The Midlands Chapter celebrates South Carolina’s December Arbor Day with a sale of native trees and shrubs selected to thrive in our region. Plan now for what you can get into your landscape when woody species are dormant–the best time to plant them.
Come shop beautiful native trees and shrubs that are especially beneficial to birds, insects, and other wildlife. From shade trees to showy fragrant azaleas, you’ll find a great selection. (P.S., They make meaningful holiday and commemorative gifts!)
Most are priced at $20 or $25 for 3 gallon pots.
Also on hand: native plant books from local indie seller All Good Books, and SCNPS hats, shirts, and tote bags!
This one-day sale will be at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home in downtown Columbia.
Saturday, December 2, 2023
1705 Hampton St., Columbia, SC
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Volunteers shop early at 9 a.m.
Members of SCNPS and Historic Columbia shop early at 9:30.
Open to the public at 10 a.m.
Seeking volunteers! Help us unload and set up plants Friday, Dec. 1, and during the Saturday sale.
Email [email protected]
Keynote presentation with a panel of individuals responsible for preserving the land that became Congaree National Park, and those who are key to expanding the protected area surrounding the park boundaries.
Saturday Field Trips Following the Meeting (See detailed descriptions below)
Guided walk to see the natural wetland plants at Saluda Shoals Park
Saluda Riverwalk: Powerline Demonstration Garden and Nature Walk:
Hear about our surprising collaboration with Dominion Energy to re-imagine their list of plants suitable for planting under power lines: now all native! The Midlands Chapter received a grant to create a garden to demonstrate how homeowners can use the list to create wildlife-friendly habitats. After a brief discussion at the garden, Midlands Master Naturalist, Midlands Chapter Board Member, and former City of Columbia park ranger, Bailey Parker, will lead a nature walk along the river. Meet at the Saluda Riverwalk, 650 Candi Lane, Columbia, SC
As the sun goes down, we’ll all meet up at a local watering hole.
Sunday Field Trips
Begin at 10:00 a.m.
Visit state and national record trees in Congaree with John Cely
John Cely, wildlife biologist and author of several books on the Congaree National Park and Cowasee Basin, will guide a walk to state and national record trees in Congaree, South Carolina’s only National Park. The hike will last 2-3 hours and cover about 4 miles. Dress accordingly and bring water and snacks. Meet at the Harry Hampton Visitors Center, 100 National Park Rd. Hopkins, SC.
“Bird’s eye view” of the Park from Congaree Bluffs
Clay Parker, President of Columbia Audubon, and Kathy Boyle, retired DNR biologist and local expert, will lead a 1.5 mile ramble on the recently-protected Arant Tract in Fort Motte, SC. This property was placed in a conservation easement and acquired by the National Audubon Society in July 2023. It is home to some of the most stunning views of the Congaree floodplain. The 150 foot sheer cliffs on the southern bank of the Congaree River make for unique habitat. Plants that are rare in the Midlands seem to thrive here due to the microclimate created by the cliffs. Things like Comandra umbellata, Campanula divaricata, and Rhododendron eastmanii have been observed on or near the cliffside. While it might be too late in the year to see all of these species in their full glory, this walk will give you a chance to see why this place is special for plants and animals. The trail difficulty rating is moderate (logging roads with elevation changes) and the total time will be about 2-3 hours depending on how briskly the group wants to move. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit this conservation tract that is typically not open to the public!
All field trips are free with registration. Sign up as you register for the symposium and check at the registration table for maps and other important information.
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)
Midlands Chapter member Trish Jerman discovered that Dominion Energy’s list of suggested trees for under powerlines contained mostly nonnative and even invasive species, so she contacted them and offered our assistance to revise it with native plants. Happily, they were open to the idea.
Trish gathered a small working group to research native trees and shrubs with high wildlife value that also meet Dominion’s height restrictions.
We are once again partnering with the Historic Columbia Foundation, which will offer tours of the grounds. You’ll get to see some of the same natives offered at the sale growing at Robert Mills House gardens. Tours begin at 4:00 pm on Friday and 11:00 am on Saturday. In addition, SC Native Plant Society members will stage educational demonstrations during the sale.
New this sale: Sal’s Old Timey Feed and Seed will join us to offer great natives for sale.
Interested in volunteering and getting an early look at the plant selection? Please contact [email protected].
The Midlands Chapter is excited to host its first native plant sale, and honored to partner with Historic Columbia Foundation during their fall sale.
Historic Columbia is actively working to replant many of its gardens with native species. They are generously sharing space at the Robert Mills House with SCNPS for this sale, so shoppers can select from both groups’ plant offerings.
Please plan to pay by credit card and mask up when you can’t stay 6 feet apart. Bring a cart or wagon if you think you might be tempted to get more than two hands can hold.
For questions or if you’re interested in volunteering (and getting an early opportunity to shop) please contact [email protected].