Southern Highlands Reserve Field Trip – Monday, July 23
We will enjoy a private tour of The Southern Highlands Reserve located in western North Carolina at an elevation of 4500’. Summer is later there, so we will enjoy cooler weather and different flora. The average temperature for this date is still in the upper 70’s! The wildflowers will be in bloom and there is plenty of shade also.
We will meet at Southern Highlands at 11 a.m. and tour ends by 3 p.m. Garden tour donation is $10 per person. To make your reservation, contact Margaret Bergeron at email@example.com or call 404-219-0757. We will be organizing carpools.
The Reserve’s 120 acres are dedicated to celebrating the natural history of the Southern Appalachian Highlands, and is well worth a beautiful drive with friends to just inside our neighboring North Carolina. The Highlands’ Core Park is home to destination gardens such as The Woodland Glade, The Azalea Walk, The Wildflower Labyrinth and Vaseyi Pond. These are manicured display gardens planted with native species and their cultivars. The Reserve is home to a vast array of naturally occurring native plants and one of the largest natural stands of Rhododendron vaseyi. The Core Park is surrounded by a 100-acre natural woodland, with a change in elevation of 1000 feet in a distance of 2000 feet, featuring many waterfall and cliff communities. There will be an optional guided walk up to the waterfalls. For more information visit: http://www.southernhighlandsreserve.org.
Bring a brown bag lunch to enjoy a picnic on the Chestnut Lodge roof garden. Roof gardens have long been established in Europe, but are a recent introduction to the green movement here. Most roof gardens are really “green roofs” — planted with sedums and grasses, but this roof garden is built over the Lodge as a patio.
John Turner, who spearheaded the planning design and execution of the Southern Highlands Reserve since its inception, will provide a presentation on the history and development of the area into its status as a “Reserve.” Educational information on identifying eco-climates in your garden to ensure properly locating plants will be beneficial in using more native plants in your landscape.
Southern Highlands Reserve founder, Robert Balentine’s love of the Appalachian Mountains began long before he founded the Reserve in 2002, dating back to a boyhood spent hiking and camping in the region. After years spent immersed in the diversity of these mountains, he put his life-long passion to work to help preserve, cultivate and display plants native to the region and to advocate for their value through education, restoration and research at the Southern Highlands Reserve.
In his talk, “The Butterfly Effect: Biodiversity and the Blue Ridge,” Robert discusses the incredible biodiversity of the region, examining the symbiotic relationships between this bioregion and the flora and fauna found there. His discussion centers on the interdependence of life, sharing examples of how forces that are seemingly unrelated to the average person can come together to create mortal stresses on an already fragile ecosystem. To hear his talk visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_zdn5oFGj8.
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