No Mow Zone

“No Mow Zone” areas were established by Gwinnett Parks and Recreation three years ago in all county parks.  Part of their goal was to establish native plant growth and provide habitat birds, pollinators and critters.  At Bethesda Park, one of the areas was a grassy, lawn-like section on about a 45-degree slope from the walkway down to the lake behind Bethesda Senior Center. 

As a team of GCMGA members maintain the area around the Senior Center and the Butterfly Garden also behind the center, we decided to take the area on as a project to enhance the area with native flower seed, plants and grasses.  The area looks pretty ragged the first season and we heard quite a few negative complaints from the those who walked by.  We explained what we were doing when we had the opportunity and finally erected our own sign explaining the purpose of why the area wasn’t neatly mowed and cared for.  We added more seed and plants the second year.  We were thrilled to see so many dandelions as the first flowers for the pollinators.  Year two was much better looking.  Each workday started with a walk and look at the area, discovering newly flowering specimens every month.

Move forward to November 2021 – on a cold, drizzly day, the zone looked fabulous and we’re so pleased!  Even now, ageratum, goldenrod, daisies, and tiny asters are blooming.  The stone mountain daisies planted this year are thriving and some are blooming.  Thanks to Mary Ann, Carol, Jack, Bonnie, Nancy, Lois, Gaye, Linda and Becky for making this happen.

Bluebird Box Build

A 2021 GCMGA grant was awarded to Georgia Piedmont Land Trust’s (GPLT) Mary Kistner Center to build bluebird boxes. In late July, a small group of GPLT members and master gardeners joined forces to build 38 nesting boxes. Two of the boxes will add to an existing box at the Mary Kistner Center and the rest will be placed throughout the county at various locations including community gardens and parks. It was a fun learning experience and will enhance the growth of bluebirds throughout the Piedmont area.

August 2021 Monthly Meeting

Worms in My Kitchen was Trecia Neal’s topic for our first in-person meeting on August 16th meeting in seventeen months at Bethesda Senior Center in Lawrenceville.

Trecia presented a fun and entertaining, yet very informative program about the art of vermicomposting – i.e., using worms (red wigglers) to change food waste into what gardeners refer to as “black gold”. Worm castings are the best fertilizer that you can find for vegetables, perennials, shrubs, trees, and lawns.  Step by step instructions were be given during this talk for how to make our own vermicomposting container and transform our food waste to black gold.

Trecia is a retired biologist who work at Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta for thirty years and has expertise are ornithology, environmental education, and designing outdoor classrooms and gardens.  She now does designs and gardens as “Green Gardens”. Information is at

Summer 2021 “Bit of Dirt”

Enjoy our latest newsletter.