By Suzanne Montgomery
The buzz of chain saws broke the stillness of a tranquil fall Saturday morning with ten Lee County Master Gardeners and over 40 volunteers who turned out to clean and clear land and expand the territory of the Caroline Dean Wildflower Trail at the Opelika Municipal Park.
Master Gardener Suzanne Montgomery and helper Curtis Houston, under the direction of Master Gardener Billie Oliver, planted a perennial native wildflower bed in the upper part of the trail. The perennial bed was designed for beauty in all seasons with Clethera, a native shrub, that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies in the summer and displays yellow foliage in the fall, as the background planting. Tirella and Iris Crestata grace the front edges of the bed and welcome spring with their bloom, while the Christmas Fern offers greenery throughout the year.
The Auburn University Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi, BYX, and Brothers Under Christ, a Christian social fraternity, worked steadily to clear invasive plants, vines and unwanted underbrush from the trail. The goal of the volunteers and the Lee County Master Gardeners is to restore the ecology of the wildflower area at the Opelika Municipal Park.
“We have a very nice grant from the Alabama Master Gardeners, which will help us add more plant material to the trail this year,” said Billie Oliver. “We began the CDWT with only donations of plant material and worked on a very tight budget.”
“The grant will allow us to add a lot more,” Oliver continued.
Entry to the CD Wildflower Trail is free and open to the public year round.
Respect for the native plant material and adherence to the designated walking trails provided is much appreciated by all those who have spent many hours working on the project so that everyone has an opportunity to see and enjoy native plant species within a beautiful setting.