GA Native Oakleaf Hydrangea, ‘Hydrangea Quercifolia’

I found this Georgia native plant at the  Night Song Native Plant Nursery plant sale. This is the second year I’ve gone to the plant sale/open house/farmer’s market in Cherokee County, Georgia.

I finally put the Oakleaf Hydrangea in the ground a few weeks ago. This post focuses on the challenges and triumphs of the process-including finding the right location, extreme summer drought and heat, and a little history of the plant.

I have written about William Bartram in previous posts, like my Finding Buffalo Creek project. He was the first to “discover”, and write about the Hydrangea Quercifolia (and many other native plants), in the 1700’s. I also wrote previously about another of the Bartram plants I brought home last year, one of them is known as the Ben Franklin Tree, aka ‘Franklinia Altamaha’.

The Official Site of the Bartram Trail Conference Library page provides further reading links on John and William Bartram. I also consulted the Georgia Native Plant Society.

Today, and the plant already looks greener! Hoping it will acclimate before it gets colder, and be back next year bigger and better.

I am excited to see what happens with this beautiful native plant. Fingers crossed the deer don’t find it there, and that it makes it through the winter into next season. Maybe it will bloom next year. Also, I think the leaves should change from green to red this fall-which hasn’t happened yet. Looking forward to changes, and new growth in the future!

Franklinia Alatamaha

I spoke with Katy Ross, owner of Night Song Native Plant Nursery, about one of the rarest and most unusual plants in the world. I will discuss in subsequent posts the other plants I got at the “Spring Open House and Earth Day Celebration,” on April 23rd, 2016.


The first plant I will talk about is the Franklin Tree.” Already special for many historical reasons, I found a personal connection with this plant in my previous research and writing. That connection, as well as this plant’s interesting history, made it particularly noteworthy.

The photo below shows a recovering plant after it was eaten down to one, sad leaf by the plentiful deer population. I took the pic of this green anole pretending to be a stick, after moving it to the back porch from the front yard-where I intended to plant it. It grew a few more leaves trying to recover as this photo shows, but …


I will save more suspense and say that despite my best efforts, the Franklinia Alatamaha did not survive. This is the last photo of the very special, rare tree I was so excited about.

There is however, a lesson in this about nature and gardening. A lesson that teaches about disappointment and acceptance. A lesson about patience and trying again next year. A lesson about about why plants might go extinct in the wild. It seems that deer, or some other mystery critter, love to eat this plant. The other plants I got that day are thriving, and I will post about those next!

I spoke with owner Katy Ross, asking her to tell me about this plant. It drew my interest because the sign said “discovered by William Bartram.” I completed a project on William Bartram a few years ago, so I wanted to know about and purchase this plant.

Katy told me the plant was discovered by Bartram growing near the Alatamaha River in Georgia, and was also named after Ben Franklin. Her information lead me to do more research online.  I meant to ask her how she discovered the plant, but forgot in my excitement.

I did not talk to Katy about the importance of native plants that day. Later reading one of her brochures, I was lead to website. The “Why Natives” webpage contains important, valuable information on why using native plants is critical to ecosystem health.


I can’t wait to return to Night Song Native Plant Nursery for more interesting native plants.

Finally, check out my project on Bartram titled Finding Buffalo Creek. I was inspired by his explorations of Georgia, his ties to important historical events, and his descriptions and drawings of native plants.