Update on the CNC native gardens
By Jacqueline McRae, Manager of Horticulture and Gardens
Out on the grounds here at CNC, the Horticulture Team is truly gardening for wildlife year-round. In summer there is much work to be done to keep nectar flowing for the butterflies, bees, and other pollinators that visit the grounds.
Every day we tend to the amazing collections of native plants that provide shelter and will produce the seeds and berries for our Georgia birds and wildlife in the fall. With our visitors in mind, we want the beds of plants native to Georgia to look the best they can so when you visit there is always something new to see in bloom.
Volunteers helping on the CNC grounds
A newly forming group of CNC grounds volunteers has begun to pitch in with the Horticulture Team and beginning to appreciate the satisfaction of bigger projects such as rescuing trees inundated with vines as well as smaller projects such as weeding very carefully between the native Georgia plants we want to see thrive.
Down in the weeds we are literally as close to nature as anyone can be!
Native Plant Sale
It is important to our local Georgia food web that we especially look after the plants native to Georgia and include them in our landscapes. We grow wildflowers here at CNC and you can too in your home gardens and community spaces. These native plants are adapted to our weather and our soils. They provide vital sources of food and shelter for birds, caterpillars, and many other species of wildlife that call Georgia home.
With this in mind, you can imagine how happy the Horticulture Team was to discover the first orange and black caterpillars of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly chowing down on newly emerged Passionflower vines growing in the gardens.
You too can look forward to feeding many other butterflies and hosting their caterpillars with our Georgia plants in the months to come by checking out the native plant sale located next to the Butterfly Encounter until August 8.
Unity Garden Update
CNC has a group of volunteers that loves to pull weeds and who readily join the Horticulture team each week in the Unity Garden to pitch in and help. “Weeding is meditative”, they say, even in the Georgia summer heat and humidity as they happily get in between rows of vegetables and beds of herbs to pull out any offending weeds. No worries, there are plenty of weeds left for any of you who would like to join us!
The Unity Garden was fully planted for summer by mid-June using plants grown from the seeds sown with the help of volunteers earlier in the spring. With all of us working together Horticulture successfully raised extra tomato and pepper seedlings and was very happy to be able to donate these plants for distribution by the Atlanta Food Well Alliance.
Volunteering at CNC
Last month we greeted large groups of volunteers with open arms for the first time since what felt like forever. In addition to the usual harvesting, weeding, and planting in June we also embarked on a project to build a second set of raised beds in the Unity Garden. The raised beds will help to provide good drainage for our plants and keep out some of the weeds from the pathways through the garden.
Check out the CNC website to volunteer if you like the idea of rolling up your sleeves, joining other volunteers as we learn more about the plants that support our natural world here in Georgia as well as about the plants not from Georgia growing here and that we need to remove.
Visit CNC and explore the native gardens and if you are looking for a way to relax and give back explore volunteering with the Horticulture Department!