional funds are needed for closing costs and a conservation easement that will ensure the site is protected forever.
Other Costs and Site Improvements
There are improvements to the site that will be needed once the property is acquired. The SCNPS will be the primary manager of the property. Vegetation management will be minimal, probably limited to removing a few trees not native to the site, and a preliminary reduction of invasive species using manual control measures. Occasional controlled burns may be implemented if a workable and safe fire plan can be developed.
The mill needs a new roof to protect the structural integrity of the building. A bridge across the millrace canal will need to be replaced and upgraded. A metal grill will need to be installed over the open mill penstock, for the safety of visitors. We are contemplating building an open-sided pavilion to house meetings, workshops, etc.
If you would like to contribute to this important project, please fill out the donation form below. After submitting your information, you will be redirected to PayPal to securely process your transaction. Thank you!
The Upstate Chapter participated in the Southern Home & Garden Show in Greenville March 4-6. Steve Marlow worked his usual magic in pulling together a great booth filled with information sheets and a lovely selection of native plants provided by Carolina Wild (Anderson, SC). SC NPS provided 26 volunteers for a total of 23 hours of Show time, and the volunteers collected 44 names of folks interested in native plants. The new “Wild Plants on the Rabbit” brochure was especially popular with booth visitors.
Steve Marlow, Rick Huffman, Dan Whitten (Upstate Chapter President)