Tryon Garden Club presents Patrick McMillan
Join Patrick as he takes an in-depth look at this often overlooked region of the Appalachians that harbors endemic and ancient relicts from the distant past that have long-since disappeared from the rest of the continent. This is the heart of the most diverse temperate broad-leaved forest on the continent and it has served time and again as a refuge during change and an engine of biodiversity production. This is the only place in North America you can find Oconee Bells, and there are more species of Trillium, Hexastylis, and Salamanders here than in any other comparably sized region on the continent. There is something all these species share in common. They can’t move very fast, they can’t quickly retreat from change. These plants and animals need a place to call home that can accommodate change--that is resilient in the face of change. The unique position, climate, and highly dissected and varied topography of the ridges and gorges of the southern Blue Ridge escarpment have provided this crucible for life in the face of change again and again. They hold biodiversity in the face of climatic adversity and exhale their treasures to the entire region when conditions improve. Recognizing the importance of this region lends strong support to the conservation of as much of this system as possible and identifying the routes in and out of this corridor into the rest of North America. Eloquent design could produce a network of conservation corridors to buffer change in the eastern deciduous forest, ensuring that our children’s children’s children will enjoy the same diversity of life we do today.