Upcoming events for NCNPS-Southern Piedmont Chapter

Begin forwarded message:

From: Beth Davis

Subject: Upcoming events for NCNPS-Southern Piedmont Chapter

Date: February 4, 2018 12:29:20 PM EST

Butterflies, Caterpillars and the Native Plants that support them.

​​Details:

Sunday, February 11. 2PM -4PM
Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Rd. Charlotte, NC 28215

Free and open to the public.
Our speaker will be Don Seriff, who is a Natural Resources Coordinator with Mecklenburg County. He is one of the founding members of the Carolina Butterfly Society. He and his staff collected data on the butterflies of Mecklenburg County for a quarter of a century. In 2001, Don began the Southern Lake Norman Butterfly Count which is still conducted annually today. He is an award winning wildlife biologist, a state-certified Environmental Educator, and the author of the newly published book “Birds of the Central Carolinas”.

NCNPS Hikes
The following two hike opportunities are open to members of NCNPS only and cohosted by Mecklenburg Audubon (March 17) and Catawba Lands Conservancy (May 4). Number of slots are limited and pre-registration is required.

The Audubon Society has declared 2018 as the Year of the Bird, and March is Native Plant Month. To celebrate our native birds and the native plants that support them, the NCNPS-Southern Piedmont Chapter and Mecklenburg Audubon Society are offering a joint hike on March 17 at Latta Prairie. Led by Jim Guyton, President of Meck Audubon, and Dr. Larry Mellichamp.
Date/Time: march 17, 8:30 AM
Location: Latta Prairie, meet at Nature Center Parking Lot, Latta Plantation Preserve

Bring: Binoculars
Registration required (limit 10 members):
ncnpsspchapter

Friday, May 4 | 1-4 p​Hike ​
Redlair Preserve
144 Redlair Lane Gastonia, NC MAP
4+ miles | Moderate to strenuous hike | Ages 12+
*Pre-registration is required for this FREE event.

During this afternoon hike we will be seeking out the spring blooms of the Big-Leaf Magnolia – a unique native tree whose leaves can reach up to 3 ft in length!​ For more details and to register use this
​link​. Limited attendance to 20.​

Seedling Sale and January Meeting for Southern Piedmont Chapter

Begin forwarded message:

From: Beth Davis <ncnpsspchapter>

Subject: Seedling Sale and January Meeting for Southern Piedmont Chapter

Date: December 11, 2017 2:19:31 PM EST

Mecklenburg County Soil and Water Conservation District is planning their 47th Annual Tree Seedling Sale on February 17, 9-12 Noon. Deadline to pre-order is December 29. Follow this link for an interactive list of available seedlings and to find the pre-order form.
Tree Order Form

Seedlings range from $2 to $3. Rain Barrels are also available to purchase for $105 for 60 gallons, and $120 for 80 gallons.

A Day in the Life of a Botanist–
Have you ever wondered what does a professional botanist do, if all of the plants have already been discovered? Join the NCNPS-Southern Piedmont Chapter in January as we hear from David Campbell, of HARP. David will share with us– why botany is important, and highlight some of the rare plants found in Polk County NC as an example. When you have a passion for plants, there is always something new to discover.

Presumed new species of Yucca found in Polk County NC

Polk County is just west of Shelby and has a number of unusual habitats and has been minimally studied in recent years. David has found a number of interesting species heretofore unknown for that region. Polk County is in the Isothermal Belt of moderate summer and winter climate, and includes Pearson’s Falls Glen which has a very high number of species coming together due to the rich soils and moderate climate. Some plants will be familiar to Piedmont gardeners and some plants will be more from the mountainous regions.

Details:
Sunday, January 14. 2PM -4PM
Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Rd. Charlotte, NC 28215

Free and open to the public.

Visiting Laurel Hill Preserve

The Southern Piedmont Chapter’s recent visit to Laurel Hill Preserve was a fabulous walk amongst paths carpeted with Partridge Berry and Club Moss under a canopy of Bigleaf Magnolia Magnolia macrophylla.

JD mag mac
Bigleaf Magnolia canopy, photo by Jennifer Daggy

While we never made it to the biggest Bigleaf Magnolia on the site (shown below in a tree hug by Larry Mellichamp), our group enjoyed wandering in the forest under those massive leaves. Larry Magnolia macrophylla Best IMG_20170907_180951570

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Partridge Berry Mitchella repens

Our hike was lead by Laurel Hill Farm owner, Amy Nason, and former NCNPS President, Dr. Larry Mellichamp. As Dr. M pointed out, this is such an important conservation site because Bigleaf Magnolia is only found in 5 counties between Statesville and York in the Carolinas. It’s always fun to learn botany factoids from Dr. M, for instance…Bigleaf Magnolia is distinctive because the leaves have ears, and is one of only 3 Magnolia with that distinctive trait. The other 2 are M. fraseri (found only in the mountains, bright red fruit cone) and M. ashei (found in a limited range in Florida, but grows well in the Piedmont, blooms at a young age).

On our way down to the swinging bridge over Long Creek, we were fortunate to happen upon a wooly aphid dance on a Beech Tree branch. The rich woods have benefited from the summer rains and our group spotted Beech Drops, Collinsonia, Hearts-a-Burstin’, Galax, Indian Ghost Pipe, and Sourwood.

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Bigleaf Magnolia cone

Laurel Hill is a working farm in Gaston County with goats, chickens and pigs. Amy milks the goats daily and if you’re interested in some of her farm products such as goat milk and cheese or eggs, contact her to join her farm email list at amygnason@yahoo.com. Amy and her family encourage visitors and are planning an invasive work day in September.  There are several study sites on the property from area university graduate students looking at snail and mushroom populations.

IMG_5648Laurel Hill Preserve was put into the Catawba Lands Conservancy by Frank Ewing, the former owner, and we were fortunate to be joined on this hike by his daughter Robin Ewing. During their tenure the property was primarily used as a plant nursery. Since we just happened to be there on Hurricane Irma eve, Robin commented that Hurricane Hugo, in 1989 changed the landscape due to massive amounts of tree fall and possibly opened the canopy to a greater population of Bigleaf Magnolia with huge number of fallen trees leading to more light openings.

 

 

Native Plants Make Great Urban Neighbors

I have been impressed on several recent trips to New York City with the palette and emphasis on native plants in New York’s city parks. I’m not talking about the High Line, which in itself is a fabulous array of native plants in a linear park on an elevated rail bed. And I don’t even know if the High Line inspired the parks department or if they all just got Doug Tallamy’s message (Bringing Nature Home at the same time. But from Central Park’s Hallett Nature Sanctuary, to Governer’s Island new installation “The Hills”,

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Governer’s Island in New York

or the waterfront park at Randall’s Island , New York City Parks department has installed some very impressive beds dominated by native plants.

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Randall’s Island in New York City

Additionally impressive is that NYC Parks have planned for interpretive signage explaining what visitors are seeing and why it is important. These parks are attractive and inviting to both human and wildlife visitors. Some parks include both saltwater and freshwater mitigation and reclamation with appropriate signage explaining the process and identifying wildlife.

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Wildflower Meadow signage, Randall’s Island

These beds are mixed among soccer fields, greenway paths, concert lawns, golf courses, baseball fields, picnic areas, and reclaimed land such as in The Hills.

All I can say is….C’mon Charlotte….take this as a challenge! Incorporate broad sweeps of locally sourced native plants that benefit wildlife, that are attractive and interesting and different. Almost all of the foliage beds in in ALL of the NYC parks that I have seen over recent years feature huge sweeps of Heuchera, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Lobelia, and many more native plants. Grasses are used extensively to blend the beds together. It’s inspiring on so many levels, and beneficial in a city, that is undoubtedly covered in concrete. Charlotte is the city of trees….but we can do so much more.