National Planting Day, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, is a special way for us to celebrate the value and power of native species for local landscapes.
Native plants are essential in restoring ecological balance to our environment, 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 consider planting them in their own yards.
In September, Keep Liberty Beautiful will host two Native Plant Awareness Giveaway Days to encourage the use of natives in our community.
On Friday, Sept. 12, we will be at Farmers Natural Foods, 754 E.G. Miles Parkway in Hinesville, from 9 a.m.-noon or while supplies last. We will hold another giveaway at our quarterly Recycle It! Fairs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or until supplies last, Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Liberty County Health Department, 1113 E. Oglethorpe Highway; Midway Fire Department, 10490 E. Oglethorpe Highway; and Walthourville City Hall, 222 Busbee Road.
Plants (one per household) can be reserved for pick-up at each of these locations by calling 880-4888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 9.
Supplies will be limited on a first-come, first-reserve basis. We also will have information on planting and maintaining native species.
What makes a native plant a native? We usually adhere to the “official” definition in the Federal Register, defining native plants as those that are “naturally occurring, either presently or historically, in any ecosystem of the United States.” If you love to have birds and butterflies in your yard, consider using native plants. They 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. If you are looking for a yard or garden that is much easier to maintain — and who isn’t? — natives should be your go-to plants.
So while you are packing up items to recycle Sept. 13 at our locations, take the time to reserve a native plant just for you. Go native with us this September with native plants.
For a complete list of the plants available to reserve, check out our Facebook page or our website, www.keeplibertybeautiful.org. Our list of acceptable items for the Recycle It! Fairs is there as well.
If I have your interest now and you want to learn more about native plants for our area, there are some excellent online resources that can help you choose the right native species for your upcoming project. Some online sites to consider are www.plantnative.org (featuring a state-by-state directory of native species, specialized nurseries, and local organizations), www.abnativeplants.com, UGA’s Extension sites at www.caes.uga.edu, the Marine Extension’s site at www.coastscapes.org and the Georgia Native Plants society at www.gnps.org.
Also next month, we will host the monthly Progress through People Luncheon with the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce at noon Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Liberty County Community Complex in Midway. The speaker will be Sarah Visser, director of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, who will share valuable information and ideas on “Pretty Places, Vibrant Spaces: the Importance of Community Appearance.”
If you care about how community appearance affects business and economic development and quality of life, this is a must attend event for you.