Return of the native

The Western North Carolina chapter of the North Carolina Native Plant Society will host its annual native-plant symposium this Saturday, Feb. 2, at the North Carolina Arboretum.

Featured speakers will include Patrick McMillan, curator of the Campbell Museum at Clemson University and host of South Carolina Public Television’s “Expeditions,” presenting on the rare plants and plant communities of the Blue Ridge escarpment, and Biltmore Farms horticulturist Amy Fahmy, on plant rescue and landscaping with natives.

The event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the arboretum’s education center. Admission is free, but there is a $6 parking fee.

— Kent Priestley, gardening editor

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7 thoughts on “Return of the native

  1. zen

    This is exciting! Everyone should try to landscape with natives as much as possible and help in whatever way they can to celebrate the amazing biological diversity of this area. I used to be the Resident Gardener at the Botanical Gardens on the UNC-A campus and have a huge respect for the NC Native Plant Society and organizations trying to preserve and promote native plants in our area.

    On another note, it still burns my biscuits that the Arboretum received over $10 million in state-approved funds (read: our taxes) and still feels the need to charge $6 a car to get in. The Botanical Gardens is free and receives no state money!

    http://ashevillebotanicalgardens.org/

  2. conbostic

    I’m with zen- $6 to get into a facility that we PAID FOR is just too elitist-I guess it does keep out the rif-raf!

  3. lumina

    i was a little put off by the parking fee too, but then reconsidered when i realized that the arboretum is the safest place to hike for a single mom and her kid when our couch potato friends don’t want to go along (i’d go into national forest in a group or with another adult, but not alone) … i joined the arboretum for a mere $40 and can visit anytime during the year without paying. there are about 500 acres of forested trails for the lily-livered like me, and i can cross into national forest trails if i’m feeling brave (or with someone). i think the fee is a good idea if it deters meanies … (and tuesdays are free) … it was in the nearby bent creek area that karen stiles was found dead and bound to a tree, and i can’t shake the thought of the guy just nabbed who had been killing female hikers and decapitating them. i know we’re supposed to just be brave and reclaim what’s ours, but i’m too chicken to hike alone and need the arboretum’s safety to keep my hike on. i hope to enjoy some of their programs too … this one sounds way cool!

  4. lumina

    by the way, the arboretum has gated roads, security guards who patrol the trails, phones stationed throughout the property and great facilities … i feel like i got my $40 worth …

  5. zen

    Not that i’m a decapitationist, but i’ve never seen a security guard on the trails down that way except right down by the parking lots. Though i’ve always entered the Arboretum either from above on the parkway or below from Bent Creek. And i suppose those phone things work, but they’re not on every trail. I’m glad it’s there for you, Lumina, but i still think that it could’ve made Buncombe County residents free and charged more for leaf-tourists.

  6. lumina

    i’m not sure if the phones work, but i know my cell phone has good coverage throughout, and that means a lot (not usually the case in national forest) … when hiking this past weekend (my first at the arboretum in ages), i passed two uniformed security guards on the trail at different times. i was well within the boundaries, though …

    the facilities are extra nice … i can’t wait to attend some of the programs like this one on native plants … !

  7. zen

    When April gets here, absolutely do visit their Azalea collection down by the stream – all manner of varieties bloom there and it’s all a wonder moving from plant to plant to see the differences, esp for kids and kids-at-heart. It’s amazing.

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