News from Dr. Jeff Gillman
Director's Report September 2019
This is really exciting! I mean REALLY exciting! Last week Ed Davis, our horticultural supervisor and landscape architect, and Tammy Blume, our greenhouse manager, took a trip through Georgia and South Carolina hunting all kinds of unique plants. On their two day journey they happened across a tiny wholesale nursery in Georgia that was using a relatively new method of growing plants which inhibits roots from circling and improves any
tree’s chances for a successful transplant. Two of the trees that they found growing in these pots were
sassafras and sweet birch, two of my favorite trees because they are used for two of my favorite drinks,
root beer and birch beer respectively. These native trees are somewhat rare in the nursery industry
because they are somewhat difficult to successfully transplant, but with this new growing system they
are definitely worth a shot. Besides these trees we also brought in some paw paws along with the usual
assortment of rare and unusual plants that you’re accustomed to finding at our sales. But the unique
plants are likely to go fast, so get here early. Preview day, for our garden members and the University
community, runs from 12:00 until 3:00 on Thursday October 3. Our regular sale, for the general public,
runs from 9:00 until 3:00 on Friday October 4 and Saturday October 5. If you want to become a
member to shop early please go here:
A new grant for a New Garden from the North Carolina Humanities Council
The goal of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens is to bring the world of plants to people, and when another group is interested in collaborating with us to accomplish this goal we jump at the chance to work with them. Recently, we had the chance to work with not one, but two other groups on campus to put together a grant for a brand-new garden called the Walking Through Carolina Trail. Ashli Stokes, a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Director of the Center for the Study of the New South, was the principal author of this grant, and Jeff Michael, the Director of UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, has already worked with his Institute to provide funding to get some of the preliminary ground clearing and earth moving done. This trail will be located between Sycamore Hall, which is currently being renovated and will eventually house the Urban Institute, and the currently existing Botanical Gardens. This unique garden path will highlight the crops of the Carolinas and explore how and why they changed as time progressed from pre-European colonization up until today. This is going to be an incredibly fun and educational garden!
Plant Spotlight: Sassafras
I think the best way to describe sassafras is that it has mittens for leaves and wintergreen for roots. In the fall it can put on an amazing display which can include reds, oranges and yellows. Used for root beer from Civil War times up until the early 1960s, this is a truly unique tree that isn’t just for show. In the landscape this is a great looking medium sized tree that performs well in slightly dryer soil. It likes sun, but can handle a little bit of shade.
That's all for this month! Click below for a full list of our upcoming events. I look forward to seeing you in the Gardens!
Jeff Gillman Ph.D.     
Director, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Members and UNC Charlotte community Preview Sale: Thursday, October 3. 12-3pm
General public sale: Friday and Saturday, October 4-5. 9am-3pm.
Save the date for February's Symposium, February 1, 2020 . Registration opens soon!