Timothy P. Spira, author of “Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, & Georgia,” will speak at the Highlands Biological Foundation’s 14th annual Native Plant Symposium, scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14. This book takes a holistic approach to plant identification that better reflects the natural world, where plants do not live in isolation. This same approach is important for gardeners in the southern Appalachian Mountains and around the world.
Dr. Spira emphasizes that – regardless of whether you are a wildflower enthusiast, naturalist, student, gardener, expert or amateur – plant identification is only the beginning. There is always something new for gardeners to discover. By recognizing the vegetation associated with particular habitats, you can begin to read the landscape around you. Recognizing the vegetation leads to a better understanding of the conditions in the landscape – wet or dry soils, shade or sun, slope and aspect – which, in turn, can enhance your garden, your gardening experience, and the wildlife around you. Interactions between plants and animals are diverse and numerous, especially in the southern Appalachian Mountains, one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America. No other mountain region in North America boasts as many species of plants as the southern Appalachians.