I’m not a botanist, but I know enough to be dangerous. Hours of walking in the woods with trained biologists and learning both common and Latin names of our native species is one of the things I love most about my job. And yes, as you can imagine, I have developed some opinions about native plants. It’s hard not to when you have the opportunity to witness the diverse and bountiful Lowcountry ecology on a daily basis! You may think that I see these wonders of nature and resilience more than you do, but the fact is these native plants are witnessed and enjoyed by everyone in the Lowcountry.
Native plants aren’t just some rare species out in the forest, they’re our everyday environment that makes up our parks, coastlines, and backyards. The magnolia trees that line our roads and sweetgrass growing in the marshes are just a small portion of the native plants that thrive in the Lowcountry. These plants are crucial to the cultural history in our communities as well. Can you imagine the Lowcountry without sweetgrass baskets and palmetto roses? Without resurrection fern and sprawling live oaks? Short answer; it is impossible to imagine the Lowcountry without these landmark species and the beautiful artistic expressions that come from them.
What excites me most about native plants is that we all have the opportunity to enjoy them, not just in our forests, but also in our gardens. While land conservation and protection play a large role in keeping these species alive, everyone can make an impact by planting native plants on their property. Not only is it an effective way to keep these species alive, but the plants are beautiful and often simple to take care of! They are, in fact, natives to the Lowcountry. I like to think these plants can teach us something about how we see the environment, as well as how the environment plays a role in our own lives and culture.
So, get out there, get some native plants, plant them in your garden, tell your friends about it, educate your children, and enjoy these wonderful species! Then, give yourself a pat on the back, because by planting native plants you’re helping preserve the ecology, beauty, and history of the Lowcountry.
Your biggest fan,
President & CEO
Lowcountry Land Trust
INTERVIEW: NATIVE PLANTING WITH COLETTE DEGARADY
Colette DeGarady has worked for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for over 15 years and is proud to be part of a conservation community protecting important places and helping people connect with nature. She began her career with TNC searching for South Carolina’s rarest plants. Today, she holds a regional position helping to restore and maintain our native longleaf pine forests from east Texas to southern Virginia. She has been a board member of the SC Native Plant Society since 2003 and helped start their local native plant sales in 2007.
Welcome to the team! Please join us in welcoming new staff members Blair Gottfried, Director of Outreach and Events, Connor Simonson, Creative Content Writer, and Hunter Allen, Land Protection Project Manager! We’re also happy to announce that Christy Mason has been promoted to the position of Director of Science and Stewardship, and Kate Durand has been promoted to the position of Communications Manager.