Saturday, November 9, 2019

Winter's Coming

Winter weather arrived this week, in a good way and a bad way, depending on how you look at it.

I have so many tasks piled up from the past growing season, what many would consider bad has actually been good for me. I am reducing some of the work that needs to be done.

It's all because of my plant-collecting gene. What I like in the plant world is not necessarily what others prefer, so I buy in a lot of plants that grow more as annuals instead of focusing 100% on the natives I love.

Take dragon-wing (or angel-wing) begonias. For the past two seasons I have bought in hundreds of plugs to pot up, only to have the finished product sit in their pots, unsold, for months.

It's no fault of the begonias. They're pretty. They grow. Some grow big. But I've only got room for so much.

Succulents are a different story. While I have only one native variety, which I haven't offered for sale yet, I also have others that can take the cold, along with some that can't.

Now, the bad thing to some people is the fact that I make no effort to save the plants that aren't col-hardy when the freezing weather rolls in. We do have some “house plants” that my wife cares for that make their way indoors, but these others I let turn to mush.

All is not lost, however.

The mushy remains and the soil in their pots are recycled into the raised beds that I prepare for growing native stock plants.

And that's a good thing!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Native Plants and Ethics

One wouldn't normally think that there is a connection between growing and gardening with native plants but, surprisingly, there is a very important relationship between the two.

Recently I have been mulling over ethically-grown natives compared to the misinformation that seems to be prevalent in general.

As a member of the North Carolina Native Plant Society (NCNPS), I am constantly learning about the ways that our natives are being promoted for the good, versus the bad side of growing and gardening with natives.

NCNPS has a Code of Ethics that is divided into four categories, the first being Voluntary Codes of Conduct For The Gardening Public. Last updated in 2002, the codes may be found at https://ncwildflower.org/guidelines/gardening.pdf.

Another category covers organized group hikes, or walks, to see and discover native plants in their natural habitats. The NCNPS Guidelines for Walks may be seen at a word document that is linked at https://ncwildflower.org/about/ethics.

The third category is mostly for NCNPS members that participate in plant sales and auctions. That word document link may also be found at https://ncwildflower.org/about/ethics.

The final code is the one that I want to discuss a bit more in depth: Guidelines and Ethics for Collection of Native Plants.

The reason this has been on my mind is the result of a minor incident that I did not witness, but of which I was informed several days later.

As I wrote in last week's blog, I sell my plants through a third party arrangement. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to be able to do so, but it's not always easy for the seller.

Apparently a customer challenged the salesperson on the origins of the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) trees that are offered for sale.

Because that customer had only seen the Japanese Persimmon (Diospyros kaki) offered for sale elsewhere it was assumed that the trees that were for sale had been poached “from the woods” and put in nursery containers for sale.

Nothing could be farther from the truth and it horrifies me to think that I would commit such an atrocity in the name of commerce.

For the record, that particular crop of persimmon trees that I have been selling were purchased as bare-root seedlings from a well-respected, licensed wholesale native plant nursery. This is true for many other plants that I have been selling. As a still-new producer of native plants, it is necessary to bring in older, more mature seedlings to try to fill the gaps until the plants I am propagating are of saleable size.

At NO TIME have I ever, nor will I ever, dig native plants from the wild in order to sell them. It is highly unethical!
I'll leave it there for now, but this issue may come up for discussion again in the future.

I just want to let everyone know that they can rest assured that any plant offered for sale by Uwharrie Mountain Native Plant Farm has been grown specifically for that purpose and have been grown since seed or cutting in a nursery setting.

The photos are of the 2019 collected persimmon seeds. No puddings were harmed in the collection of these seeds.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Up in the Air

My initial intent for this blog site was to use it as a home page for Uwharrie Mountain Native Plant Farm. I've since discovered that it best serves as a point for updated and short-notice information.


In an attempt to remain more current I am going to strive to make regular posts here while working on a dedicated, actual, honest-to-goodness web page. Hopefully the new page will debut by the time new growth begins in the Spring.


When that happens, my followers here will know it as the URL currently points to this blog. The new page will sport a direct link to this page.


Up in the Air


The title of this writing explains my attitude toward my business at this point. There are several things going on that will determine which way UMNPF will go into the future.



1. I am striving to increase the offerings of native plants to my community. Right now I am limited by a lack of space in my current nursery, being located in the backyard of a residential lot. This location prevents me from conducting retail business from the site, not as much because of the location, but because our driveway is shared with our next-door neighbor. Out of respect for the neighbor's privacy all retail sales have been done through a third-party retail business.


2. I have recently learned that the third-party retail business, through which all sales have been conducted, will be relocating after the first of the year. Unfortunately the new location will not offer the outdoor space needed or the security behind a locked gate that I currently enjoy.


The ideal solution to these problems is not so easy to remedy. I have been driving main roads and back roads throughout the Uwharrie Mountain area in search of a small parcel that could host a small agricultural enterprise (i.e. the nursery). The location would have a working well, small pond or other surface water suitable for irrigation; access to electricity for pumps, lights and a small office; and be a reasonable distance from my home to commute.



A couple of cleared or clear-able acres would offer all the space needed. An old mobile home lot would be wonderful. I don't want to have a huge nursery, but one that I can pretty much manage on my own. As I'm nearing the 60 years old mark I don't foresee the time or energy needed to aim for a large plot. I should have been doing this 30 years ago!


So, it's all up in the air. I'll continue to add to and grow the selection that is currently offered and we'll see where the road leads. It all works out for the best in the long run.

Monday, July 15, 2019

A Sad Day for our Native Neighbors

Yesterday, as I was exploring the gravel back roads of our little community in the Uwharries, I was excited to run across a stand of native Narrow-leaf Mountain Mint growing in the power line right-of-way beside the woods. I was excited because I had never seen it growing locally, except for the transplants I have in my beds, that I was given by a friend who lives about an hour away.


This morning, before 8:00 am, I was awoken by Cindy yelling for me to look out the window. Two pickup trucks were slowly making their way down our lane, tanks on the back, followed by two men with backpack sprayers walking along the roadside.

They suddenly jumped onto the back of one of the trucks and sped past our house, further down the lane, not spraying immediately in front of our home (thankfully, we have beehives).


I quickly dressed, discussed the incident with Cindy, then got in my car and drove in the same direction they had gone.

I caught up with them on the next gravel lane over. When I pulled up alongside one of the trucks I didn't have to say a word because the driver immediately started telling me they were spraying along the power lines. I asked him what they were spraying. He misunderstood and replied, "just along the sides under the power lines.""

I restated my question to "what CHEMICAL are you spraying?"


"Roundup," he replied.

Cindy and I have spent the past several seasons watching the native flowers grow, excited to find some we'd never found locally before. Saw Indian Pink this year for the first time here, enjoying the Green and Gold, Joe-Pye, Butterfly Weed and others.


We were somewhat concerned when Randolph Electric contractors came through during the winter, grinding and chewing up the same rights-of-way that are now being sprayed. My take on it was that it would bring up seeds from below the surface that may have been laying dormant for years.

Sadly, they had already sprayed the area where I discovered the Mountain Mint, just yesterday.

I'm really sad as I write this. These small native gems, that will never ever grow tall enough to impede the electricity, are being sacrificed.


It seems to me, if they can walk along the right-of-way and indiscriminately spray to kill everything in sight, why can't they just as easily trade the backpack sprayers for Swedish axes and just target the small tree saplings that would grow into the lines in future years.

Will the invasive Paulowinia that has been growing back every year near the Mountain Mint succumb to the spray?


I have my doubts.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

This is a partial list of the native plants we offer. All varieties are subject to crop loss and prior sale. As time allows these entries will be expanded to include photos and more detailed information on each plant.

Please message or email us if you are seeking a particular plant.

American Holly (Ilex opaca)
Aromatic Aster (Symphiotrychum oblongifolium)
Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Bluestar (Amsonia hubrechtii)
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata)
Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)
Florida Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum)
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea)
Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
Green & Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Hearts'a Bustin' (Euonymus americanus)
Inberry Holly (Ilex glabra)
Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium fistulosus)
Lupine (Lupinus perennis)
Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata)
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
Mountain Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum)
New England Aster (Symphiotrychum novae-angliae)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)
Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Rough Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)
Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
Smooth Aster (Symphiotrychum laeve)
Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum odoratum variegatum)
Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)
Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin)
Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
Stokes Aster (Stokesia laevis)
Swamp Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)
Sweet Azalea (Rhododendron arborescens)
Sweet Bubby (Calycanthus floridus)
Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana)
Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)
Whute Oak (Quercus alba)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
Yellow False Indigo (Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight')

Monday, November 26, 2018

Our mission is to grow natives to help offset the loss of native plants that are vital to our ecosystem. We grow our native plants from locally collected seeds and cuttings, along with plugs and liners that we purchase from other nurseries.

Please check back regularly as we add information to this site. Please feel free to text your message to (910) 975-2373.

Uwharrie Mountain Native Plant Farm looks forward to providing you with the plants that are preferred by pollinators and local wildlife.

Winter's Coming

Winter weather arrived this week, in a good way and a bad way, depending on how you look at it. I have so many tasks piled up from the pas...