2018-05-17 / Personalities

OLLI@UGA members enjoy trip to Lexington wildflower farm


OLLI members Hilda Wright (left) and Mary Burt select wildflowers for their gardens from Beech Hollow collections. OLLI members Hilda Wright (left) and Mary Burt select wildflowers for their gardens from Beech Hollow collections. About a dozen enthusiasts from the Washington Affiliate, OLLI@ UGA, traveled to Beech Hollow Wildflower Farm in Lexington to hear a program on “Saving Threatened Wildflower Species” by owners, Pandra and Mike Williams Monday, April 9.

“It’s a farm for propagating wildflowers,” said Mrs. Williams of the 120-acreage, as she explained the Lexington farm’s mission. “Wildflowers are often prettier and usually hardier than the hybrids,” she said, “but much less common due to the loss of their habitat.” It was this loss which she and her husband, regular outdoor types, saw near their Atlanta home. The location was slowly being converted from wildlife to an urban residential area. The Williams’ mission is to propagate local wildflowers and “…restore the Georgia Piedmont to its former glory.”

In their recently- constructed arts barn, Mrs. Williams used a slide- show medium to describe the farm’s program. “Trees are upside down villages with many species of plant and animals involved in maintaining the conditions of the village,” she said. She described how the soil habitat provides food for caterpillars, the insects from which, at different stages in development, provide food for birds. Many birds nest 5-15 feet from the ground. She showed many insect species variations for carrying pollen from one flower to another, such as some bees accumulating it on their legs. On the other hand the “singing” of bumblebees shakes pollen over their entire bodies for transfer to another flower. All of these variations are another part of village activity.

From the farm sales area, visitors brought home many potted wildflower species, one a whole wagon load, with Atamasco lilies and wild poppies seeming to be a favorite of many.

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