Susie Harwood Garden and the Mellichamp Terrace

The gardens at UNC-Charlotte are looking great right now. I stopped by this week and took a few photos that I thought you might enjoy seeing. This time of year it’s impossible to keep up with all the new blooms and leaves and fronds, but it’s fun to try. Too bad you can’t pitch a tent there. Although come to think of it, there is a “hang your hammock” area and that’s almost as good.

Columbine and Royal Fern Susie Harwood Garden UNC Charlotte

Just inside and to the right in The Susie Harwood Garden, this bed of Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and American Royal Fern (Osmunda spectabilis) comes into view.

Osmundastrum cinnamomeum Cinnamon Fern

A Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) with lots of characteristic fertile fronds sits just to the left.

Cinnamon Fern Pinnae Tufts

Even in the absence of spore-laden structures, flip over a frond and look for tufts of hair at the base of each pinna. These, too, will help you determine that you’re looking at at Cinnamon Fern.

Wildflower bed Susie Harwood Garden

A wildflower bed with several species of Trillium, foamflower, bloodroot, and heuchera.

Mellichamp Native Terrace Coreopsis and Phlox

At the edge of the Harwood Garden is the Mellichamp Native Terrace. Coreopsis and phlox are the current stunning pops of color for a background of lush, green texture. The fuzzy Fringe-tree (Chionanthus virginicus) at the back of the garden

Chionanthus virginicus flowers

Fringe-tree shows off the delicate flowers that earned it its common name.

Mellichamp Native Terrace ferns and wildflowers

Cinnamon Fern with Celandine-poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum). Notice all those dangly seedpods?

Stylophorum diphyllum Celandine Poppy

Celandine-poppy likes to spread itself around, but who minds? All those yellow flowers are little spots of sunshine in the garden.

Physocarpus opulifolius Ninebark

A plant that doesn’t do well for me (deer, dry soil) looking great here — Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius).

Physocarpus opulifolius flowers

Ninebark’s clusters of rosy blooms.

Aesculus pavia flowers

Who doesn’t love Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)? Such interesting flowers, and so gorgeous, too, draping slightly with the weight of their lushness. The petals look like little hearts.

Aesculus pavia Susie Harwood Garden

This fabulous specimen is waiting for you on the path out of (or into) the garden.


For information about visiting, volunteering, donating, or becoming a member: UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens

Grow Native

Grow Native — Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden by Lynn M. Steiner jumped off the shelf at me when I walked by it in the library recently. I thought you might like to know about it, too.

Grow Native 3

At a little over 200 pages it isn’t a huge book, but it is packed with information. Five chapters cover the what and why of native plants, selecting and planting them, how to create an effective landscape using native plants, and caring for what you’ve planted. The last half of the book (Chapter 5) is approximately 100 profiles of good choices for the home landscape. Steiner’s selections are not specific to the Southeast, but most of them work well in the Carolina Piedmont.

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Plenty of sidebars and charts let you know things like what to plant instead of vinca (how about creeping phlox or Allegheny spurge?), or for special uses such as attracting bees or birds (consider columbine, liatris, or dozens of others she lists). Photos affirm the beauty of a native landscape and provide some inspiration.

Steiner’s stance on a number of issues made me either smile or think, Wait, what? She is cautious with nativars, and against insecticides (expected), but put a lot of emphasis on soil preparation and mulch (a little surprising). There are some good tips for dealing with various gardening challenges, such as deer and diseases, and many of the plant profiles provide uncommon and helpful tidbits gleaned from her many years of gardening.

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While it might not be the only book on native plants, I do think it’s a good one, particularly for someone new to the idea. It would make a good gift book for the right person. Hearing another enthusiast’s view of the issues involved with native plant gardening as well as her experience with our favorite species made it quite an enjoyable read for me.

Grow Native 1

I just noticed that Amazon is selling it for $3.29 at the moment. I’m not sure how long that will last, but you can’t beat it! Don’t forget to sign up for Amazon Smile if you haven’t already. Then the North Carolina Native Plant Society will get a donation for each purchase you make at no extra cost to you.

Calendar for 2018

All meetings 2:00 pm at Reedy Creek Nature Center unless otherwise noted.

January 14: “A Day in the Life of a Botanist,” with David Campbell

February 11: “Butterflies, Caterpillars, and the Native Plants that Support them,” with Don Seriff

March 4: “The Importance of Threads and Fragments: Designing Urban Greenspace,” with Laurel Holtzapple

April 8: Hike along the Waxhaw segment of the Carolina Thread Trail. 1304 H.C. Nesbit Park Road, Waxhaw, NC 28173, Meet in parking lot at 2:00 pm.

May 13: Wildflower hike, location to be determined based on bloom schedule. More info coming in the Chapter newsletter.

June 2: NCNPS Annual State Picnic and Plant Auction, 11–3. 5920 Hagan Stone Park Road, Pleasant Garden, NC (near Greensboro). This is a great opportunity to enjoy some BBQ and bid for plants you rarely see in stores. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share.

July 18–21: Cullowhee Native Plant Conference in Cullowhee, NC. Many Native Plant Society members attend this conference each year to learn about native plants, go on hikes, purchase books, plants and t-shirts, and generally have a great time at “Plant Camp.” All are welcome.

News and Notes from Southern Piedmont Chapter

Begin forwarded message:

From: Beth Davis

Subject: News and Notes from Southern Piedmont Chapter

Date: March 15, 2018 12:25:24 PM EDT

NC Native Plant Society’s version of March Madness…we’re all familiar with the excitement of Spring!

I am sharing a project (pdf attached) from Will Pearson, a senior at Northwest School of the Arts that is native plant and butterfly friendly. If you can find time to support Will in his senior project by volunteering to help plant or to supply plants please contact Will directly (willpill202) This is so important for future generations of not only people but butterflies too.

NCNPS-SP Chapter has several volunteer opportunities coming up–more details to Follow:

  • Pollinator Garden installation on April 28, 11-2PM in Mt. Holly, newly designated a Bee City USA. Allison Pittman will be looking for materials and volunteers. Contact Allison at
  • Southern Piedmont Chapter is looking for 1-2 Volunteers to Co-Chair chapter events in the next year, Starting July 1. Lisa and I will transition the new leadership team over the next year. This is a wonderful opportunity to make friends and build relationships with fellow plant geeks and botanically oriented friends. Please contact Beth ncnpsspchapter if you are interested.

​Thank you to Betsy Coo​ke for the fabulous plants for the March meeting raffle including a big pot of Sweet Betsy trillium and a handmade bird feeder, and thank you to Lisa Tompkins of Carolina Heritage Nursery for donating several plants including some wild ginger.

The April meeting, April 8 will be a hike, location TBD…we need to watch the weather, but you can be sure we’ll find some delightful spring wildflowers to view.

Upcoming plant sales and plant events include:

  • Winghaven Spring Plant Sale April 5-7
  • UNC Charlotte Botanical Garden Plant Sale April 13-14
  • Tuesday, April 17th at 1:00pm, and Sunday, April 22nd at 2:00pm, Join environmental educator Carla Vitez for a unique tour in the Van Landingham Glen UNCC BG. Get to know eight of our most majestic native species through the words of naturalist Donald Peattie, as Carla‘s interpretation blends botany, history, and the human connection to these forest icons. Meet at the Greenhouse

Help Save The Monarchs at NWSA.pdf.pdf