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Temple Park Gets a Makeover to Restore Biodiversity


October 22, 2020

The Garden Club of Lookout Mountain

Sometimes, even Mother Nature needs a makeover.

And who better to add showy color, to rebuild a sagging foundation, and to accessorize restoration of biodiversity than a hard-working garden club?

The Garden Club of Lookout Mountain (GCLM) is putting a new face on Tennessee’s 107-year-old Temple Park, but deciding what to plant was made easier by including one particular tree that, at maturity, supports 537 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars—critical baby food for most songbirds.

That “life-supporting” tree is the white oak (Quercus alba), highly recommended by entomologist and author Doug Tallamy—2013 recipient of the GCA’s Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation—in his quest to repurpose half of America’s lawn-scape for ecologically productive use. In addition to planting white oak, club members are adding goldenrod, muhly grass, asters, coneflowers, and other plants for food and shelter for insects, birds, and wildlife.  

The club has helped maintain Temple Garden since its founding in 1916. More recently, members began a project to preserve the property’s native species as well as educate the community about green design. They reintroduced redbud trees and disease-resistant dogwoods, added a rain garden, and, in 2016, created the Alice Kain Stout Pollinator Garden, named after a beloved GCLM member and mentor in horticulture, floral design, conservation, civic improvement, and historic preservation. 

This year, members added more trees, bluebird houses, and a small stone walkway through the pollinator garden. Club members weed, mulch, and maintain the four-season garden. As with any garden, it remains a work in progress. In addition to Temple Garden, GCLM maintains three other public parks and a fountain for the city.


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