We are planning a small-group tour of native flora in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain on November 15-16 and garden tours on November 17.
Coastal Plain Flora Tour on Wednesday and Thursday
On the Wednesday and Thursday, there will be a pre-conference tour of native plant communities in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. The tour will be led by Dr. Larry Mellichamp, who has led multiple botanic tours throughout the Carolinas (including the tours of the Appalachian Mountains following the 2004 and 2013 AGMs). Dr. Mellichamp is nationally known for his knowledge of the flora of the southeastern U.S., was Director of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens for 39 years, and has authored several books, including Native Plants of the Southeast published by Timber Press in 2014.
Locations to be visited during the tour include the Green Swamp Reserve, Lake Waccamaw State Park, Carolina Beach State Park, and Jones Lake State Park. Flora that we should see includes late-flowering Pine Barrens Gentian (Gentiana autumnalis), Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), Pyxie-moss (Pyxidanthera barbulata), various pitcher plants (Sarracenia spp.), and several ferns. We are also expect to see Coastal Fothergilla (F. gardenii), Coastal Azalea (Rhododendron atlanticum), Swamp Azalea (R. viscosum), Honeycups (Zenobia pulverulenta), Coastal Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), Southern Sheepkill (Kalmia carolina), Dwarf wax-myrtle (Morella pumila), Long-leaf Pine (Pinus palustris), and many other coastal shrubs of pocosins, wetlands and forests. The flora is among the most diverse in North America. The flowering season will be over, but the specimens will still be quite evident, especially their habitats and associations. We should also see some extraordinary fall colors among the wetland shrubs if the weather has been right. There will be opportunities to collect seeds from “not-in-preserves” roadside habitats as well as purchase plants from a local native plant nursery if there is interest.
Enrollment in the tour is on a first-come basis and is limited to 24 participants. The tour will leave from the Sheraton Imperial at 8:15 on Wednesday morning, November 15, and will return to the Sheraton on Thursday evening, November 16. All the locations are relatively flat and hiking conditions are relatively easy, but depending on weather conditions may be muddy. Bothersome insects should be at a minimum. The cost of $300 per person includes transportation, snacks and drinks during the tour, and overnight lodging (based on double occupancy, $345 for single occupancy). Meals will be at local restaurants, with food selection and payment by each participant. You can register for the tour using the AGM registration form.
Garden Visits on Friday
On Friday, we will operate shuttle buses for NARGS attendees who are interested in visiting Juniper Level Botanic Garden & Plant Delights Nursery, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and the North Carolina Botanical Garden. The current plan is for the buses to go to Juniper Level and Plant Delights in the morning (8:30 – 12:00) and to Duke Gardens and NCBG in the afternoon (1:00 – 4:30). The buses to Juniper Level and Plant Delights will allow participants to spend roughly 2.5 hours on-site. The buses to Duke Gardens and NCBG will allow participants to spend roughly 1.5 hours at Duke Gardens and 1.0 hours at NCBG. The fee is $25 per person for morning or afternoon transportation or $40 for both. The service depends on having at least 10 people sign up for each trip.