"Native Plants of the Cumberland Plateau"
FREE program on Monday, October 10th
Healing the earth, one yard at a time

October 2016 Newsletter

In this edition:

Native Plants of the Cumberland Plateau - October 10
Fall Foliage Hike (Members Only) - October 22
Annual Meeting (Members Only) - November 5

Plant Natives 2017! Symposium
March 18, 2017

Plant Form & Function II - October 8
Soil and Water - November 12






Photo above by Cumberland Trail photographer Peter Koczera


Native Plants of the Cumberland Plateau
with Bobby Fulcher

Monday, October 10
FREE and Open to the Public
green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN

Stretching across eastern Tennessee from Alabama north into Kentucky, the Cumberland Plateau rises more than 1,000 feet above the Tennessee River Valley to a vast tableland of sandstone and shale dating as far back as 500 million years. Carved over time by flowing water, the plateau today is a labyrinth of rocky ridges and verdant ravines dropping steeply into gorges laced with waterfalls and caves, ferns, and rhododendrons.

The Cumberland Plateau's rivers and streams sustain some of the country's greatest variety of fish and mollusk species, and ravines and deep hollows are among the richest wildflower areas in southern Appalachia. John Muir was one of the first naturalists to document the natural bounty of this, the world's longest expanse of hardwood-forested plateau. He memorialized his crossing of the Cumberland Plateau in the book A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.  Learn more about the special ecosystems found in our backyards on the Cumberland Trail, a state park that strives to preserve and protect this diverse and rugged land.

Bobby Fulcher has over 40 years of experience as a park naturalist and ranger. He currently serves as manager of the Cumberland Trail State Park, the state's only linear park that, when complete will extend over 300 miles from the Cumberland Gap to the Tennessee River gorge.  In addition to managing the Cumberland Trail park's expansion, Bobby is a well-known and highly regarded folklorist and musical historian and has received many accolades for his preservation of Cumberland Plateau music.  He still hosts a weekly radio show on WDVX and started a record label, Sandrock Recordings.

Fall Foliage Hike
with Leon Bates

Saturday, October 22, 2016 
Wild Ones members and family ONLY

Tennessee Valley Wild Ones members are invited to participate in a Fall Color/Nature Hike within the forest surrounding McKamy Lake Recreation Area in the Cherokee National Forest, Polk County, TN.  This program is an excellent way to learn to identify native plants and to see growing conditions of various plant communities.

Severe drought conditions are expected to result in early fall colors; however, the diverse forest habitats will still provide abundant coloration.

The hike is rated "easy" with level and dry footing throughout with the exception of an optional short trail to the base of Benton Falls and return.  Stone steps and wood handrails will aid access to the beautiful waterfall.

The hike will originate at McKamy Lake and follow an approximate 3.5-mile loop on portions or the Azalea (#140), Arbutus (#141), Red Leaf (#144) and Benton Falls (#131) trails.  For a detailed site map of the trails, " Chilhowee Trail System Map".

Numerous sites ranging from old-growth trees to early forest succession species, including moist riparian habitats to dry upland sites with a diverse mix of trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, mosses, fungi and wildflowers.

This program is free and open to Wild Ones members.   Limit: 15 participants.
Driving directions and additional program details will be provided upon registration.

Annual Meeting &  Native Plant/Seed Swap
of the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones

Saturday, November 5, 2016 
Wild Ones members and family ONLY

On Saturday, November 5th the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones membership will gather at beautiful Greenway Farms to review 2016 and prepare for another great year in 2017.

This is our one best opportunity to join together and collectively provide input into the future of our chapter. The meeting will include lunch and will end with another fabulous native plant seed and plant swap.

Morning snacks, beverages, and lunch will be provided.  This event, including lunch, is FREE for all active members.  When you register, please indicate if you would like a standard, vegetarian or gluten-free lunch.


Saturday March 18, 2017
More information coming soon!


The CNP is a partnership with Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, 
the Tennessee Native Plant Society and the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones.

Plant Form & Function II
with Richard Clements & Mary Priestley

Saturday, October 8, 2016
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m
McCoy Farm & Gardens

The goal of the class is to provide students with a basic understanding of botany which is critical to understanding how plants work in the natural world.  For example, what exactly is a Plant? Here we take a look at the qualities that plants share with other living things, as well as characteristics that set them apart. We also examine the range of different organisms that make up the plant kingdom. Specific topics include: living vs. non-living things, matter, energy, chemistry, cells and their functions, photosynthesis, respiration, natural and artificial selection, and the diversity of the plant world.

Instructors:  Richard Clements, PhD, Professor of Biological and Environmental Science, Chattanooga State Community College, and Mary Priestley, Curator of the Sewanee Herbarium.

This is a core class for the Certificate in Native Plants and offers 6 credits toward the program's completion. 

Note: There are NO prerequisites for this class.  You do NOT have to be working toward your Certificate in Native Plants to register for this class.

Soils and Water
with Wyn Miller

Saturday, November 12, 2016
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m
Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center

Over the course of this interactive class, participants will learn about the microscopic world that we cannot see, and how it is the basis of environmental resilience - both in our gardens, and on the planet.  The first portion of the course will look in-depth at soil biological communities, including the differences between degraded "urban" soils and healthy "living" soils (and why that matters), interactions between plants and microbiota, and what you can do to "kick-start" your soil's ecology.  

Students will learn how to diagnose their soil texture, improve the physical/chemical/biological properties of their soil, and be introduced to easy/inexpensive methods of increasing soil carbon and soil biodiversity.  The second half of the class will focus on the impact that soil health has on the larger environment - with specific emphasis on water quality. 

This is a core class for the Certificate in Native Plants and offers 6 credits toward the program's completion. 

Note: There are NO prerequisites for this class.  You do NOT have to be working toward your Certificate in Native Plants to register for this class.

You're Invited to the
Program Committee Meeting

The Program Committee will meet at 6 pm, Thursday, October 27, at Conga Restaurant, across the street from green|spaces on E. Main Street.  All interested Tennessee Valley chapter members are invited.  Please contact Bill Moll ( whmoll@aol.com) or Lisa Lemza ( lemzala@aol.com) with any program suggestions or questions.

Wild Ones at the Hamilton County Fair

Thanks to the hard work of our Public Information Committee and our dedicated volunteers  Lisa Lemza, Cheri Hubbard, Valarie Adams, Ann Brown, Lucy Scanlon and Belinda Wilson, the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones presented an 15' x 30' exhibit within the Master Gardeners' showcase at this year's Hamilton County Fair. Plants for display provided by Trailhead Nursery. 

Our chapter had a bench, and Valarie decorated the area so people could walk around and look at the posters, plants and literature.  The Master Gardeners helped build our exhibit entrance, where we hung a "Save the Bees" banner.  It caught everyone's eyes and really drew in the people.  

Approximately  160 families come through the exhibit, plus about 100 or more people.  
To support pollinator habitats, over 200 free echinacea and parsley seedlings (grown from seed by Katie Bishop at the Food Bank) were distributed to visiting children.  Giving away plants helped us to engage with families and talk about pollinator habitats, host plants for butterflies and the importance of not using pesticides. 

Thanks to our volunteers and partners for making this a successful effort!


Overhill Gardens Fall Open House

Friday & Saturday, October 7 & 8 (rain or shine).  Receive a free  1 gallon scarlet oak ($20 value) with every purchase. Plant it for shade, and grandchildren across the world will thank you!!

Here's a list of plants provided by Overhill Gardens that survived the "Drought of 2016" un-phased.  These plants (and many others) will be available at the Open House:

    Bird's Foot Violet
    Bushy St. Johnswort
    Carolina Buckthorn
    Cherokee Sedge
    Cumberland Rosemary
    Elliott's Lovegrass
    False Aloe
    Gro-low Fragrant Sumac
    Maryland Senna
    Pine (Shortleaf and Pitch)
    Pink Muhly Grass
    Rattlesnake Master
    Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum
    Slender Indian Grass
    Stiff Aster
    Tennessee Coneflower
    White Crownbeard
    Whorled Coreopsis
    Wild Indigo

Click HERE for directions and plant lists at Overhill Gardens.


New book by David Haskell coming soon

David Haskell's award-winning The Forest Unseen won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. In his new book, Haskell brings his powers of observation to the biological networks that surround all species, including humans.
Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen trees around the world, exploring the trees' connections with webs of fungi, bacterial communities, cooperative and destructive animals, and other plants.   Read more  about the book, coming in April 2017.

Book Review by Wild Ones Member Mike O'Brien

The 2015 book, The Hidden Life of Trees by German forest manager Peter Wohlleben, is a fascinating and enlightening read that gives its reader so much useful information on the interaction of trees in forests anywhere in the world. Most of the tree species mentioned are also common in our area. The trees' interactions not only with each other, but also their relationships with the animal, insect, fungal and other plant life as well are covered in detail. The 245-page book is clearly written and intelligently organized. It is a delightfully rich and entertaining adventure into the world of trees.   And after reading it, one will never look at trees or a forest in the same way again.   Highly recommended and available on Amazon, currently priced at @ $16. 

Roadsides.  Trash or Treasure?

Ellen Honeycutt, in a blog for "Using Georgia Native Plants" writes... "I think about roadsides a lot this time of year and there are several reasons why. 1) Sunny roadsides with good native plant populations really shine this time of year. 2) Roadsides that got whacked by utility contractors are really ugly this time of year. 3) Roadsides that are overgrown with invasive plants are at their tangled peak by now. I wonder what other people think. Do they look at roadsides and see trash or do they see treasure? The answer, I think, lies in how much they know about what they see...  How can we have better roadsides?    Read more.

A Butterfly's Place for the Winter

In another blog article, Ellen Honeycutt writes, " Many people wonder what happens to butterflies in the winter. Aside from the now well-known story of the Monarch butterfly's migration to Mexico, many of us don't know where others go. We do know that not all of them migrate; some of them overwinter as caterpillars, in pupas, or even as adults in sheltered places."  Read her article about the Gulf Fritillary.

Join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a  nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America. By planting a pollinator-friendly garden you are making a difference for honey bees, bumble bees, other bees and pollinators that bring us 1 in every 3 bites of food. Learn how to do it.  And then register YOUR garden.

How to Make Seed Bombs

You can use seed bombs, made using native plant seeds, in your own garden or as economical plant gifts for whoever you think might benefit.   Please note that the author of this article is not encouraging you to make seed bombs for the express goal of tossing them into your neighbors' fields or lawns or city parks or vacant lots - that might be illegal or at least rude (tempting, though).  Read more.

Bring more birds to your home with native plants

Enter your zip code to use Audubon's native plants database and view a list of the best plants for birds in your area, as well as local resources and links to more information. By entering your email address, you'll receive an emailed list of the native plants you've selected, get additional tips on creating your bird-friendly habitat, and help keep track of your contributions to the National Audubon Society's efforts to get 1 million native plants for birds in the ground. Read more.

Why you should let your garden go to seed.

In this article, Margaret Oakley Otto writes, "In late summer and early fall, many gardeners are faced with the quandary of what to clean up and what to leave...  I advocate taking a closer look at the brown seed heads and spent flower stalks in your landscape and thinking twice before snipping them off." While this article focuses on California native plants, it's an interesting read.


Ruby-throat hummingbird nest
(Photo by Mike O'Brien)
Mating Gulf Fritillaries (Photo by Mike O'Brien)

Easter Tiger Swallowtails
(Photo by Mike O'Brien) 

Gulf Fritillary beginning pupation 
(Photo by Mike O'Brien)

Northern Pearlyeye
(Photo by Mike O'Brien)


Become a Wild Ones Member!
Join the Tennessee Valley Chapter

See what's happening on our social media sites:

Wild Ones: Native Plants. Natural Landscapes is a national non-profit organization with over 50 chapters in 13 states that promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Please read more information about Wild Ones at www.wildones.org.
The Tennessee Valley Chapter presents guest speakers, field trips and other special events throughout the year, as well as an annual native plant and natural landscaping symposium in early spring. 
To contact our chapter, email us at tnvalleywildones@gmail.com