From announcing its first-ever native plant sale to planting native grasses and wildflowers along the Eastside BeltLine trail to kicking off walking tours of the new Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, there’s a lot going on at Trees Atlanta these days. The organization’s communications manager Bethany Clark sent us the following update.
1st Annual Native Perennial Wildflower and Vine Sale
Trees Atlanta will hold its first-ever native plant sale Saturday April 6th from 8 AM to 1 PM at the organization’s Kendeda Center located at 225 Chester Ave. in Reynoldstown. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. is the event sponsor and proceeds from the sale will benefit Trees Atlanta’s youth education programs.
The sale will feature native, pollinator-friendly plants, and will also specialize in perennials that will be planted along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. The full plant list can be viewed on Trees Atlanta’s website at www.treesatlanta.org.
Trees Atlanta’s big annual sale is usually held in October, but this year the local tree-planting non-profit is introducing a new plant sale to coincide with its new education program: Birds, Butterflies, and Bees.
New Eastside Trail Meadow to Feature Native Grasses, Wildflowers
Starting in March and continuing through May, Trees Atlanta will plant 109,000 native grass and wildflower plugs along nearly 8.5 acres of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. These plugs will grow into a native meadow that will become a much-needed source of nesting sites, food, and protection for birds, butterflies, bees, and more. Replanting native meadows is a new sustainable landscape trend in the southeastern U.S. In addition to creating natural habitat, the maintenance of meadows requires less fuel, water, and pesticides.
Trees Atlanta needs plenty of volunteers to help plant the meadow. Anyone interested in volunteering can find dates and location details for the three-month project at www.treesatlanta.org/calendar.
The meadow Trees Atlanta is planting this spring will be unique because it is growing right in the central urban context of the Atlanta BeltLine and its new Arboretum (see item below).
BeltLine Arboretum Becoming Reality
The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum (ABA) is a continuous loop of natural areas around the Atlanta BeltLine. An arboretum (pronounced ar•bor•ree•tum) is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants, such as trees and/or flowers. While most arboretums are located at a single address, the ABA will be a linear arboretum that encircles the entire city of Atlanta.
The ABA is a collective effort of Trees Atlanta, the Atlanta BeltLine, and members of the surrounding community. Comprised of trees, native grasses, wildflowers, art, and much more, the ABA forms a natural connection between 22 miles of Atlanta neighborhoods, trails, transit, and parks, while also attracting wildlife to a continuous corridor of habitat.
You may have already noticed the 600+ trees that Trees Atlanta planted last fall on the Eastside Trail: magnolias, sassafras, long leaf pines, hornbeams, oaks, elms, tulip poplars, hickories, dogwoods, redbuds, and more are all part of the ABA. And that’s just on the Eastside Trail! The arboretum will continue to develop as the Atlanta BeltLine itself continues to expand.
When fully planted, the meadow on the Eastside Trail will consist of more than 43 different species of grasses and forbs (forbs being herbs that are not grass or grass-like). The species will be planted and labeled in such a way as to make identification as easy as possible for visitors and native plant enthusiasts. In years to come, similar meadows will appear along the entire ABA, creating one giant outdoor classroom.
Planting a project this big requires teamwork! Trees Atlanta is partnering with Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on a research component to the meadow. On March 1st and 2nd the Center conducted workshops to train community volunteers, contractors, and design professionals to properly install meadows and collect data for the ABA’s first research project and paper.
From March through May, the planting will take place. Hundreds of volunteers will be needed to help Trees Atlanta plant the meadow. If you are interested in volunteering, Trees Atlanta will lead plantings on select weekday and weekend mornings from 9 AM to 12 Noon in March, April, and May. Check the Trees Atlanta calendar for information and to RSVP: www.treesatlanta.org/calendar.
Docent Walking Tours of the BeltLine Arboretum to Start on April 12
Beginning April 12, Eastside Trail visitors will be able to register for an Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Docent Walking Tour. The walking tours will be led by well-trained experts called docents who will help tour-goers explore the Eastside Trail while focusing particularly on the horticultural collections and interesting facts about the BeltLine. The walking tour takes approximately 90 minutes and begins from an easily-accessible trailhead in Inman Park. Each docent will prepare his or her own unique talking points to spotlight native trees, architectural interests, key historical stories, and more.
To take advantage of this free walking tour, which is offered all year so you can experience every season of the ABA with a trained docent, contact Kate Baltzell at Trees Atlanta at KateB@treesatlanta.org. Online registration will begin soon. Special group accommodations will be available.
Trees Atlanta thanks Kaiser Permanente for helping to make the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Docent Program possible.
For more information on these programs, please visit www.treesatlanta.org or contact Bethany Clark at 404-681-4892.