The Laurel Garden Club is giving the Highlands Biological Station a grant to purchase a greenhouse package for the propagation of native plants, specifically from local sources. The overall intent of the grant project is to develop a native plant rescue and propagation program.
"It has become increasingly apparent that many of our most endemic and well-adapted native species in the Southern Highlands region can be difficult to obtain in the nursery trade," said Max Lanning of the Highlands Biological Station. "Further, many of these species are state or federally-listed as threatened, endangered, or sensitive; and therefore, difficult to acquire without special permits."
The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust will allow the collection of some plant material from select properties, including seeds, vegetative cuttings and some whole plants in danger of trampling.
Collection and storage of seeds has already begun. And the next step will be the construction of a Heart Cypress framed greenhouse, funded by Laurel Garden Club. Future plans include transplanting propagated plants to rock outcrop communities, not only for our own Botanical Gardens, but also for ecological restoration projects at other Land Trust properties. These plants, nurtured in the greenhouse, will be used to re-populate rare and endangered native plants and communities.