Native plants are central focus of the Depot Garden

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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TRYON—To get a quick break from the summer heat, stroll through the Depot Garden in the center of Tryon where many types of ferns, wildflowers and azaleas are growing under the shade of three large willow oaks. Over the years, many plants and shrubs have been installed and cared for by dedicated members of the Tryon Garden Club.

The Tryon Depot Garden has several entrances and is located at the corners of Pacolet and Depot streets. Parking is at the rear of the Depot building. 

The space was a passenger waiting area and cargo storage spot when the trains used to stop in Tryon. A group of members adopted the space in the 1950s and created a pleasant space for passengers to enjoy while getting on and off the train that also served as an attractive park for our community. 

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The sunny areas include native pollinator plants to provide food and nectar sources for insects and butterflies, as well as larval hosts for moths and caterpillars. These areas are designated as an official Monarch Way Station. The beds are also part of the Homegrown National Park Movement developed by Doug Tallamy to establish and maintain contiguous feeding areas for birds, insects and wildlife across the U.S.

Along the walkway at the side of the Depot building, there is an area that is particularly dry. A new vine of coral honeysuckle is now growing on the trellis, and yucca and muhly grass have replaced invasive nandina. All are drought tolerant.

Jane Herman heads the current Tryon Garden Club Civic Beautification team, which is focused on adding more native plants as they refurbish the beds. Green-and-gold, cone flowers, coreopsis, butterfly weed, yucca, and many varieties of ferns are now thriving. The plants are identified with plant signs, and information signs throughout explain the benefits of adding particular plants to the garden. 

The club particularly wants to acknowledge the Special Projects Fund of the Kirby Endowment administered by the Polk County Community Foundation for financial help for this project. Installing these native plant beds is Phase III of a plan that includes upgrading the irrigation system, installing pathway and post lighting to improve safety, and major pruning of trees and shrubs. The club thanks the Polk County Appearance Committee, the Town of Tryon Beautification grants, and TDDA as well as the Polk County Community Foundation for their financial support for these projects.

When you next visit downtown Tryon, stop by the Depot Garden and enjoy this oasis. You will see what many community hands and supporters have accomplished. 


Submitted by Lucy Brannon