In November 2007, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association formally offered use of the former Wildlife Trails area in Stone Mountain Park to GNPS to propagate native plants. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) documents the arrangement.
The Stone Mountain Propagation Project (SMPP) is maintained/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. SMPP has concentrated the most effort on seed propagation rather than vegetative propagation.
Seeds are collected throughout year; some from Stone Mountain 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 as little as 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 the majority of the year.
The garden has two 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.