Greenville County Land Development Regulation Update

Photo by Charles C. Ebbets (1932)

By Doug Lockard 04Sept21

With 16% growth over the past 10 years, and a prediction of 150,000 additional people by 2040, Greenville County has some significant challenges facing it.  That balance between economics and conservation that makes Greenville such a desirable place to live will only become more difficult to attain if action isn’t taken now.  Our community needs leaders to step up and steer things in a positive direction, and we, the people, must speak up to prevent the irrevocable loss of natural land and assure conservation of our quality of life for generations to come.

In 2018, Greenville County enacted the Land and Development Regulation ‘Article 3.1’ which was well-intended to provide address the lack of rural conservation design standards in the then current land development regulations.  Developers, landowners and Councilmembers have been fighting over it ever since.

The most recent version of a revised Article 3.1 passed in June with a 7-5 vote by the Greenville County Council weakened the regulation, allow developers to set aside even less than 30% of land in new subdivisions as was recommended by the county’s planning staff.  It creates a sliding scale ranging from no open-space requirement for subdivisions with 2-acre lots to a 25% open-space requirement in new housing communities with half-acre lots.  It also removed a requirement for developers to widen county roads near new subdivisions.

So why is this important to the SCNPS?  Preventing the loss of native habitat that is critical to our wildlife, our rare and threatened native plants, and our own quality of life is part of the SCNPS mission statement.

The next step will be a public hearing at County Council on a date to be determined. What can you do?  First, be aware of the issues and then communicate with your elected representatives to let them know what you think.

Voting in favor of the Article 3.1 changes:  Ernest Fant, Willis Meadows, Mike Barnes, Chris Harrison, Xanthene Norris, Steve Shaw and Stan Tzouvelekas.  Dissenting votes were cast by Lynn Ballard, Joe Dill, Dan Tripp, Butch Kirven and Liz Seman.

Greenville County Approves Historic and Natural Resources Trust

Roper Mountain Farm Photo courtesy of

by Doug Lockard 04Sept21

In an effort to realize the goals of Greenville County’s recently updated Comprehensive Plan, the County Council voted unanimously in December 2020 to establish this new trust fund.  This Trust is intended to help permanently protect Greenville’s natural and historic assets for residents, visitors, and future generations.

The Trust will be overseen by a Council-appointed board and has named Doug Harper a chair.  Harper said “This Trust will bring critical additional resources to Greenville County from State and Federal Programs, individuals and non-profit organizations. Having a local public funding source is an important criterion when seeking outside grants and funding. This is an investment in our future that will pay big dividends. Besides protecting and enhancing our quality of life, it will help us recruit businesses and good jobs that seek areas with a strong conservation ethic and access to nature. The Council was wise to adopt this ordinance.”

In April 2021, a motion for $10 million seed money for the initial 2-year funding was put to the Board.  Carlton Owen, the Trust’s vice chairman, said of the request “In this first two years, let’s show what we can do.”  Unfortunately, when the budget was approved in June 2021, no funding was provided for the new Trust.  Without funding, the Trust Board will be unable to fulfill the very mission it was created for – to conserve those natural areas most important to wildlife and people.

Then in July, the County Council approved $2 million seed money for the first 2 years.  Disappointing, but at least it’s a start.   As the pace of growth continues unabated, we’ll lose forever incremental opportunities to implement the kind of conservation programs that will ensure Greenville remains the great community it is today.

We wish all the best to Harper, Owen and the team!

Special Work Day at Native Plant Garden

Pickens Native Plant Garden Special Work Morning

September 11 @ 8:30 am – 11:30 am

These Native Plant Garden Volunteers  NEED YOUR HELP!

 Special Saturday Work Day at Native Plant Garden in Downtown Pickens

Volunteer for a one-time rescue work day at the Native plant garden at the Pickens County Museum at 307 Johnson St, Pickens, SC 29671.  Rain cancelled recent regular work days  but the plants (including weeds) loved it and are now “out of hand”!.  This garden is a long-term project of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, Master Gardeners of the Foothills, and the Upstate Master Naturalists Association, but our little band of regular volunteers is currently overwhelmed.

Join us on Saturday, September 11, 8:30 to 11:30am, with Sept. 18 as the rain date.  Bring gloves, hat, water, shovels (narrow blade best), pruners, weeders, and lots of energy to help whip the garden back into shape. With the Covid virus re-surging, please wear a mask and keep a social distance. This  beautiful garden is worth your rescue efforts. As a bonus, there may be excess native plants for you to rescue and take home.  Contact Carol Asalon at [email protected] for more information or to volunteer.



Save The Date: Upstate Fall Native Plant Sale

Upstate Fall Native Plant Sale 2021
September 18 @ 8:00 am – October 16 @ 5:00 pm

We know from all of the inquiries you’ve sent that interest is running very high for a Fall Native Plant Sale. So (drum roll!), without further ado, we’re announcing the SCNPS Fall Plant sale! These are the important dates to remember:

· September 17th: Volunteer Appreciation Day. Volunteers working the sale get to shop first!

· September 18, 20-23rd: SCNPS members only. Orders open online on the 17th (to be pulled on or after the 18th) and members will be notified when orders can be picked up.

· September 24th-October 16th: Open to all. Orders open online on the 23rd (to bepulled on or after the 24th) and customers will be notified when orders can be picked up.

As you can see, the first day, when all the plants are at their best with the deepest inventory, is set aside for the plant sale volunteers only. This is a new incentive to tempt members to come out and volunteer to work two or more shifts at the sale. Shifts are 4 hours long and training is provided. All you need is a smart phone and a desire to save the Earth one plant at a time.


The benefits of fall planting are many:

· Roots, roots, roots! When it comes to a plant’s health, it’s all about the roots. Fall planting gives a plant, tree or shrub plenty of time to develop their root system before the first frost.

· Free watering! One of the best benefits of fall planting is the cool, rainy days for your newly planted beauties.

· Less stress for both you and your new plants. Fall’s cool air provides a nice buffer from the summer heat and it’s easier to plant in cooler air.

· Warm soil. The soil will be warmer in the fall than in the spring. The tops may be getting ready to snooze but the roots will get set up to go through the winter and will come up in the spring ready to go.

So, please mark your calendars and join us for another wonderful Native Plant Society sale at the Upstate Native Nursery. Appointments will be available for on site visits. This will still be a virtual sale with contactless pickup as in the last two sales. You must be a member by September 11th, 2021 in order to qualify for the members only period. Questions? Contact Kathy Harrington at [email protected] or send us an email from the SCNPS website (go to the dropdown menu The Plants) or send to [email protected]

We hope to see orders from all of you. The volunteers have worked very hard all summer to keep the plants in tiptop shape for the Fall sale. Many hours of propagation, germination, potting, pruning, weeding, mowing, maintaining and brainstorming have gone on to make this the best sale ever!

Click here to see all of the plant sale details.

Bradford Pear to be banned in South Carolina!

South Carolina will become only the second state in the United States to ban the sale of Bradford pear trees and any other pear trees grown on the commonly used Pyrus calleryana rootstock.

The ban on sales of Pyrus calleryana — or Callery pear — and three species of Elaeagnus will begin Oct. 1, 2024.

Bradford pears were once touted as sterile, but it turns out that if pollen from any other Pyrus species gets into Bradford pear flowers, the trees can make viable seeds. Those seeds are then eaten by birds and other animals and spread across the Southeastern landscape, contributing directly to one of the worst invasive plant species in the region — the Callery pear.


Bradfore pear

Callery pears are an aggressive invasive species with stems and branches possessing large thorns. They can spread by seed or root sprouts and can quickly take over a roadside, old field, pasture, vacant lot, or forest understory.

Does this mean that homeowners have to cut down a Bradford pear tree or remove the Elaeagnus shrub growing on their property? No, but they are encouraged to do so. In fact, Clemson University runs an annual program where residents can obtain a free, native replacement tree in exchange for cutting down their Bradford pear tree. For more details, see the Clemson Bradford Pear Bounty program.


The noxious weed shrub Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) has sadly been promoted for “wildlife plantings”.


One of the South’s most overplanted trees, per The Southern Living Garden Book.

“I think the impacts of it as it gets out into the natural landscape are pretty evident,” said David Coyle, assistant professor of Forest Health and Invasive Species at Clemson. “Frankly, there are a lot better things that people could put in their yards; there are a lot of good natives they should probably plant instead.”

Not only do Callery pears have nasty thorns that can damage everything from tractor tires to livestock, but they also damage the ecosystem by crowding out native plants while providing little to no food for insects.

The ban on these plants will make them illegal to sell or trade within South Carolina. “There are several ways to attack the problem, and one of those ways is to just stop it from being sold,” Coyle said. “As part of Clemson Extension’s Bradford Pear Bounty program, we’re trying to teach consumers that there are better things to plant and, essentially, teach them not to buy those non-native species. But you can’t reach everyone that way, so we’re trying to come at it from another way and just make it illegal to sell them.”


Noxious weeds are weeds that have been designated by an agricultural or other governing authorities as a plant that is injurious to crops, ecosystems, humans or livestock. To read the full news release, visit Clemson News: Invasive Bradford pear, 3 other species to be banned for sale in SC.

To learn about South Carolina’s other listed species, browse the State Plant Pest List.

Remembering Jim Fowler

In case you haven’t heard, we are sad to report the passing of SCNPS member James Alexander Fowler.

One of the earliest members of the Upstate Native Plant Society, Jim was a prolific contributor for many years. Having spent years of field research on native orchids and carnivorous plants, he became a leading expert in his field of study as a naturalist. His books and native plant images and information online provide valuable content to the science, and he was honored by the U.S.Postal Service with the publication of Wild Orchids Forever Stamp collection in 2020. Jim took his last photography field trip on Mount Mitchell on June 25, 2021.

Learn more about this incredible member and his contributions to native plants research and in our society in

Bill Stringer’s Remembering Jim Fowler

Patrick McMillan’s tribute

Walter Ezell’s The Timeline of an Untimely End

July 20 Going Native to Attract Beneficials

Upstate Program:  Going Native to Attract Beneficials

Join the Upstate Chapter on Tuesday, July 20, at 7pm for a timely presentation on attracting beneficial insects.  Drew Jeffers, our presenter, is a Spartanburg County Extension agent.

The Zoom link is: Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 843 8837 3145

Passcode: 725876

Join the virtual gathering at 6:30 pm for socializing.  The meeting will start at 7:00 pm hosted by Dan Whitten.


Jeffers has wide ranging experience.  He says, “I am a native of the mountains of eastern Tennessee. I have a B.S. in Agriculture and Plant and Soil Science, and M.S. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Tennessee. My thesis project focused on woody tree and shrub liner production. I have worked as an herbaceous perennial grower for Zelenka Nurseries, a production manager for Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery, a bedding plant grower for Van Wingerden International, and an Integrated Pest Management(IPM)coordinator for Costa Farms – Costa Carolina.

Chat with your fellow SCNPS members and learn how to draw more beneficial insects into your landscape.

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]

Join the Upstate Communications Team

Communications are key to achieving the goals of the SCNPS:

  • To Educate and inform the importance of native plants
  • To support efforts to protect habitats and endangered species
  • To encourage the use of native plants in public and private landscaping
  • To promote the commercial availability of native plant materials

Several positions have opened up in our Upstate Communications Team and we’re looking for a variety of skill sets to contribute to this important program.

Publicity Chair:  Due to Covid 19 we are currently without a Publicity Chair on the Board of Directors.  This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to help convey the important conservation message to the Upstate community and keep our friends abreast of SCNPS Upstate activities.  The job involves developing relationships volunteer writers and photographers to create meaningful and timely articles, and orchestrating the distribution by the various media outlets including press releases, e-mail notices, newsletter, social media, and print.  There’s plenty of room for growth and innovation.  Let your communication skills and creativity take wing and realize the satisfaction of making an exponentially beneficial impact on your community!.

Newsletter Editor:  Keith Manchester has been our Editor of the printed newsletter ‘Upstate Happenings’ for the past 10 months and we appreciate his willingness to take on and learn the job.  Keith has a new paying job which he needs to focus his time and energy so he’ll be leaving us after the December newsletter. We’re sorry to see him go, but grateful for his contribution and we wish him well in his new endeavors.  We all do what we can, and now it’s time for someone else’s turn!

More Opportunities:  The two important positions above are considered key to the Upstate Media Team, but other talents and contributions are needed.   Other skill sets that would complement the Upstate Media Team would include an assistant editor for the newsletter, a new social media editor, a graphic artist, an Upstate website editor, a photo/video editor, just for example.  Experience in a variety of software platforms would also be helpful, and we’re currently utilizing WordPress, InDesign, MailChimp, Squarespace, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Keith and others are here to help you get started.  Remember; it’s not about how much time you have, it’s about how you can help with the time you do have.

We hope to have piqued your interest, and if so, please contact our Upstate Chapter President Virginia Meador to discuss.


Upstate Zoom Meeting Tues. Nov. 17

Upstate General Meeting with Helen Mohr

Where:  Zoom Virtual Meeting
When:  Tuesday Nov 17, 2020 from 6:30pm 
Our speaker for November’s meeting is Helen Mohr, M.S., and she will present, “Fire in the South Carolina Mountains, Past, Present and Future”.  Helen is a Forester with the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Research Station at Clemson, and the Director of the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists.  She and her student-led fire crew were recently featured in Clemson World in the article “Fire Tiger”. She has many years of experience working with fire as a firefighter, researcher, communicator and mentor.
Helen just returned from a 3-week stint fighting fires out in Colorado while spending nights in a tent! Here in South Carolina, she is an expert on using fire to benefit forests with controlled burns. During her talk, Helen will discuss fire ecology with an overview of prescribed fire in the SC mountains.

Meeting ID: 823 0573 3563
Passcode: 087244

Join the meeting at 6:30 for some Zoom social time.  The program will start at 7pm.