Wildflower projects sprouting in southwest Virginia
In Floyd County just off route 8, a meadow of yellow and pink wildflowers is one of the sites for a new project, called Floyd Flower Power. The acre-and-a-half is owned by a local church, which was happy to let the group use the land. Earlier this year volunteers planted 3,000 wildflower plugs, 15 trees and 15 shrubs throughout the meadow.
“We had volunteers that were families,” said Jean Woods, one of the organizers with the project. “We had volunteers that were older and all they could do was sit and take plants out of containers.” She said the project will take about three years to complete, and was designed to have something in bloom in spring, summer and fall.
Velma Groover is a retired horticulturist from Virginia Tech, and one of the volunteers. “I’ve just been super impressed by how everyone’s come together, and that makes me want to be a part of this group, along with the flowers.”
The group, which is a collaboration between several local organizations as well as the town of Floyd, also planted flowers outside town hall, and is working on other flower sites throughout the town.
Floyd isn’t the only place in southwest Virginia with flower projects in the works. A regional initiative across 20 counties, called Plant Southwest Virginia Natives, is working to promote the abundance of flowers and plants that thrive here. They recently got a grant from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to help the Hale Community Garden in Blacksburg plant and distribute 4500 native plants over the next year and a half.
Nicole Hersch with the New River Valley Regional Commission helps manage the project. She said across the country and in southwest Virginia more businesses are sprouting up that sell native plants.
“The people behind all of those nurseries are folks that are behind the scenes giving back to the community and creating a stronger sense of place in the New River Valley.” Hersch said. “Which ultimately I think benefits the economic development of our region.”
Plant Southwest Virginia Natives is also working on a guide of 260 native wildflowers, ferns and trees that grow in southwest Virginia—many of which help provide food to birds and bees.
They’re asking people to submit photos of the plants, to be included in the brochure.
Back in Floyd, Jean Woods said their project is planting both native and cultivated flowers. “In this divided time, who doesn’t love flowers? Everybody can unite around the love of flowers.”