Southern Highlands Reserve Helps Rescue Native Plants at High Hampton Resort

November 6, 2018

native plant rescue, southern gardens, biodiversity

Southern Highlands Reserve recently had the opportunity to assist in a local native plant rescue at the historic High Hampton Resort in Cashiers, NC. A redesign of its golf course by award-winning course designer Tom Fazio involved expansion into previously wooded and undeveloped areas. As such, a wide variety of native plants and wildflowers needed to be cleared.

In June, while hiking through the areas for future golf greens and admiring the flora, homeowners Sally Price and Beth Preston, along with High Hampton Vice President Owen Schultz, began discussing the possibility of saving many of these plants prior to construction. Price, who holds a native plant studies certificate from Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and Preston quickly volunteered to lead the effort so that residents would be able to collect plants and relocate them to their private properties—a benefit not only to the homeowners, but also to the overall ecosystem at the Resort. Able to increase their individual plant populations and potentially gain new species, these good stewards of the community also helped preserve the system’s existing state of balance.

They contacted local native plant experts, including SHR Executive Director Kelly Holdbrooks and Director of Horticulture Eric Kimbrel, along with Adam Bigelow of the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance, Jeff Zahner of Chattooga Gardens in Cashiers and Preston Montague of The Native Plant Podcast. With various backgrounds related to native plants of the region, this group came together to help identify species valuable for relocation and educate homeowners on best practices for plant transport and replanting to ensure long-term survival. In return, High Hampton Resort generously allowed SHR to harvest and transplant a total of 100 new plants— including trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpits, yellow lady slippers, orchids, shining club moss, fawn’s breath, wild ginger, partridgeberry and featherbells—to the Reserve.

Global deforestation and loss of habitat is ever increasing from human activities such as large-scale agriculture, logging, mining and infrastructure construction. A record was set in 2016 with 29.7 million hectares (73.4 million acres) of global tree cover loss [1]. We are grateful to the High Hampton Resort members who had the awareness to conserve and preserve within their own community when the opportunity arose.

[1] World Resources Institute