Explore the Native Gardens at the CNC

Native Plant Scavenger Hunt

By Taylor Lamb, Horticulturist at CNC
July 26, 2020

There is no better time than now to get outside and stretch your legs and your brain! In the horticulture department at the CNC, we pride ourselves on our knowledge of native plant species, and we thought it would be fun to challenge visitors of all ages to a friendly scavenger hunt!

Georgia is renowned for its vastly differing landscapes. From the sandy, dry terrain of The Coastal Plains to the cool, moist climate of The Blue Ridge Mountains, plant species across Georgia have adapted over time to fill every niche.

This variety produces absolutely stunning and unique specimens that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Each of our gardens across the CNC strives to emanate these unique habitats, and we would love it if you join us on this virtual tour throughout our property.

Plan your visit to CNC to explore the gardens and try to find as many species as you can! Some of the plants are not in top bloom so it will be even more of a challenge!

Cowboy Pants: Garden on your left as you exit the top of the Discovery Center

Rudbeckia maxima, Large Coneflower

Photo by Julie Hollingsworth

Extremely tall flowers that can reach 8 feet in height! In the Fall these tall stalks need to be stabilized so they don’t fall in the way of the path.

Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem Grass

Photo by Henning Von Schmeling

Little Blue-Stem is aptly named as its foliage has blue tints to it. This becomes more apparent as Autumn approaches.

Craft’s Memorial Garden: Garden on your right as you exit the top of the Discovery Center

Manfreda virginica, False Aloe

Photo by Julie Hollingsworth

This aloe plant look-alike fools many! It has an aloe-like basal rosette and tall flowering stalks that can reach 5 feet.

Butterfly Garden: Garden above Butterfly Encounter

Asclepias sp., Milkweed

Photo by Tracy Begley

This garden is home to many different species of milkweed – the host plant of the monarch butterfly. Monarch’s require these tall slender plants to reproduce.

Longleaf Pine Gardens: Gardens across the Brady Pavillion

Pinus palustris, Long-leaf Pine

Photo by Tracy Begley

These pines differ from the typical Loblolly Pine that we find around Atlanta with their long leaves and their distinctive growing habits. Immature adults will have one major shoot will stay in this form until they reach adulthood. Then they will branch off to look like a more standard pine.

Barbara’s Button Garden: Garden just below the Great Horned Owl Exhibit

Marshallia caespitosa, Barbara’s Button

Photo by Julie Hollingsworth

Eccentric, low-growing perennial that forms white fluff ball blooms in early Summer.

Georgia’s Living Wetland: Garden past the Brady Pavilion as you walk the unpaved paths near the exit to the boardwalk.

Sarracenia sp, Pitcher Plant

This carnivorous plant is a perfect example of a species that has adapted to fill niches where most organisms would have trouble surviving. Pitcher plants thrive in highly acidic, nutrient-poor environments. When they feel an insect inside of their opening, they shut their hood trapping insects inside digesting/dissolving the prey slowly over time. We have many species in this garden including Purple Pitcher Plant, Yellow Pitcher Plant, and more.

We hope that you have enjoyed a virtual tour of the gardens found at the CNC. There are many other plants to explore in the gardens and we hope that you will plan your visit and take the time to experience the native gardens and all that they have to offer.