Chapters in Georgia Native Plant Society

History

Over two decades ago, the Georgia Native Plant Society was founded by people based in metro Atlanta.  Since that time, their initiative and message around the importance of native plants to our lives and the ability of individuals to make a difference locally in their protection, stewardship, rescue and propagation, has spread across Georgia and in fact across the USA.  Today our members are served in other locations across the state where local groups are providing educational information, restoration opportunities and opportunities to learn more.

Realignment

In November 2019, GNPS adopted new bylaws, which implemented a state-wide governing board to set organizational policy, define its strategic vision, and directly support chapter activities. This new organizational structure paved the way for more chapters to form throughout Georgia.

Join a chapter

There are currently six chapters of the Georgia Native Plant Society with two more forming. As a member of GNPS you too can get to work and join like minded people in your area by aligning yourself with one of our chapters.

For current members, login and update your chapter affiliation through the chapter affiliation form. For new or renewing members, select your chapter affiliation on the membership form.

Form a chapter

Let us know if you are interested in learning more about how to join or start up a local chapter near you in the state of Georgia by using the Contact Us form. Current members can also use the Chapter Interest Form. To learn more about the overall process, view the Chapter Quick Start Guide. For a more in-depth guide to forming and running a chapter, see the Chapter Manual.

News & Events

Native plant habitat tour

Native plant habitat tour

Photo credit: Leslie Inman

Article by Amelia Aidman

Something beautiful is happening in Atlanta.  More and more Atlantans are embracing a new vision of gardening that encourages nurturing plants native to the local environment.  Ideas are spreading like wildflowers and, among other groups and initiatives, the newly formed Intown Atlanta chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS) is helping this growing trend bloom.

On Saturday, April 2, the chapter held its first public event with an inaugural annual Native Plant Tour.

Native azaleas in blazing colors, a scarlet buckeye in full flower, blueberry bushes with still tiny berries, enormous trillium, an old growth forest with some of the tallest trees in the area and a natural waterfall, innovative hardscaping created by a can-do attitude with resources that might otherwise be seen as yard waste–these were all among the delights taken in on the tour. Six sites in the Druid Hills and Decatur areas were included in the tour—2 nature centers and 4 homes on private land.  More than 300 people participated.

Animated conversations among the visitors and native habitat gardeners made for an excited buzz. The atmosphere was one of friendly feelings and an air of community with visitors running into friends and acquaintances. People shared information and new acquaintances were formed.

Photo credit: Laura Markson

Photo credit: Laura Markson

Barefoot in her garden, as she often is, Virginia Dupre, one of the homeowners and an accomplished gardener, called the mood one of “curiosity, appreciation, awe and wonder.”  Visitors expressed gratefulness for her garden’s beauty, her knowledge and her work over decades to create her garden.  Fallen leaves on her property are used in her yard–gently raked into the plant beds.  Since beneficial pollinator insects overwinter in the leaves, she is careful not to chop them up or otherwise disturb what is living and reproducing in them.  If she doesn’t have enough of her own leaves, she will use the leaves of neighbors who otherwise leave them out for county curbside pickup.

Leaving the leaves is a common practice among those who are gardening with natives. In lieu of a yard of manicured lawn they create native habitats featuring mostly, or all, indigenous plants.  Those going in that direction find little need for the noisy and toxic landscaping practices in use by much of the lawn care industry.  Aside from the benefit to the urban environment by not polluting with heavy machinery and not adding to peace-destroying noise, native habitat gardening feeds pollinating insects, including butterflies, as well as birds.

Photo credit: Laura Markson

Walking through the Decatur neighborhood from the Wylde Woods at Oakhurst Garden to the nearby Pardue residence, looking at the yards along the way, there was a sense that many in the neighborhood have been influenced by the presence of that center, which educates about plants and environmental issues.  Many of the houses had kept fallen leaves, using them instead of commercial mulch, and had plants that are indigenous to the region growing in their yards.  They were not lawn-centric.  It is as though the ethos of Wylde Woods at Oakhurst Garden radiates out into the neighborhood raising awareness of these issues.

Alex Dileo, the 28-year-old Board Chair of the new Intown chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS), said that the event’s organizers are motivated by a shifting paradigm that resists and eschews the hegemony of the green grass lawn in favor of a model of planting that feeds pollinators, soil, and people.  She was spurred to switch from a grass lawn to plant natives after participating in GNPS native plant rescue events, and says that after just two years “I see bees buzzing, fireflies, and birds nesting in my trees”.  She lives in the southwest Atlanta Oakland City neighborhood and her home’s lot is small, but she encourages even those who have access to more limited spaces such as a balcony or window boxes to grow native plants, saying that they will notice changes.

For those of us trying to support a cleaner, healthier local environment, the tour was exciting, affirming and imbued us with hope.  We know that the stakes are high if the current ways of tending lawns remain dominant.  We also recognize that we can’t assume that government entities and related corporations will enact the needed changes without a groundswell movement created by people who care deeply about these issues.

The native plant habitat tour gave us a day of “positivity” according to organizing committee member, Leslie Inman.  It was a day to learn, a day to teach, a day to be inspired and to feel that we are a part of something bigger; to know that we are adding a piece to the puzzle in how to evolve from non-sustainable practices to those that nurture the earth and ourselves. The nature centers and homegrown yards in this first annual native garden habitat tour are the evolving result of years of loving care that is bearing fruit.

Future native garden habitat tours across the Atlanta area are on the group’s agenda.  The plan is to highlight gardens in different seasons, as well as varied eco-systems and habitats.  Atlanta’s new GNPS chapter aims to involve and connect with both seasoned native plant gardeners, those who are newly interested and just getting started in their rewilding quests, as well as those anywhere else along the path.  Kudos to the energetic organizing committee that did such a wonderful job of spearheading this inaugural event!

To inquire about joining the Georgia Native Plant Society, send an email message to intown@gnps.org  or link to the “Become a Member” page on the GNPS website: http://gnps.org/get-involved/become-member/.

Amy Aidman, Ph.D., is an expert in the area of children and media research. She is Emeritus faculty of Emory University’s Department of Film and Media where she developed and taught classes on children and media and other media-related topics and was the Director of the Media Studies degree programs.  She currently serves as Board of Directors Chair for Kids Video Connection. Amy is also an Intown Atlanta chapter GNPS member and is avidly learning about environmentally friendly gardening practices, she is reshaping her own garden to encourage pollinators.

North Metro Atlanta 2022 Spring Plant Sale Info

 

Our 2022 Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, April 30th will be in conjunction with the City of Alpharetta’s Community Agriculture Program. This program teaches high school students to grow and sell organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers at the Old Rucker Farm. By coming to this one-stop-shop you can browse selections from the North Metro Atlanta Georgia Native Plant Society, Alpharetta’s Old Rucker Farm, and some of our favorite local native plant and seed vendors. Can you help make this event even more fantastic by volunteering your time?
 

What plants will be Available?

Thanks to generous donations from members and Plant Life Nursery, please find our 2022 Spring Chapter Plant Sale list. Many small quantity items are not on the list, so please come early for the best selection.
 
This is our second sale as a chapter. We have hundreds of plants lined up for the sale. Some of the chapter plants will be available in quantity, some may be single items only and others may be surprises from member donations (some arriving only the day before). This list represents only the plants being provided by the chapter with groups of 5 or more plants for sale. These include some of the most dependable native perennials around, suitable for even beginning gardeners.
 
We encourage you to come see what unique and special items didn’t make the list! Come early for best selection.
 
Participating vendors that will bring their own inventory:
  • Cottage Garden Natives
  • North Georgia Native Plant Nursery
  • Botany Yards (seeds)

Can you Volunteer?

We are in need of volunteers to set-up on Friday 4/29 and for the sale itself on Saturday 4/30 at Old Rucker Farm, 998-700 Old Rucker Rd, Alpharetta, GA 30004. Tasks include receiving, labeling, organizing donated plants, directing parking, and checking out customers.
 
If you are able to volunteer, please use THIS SURVEY to let us know what shifts you are available.
 
Thank you all and we can’t wait to see you!
Contest for Intown Atlanta logo designs!

Contest for Intown Atlanta logo designs!

Put on your creative hats:
As we are just a few months old as a new chapter, we are working on a number of items for members, such as the upcoming garden tour, plant sales and awareness events. One other thing we need? A logo!
Our membership is full of creative, artistic people and we know someone out there has an amazing idea for an Intown Atlanta GNPS logo. Submit your designs by email to intown(at)gnps.org by April 8.
We’ll choose the winning design and the winner will be recognized on our social media channels and on the chapter website in April.
Looking forward to seeing those designs!
GNPS Intown Atlanta Chapter Native Plant Habitat Tour

GNPS Intown Atlanta Chapter Native Plant Habitat Tour

You’re invited to join us for the first GNPS Intown Atlanta Chapter Native Plant Habitat Tour on Saturday, April 2 from 10am-4pm! The $10 ticket donation includes one admission to all five habitat sites. For details and to buy tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gnps-intown-native-plant-habitat-tour-tickets-292218151357

We still need a few more volunteers to sit for a three-hour shift at one of the tour sites at the GNPS check-in table on the day of the tour. If you can help, please contact ljmarkson@att.net and indicate if you are available from 10-1 or 1-4.

Creating healthy landscapes with native plants is a natural, chemical-free, and lower maintenance way to offer critical wildlife connections and essential pollinator pathways. Our intown Atlanta spring native plant habitat tour is an opportunity to connect with other intown native plant friends new and old and get inspiration for ways to increase biodiversity by adding more native plants to your own yard or patio as you wander through relaxing habitats created to restore nature.

Tickets include admission to all five habitat sites during the tour in the order the ticket holder chooses and a virtual tour brochure the week of the tour with addresses and detailed information about each site so you can enjoy the habitats at your convenience. Someone from each property and a GNPS volunteer will be available on site the day of the tour.

Our February Chapter Meeting with Donna Shearer

Did you know that Eastern Hemlocks support about 120 species of vertebrates and more than 90 bird species, provide shade to rare and endangered native plants, remove tons of carbon dioxide from the air, and serve to filter pollutants along streambanks?

This beautiful keystone species has been losing its native range for over 50 years due to the proliferation of the wooly adelgid. Donna Shearer, founder of Save Georgia’s Hemlocks, has dedicated many years to educating and organizing Georgians to fight the threat and restore dying trees. At the February meeting of the North Georgia Mountains Chapter of GNPS, Shearer gave a fascinating and detailed picture of the state of the hemlock from the tree’s economic impact to effective treatments for hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA).  Attendees received a wealth of information directly from Shearer as well as a gentle nudge to volunteer for the cause.

Save Georgia’s Hemlocks is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. In addition to public education, the organization maintains a website, www.savegeorgiashemlocks.org and a Hemlock Help Line, 706-429-8010. They also have treated seedlings available for adoption.

 

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