Stone Mountain Propagation Project
The Stone Mountain Propagation Garden is maintained and operated by about 20 volunteers. Many of us are novices who are anxious to learn more. Our mentors of the garden are Karen McCaustland and Elaine Nash.
The Stone Mountain Propagation Project (SMPP) was established in November 2007 as an adjunct to the GNPS Restoration projects. GNPS plant rescues provide many of the plants used in restoration projects, as well as plants for the GNPS plant sales. But having a ready, dependable, well maintained source for plants had been solely dependent on individual members, tending to the plants in their own yards. SMPP was established to help facilitate these efforts. Since our inception we have grown numerous varieties of native forbs, shrubs and vines from seed and cuttings, experimenting with different propagation techniques. We’ve held propagation workshops and worked with the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) improving the educational signage for the Nature Trail, identifying plants, and adding natives to that site and the Bird Sanctuary at Stone Mountain Park. Volunteering at SMPP gives all an opportunity to learn about native plants through hands-on experience, while actively supporting GNPS projects, with the added bonus of taking home excess plant material.
We have concentrated the most effort on seed propagation rather than vegetative propagation. Seeds are collected throughout year; some from Stone Mtn. Park, with permission, from stock plants furnished by the GNPS rescue program, or GNPS member gardens and others from hikes around the southeast. The first hurdle in propagating seed is making sure fertile, ripe seed is collected, cleaned and stored to maintain viability. Some need a rest period after collecting, others need to be collected in their green stage before birds find them. The collected seed is stored in coin envelopes marked with date, species and location found. We share our stash in the fall, at which point some seeds go into a refrigerator for stratification over the winter months and others might be sown and set into a greenhouse for the winter. Seeds are sent home with some volunteers along with plug trays and planting media. As the new year warms up, we sow different seeds in a soilless mix, moisten and cover with a plastic bag. It takes from only 6 months to almost 2 years to produce a handsome plant so there are several stages during the growing process when volunteers have access to surplus plants for their own yards or projects. The growing plants receive our care and lots of watering throughout a majority of the year.
The garden has 2 – 250 gallon and one 3,000 gallon rain collectors. The group of volunteers has recently finished surrounding our nursery storage area with a deer fence.
The Stone Mountain Propagation site is now the official home of ouf Fall Plant Sale. We could always use an extra pair of hands so please contact us if you would like to come and help! Our regularly scheduled workdays are…..
Driving Directions To The Stone Mountain Project
Our plant propagation area occupies the former “Wildlife Trails” in Stone Mountain Park, which is not shown on present park maps. Entering the West Gate (thru the village of Stone Mountain): Turn left and go 0.2 miles. Turn left into the “Walking Trails” Parking lot. Our gate is straight ahead at the cabin.
Entering the East Gate off of Stone Mountain Hwy (Hwy 78): Stay to the right at the Y-intersection and proceed about a mile to the “Walking Trails” parking lot on your right. If you click the pointer, a menu will open that provides a driving directions link. If you want you can also plug in these coordinates in your GPS: 33.812965,-84.158964.
Updates & News
SMPP has started over 30 different plants from seed from perennials, shrubs, trees and vines. The majority are in the hoop greenhouse. Though the outside nursery stock has benefitted from the regular rainfall during December and January, the cloudy, cool weather has...