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As you may already know, planting native plants is beneficial for your local ecosystem. Planting non-native is, well, not good.

So....

I have a long driveway and would love to line it with native grasses and wildflowers. I'm new to planting native plants and I'm looking for a good mix.

What is a mix that contains seeds for native grasses and wildflowers for Georgia? (North Georgia Specifically).

Bonus points if the seeds are from endangered plants.

I do not care if the plants are "weeds". E.g. Burning Weed and Golden Rod.

The driveway is currently lined with K31 Fescue. I plan to kill it with a selective herbicide that is safe for the soil microbes.

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  • Is the site in sun or shade? What kind of soil?
    – Jurp
    Sep 20, 2022 at 18:37
  • Partial sun 4-6 hours a day. North georgia soil. So red clay under forest humus Sep 20, 2022 at 20:16

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I can see why you're having trouble finding a native mix - as usual, companies that sell "native wildflowers" for Georgia also include non-native species like Four O'Clock and cosmos. I found the following site that will give you what you want, I think, although it only sells the mixes by the acre, which could be a problem unless your driveway is quite long or you make the wildflower area rather wide.

The organization Pheasants Forever has a site that sells specialty mixes for any state in the US; it has several Georgia-specific mixes, for example:

Mid South Understory (for part-shade)

Big Bluestem (Kaw), Partridge Pea, Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Plains Coreopsis, Illinois Bundleflower, Purple Coneflower, Virginia Wildrye, False Sunflower, Wild Bergamot, Switchgrass (Blackwell), Foxglove Beardtongue, Black-eyed Susan, Brown-eyed Susan, Little Bluestem (Aldous) and Indiangrass (Cheyenne).

GA Basic Upland Habitat (possibly better for northern Georgia)

Autumn Bentgrass, Black-eyed Susan, Evening primrose, Little Bluestem, Lemon Mint, Indiangrass (Cheyenne), Deer Tongue Grass, Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Big Bluestem (Bonilla), Wild Bergamot, Indian blanket, Brown-eyed Susan, Grayheaded Coneflower, Partridge Pea, Stiff Goldenrod, Purple Coneflower, False Sunflower, Dotted Mint, Purple Top

There are other mixes as well that might meet better your needs. The site is here.

As with any wildflower garden, weeds will infiltrate or sprout from dormant seed in the soil, so you'll need a plan for handling those that doesn't involve burning, since the garden is right next to the drive. I would recommend an organic mulch after the seeds sprout (maybe wait until the following year to allow plenty of time for the new seedlings to appear), renewed annually. You'll have to hand-pull or spot-spray any weeds that appear during the first year.

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  • Thank you for mentioning the common non-natives they put in there. smh -- ignorance can be devastating Sep 20, 2022 at 20:39
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    One vendor I saw had zero natives in their list of "native" wildflowers. SMH. There is a great site for determining whether a plant is native to the US and/or your area. It is run by the US Dept of Agriculture and is called the Plants Database. It will tell you down to the county in most instances whether a plant is native or introduced (non-native): plants.usda.gov/home Just search for a plant by its botanical or common name.
    – Jurp
    Sep 20, 2022 at 21:39
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I personally think that the best way to get seeds and/or plants for a planting like the one you describe is to go as local as possible, which means gathering seed from your immediate neighborhood, and/or utilizing volunteer plants that seed in on their own. The tricky thing about this is that you need to learn how to ID all the plants so that you can tell which things are local natives and which are invasive.

I've found dozens of species growing locally and I've often easily gotten permission from landowners and/or landscaping / grounds crews to remove unwanted "weeds" from their properties to use in my own plantings. I also gather seeds from waste areas such as along roadsides, edge habitats in parks, vacant lots, and the like. I then grow plants from seed and further propagate the plants from the seed produced by my plants.

I also recommend joining iNaturalist if you want to learn more about plant ID and connect with other people knowledgeable about it. iNaturalist also has a pretty good AI for guessing the ID of plants.

You can also get native plant seeds by joining a local native plant group. There are many such groups on Facebook and there are also a lot of hyper-local groups that aren't even on social media. Try getting in touch with local conservation organizations and see if they know of any such groups. Gardeners are often sharing seed. I just went to a local plant swap and there were a ton of people who brought seeds to share, some people sharing purchased seeds but a lot of people sharing seeds and plants from their own gardens.

As for choosing what to plant, you want to look both at your local region, and the conditions. Think about sun levels, moisture levels, and soil texture (clay-loam-sand is the typical continuum of soil texture from fine to coarse, which affects ability to hold water as well as drainage, coarser soil drains faster but holds water less effectively.) Some plants care more about sun levels, some more about moisture, some more about soil texture, some plants are very picky about conditions, others are more generalists.

I recommend starting with common plants. Endangered plants are good to protect by planting if you have suitable habitat for them, but they tend to be endangered for a reason and in most cases, you won't have the right conditions for them in your yard so they mostly won't do well. There are exceptions. For example, in northern Delaware I've gardened successfully with the grass Chasmanthium latifolium, which went locally extinct, and it grows fine in gardens. But for the most part plants endangered / uncommon in your region are going to be harder to grow.

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