Native plant workday at Heritage Park

Saturday morning was the monthly workday session at Heritage Park, organized by the Georgia Native Plant Society.  This month’s project was to dig up a small triangular patch of land bordering the parking area off Nickajack Road, and to replace the lawn, dominated by crabgrass, with butterfly-attracting native plants.

The soil was challenging, comprised of a mix of red clay and small rocks covered with a thin layer of topsoil, and carpeted with crabgrass.  Using a combination of forks and shovels, the volunteers tilled the area.

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The plants selected for today’s project included Joe Pye Weed, whorled coreopsis, ironweed, green-headed coneflower, blue false indigo, wild quinine, and phlox.

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The plant pictured above is one of Georgia’s native orchids, the Cranefly orchid.  Price Crafts, an organizer of the monthly Heritage Park  workdays, described this unique orchid:

It has a green and bright purple leaf, that comes out in the winter, because it has to have sunlight.  It grows in the woods, so it has to have a deciduous tree lose their leaves so that it can get sunlight … In the middle of the summer a big stalk, about a foot tall, comes up, with the flower.

Jackie Miller of Mableton, who  has been volunteering for the workdays for about a year, said:

I was so excited to see the park coming back from all the privet that was taking it over, and all the beautiful native plants that we never would have seen if we hadn’t started working here.

The Heritage Park workdays are held on the second Saturday of each month.  The next one is scheduled for Oct. 12, 2015, 10 AM – 12 PM.  For more information visit the Georgia Native Plant Society website, or email questions to heritage_park@gnps.org.

Here are a few photos of the work:

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Larry Felton Johnson
Larry Felton Johnson is the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier. He holds a degree in journalism from Georgia State University and enjoys exploring the county's trail and greenway network when he isn't covering county government meetings and court proceedings.

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