Field Trip to The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain – April 2, 2013

Pocket at Pigeon Mountain

The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain in Walker County is considered to be among the finest areas for wildflowers in Georgia. It is part of the Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area and is home to the Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail. This area, part of the Cumberland Plateau, contains many species rare to our state:  Virginia bluebells, celandine poppy, bent trillium, Ohio buckeye, twin leaf, and a wonderful variety of other wildflowers.

The Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail boardwalk is designed to permit viewing many species of flowers up close with the least impact.  We were extremely fortunate to have Jay Clark, a local expert and author, as our guide.  His knowledge of the history of the area and native plants provided an outstanding opportunity to learn about this unique area.

As we entered the trail, we were immediately struck by the awesome beauty of a preserved and unique ecosystem.  The Virginia Bluebells were in full bloom and their abundance was overwhelming.  There were so many rare and unusual plants it was difficult to take it all in and we enjoyed a slow and easy walk along the stream. The trail lead up to the waterfalls for an unexpected view and another fantastic experience.

Our enthusiastic photographers captured amazing shots that will be difficult to beat in our 2013 Photo Contest. It was impossible to absorb all the intricate flora and it is difficult to put the beauty of this area into words.  One conclusion we all came to is that we will return!

Field Trip and Master Gardeners Day at Gibbs Gardens – March 27, 2013

Gwinnett Master Gardeners joined Master Gardeners throughout Georgia for a special “Master Gardeners Day” hosted by Gibbs Gardens and the Georgia Master Gardeners Association.

We enjoyed small group educational tours led by Master Gardeners who have detail experience and knowledge of the Gardens.  The gardens were in full daffodil bloom and the weather was delightful.

Jim Gibbs spoke on his 25 year vision, the gardens development and plans for future opportunities as we gathered under the event tent for lunch.  He answered questions and gave tips on how we can use his concepts to enhance gardens of any size.

Southeastern Flower Show Field Trip – March 15, 2013

Gwinnett County Master Gardeners experienced the best of spring at the 25th Silver Anniversary Southeastern Flower Show hosted by the Southeastern Horticultural Society at the Cobb Galleria Centre.  The theme for this year’s event was “What’s Old is New Again” and featured magnificent gardens and fine antiques.

The event promoted conservation and awareness of the natural environment through education, horticultural excellence, and art.  In addition to  garden displays, exhibits, and educational speakers, garden-related shopping was plentiful.

Many GCMGA members volunteered to design and setup a variety of booths for the show, and served as hosts to help make this event a success.

2013 Field Trips Begin at the Johns Creek Environmental Campus

Our first 2013 GCMGA field trip was a held on January 23rd with a visit to the Johns Creek Environmental Campus (JCEC) located on the borders of Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton Counties adjacent to the Chattahoochee River.  The field trip included members from all three county Master Gardener Associations.

Over 1,000 new trees and shrubs, featuring plants native to our area, blend the facility into the public open areas.  The JCEC is unique in that it combines aesthetic beauty with state-of-the-art technology to create a facility that performs a vital role while being a good neighbor.   The landscape includes a series of walking trails, a pond and stream system complete with a covered bridge, and specially designed storm water bio retention facilities that help clean storm water runoff.

Steve Sanchez, Landscape Architect, provided a presentation on “Using More Natives in the Landscape – the Challenges and Benefits.”  We enjoyed a discussion of the issues, solutions, and plant materials for this project.  Following his talk, Steve led us on a tour of the grounds to see how the project has development from a field to a public garden.  He answered questions regarding specific plants and how we can use them in our own landscapes.