2017 Wildflower Field Day

DSC_0476 copyWildflowers have lots of fans! The Wildflower Trails of Mississippi works with its many partners to teach Mississippians about wildflowers. Recently, we hosted a Wildflower Field Day at Mississippi State Extension Service’s Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton.

We learned about nativ19990174_10212026708361985_3758948804219349657_ne seed production, backyard habitats and milkweed management as well as took a field tour.

A big thank you to all of our partners, including Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts, Mississippi Master Gardeners, Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Wildflowers Plantings to Come to U.S. 82

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Winona Mayor Jerry Flowers (left), State Sen. Lydia Chassaniol (right), and others meet to select sites for wildflower plantings.

In a year or two, new wildflower plantings along U.S. 82 between Carrollton to Kilmichael will give citizens a more beautiful drive. Through the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi, Keep Mississippi Beautiful (KMB) is working with local leaders to plant wildflowers along this 22-mile corridor in Mississippi.

KMB launched Wildflower Trails of Mississippi in 2015, and since then, wildflower plantings are thriving across the state – from the Coast to Crystal Springs.

“Wildflowers are native, meaning they are conditioned to thrive here and are resistant against drought and pests,” said Sarah Kountouris, KMB Executive Director. “They do wonderful things for our landscape, such as reduce erosion and provide much-needed habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies as well as bobwhite quail. Plus, they’re beautiful.”

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A wildflower planting along U.S. 51 in Crystal Springs. The goal is to have these new plantings bloom like these.

KMB is working with city officials in Carrollton, Winona and Kilmichael to plant wildflowers in the median along the U.S. 82, a major corridor across Mississippi. The plantings will include Black-eyed Susans, Plains Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower and a variety of native grasses. KMB worked closely with Mississippi State University Extension Service to select ideal plants for Mississippi roadways.

KMB plans to plant in the spring, meaning blooms as soon as next summer. As the plantings flourish, KMB expects more blooms over time.

Learn more about Wildflower Trails of Mississippi. Also, please let us know what type of wildflowers you are seeing in your area by becoming one of our Wildflower Watchers.

Wildflower Trails Project Wins Keep America Beautiful Award

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Many of our state’s cleaning and greening leaders attended Keep America Beautiful’s conference recently.

Wildflower Trails of Mississippi was recently received Keep America Beautiful’s prestigious Innovation Award. Our project, led by Keep Mississippi Beautiful, was one of several to receive awards at Keep America Beautiful’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Keep Mississippi Beautiful is part of the Keep America Beautiful network, and Wildflower Trails of Mississippi is its premiere beautification effort in the state.

Additionally, at the conference, Keep Mississippi Beautiful Executive Director Sarah Kountouris spoke about the project during the “I Am Keep America Beautiful” session.

Flower Field Day

By Wildflower Trails of Mississippi

13962572_1839104629655179_7571960404757746813_nEarlier this month, 75 local and state leaders, wildflower enthusiasts, conservation partners and Keep Mississippi Beautiful affiliates gathered in Newton, Mississippi for our first-ever wildflower field day. The field day was held at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station of Mississippi State University’s Extension Service.

It was a great day! We learned about the importance of pollinators (we owe them for one out of every three bites of food) as well as proper maintenance before wildflower plantings.

13962713_1839036059662036_6010956970769925770_nA big thanks to all of our partners who made it possible, including MSU’s Extension Service, KMB, Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Service, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Mississippi Department of Transportation and Mississippi Master Gardeners.

We’re also proud of all of our KMB affiliates who joined us! We had representatives from Keep Ridgeland Beautiful, Keep Simpson County Beautiful, Keep Natchez Beautiful, Keep Clinton Beautiful, Keep Madison the City Beautiful, Keep Pearl Beautiful, Keep Morton Beautiful, Keep Harrison County Beautiful, Keep Kosciusko Beautiful and Keep Oxford Beautiful.

 

Looking for Wildflower Seeds?

People frequently ask us if we sell or distribute packets of wildflower seeds. Unfortunately, we don’t at this time. We have a limited quantity of seeds that we’re using for community-size projects.

But don’t despair! You can still find wildflower seeds for your yard. We’ve poked around the Internet as well as asked some of our friends for some in-state and out-of-state vendors.

Additionally, be sure to contact your local office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service for their tips and recommendations.

In-state Vendors

  • Barton & Sons, Inc., Lucedale, 601-947-2675
  • Ole Grady’s Nursery, Inc., Lucedale, 601-945-2523
  • Under the Oak Nursery, Lucedale, 601-508-6686
  • Bond’s Nursery PO Box 1523, Lucedale, 601-550-4063
  • Hutto’s Home and Garden Center, Jackson, 601-973-2277
  • Marc Pastorek, wildflower and native grass seed contractor, http://www.meadowmakers.com/
  • Martinson’s Garden Works, Ridgeland, 601-856-3078
  • Penick Organics, Macon, 662-726-5224, www.penickforestproducts.com

Regional Vendors

This list is a work in progress. Please let us know of any recommended vendors that you’ve found!

Keep America Beautiful Blog: Keep Mississippi Beautiful’s ‘Wildflower Trails’ are Taking Bloom

Keep America Beautiful recently highlighted Wildflower Trails of Mississippi on their blog. Check out their post below:

AffiliateUpdate_KeepMississippiBeautiful_WildflowersMississippi is well known for its natural beauty. But over the years, the amount of native wildflowers has dwindled because of the common threats of habitat loss and invasive plants.

To address the loss of wildflowers, Keep America Beautiful state affiliate Keep Mississippi Beautiful (KMB) took action to transform its public spaces into beautiful places by launching the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi project during Keep America Beautiful’s 2015 Great American Cleanup.

After a year of working with many community partners and volunteers, the project is blooming, planting the seeds to ensure Mississippi residents and visitors to the Magnolia state — as well as pollinators — will appreciate the sights and smells of wildflowers. The project complements other KMB beautification initiatives throughout the state.

KMB got the Wildflowers Trails of Mississippi project started after receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase wildflower seeds. Keep Mississippi Beautiful worked closely with the Mississippi State University Extension Service to develop a seed mix that features a variety of colorful blooms and foliage, thrives in Mississippi and is easy to maintain.

The project brought together a variety of partners, including the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Mississippi Department of Transportation, The Garden Clubs of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University’s Extension Service. And, after a year, the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi’s flowers are showing off their colors.

Keep America Beautiful conducts its National Planting Day on the first Saturday after Labor Day each September with community-based activities happening throughout the month.

National Planting Day celebrates the critical nature of native plants and trees in enhancing biodiversity and rebuilding ecosystems. Keep America Beautiful is asking National Planting Day participants to celebrate the theme of “Keep America Bee-utiful” by focusing their efforts on planting pollinators, in addition to native species. Register your 2016 National Planting Day event today!

View Keep America Beautiful’s blog here.

First Blooms in Crystal Springs

By Wildflower Trails of Mississippi

We are so excited! One of our inaugural projects, a wildflower planting in Crystal Springs, now boasts its first blooms. The planting is located on U.S. 51 headed into town. It’s just been a few months from planting, and the highway is looking beautiful! Thanks Mayor Sally Garland for the photo of the flowers.

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On the Trail: Keep America Beautiful Annual Conference

Neeley tells other Keep America Beautiful affiliates about the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi project.

Neeley tells other Keep America Beautiful affiliates about the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi project.

By Wildflower Trails of Mississippi

Earlier this week, we took Wildflower Trails of Mississippi on the road… all the way to Orlando, Florida for the Keep America Beautiful annual conference. Keep Mississippi Beautiful is part of the Keep America Beautiful network, and we were asked to share our project with other affiliates during the “Steel This” session.

Sarah and Neeley did a great job in sharing our wildflower story. People were excited about our project — and talking about ways they planned to take the idea back home.

Keep America Beautiful has three pillars, one of which is beautification. Wildflowers are a wonderful way to beautify our roadsides and communities.

Sowing the Seeds

Keep Mississippi Beautiful's Neeley Norman and Sarah Kountouris tell conservationists about wildflowers at recent Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting. Photo by Judi Craddock.

Keep Mississippi Beautiful’s Neeley Norman and Sarah Kountouris tell conservationists about wildflowers at recent Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting. Photo by Judi Craddock.

By Wildflower Trails of Mississippi

Last week, we met with conservationists across the state at the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting. And we had a great time sharing information on our new statewide effort to restore wildflowers across the state.

Our state is known for its natural beauty, and Keep Mississippi Beautiful is working with community partners to enhance the aesthetics of roadways, community entrances and public places by planting wildflowers. Wildflowers face many threats from habitat loss and invasive plants, and this project raises resources to create and restore wildflower areas.

We're grateful for our partners for making this possible! A few of our partners include Jeff Wilson with the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Alana Jacobs with the USDA's Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center and Gary Blair with the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts.

We’re grateful for our partners for making this possible! A few of our partners include Jeff Wilson with the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Alana Jacobs with the USDA’s Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center and Gary Blair with the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts.

Why We Want to Plant Wildflowers:

  • Litter free, colorful roadways are good for tourism.
  • Roadsides and medians where wildflowers are planted require less maintenance once established than grass areas that need to be cut.
  • Landscaping, such as wildflower plantings, improve property values.
  • Wildflowers provide important habitat for wildlife and insects.

The Nuts and Bolts:

  • KMB received a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase wildflower seeds.
  • KMB worked closely with the Mississippi State University Extension Service to develop a seed mix that features a variety of colorful blooms and foliage, thrives in Mississippi and is easy to maintain.
  • This project brings together a variety of partners, including the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Mississippi Department of Transportation and Mississippi State University’s Extension Service.
  • This project complements other state beautification efforts, including the Avenue of the Magnolias and KMB’s Great American Cleanup.

What’s Going on Now:

KMB is working with about two dozen communities to prepare sites and plant seeds during the next year. For example, we’re planning projects in the median of U.S. 51 in Crystal Springs and of U.S. 49 in Simpson County. We’re also working on a project at the Jackson Street interchange along I-55 in Ridgeland and Nosef Park in Clarksdale. We’re continuing to find more sites, partners and funding sources.

Learn more by downloading our latest status report: Wildflower Status Report.

Preparing for Plantings

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Keep Mississippi Beautiful’s Sarah Kountouris, Crystal Springs Mayor Sally Garland, MSU Extension Service’s Dr. Brett Rushing and others look at a possible planting site in Copiah County.

By Wildflower Trails of Mississippi

The best time to plant wildflower seeds is during the fall, so we’re working to identify locations and start preparing for plantings. We’re working with Keep Mississippi Beautiful affiliates across the state as well as other community groups to find great places to plant wildflowers, such as along roadways, at city and county entrances and other public places.

Non-native, turf grasses pose a threat to wildflowers, as they spread across the ground, providing competition to young wildflower plantings. Before planting, we’ll have to apply herbicides to control these non-native grasses.

Then, we establish our wildflowers. Our wildflower “cocktail,” or collection of seeds we plant, also includes some native, warm-season grasses. Native grasses are desirable because they thrive in this area’s climate. They also provide nice colors for aesthetics and habitat for wildlife.

We’ll keep you posted as we prepare for plantings across the state. See more photos.

Have a spot in mind in your community? Email us.