The movement that tells us to choose native landscaping plants has found a firm footing in Charlotte. But it hasn’t always been easy to identify and find those plants once a gardener gets interested in species that support local wildlife and tend to thrive more readily in our climate.
That led UNC Charlotte biology professor Larry Mellichamp to publish “Native Plants of the Southeast” ($39.95, Timber Press).
The just-released, 367-page hardcover book by the director of UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens lists more than 460 species and rates their value as landscape plants. (visit www.charlotteobserver.com/clever for a chance to win a copy.)
The garden’s Van Landingham Glen has been cultivated as a native plant landscape for nearly 40 years, and Mellichamp’s status as an authority has grown with it.
Classes for a native plant certificate proved so popular that a reference for gardeners was a natural step, said Paula Gross, assistant director at the gardens. “We feel like the homeowner wants to know which ones, where to get them, and how they perform.”
Now 15 to 18 classes a year are offered through the Certificate in Native Plant Studies Program. Native plants are also a focus of the spring and fall plant sales at the botanical gardens.
With the book published, the staff is focusing on raising money for a renovation to transform one-fifth acre in an ornamental garden into the Native Plants in the Home Landscape Demonstration Garden.
The staff thinks we’ll see the beauty of native plants and we’ll want to bring them home to remake our own ornamental gardens. Imagine that.
Sullivan: http://homelifeclt.blogspot.com; Twitter @sullivan_obs