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Get to know native plants
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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To celebrate National Planting Day in September, Keep Liberty Beautiful will host two native plant giveaways from 9 a.m.-noon (or while supplies last) Friday, Sept. 14, at Farmers Natural Foods and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (or while supplies last) Saturday, Sept. 15, at our quarterly Recycle It! Fair at the Liberty County Health Department. We also will have additional information about native species. Our community partners, Farmers Natural Foods and the Liberty County 4-Hers, are working with us to provide these events to encourage the use of native plants in landscaping in our community.

National Planting Day, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, is a wonderful way to celebrate the value and power of native species for local landscapes. Native plants are essential in restoring ecological balance to our environment. Native plants are a natural and healthy way to create greener and more beautiful communities. Keep Liberty Beautiful, in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, encourages everyone to learn more about their native plants and to consider planting native species of trees, flowers, and plants in their own yards.

Here are a few options to consider for your own garden paradise:

• Trumpet honeysuckle likes sun or partial shade. This native vine grows rapidly. Through spring and summer, it has tubular flowers ranging in color from gold to scarlet. It is great to use on a trellis or a fence.

• The Carolina yellow jessamine is a fast-growing evergreen climbing vine that thrives in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Its yellow trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers cover the vine in February and March. It grows well on trellises, fences or mailbox posts.

• The oakleaf hydrangea is a medium- to fast-growing flowering shrub that thrives in moist, well-drained soil in partial shade. Its large white, fragrant flower clusters are about 12 inches wide and bloom from May through June. The plants should be pruned after flowering season is over.

• The Southern wax myrtle is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree. It often is multi-trunked, with gray-green aromatic foliage and clusters of blue-gray fruits on female plants. It grows best in moist, acid soils but is adaptable to other conditions, including wet sites with poor drainage. The wax myrtle grows best in full sun to light shade and is useful as a tall screen or specimen tree.

• Star anise also is one of my favorites. It has rich, green foliage with the smell of anise — almost a licorice scent. The blooms in June are small yellow-green flowers. Star anise thrives in moist soil and full sun or light shade. It is tolerant to cold. Theses shrubs work as hedges for screening.

We know that natives are critical to attracting specialized pollinators and insects, which in turn provide food for birds and, ultimately, many more animals up the food chain. Natives also provide habitat for wildlife. Natives are hardy, lower maintenance and require less water than other ornamentals. So, if you are looking for a yard or garden that is much easier to maintain, natives should be your go-to plants.

If you’d like more information, check out, which features a state-by-state directory of native species, specialized nurseries and local organizations, and The UGA Cooperative Extension service also has several excellent online publications.

Native plants are waiting to create a beautiful garden oasis at your home.

Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events

Sept. 8-15: National Planting Day Activities — to promote planting native plants in our community.

Sept. 8: St. Catherine’s Island Beach Sweep — Space is limited for this annual cleanup event, so contact us today!

Sept. 15: Recycle It! Fair and Native Plant GiveAway — from 9-11 a.m. at the Liberty County Health Department on Highway 84 Plants will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For recycling, we will accept electronics, cell phones and accessories, printers, household goods, shoes, fluorescent bulbs and CFLs, batteries, car batteries, used motor oil, antifreeze and household paint in non-rusted cans.

For information on any of these upcoming events, call KLB at 610-3968 or email

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