Hummingbird Festival 2017!

Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve, a Mecklenburg County park in north Charlotte hosts one of the best family friendly festivals in town each August. The main attraction is the banding of visiting hummingbirds  by local naturalists for study and tracking.  This year is the 10th anniversary of the festival, and over 2,100 people attended the festival and 17 hummingbirds were banded by Susan Campbell, local hummingbird expert. The family fun is extended with a variety of programs, presentations, interactive opportunities, booths offering environmentally friendly information to visitors…and of course FOOD!

The NC Native Plant Society booth staffed by Larry Mellichamp, Vicki Jo and Ronnie Franks, Allison Pittman, Tracey Grimm, and Beth Davis sold several hummingbird friendly plants including (click on the plant name to learn more in our Eco-Friendly Native Plant of the Month section):

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Lonicera sempervirens  Coral Honeysuckle
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Aquilegia canadensis Eastern Columbine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salvia coccinea
Salvia coccinea Scarlet Sage
Lobelia cardinalis and ruby-throat from 204
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower

 

If you missed the festival and would like to purchase hummingbird friendly plants for your garden for next year, be sure to put UNCC’s Fall Plant Sale on your calendar, October 13-14, 2017.

The NCNPS booth also entertained visitors with the fun and messy opportunity to make seed bombs to take home to start their own native plant garden. So easy to make with a little compost, clay, water and prairie seed mix and easy to take home in a hand decorated pot.image1

Thank you to Allison Pittman and Holy Angels in Belmont for donating Scarlet Sage plants and to Larry Mellichamp for donating Cardinal Flower plants for sale. Thank you to Carolina Heritage Nursery for supplying Coral Honeysuckle plants and donating a portion of the profit to NCNPS. Thank you to Will Stuart and Allison Pittman for sharing their photos.

Making seed bombs–the native plant way

Thank you to Dennis Testerman, Margaret Genkins, Carrie DeJaco, and Allison Pittman for teaching kids and family how to make seed bombs and sharing our “Favorite Plants of the Piedmont” list. It’s amazing how interested and engaged our neighbors can be once we start connecting the dots…plants are caterpillar food, birds eat caterpillars, you enjoy the birds in your backyard…so feed them native plants!20170415_124741.jpgNCNPS President Larry Mellichamp challenged members at the 2016 Annual Picnic  to share botany lore and native plants with our communities and most importantly with children. So how to make a seed bomb? Mix equal parts modeling clay and compost, and then roll it around in the seed mix. Let it dry at home, and then “bomb” a bare patch of soil. Try to keep the area moist for about 2 weeks to allow the seeds to germinate. Thank you also to Kelly Lojk for designing the bookmark to go with our Aquilegia canadensis seed packets.  Eastern Columbine is incredibly easy to grow from seed…come visit us and purchase your seed packet for only $1 and start your own native plant garden with seeds or a bomb right away!

NCNPS will also be appearing at the following locations in April:

  • March for Science, Marshall Park, Charlotte April 22
  • Earthfest, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden on April 29
  • Statesville Earth Festival on April 29

There’s still time to volunteer if you want to get your hands dirty, and tell stories about plants. Email ncnpsspchapter@gmail.com if you are interested.

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December 2016 Meeting Report

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Reedy Creek Nature Preserve in December

Now that it’s nearly time for our January meeting, I thought I should give a quick report for December! For those of you who missed it, December is always special. In addition to the program, we bring our favorite foods to share …

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and exchange native plant seeds.

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Seeing what everyone brings to the seed exchange is so much fun! This year’s offerings included Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum), titi (Cyrilla recemiflora), stiff goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigida, syn. Solidago rigida), and fevertree (Pinckneya bracteata). Milkweed, columbine, several species of Rudbeckia, and other interesting seeds were available as well. Growing from seed is one of the best ways to get varieties not commonly available in nurseries to add to your garden. Our “Compost Queen” has done a post about starting any seeds you might have picked up: Native Plant Seed Propagation

Between the food and the seed exchange, Reedy Creek naturalist and educator Laura Domingo presented the program, “Backyard Wildlife.” It is delightful to know, isn’t it, that the more native plants you have in your garden, the more local wildlife you are likely to see. Laura has a passion for nature that is infectious! She introduced us to dozens of fascinating animals we could encounter as we spend time outside in our neighborhoods and gardens. From graceful butterflies and birds to elegant turtles and snakes, when you know what to look for, your backyard is exciting during all seasons.

Thank you to Laura, and all who worked to make the meeting happen, to the many who brought food and seeds, and to those of you who came and supported the effort to spread the word about native plants. You are all appreciated!

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