Altama Plantation WMA - Formal Garden
Altama Plantation WMA was acquired by the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources in 2015. The property was a priority conservation acquisition due to is location in the lower Altamaha Conservation Corridor. The property is actively being managed by GA DNR with prescribed fire and other techniques to restore the upland Longleaf Pine wiregrass ecosystems and protect the extensive Tidal Hardwood forests.
This property not only has great ecological value but a long and storied history of human habitation and use as a working plantation starting in 1760's then as a recreation property starting in the early 1900's.
One of the previous owners Cator Woolford (founder of Equifax) had the property from the 1930's to 1940's. He installed many of the horticultural plantings including the formal garden down the hill from what is called the Playhouse.
This formal garden was neglected for around 10 years before GA DNR acquired the property. In fall of 2016 DNR staff (Eamonn Leonard) began a process to bring back this 1930's era garden. The original hedging of native yaupon holly and scattered Camellia japonica were still present if not overgrown and unruly. (see before pictures). Over several intensive work days with the help of two Student Conservation interns and many Coastal WildScapes member volunteers this garden started to take shape.
The garden restoration drew the attention of the Georgia Chapter of the Colonial Dames society. They have as their chapter logo the Franklin Tree flower and wanted to donate a Franklin tree to be installed in the garden. DNR staff worked with the chapter and acquired a Franklin tree which was then planted in a ceremony on Feb. 22 2017.
In addition 6 Fringe trees donated to Coastal WildScapes were planted in the restored formal Garden in spring of 2017.
To increase the ecological value of the garden DNR staff designed a native plant pollinator garden to be installed with in the formal hedging. In the Fall of 2017 Coastal WildScapes supported the project with $500 to purchase native plants and donated an additional $500 worth of native plants they grew from locally collected seed.
GA DNR conducts monthly volunteer workdays (every 3rd Friday 6am-9am June - Sept; 9am - noon October - May) to maintain this garden and the surrounding grounds. Email Eamonn at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer or visit https://license.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com/Event/Events.aspx.
Before (October 2017)
During (November 2017)
After (February 2017)
Photo Albums - Restoration Progress:
October 25th 2016 - Work Day #1
Feb. 10th 2017 - Work Day #3
Altama Plantation WMA is open to those who have a lands pass, fishing, or hunting license https://www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com/. You can drive anywhere there are no gates. Walking and biking beyond the gates is permitted. The formal garden is less than a mile walk beyond the main gate/kiosk. Altama Plantation is accessed from exit 42 off I-95 (6844 GA 99, Brunswick GA 31525).