Native Plants for the SouthEast
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About Sparkleberry Springs LLC, and the associated blog Niches are run by myself, Wayne Hughes, and my partner Glenn Galau. Glenn is an associate professor in Plant Biology at The University of Georgia in Athens-Clarke County, and I've worked as a postdoc in same and continue to do tutoring at UGA in biology, chemistry, marine science, cell biology, you name it. We are biologists by desire, and have training in animal and plant biology, mostly in biochemistry, genetics, and development.

We are located in the Wolfskin District, near Arnoldsville, Georgia, about 10 miles to the southeast of Athens, in western Oglethorpe County right near the Athens-Clarke County border. Oglethorpe County is a low-human-population density county with a lot of agricultural emphasis and a huge population of white-tailed deer. This area is in the Piedmont area of northeast Georgia, about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta. Our land is 38 acres of variously-forested land with Sparkleberry Springs Creek running through a hollow into Goulding Creek, which places us in the Oconee River Watershed. The Oconee River results just southeast of Athens, just a few miles away, when the North and Middle Oconee Rivers merge. They start out further northwest, around Lula and Gainesville, GA. The Oconee River continues on south toward Dublin, GA, picking up sediment and who knows what, and is a major source of flooding during heavy rain periods.

In 1984 we bought 28 acres of land here, in 1990 had a house built on it, and in 1994 bought an additional 10 acres next to the original property. Gradually we understood that the land held many discoveries if we knew how to find them. They included plants and that required learning how to identify them and how to maintain them in their habitat and to grow them in a landscape. So we took advantage of opportunities to teach and tutor courses in organismal plant biology, plant taxonomy, wetland plants, angiosperm evolution and others that provided intellectual challanges and needed skills. We used other resources. What we offer here, and in Niches: The Blog, is a travelog. If you find some of it interesting or useful, that is just great. LLC is envisioned as a small business selling native plants and seed. We scour the countryside for seeds, and grow them and evaluate them and maybe propagate the best and sell them. That's the idea, anyway. We hope to provide seed, plants, and experience to those interested in using native plants for lawns, gardens, landscapes, reclamation, and habitat creation, or just for fun. We value you as a client interested in plants that are native in the SouthEast.