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Town of Unicoi anounces annual spring planting event

March 19 will be all about blooms, buds and shrubs in the Town of Unicoi as officials hold the 2nd annual Spring Planting.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the grounds of the historic Bogart-Bowman Cabin at Buffalo Creek Park, weather permitting. The public is invited to attend the spring planting and help with efforts to beautify the historic site.
“It’s that time of year again,” Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said. “Time to get out and enjoy the outdoors, plant the seeds for summer blooms and enjoy fellowship as we work together to enhance the beauty of our park and museum.”
According to Linda March, the town’s events coordinator, this year’s efforts will focus on planting shrubbery, flowers, vegetables, herbs and other plants that were likely to have grown in the area during the late 1700s and early 1800s.
“We want to give an accurate aesthetic for the site,” March said of ongoing efforts, “but we also want to be conscious of the environment.”
She added that participation is not limited to town residents, encouraging member of the county and surrounding areas to participate in the beautification project.
“Volunteerism has always been a big part of the events we hold in town,” March said. “We want to allow residents to be a part of town improvements and be active in the community. Everyone comes together for these projects just like family–and it’s not just people from the town of Unicoi. We certainly encourage people from Johnson City, Erwin and other areas in the region to dig in and get dirty during this event.”
Master Gardener Pat Lynch has been conducting research for weeks, studying the different plants that would have grown and been used on the Unicoi County frontier.
“We want to do everything (on the site) like they would have done on the frontier,” Lynch said. “I’ve been doing research on heirloom gardens, food they ate, along with native plants and flowers. We want to put signage where people can read about the plants and how they were used. It’s fascinating to learn all the things they used back then and what we use now. Of course, we can’t plant everything on the 19th, but this will be an ongoing project.”
Lynch is planning flower gardens, vegetable gardens and herb gardens, according to the types of plants and food that would have been grown by men and women on the frontier. She added that many of the plants grown on the frontier also had medicinal value. For the herb garden, Lynch said women on the frontier would have planted several different herbs right outside the kitchen, including: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, marigolds, mints, chamomile and lavender to name just a few.
“I found out that they would take lavender and wormwood, drop it on the floor and then walk on it to get that scent in their homes,” Lynch said.
As for vegetables, Lynch explained that frontiersmen would have grown pumpkins, peas, different cabbages, green beans, beets, Jerusalem artichokes and even ramps.
Flowers grown during the period would have included: daffodils, nasturtiums, Sweet William, bachelor buttons, primrose, marsh marigolds, lilacs, elderberry and black-eyed Susans.
“We want to make things beautiful but at the same time keep to the time period,” Lynch said. “I hope what we do will be an educational tool, as well, for people who come to tour the site.”
Lynch is optimistic about the success of the project, due to the good location of the site itself.
“We really have a good area out there to work with,” she said. “It’s got full sun, partial shade and a creek. We should be able to get a good diversity of plants.”
This year’s Spring Planting event will mark the first day of spring, and with the success of last year’s tree planting event, March said she expects the same this year.
“I’m hoping the weather will be warm,” March said. “Last year was incredible. We had more than 70 volunteers and planted 50 trees. We had kids come to help from the Key Club and some from a Cub Scout troop, along with a lot of local folks. The weather was warm, so we’re hoping for good weather this year, too.”
A light lunch and dessert will be available to all those who volunteer. For more information, please call Unicoi Town Hall at 743-7162.