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Members' Newsletter
April 2013
Upcoming Events Summary

April 20-21
Master Your Garden
"Garden Expo"

May 3
David Haskell, Author of 
The Forest Unseen
7:30 pm

May 4
Members' Picnic
10:00 am

May 5
Monarch Way Stations

May 9
Trip to Sunlight Gardens
Members only

See more details in 
this e-newsletter or 
on our website.

Quick Links

Benefits of Membership in the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones

 $10 discount for the 2014
native plant symposium 
presented by the 
Tennessee Valley Chapter 
of Wild Ones.

Invitations to
*"Landscapes in Progress" garden visit programs   

*Guided Native Plant & 
Wildflower Walks  
*Native Plant Rescues 
*Native Plant Nursery Visits 
E-mail notices about 
upcoming local native plant EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS 
and events.
from local landscapers 
and nurseries, 
Sunlight Gardens and 
Overhill Gardens.  
Show your Wild Ones 
membership card to receive 
10% off at these nurseries.
with a group of
 local gardeners
 interested in 
native plant landscaping.
PLUS all the benefits of a 
national Wild Ones membership, including the 
New Member Handbook 
with practical ways 
to add native plants to 
your landscape ...
AND the quarterly 
Wild Ones Journal


Our April newsletter has lots of new information.  Please read all the way to the bottom to see photos of native plants in bloom, photographed on some of our recent outings.  We send a special thanks to Holli Richey and Leon & Pat Bates for leading two terrific "field trips" for our members.

There are lots of activities in the next few weeks, from our Members' Picnic on May 4th to a group trip to Sunlight Gardens on May 9th.  Be sure to check out all the upcoming activities below.

We'd like to thank Cathy Albright for her service as President of our chapter.  Because of other commitments, Cathy is unable to continue in that role, but we're hoping to still see her at many of our events. Cathy was one of the original founders of our group in 2010, before we became a Wild Ones chapter, and we are deeply grateful to her for her leadership and hard work in helping our organization grow.  Sally Wencel will assume the role of President, and Stella Twilley will take on Sally's previous position as Vice-President.

Hope to see you soon!


Upcoming Events
May 4 Members' Picnic
at the Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center at Reflection Riding

Saturday, May 4th
10:00 am until ...

Bring your lunch.
Drinks will be provided.

At 10:00 am, Michael Green will lead us on a walk at Reflection Riding to see wildflowers and other blooming plants. Michael has extensive knowledge about the history of the property and the region...his outings are always fascinating!

After the walk, we'll take time for a spring picnic outdoors together.

Please note that in some publications, the date of this picnic was incorrectly listed as May 1.  The correct date is Saturday, May 4th. Sorry for the confusion.  Hope to see you on the 4th.

Master Your Garden "Garden Expo"
Presented by the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County 

Saturday & Sunday, April 20 & 21
Camp Jordan Arena  
$5 admission good for both days.
Children under 10 years old admitted free.
Free parking.

Open to the public.


The "Garden Expo" will include:

  • A series of free lectures throughout the 2-day expo by local gardening experts and Master Gardeners
  • Numerous garden vendors
  • Educational vendors
  • Ongoing live demos both days on raised beds, rain barrels, and composting
  • Questions and answer table where you can receive free expert advice on plants, landscaping, pest control, composting, vegetable gardening, and various topics to help you have a successful garden and yard
  • Children's activity area
Tennessee Valley Wild Ones member Sally Wencel will give a presentation about gardening with native plants on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.  The Tennessee Valley Wild Ones will also have a booth at the Expo, with lots of information about "Wild for Monarchs" and creating gardens to attract butterflies and other pollinators.
For more information about the Expo, click here.


David Haskell, author of The Forest Unseen
Presented by the Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center

Friday, May 3rd
7:30 p.m.

UTC Benwood Auditorium
Cost: $5
A special evening is in store when David Haskell, biology professor at Sewanee, comes to Chattanooga on May 3rd. Haskell's book The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch In Nature is a Pulitzer Prize finalist.  
In his book, Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Beginning with simple observations--a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter, the first blossom of spring wildflowers--Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology, ecology, and poetry, explaining the science binding together ecosystems that have cycled for thousands--sometimes millions--of years.

The New York Times describes The Forest Unseen as "...a welcome entry in the world of nature writers. He thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist." 

Monarch Way Stations
Presented by the Tennessee Aquarium
Sunday, May 5th
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Tennessee Aquarium River Gardens
Discover the fascinating behavior of the Monarch from butterfly expert and Earth Kinship educator Wanda DeWaard.  Go on a guided butterfly walk at the Tennessee River Gardens and learn to create a monarch way station with a milkweed plant to take home.

To register, click here.
Member Visit to Sunlight Gardens
Opportunity to purchase native plants
Thursday, May 9th
Members only

We're organizing a group of Tennessee Valley Wild Ones to take a road trip to Sunlight Gardens in Andersonville, TN.  

Nursery owner Andy Sessions (one of the speakers at our March Symposium) will be on hand to help us with plant selections.  

All members receive a 10% discount on plant purchases!

We will depart Chattanooga at 8:00 a.m. and will return in the afternoon.

Please email Nora to reserve your spot for this trip.  Travel plans will be emailed to you once you register.

For more info about Sunlight Gardens, click here to visit the website.
Milkweed Plants
Milkweed Plant Delivery Expected in May

If you attended our Symposium in March, you received a certificate for a free milkweed plant.  Milkweed is the only host plant for the Monarch butterfly, and Wild Ones is promoting the establishment of Monarch "Way Stations" across the county.

We had hoped to have plenty of milkweed plants available during April, but because of the cold weather conditions, our plants will not be ready until May.  We're sorry.

As soon as the plants arrive, we'll let you know where you can get them!
Take the Survey
Native Plant Certificate Program
Please complete our online survey!
Take the Survey
In partnership with The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones and the Tennessee Native Plant Society, the Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center at Reflection Riding is developing a Native Plant Certificate Program.

We need YOUR input about the structure of the program and about specific course offerings.  

Please click here to complete a short online survey.

Renew Your Wild Ones Membership
Renew Your Membership Before May 31!
Our Chapter benefits from early renewals
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We hope that you are enjoying being a member of the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones.

Our chapter receives a portion of all membership dues paid to Wild Ones, and we use those funds to present a variety of educational programs for our members and for our community.

Since this is our first year as a chapter (we became a chapter of Wild Ones in June 2012), we receive 55% of all dues paid.  Our percentage decreases on June 1, so we'd really appreciate it if you'd renew your membership by May 31st.  You can choose to extend your membership for 1, 2 or 3 years...or become a lifetime member.
To renew your membership, click here.
If you have any questions about your membership, 
please email Nora.

Recent Happenings
Wildflower Walk on the Shirley Miller Trail
at The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain

On April 6, Holli Richey led our group on an amazing wildflower walk.  Our group saw hundreds of Virginia bluebells, trilliums, celandine poppy, foamflower, bellwort, phaecilia, yellow mandarin, spring beauty, blue cohosh, black cohosh, hepatica, wild geranium, bloodroot, woodland phlox, violets and ferns. Holli shared her vast knowledge of the medicinal properties of many of these plants.

We hiked the short distance to the waterfall, and then enjoyed lunch in this beautiful location...all within a half hour drive from downtown Chattanooga!
Pocket Group



Jackson County Park and  
Huntsville Botanical Gardens
On April 10th, Leon and Pat Bates led a group of Wild Ones to the Jackson County Park in Scottsboro, Alabama.  We were joined by Vernon Bush, an amazing gentleman who for the past 15 years has been propagating and planting azaleas and rhododendrons.  Vernon has planted hundreds of specimens in Jackson County Park and is now doing more at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. 

Because of this year's cold weather, all of the azaleas were not yet in full bloom, but we were able to see some beautiful early bloomers, like the flame azalea above, that were starting to open.

Jackson County Park is also a showcase for many other native plants, a few of which are shown below.

Illicium floridanum is one of the South's most dependable broad-leaved evergreen shrubs.  Specimens can be found in the wild in the Florida panhandle and across Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to southeastern Louisiana. Common names include Florida anise, purple anise, stinkbush, and star anise.

Aesculus pavia (Scarlet buckeye, Red buckeye, Southern buckeye, Firecracker plant).  This native plant is an attractive spring-flowering shrub or small tree, blooming in some years as early as February, with showy red flowers (the flower above in Jackson County Park was not quite open when we visited on April 10th). It is found on a variety of well-drained, usually acidic woodland soils in the Southeast.

Orontium aquaticum (Golden Club) is a medium sized emersed plant. It grows from stout rhizomes in the shallow waters of streams, ponds and swamps.  Its leaves are usually out of the water, but often are floating.

Aralia spinosa, commonly known as Devil's Walkingstick is sometimes called Hercules' Club, Prickly Ash, or Prickly Elder. It occasionally cultivated for its exotic, tropical appearance, having large lacy compound leaves.

After lunch at Jackson County Park, our group drove to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens.  During our visit, we were treated to a private guided tour of the native plant gardens by Vernon Bush (azalea expert who also accompanied us at Jackson County Park) and Harold Holmes (trillium researcher and propagator).  Huntsville Botanical gardens Chief Operating Officer Harvey Cotten also met with our group and shared lots of interesting information about the history of the Gardens.

If you haven't seen the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, try to make time for a visit.  They have a large section of native plant gardens, and more are being added.  Vernon is planting hundreds of native azaleas, and Harold is growing many different species of Trilliums.  As these gardens mature in the coming years, they will offer one of the best opportunities to see hundreds of species of native plants, with easy-to-read markers along very accessible trails.

And as a special bonus, Vernon and Harold gave everyone in the group a couple native azalea plants, several trilliums, and some wild ginger to take home!  For more information about Harold's trillium research and to see lots of trillium photos, click here for his website.

In the Huntsville native plant gardens, there were many groupings of native wildflowers.  Here, Virginia Bluebells and Green & Gold grow side by side.

Here are two blooming redbud trees int he Huntsville Botanical Gardens, one with the traditional purple blooms and the other with white blooms.

At the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, we saw a gorgeous redbud tree with clusters of blossoms along the trunk!

Phlox subdulata (Creeping phlox) was in full bloom. It is perennial forming evergreen mats of needle-like foliage, covered by masses of flowers in various shades of pink, purple or white. A low plant, forming moss-like mats, with pink to lavender (rarely white) flowers in clusters at stem ends, collectively forming a continuous carpet of flowers.  Grows in dry, sandy or rocky soils.

Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's Seal) grows in rich, dry to moist woods.  The graceful arching stems and pendulous flowers (often hidden) characterize this common plant. Another, almost identical species, Hairy Solomons Seal (P. pubescens), is distinguished by minute hairs along veins on undersides of leaves. 

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is an erect, branching perennial, up to 2 ft. tall, well-known for its showy flowers. This beautiful woodland wildflower grows well in partly shaded to shaded woodland habitats in moist to dry conditions.

Chrysogonum virginianum (Green & Gold) is ideal for the low maintenance Southeastern garden in dappled shade. The dark yellow flowers appear en masse in early spring, vying for attention above the low-growing mat of dark green leaves. Thereafter, the foliage provides dependable coverage for fast-draining, partially shaded areas until late fall, when it goes dormant until spring.

Stylophorum diphyllum (celandine poppy or yellow wood poppy)  is a 12-14 in. perennial with gray-green, lobed and toothed leaves is known for its large, poppy-like, yellow flowers.  It grows in shade and part-shade; rich, acidic, well-drained soils; requires moisture throughout summer, leaves will wither and turn yellow during drought.

Wild Ones: Native Plants. Natural Landscapes is a national non-profit organization with over 50 chapters in 12 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


We offer 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.