By MARIANNE MINTON
In the High Country, springtime is officially here when the flowers blossom once again.
On Saturday, April 25, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens will kick off a new season by hosting the eighth annual Early Bird Wildflower Walk and Plant Sale. Located at 651 Horn in the West Drive in Boone, the event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon and is free to attend. Donations are greatly appreciated.
The Early Bird Plant Sale features the High Country’s best horticulture specialists who will be showcasing locally grown plants and flowers of all kinds. The sale will consist mostly of live plants, many of which are not typically available in standard nurseries, so visitors will have the chance to purchase some rare varieties for their gardens.
Dr. Annkatrin Rose, Biology professor at ASU, will be giving a wildflower walk throughout the gardens, which feature more than 200 different plant species.
DBNG Board of Governors Vice President Sarah Gilley wanted to give a little insight behind the functionality and purpose of the gardens.
“By visiting the gardens and going on the wildflower walk, you get a chance to see some unique species without having to hike through the mountain terrain,” Gilley said. “Many of the species can only be seen in wooded areas that are practically inaccessible.
“However, the gardens are a safe, accessible environment that is perfect for bringing along visitors of all ages who want to see the beautiful spring flowers.”
Don’t worry about waking up early and missing breakfast either; vendors will be selling breakfast for all the early birds who visit. There will also be a bake sale thanks to the members of the local garden clubs.
Gilley also believes this event is a great way for residents to get outside and interact together while also having the opportunity to see the hidden gems of the High Country.
“We want to welcome our community to the gardens which have served Boone for more than 50 years and hope that everyone has the chance to attend,” Gilley said.
As the 2015 season begins, the Daniel Boone Gardens are open to the public during daylight hours from May to October.
For more information, visit www.danielboonenativegardens.org or call 828-264-6390.
THE HISTORY BEHIND THE GARDENS
In North Carolina in the late 1950s, recording and studying native plant material was practically impossible due to the inaccessibility of wildlife in natural habitats. Therefore, the local garden clubs in Boone, as well as the Garden Club of NC, decided that they should take action to promote change by opening a plant sanctuary in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Finally, by 1963, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens were open. The eight-acre plot of land leased from the town of Boone happened to lie adjacent to the Horn in the West outdoor drama site, allowing the two to proceed forward in the community, hand in hand.
As a sanctuary for native plant material and wildlife for the past 52 years, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens remain an important site for both the conservation of precious species and the education of interested residents and visitors alike.