In his award-winning book, “Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains,” botanist and author Tim Spira, Ph.D., brings to light the tapestry of plant life native to the southern Appalachian Mountains. His book organizes plants into natural communities in an effort to connect the public’s growing understanding of the environment and how all parts of the natural world are mutually dependent.
What: Practical information about using native plants in the home landscape to get more birds, butterflies, biodiversity, beauty and a healthy environment with less watering, maintenance, lawn area and chemicals
Who: Organized by the Tennessee Valley chapter of Wild Ones
When: Saturday, March 9, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Where: Chattanooga State Community College Humanities Building Auditorium, 4501 Amnicola Highway
How much: $40 for Wild Ones members, $50 for nonmembers before March 1; $60 after March 1 (lunch is included with ticket price)
For more information: Click here
Spira, a plant ecologist and native plant gardener who teaches botany at Clemson University, will discuss his book as the keynote speaker during the Native Plant and Natural Landscaping Symposium, which will take place on Saturday, March 9 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga State Humanities Auditorium.
Organized by the Tennessee Valley chapter of Wild Ones, the Native Plant and Natural Landscaping Symposium will provide information about using native plants in residential, public and commercial landscapes to support birds, butterflies, biodiversity, beauty and a healthy environment with less watering, maintenance, lawn area and chemicals.
“The use of native plants is becoming a nationwide trend as more and more people take a sustainable approach to landscaping,” master gardener Sally Wencel, vice president of the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones, said. “Gardeners can really make a big difference in preserving and creating wildlife habitat through the use of native wildflowers, shrubs and trees.”
The symposium is part of Wild Ones' mission to promote environmentally sound landscaping practices to save biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Event organizers aim to highlight the diversity of native plant life found in the Cumberland Plateau region, one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.
“The native wildflowers of Southeast Tennessee often represent the southernmost range of wildflowers found in the North and the northernmost range of wildflowers found in the South,” Wencel said.
Sponsored by the Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center, the Chattanooga Association of Landscape Professionals, the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County and Chattanooga State Community College, the following educational sessions will be offered during the event:
Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachians: Keynote speaker Dr. Tim Spira, author of “Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains,” will explain native plant life in the area and how plant communities support each other and reduce the need for constant intervention. He will also provide information about wildflowers that make an attractive addition to woodland wildflower landscapes.
Building a Native Plant Garden: Native Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines in the Urban Environment: Leon Bates—a forester, biologist, botanist and urban forester/horticulturist—will demonstrate how native trees, shrubs and vines provide basic building blocks for a sustainable and enjoyable urban or suburban yard.
Great Native Perennials for Your Garden: Andy Sessions, owner of Sunlight Gardens, will discuss native perennials, which offer beauty, low maintenance, flower and foliage integrity, profuse blooming, and insect and disease resistance.
Gardening for Nature—Promoting Biodiversity at Home: Plant ecologist Lisa Wagner, director of education at the South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson University, will discuss the use of native plants to encourage birds, butterflies and other creatures to visit and live in the regional landscape.
Managing Invasive Exotic Plants in a Natural Landscape: Cherie Cordell, biological science technician with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has many years of experience in invasive pest plant control and will provide best practices for maintaining a natural landscape.
Symposium speakers will also participate in a group question-and-answer session dealing with gardening challenges in the Tennessee Valley. A selection of native plants will be available for sale from Overhill Gardens of Vonore, Tenn., and Sunlight Gardens of Andersonville, Tenn.
“The symposium is open to anyone who is interested in providing habitat in their yard by putting in a few native wildflowers, shrubs and trees,” Wencel said. “The most sustainable approach to your landscape is a natural approach.”
For more information or to purchase tickets to the Native Plant and Natural Landscaping Symposium, visit http://www.chattanooganatives.blogspot.com/p/tim-spira-to-speak-at-tvwo-native-plant.html.
Jenni Frankenberg Veal is a freelance writer and naturalist living on Walden’s Ridge, whose writing interests include conservation, outdoor travel and sustainable living. Visit her blog at www.YourOutdoorFamily.com.