Chattanooga Now Planting seeds

Chattanooga Now Planting seeds

Gardeners gather for native plant symposium

March 7th, 2013 by Staff Report in Chattnow Outabout

Dr. Tim Spira teaches field botany, plant ecology and the natural history of wildflowers at Clemson University. He will be the keynote speaker for a Native Plant Symposium here on Saturday.

Dr. Tim Spira teaches field botany, plant ecology...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Dr. Tim Spira, a botany professor at Clemson University, will be the keynote speaker for the second annual Native Plant Symposium presented by the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the Wild Ones. Called "Natural Landscaping: Getting More With Less," the event is scheduled 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9, in the Humanities Auditorium at Chattanooga State Community College, 4501 Amnicola Highway. Registration opens at 8 a.m.

The symposium will provide practical information about using native plants in the residential, public or commercial landscape to get more birds and butterflies, biodiversity, beauty and a healthy environment with less watering, maintenance, lawn area and chemicals.

"This program is a must for any landowner interested in sustainable landscaping practices or for anyone who appreciates wildflowers, gardening and would like to see more birds and butterflies in their yards and gardens," according to a news release from organizers.

Spira is the author of the award-winning book "Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains." In the symposium session of the same name, Spira will reveal the tapestry of plant life in the southern Appalachian Mountains, giving particular attention to wildflowers that make attractive additions to woodland wildflower gardens.


"Building a Native Plant Garden: Native Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines in the Urban Environment": Leon Bates will show how to use trees, shrubs and woody vines to help restore and re-create the lush woodlands that once covered the Southeast. Bates has worked as a U.S. Forest Service forester, TVA botanist and urban forester.

"Adding More Beauty: Great Native Perennials for Your Garden": Andy Sessions will tell how to create a plant paradise by using native perennials. She and her husband, Marty Zenni, own a native plant nursery in Andersonville, Tenn.

"Gardening for Nature: Promoting Biodiversity at Home": Spira will be joined by his wife, Lisa Wagner, director of education at the South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson, to show simple steps for providing food and shelter to attract birds, butterflies and other creatures.

"Managing Invasive Exotic Plants in a Natural Landscape": Cherie Cordell will offer hands-on information about controlling exotic pest plants. Cordell's job as a biological science technician for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entails not only killing out the pest plants but growing native grasses and other plants for park restoration projects.

"Dealing With Gardening Challenges of the Tennessee Valley": All of the speakers will gather for this concluding question-and-answer session.


The cost is $60. Lunch is included in the registration fee. Exhibitors will be on hand, and door prizes will be awarded. Visit to register.

For information, email or call Nora Bernhardt at 423-886-3867.