Southern Highlands Reserve

2018 Native Plant Symposium

Every spring, gardeners, landscape designers, horticulturalists, and plant lovers gather at the Southern Highlands Reserve to learn about gardening with plants that are native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Annual Native Plant Symposium is SHR’s principal educational event for the year, featuring nationally-recognized native plant experts who support our mission to educate others on the importance of native plant conservation and preservation.

This year’s Symposium will feature topics related to pollinators and the critical role they play in the balance of ecosystems of every scale, from the plant communities in our backyards to the overall health of our planet. Joining us to discuss pollinators and their role as our partners in sustainability is Dr. Larry Mellichamp, Emeritus Professor of Botany and Horticulture at UNC-Charlotte and the Director of the UNC-Charlotte’s Botanical Gardens and Tom Tribble, President of the Elisha Mitchell Chapter of the Audubon Society. 

The 2018 Native Plant Symposium will be held Saturday, May 19th  in the Chestnut Lodge of the Reserve from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. We will begin the day with a continental breakfast and spend the morning learning from native plant experts about their best management practices to creating native plant gardens that thrive and flourish.

Our luncheon will be served by Chef Adam Hayes, renowned for his culinary talents within our region and beyond. Chef Adam has had the distinguished honor of hosting a “Heart of the Blue Ridge” dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York, and was a winner of a Food Network “Cutthroat Kitchen” episode. Following lunch, guests will enjoy a tour of SHR’s gardens guided by Founders Betty and Robert Balentine and SHR staff.

Registration is $95 and includes continental breakfast, educational sessions, luncheon and Please mark your calendars and register early as space is limited.


Speaker Biographies

Dr. Larry Mellichamp is recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture and was director of the Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Larry is an expert on native plants of all kinds, has received several teaching awards and written several books, including the recent Native Plants of the Southeast…the best species for the garden (Timber Press, 2014) and Bizarre Botanicals (2010 with Paula Gross). He is the 2016 recipient of the Tom Dodd, Jr. Plantsman Award of Excellence from the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference.

Tom Tribble is President of Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, the local Audubon chapter that covers Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and several adjacent counties.  Tom has been an Audubon member and avid birder for more than 40 years.  Tom worked for 30 years at the NC Center for Geographic Information & Analysis, the State’s Geographic Information System, retiring in 2013.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s degree from Duke University.




May 19, 2018 8:30 AM
May 19, 2018 3:00 PM
Southern Highlands Reserve
558 Summit Ridge Road
Lake Toxaway NC United States
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Kelly Holdbrooks
Southern Highlands Reserve