Floral delight: Native plants expert leads Parkway tour in search of rare species

“When we get out, we’re going to walk across the street and I’m going to show you the most sacred spot,” Larry Mellichamp said as he began his botanical tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

The spot in question wasn’t a gravesite or a cultural landmark or even one of the many breathtaking overlooks spread along the Parkway’s 469-foot length. Rather, it was a seemingly dead end — a face of rock bordering the north side of the road, slick with water seeping from within, partly shrouded by flourishing vegetation. 

Planting for pollinators: Waynesville couple seeks to educate on the benefits of native bees

Brannen Basham spends more time puttering around the yard than the average homeowner, but the result is not what most people would picture when asked to envision a well-cared-for lawn. 

EBCI and Smokies work toward agreement for plant gathering in park boundaries

Cherokee tribal members could be gathering sochan plants from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as early as next spring after Tribal Council’s vote last week to fund the $68,100 needed to complete the regulatory process.

Sylva’s carnivorous plant man: After nearly 30 years and thousands of plants, carnivorous plants still fascinate

When it comes to carnivorous plants, Darwin Thomas knows what he’s talking about. It doesn’t take much to get him started on a fact-filled tangent about the plants’ prey preferences, proper care and feeding, or histories. But Thomas, a heating and air technician by trade, didn’t learn any of it by sitting in a class somewhere. 

“I read a lot of books, and just talking to people too,” Thomas said. “I’ve not had any education at all in anything to do with this. I just learned over the years. And after 28 years, I think I’ve learned how to grow them.”

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