Red Spruce Restoration Program Grows New Roots: Partners in Restoration Plant 900 Red Spruce Near Black Balsam

On September 18th and 19th, representatives from the Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (SASRI) gathered in Black Balsam to restore red spruce on public lands in Western NC. Over 900 young red spruce trees were carried on foot and horseback by dozens of volunteers and members of SASRI to their new home deep in the woods on public lands. In two days, these dedicated conservationists made at least seven trips down the Flat Laurel Branch Trail, some logging 14 miles for the day. The red spruce trees were grown by Southern Highlands Reserve as part of a larger long-term effort to restore red spruce to its high-elevation native habitat on public lands in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains....
By Southern Highlands Reserve | October 18, 2017 | SHR-News

Gardening for a Changing Climate: How Shifts in Climate Should Guide our Conservation Practices

The onset of hurricane and fire season this year has brought an alarming degree of destruction to communities across the planet and disruption to the delicate balance of ecosystems. Record-breaking precipitation levels, fires, storm intensity, and storm frequency parallel the predictions of climate scientists for the past two decades: as oceans warm, we will observe increased storm activity, frequency, and intensity. In light of the devastation of recent extreme weather events from Hurricane Harvey and Irma on such a harrowing scale, we ask ourselves: are we powerless to stop this kind of catastrophic damage from happening again? What can we do at home to reduce our ecological footprint and adapt to the predicted long-term weather conditions? Further, what can we do to help strengthen the resiliency of our ecosystems and empower others to leave this earth better than we found it for future generations?...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | October 18, 2017 | SHR-News

Gardener’s Corner – Fall Edition

As the summer comes to a close for fall, we prepare for winter by helping the gardens go into a hibernation of their own, tucked into their beds and ready for a long, dormant season. Throughout the year, SHR staff prepare for the next generation of native plants to adorn the landscape. After bearing summertime fruit, plenty of seeds are ready for harvest throughout the gardens. Our gardeners are busy collecting seeds from our native plant collection, storing the genetic programming for the coming years. Seeds are stored in the Chestnut Lodge, each labeled to identify species, date and location they were collected. This information will then be added to our accession records once these seeds germinate and are planted back into the gardens. SHR takes great pride in our meticulous data collection as this is the lifeblood of the landscape; knowing where we come from will help steer us where we are going in the future. ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | October 4, 2017 | SHR-News

Soils: Nourishing Gardens from the Ground Up

Soils are the backbone of the landscape, nurturing gardens from the ground up. As we transition from warm late summer months into the harvest of fall, now is the time to evaluate your garden’s soil conditions and plan for next year. The health of your gardens is determined by the health of your soils. Understanding ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | August 31, 2017 | SHR-News

Gardener’s Corner: Summer Edition

With the onset of the warm summer months, the gardens are at their fullest and our gardeners are busy adding new native plants to our garden rooms and maintaining them daily, preventing pests and weeds from encroaching into the landscape. We are pleased to see a positive impact on the gardens from the implementation of our most recent water mitigation best management practices. By controlling the direction of water flow and rate at which water moves across the landscape, we are able to minimize the need for maintenance following heavy precipitation events. We’re adding mulch and soil to low areas that have been washed out by rainfall. In the Vasyei creek, we’re adding additional rock to slow the flow of water and prevent further washout. The increase of intensity and frequency of precipitation events is a by-product of climate change. By planning ahead and implementing measures now, we mitigate the negative effects of climate change at the Reserve....
By Southern Highlands Reserve | July 7, 2017 | SHR-News

“Women of the Woods” Write New Chapter in a Multi-Generational Story of Conservation in Partnership with Southern Highlands Reserve

The Waighstill Avery Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) have played a role in conservation spanning over 100 years in Western North Carolina, from a pre-war forest once forgotten and now found, to nurturing the future of spruce-fir forests in our region today. Once carpeted with red spruce and fir, our high elevation mountain landscapes ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | July 6, 2017 | SHR-News

Where the Wild Things Are: Annual Symposium Addresses the Role of the Wild in Garden Design, Invasive Species Management and Human History

On May 13th, 2017, SHR’s Founders and staff welcomed a sold out crowd to learn from renowned experts in horticulture at our seventh Native Plant Symposium. Following a brief welcome by one of SHR’s Founders Robert Balentine and Executive Director Kelly Holdbrooks, keynote speaker Claudia West gave an engaging lecture based on her recent publication ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | June 28, 2017 | SHR-News

Celebrating National Pollinator Week at Home and in Your Garden

Although pollinators are busy year-round, the third week in June is celebrated as National Pollinator Week, this year falling on June 19-25, 2017. If you’ve eaten today or enjoyed the view in your gardens, you’ll understand why people dedicate a whole week to celebrating pollinators: they provide invaluable services most of us take for granted ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | June 23, 2017 | SHR-News

Southern Highlands Reserve Awarded a $16,000 Open Space Preservation Grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area to Restore Red Spruce in Western North Carolina

Southern Highlands Reserve (SHR) is honored to announce that it has been awarded the Open Space Preservation Grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA). SHR will use this $16,000 grant to help restore red spruce to endangered spruce-fir ecosystems on public lands in Western North Carolina. BRNHA is a nonprofit organization charged with ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | April 13, 2017 | SHR-News

Library of American Landscape History Presents Betty and Robert Balentine with its Prestigious “Preservation Heroes” Award

On Friday, April 8th in Atlanta, Georgia, members of the Board of Directors from the Library of American Landscape History (LALH) along with friends and colleagues of the Southern Highlands Reserve and its staff gathered to present Betty and Robert Balentine with the annual LALH Preservation Heroes Award. The LALH Preservation Hero Award is presented ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | April 13, 2017 | SHR-News

Green Infrastructure: Designing with Best Water Management Practices to Conserve Resources

Water is our most precious resource. We’ve all heard this phrase before, but it always seems the things that are a part of our lives every day are the things we most often take for granted. Access to clean water is a vital part of our lives that would not be possible without the services provided by the ecosystems that support our global habitat. Forests and soils provide filtration services, plants participate in the transpiration process, pulling water out of the soil and releasing it into the atmosphere through their leaves and needles. Perfectly balanced by nature over eons, these processes are now being disrupted by a changing climate and human development....
By Southern Highlands Reserve | January 16, 2017 | SHR-News

Women of the Woods: How the Daughters of the American Revolution Found a Forgotten Forest

On October 14, 2016, the clouds parted to cast a few glimmers of sunlight on a special ceremony taking place on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Honoring nearly 100 years of conservation, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) gathered together to commemorate a forest once forgotten to the light of knowledge. The forest of 50,000 red spruce was planted in 1941-1943 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and dedicated to the deceased daughters of the American Revolution, but its location and existence was almost completely forgotten. As if illuminated by a divine mirror to commemorate the moment the forest was remembered, the sun shone down through the clouds on the unveiling of the memorial wayside sign honoring the rediscovery of the DAR Jubilee Memorial Forest. ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | January 13, 2017 | SHR-News

Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust Awards Southern Highlands Reserve with a $20,000 Grant to Build Digital Native Plant Research Database

Southern Highlands Reserve is honored to announce the award of a $20,000 grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust. The grant will support SHR’s development of a customized digital database to store the Reserve’s plant accession records, phenology, weather data, and more. The research database will further enhance the Reserve’s capacity of native plants in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, one of the world’s biologically significant hot spots. With the database, horticulturalists can conduct research on our native plant collection from anywhere in the world....
By Southern Highlands Reserve | January 5, 2017 | SHR-News

Southern Highlands Reserve Featured in Franklin Press

Southern Highlands Reserve was recently featured in the Franklin Press thanks to columnist Bob Gilbert, who visited the Reserve for its Annual Symposium. Gilbert writes about the Reserve, its Founders, gardens, and purpose....
By Southern Highlands Reserve | October 25, 2016 | SHR-News

Southern Highlands Reserve Partners with Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, Contributes to “The Campaign for Living Collections”

In early October, Southern Highlands Reserve had the distinct honor of welcoming Robert Dowell and Jenna Zukswert, Fellows of the Campaign for Living Collections at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum for a tour of the Reserve and to share seeds for native plants grown on the Reserve. Established to expand the Arboretum’s collection through exploration, collection and ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | October 18, 2016 | SHR-News

Cullowhee Native Plant Conference Attendees Experience SHR’s Rich Biodiversity during Conference Field Trip

For nearly two decades, the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference at Western Carolina University has been a long-time favorite educational conference of landscape professionals across the country. With over 20 field trips, this 5-day conference hosts many types of in-depth opportunities to learn about native plants from experts including lectures, workshops, and field trips. The Cullowhee ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | October 18, 2016 | SHR-News

Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (SASRI) Signs Charter Agreement with SHR for Red Spruce Restoration Projects Across Southern Appalachian Mountains

Southern Highlands Reserve is proud to announce its formal long-term partnership with the Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (SASRI) to restore red spruce and the vitality of spruce-fir forests in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This summer, SHR signed a charter with organizations and government agencies such as The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, U.S Fish ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | October 18, 2016 | SHR-News

Plant with Natives in Your Garden at SHR’s Annual Plant Sale

Our seasonal Native Plant Sale is coming up just around the corner! Join us on August 19th and 20th and bring home a few of the native plants featured in the gardens of Southern Highlands Reserve. We will have available many of the azaleas and other shrubs you have seen at the Reserve for sale ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | August 16, 2016 | SHR-News

SHR Announces the Installation of its View Site Sculpture by Wesley Wofford Studios

This year’s visitor season marks a milestone for SHR – its second art installation in the gardens! Inspired by the maps used by the National Parks Service along the Blue Ridge Parkway to help park goers identify mountain peaks along the horizon, SHR installed a bronze bas relief map naming the mountains seen from the ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | July 1, 2016 | SHR-News

Cherokee Garden Club of Atlanta Coordinates “Partners for Plants” Wetland Revegetation Project at Great Smoky Mountains National Park with SHR, National Parks Service, Volunteers

On the weekend of June 10-12, SHR founders and staff joined members of the Cherokee Garden Club of Atlanta, Peachtree Garden Club, French Broad Garden Club, public land managers with the National Parks Service, and other dedicated native plant lovers for a special weekend to help revegetate a wetland area near the southern entrance to ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | July 1, 2016 | SHR-News

SHR Presents its First Feature Film: “Genus Loci: Southern Highlands Reserve”

During this year’s Symposium, SHR premiered the final version of “Genus Loci: Southern Highlands Reserve,” a 17-minute feature film three years in the making. Featuring interviews with the Reserve’s founders Betty and Robert Balentine, landscape architect Gary Smith, and consultants, artisans, and key partners, the film the story of how the Reserve was created. As ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | July 1, 2016 | SHR-News

Native Plant Experts Speak at Southern Highlands Reserve’s Annual Symposium: “Balance and Function: The Role of Native Plants in our Ecosystems”

On Saturday, May 14th, horticulturalists, gardeners, landscape designers and plant lovers gathered on Toxaway Mountain at Southern Highlands Reserve’s Native Plant Symposium to learn about gardening with plants that are native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This year’s theme “Balance and Function: The Role of Native Plants in our Ecosystems” showcased how native plants provide ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | June 30, 2016 | SHR-News

Southern Highlands Reserve Participates in National Public Garden Day Celebration with Gardens Across the U.S., Gives Native Plant Seedling to Visitors

Visitors to Southern Highlands Reserve on May 3rd celebrated National Public Gardens Day with a garden tour and took a part of the garden home with them. Every year, gardens like the Southern Highlands Reserve celebrate National Public Gardens Day to raise awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship and conservation. This year, Southern Highlands ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | May 27, 2016 | SHR-News

Native Plant Experts to Speak at Southern Highlands Reserve’s Annual Symposium: “Balance and Function: The Role of Native Plants in our Ecosystems”

On Saturday, May 14th, horticulturalists, gardeners, landscape designers and plant lovers will gather on Toxaway Mountain at Southern Highlands Reserve’s Native Plant Symposium to learn about gardening with plants that are native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This year’s theme “Balance and Function: The Role of Native Plants in our Ecosystems” will showcase how native ...
By Southern Highlands Reserve | March 29, 2016 | SHR-News

Wet and Wild: A Partners for Plants Wetland Revegetation Weekend and Optional Camping Trip

As a member of Garden Clubs of America, the Cherokee Garden Club is pleased to present “Wet & Wild: A Partners for Plants Wetlands Revegetation Weekend” to be held on June 10-12, 2016 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the National Park System. The purpose of the event is to revegetate a marshy site cleared of invasive exotics in 2014 with genotypes of native sedges, rushes, alders, swamp roses and other select native plants collected by the National Parks Service....
By Southern Highlands Reserve | March 2, 2016 | SHR-News

From Seed to Forest: Restoring Red Spruce in the Southern Appalachia

On Tuesday, January 19th, members of the grass-root organization Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (SASRI), joined the Reserve's staff in cleaning red spruce cones and preparing their seeds for germination in the Reserve's Nursery Complex. Nine volunteers joined four SHR staff members, all contributing a total of 44 hours of labor, cleaning an estimated 53,000 seeds from 22 collections of red spruce cones in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains....
By Southern Highlands Reserve | February 29, 2016 | SHR-News