Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Monday, May 9, 2011

Roadside Wildflowers

A good part of my days are spent in my car as chauffeur to my children or driving myself to the many volunteer activities I am involved in. As tedious as this is most of the time, in the spring driving along Georgia's roadways is a sight to behold.


There are gorgeous wildflower everywhere! It makes driving more bearable and truth be told it can be a distraction because I become entranced by the beautiful flowers when I should be watching the road.


Mrs. Virginia Hand Callaway (co-founder of Callaway Gardens) as chair of the Birds and Wildflower Committee of The Garden Club of Georgia, lead the movement to plant and protect wildflowers on Georgia's roadsides back in 1974.


In 1998 Georgians voted to amend the Constitution to create a roadside enhancement and beautification fund which is supplemented by the sale of special wildflower motor vehicle tags.


The beautification fund helps preserve and restore native flora. It also supports research projects on the uses and value of planting native flora and native seed sources as well as the planting of trees, shrubs and ground covers. Since native plants have already adapted to the climate and soil conditions they do not require a lot of labor, equipment or irrigation. Grassy roadways typically require mowing at least three times a year, while the wildflower plots are mowed only once after the plants have shed their petals and the seed heads have dried.


The Department of Transportation tries to plant at least an acre of wildflowers in each county every year and additional beds are added through funds raised by the sales of wildflower license plates. Each plot lasts three to four years before reseeding is necessary. Here is a list of wildflowers that you can see along the roadside while driving in Georgia.

  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Bur-Marigold/ Tickseed (Bidens aristosa)
  • Clasping Coneflower (Rudbeckia amplexicaulis)
  • Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
  • Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
  • Drummond Phlox (Phlox drummondii)
  • Golden Wave Coreopsis (Coreopsis basalis)
  • Indian Blanket/ Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella)
  • Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
  • Lemon Mint (Monarda citriodora • Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnaris)
  • Narrow-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)
  • Perennial Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata)
  • Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)
  • Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnaris)
  • Showy Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)
  • Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora)
  • Tickseed/Lance-leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

All the above photos were taken on Highway 129 in Jackson County.

16 comments:

  1. Red and blue... beautiful wild flowers in their wilderness. Perfect.

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  2. The flowers are beautiful. Glad you took time to get out of the car for some photos!

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  3. Corn poppies and larkspur in your photos; beautiful. They're about done here; following are black eyed susans and mexican hats. There are no DOT plots along my highway so I plant my own just off the right of way.

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  4. What colorful landscape and a great initiative. Indeed native landscapes need all our efforts (everywhere) to keep them alive. Thanks for sharing

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  5. Wow, what a beautiful drive you have as you play taxi-mama! Those colors are just stunning, I love those poppies. I've often thought about taking a pic of my soccer/t-ball/tutoring commute too, we have this yellow flower that is like a giant tulip that grows in the wild, its huge! I'm always seeing it while driving between practices. Thanks for inspiring =)

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  6. Reminds me of Texas roadsides. I wonder if Mrs. Callaway and Ladybird were friends

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  7. Beautiful blossoms. What a gorgeous drive you have. I'd find it hard to keep my eye on the road.

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  8. beautiful and so worth the effort! What a great list!! We have flowers in our meadians...not sure if they were planted or just wild... they are beautiful!

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  9. Beautiful - I can't think of anything more worthy! The wildflower beautification is one of my favorite things about being a Texan. Good to know there are programs like this in other states too. Our spring blooms are very sparse this year with the severe drought. Last year's were spectacular! Amazing the difference a year can make...

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  10. I just love when states do this..unfortunately we do not and I wish we did...we do however have beautiful trilliums, marsh marigolds and Mayapples blooming in the woods along the roadsides right now and it is a sigh to behold...

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  11. What a great program!! and I love the photos of the flowers on the roadside. How wonderful is that!

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  12. I remember traveling down Georgia's highways in the early eighties and admiring the beautiful roadside wildflowers. Glad the program continues.

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  13. Such a pretty sight seeing the wildflowers. Texas is another state with reverence for them. You really have a selection of coreopsis there. I like the sign. Good to know some states care.

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  14. Hi Karin, how wonderful it is to be driving along those landscapes. And it is also beautiful to lay-by and appreciate them or photograph them as you did. Kudos to Mrs Callaway for a great legacy.

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  15. Beautiful shots! Thanks for the GA tour! Beautiful wildflowers- Texas didn't have as many as usual due to the lack of rain.
    K

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  16. So glad you posted this photo - I've been seeing those lovely purple flowers (and pink and white of the same thing) on several trips now, and the DOT list doesn't actually include them. Commenter NellJean has solved the mystery - Larkspur! Thanks to both of you.

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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