Visit EcoScapes Demo Garden

Visitor Information

Visit the garden for a self-guided tour or a pre-arranged guided tour.

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The EcoScapes Sustainable Landscaping Native Plant Demonstration Garden is one of the hallmarks of the EcoScapes Sustainable Land Use Program. The half-acre demonstration garden, near historic downtown Brunswick, provides Georgia communities with comprehensive guidance on an integrated, sustainable approach to landscape planning, design and management. The purpose of the garden is to inspire Georgia sustainable land use community appreciation and stewardship through advocacy, education, outreach and habitat restoration.

The garden is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on University of Georgia holidays.

We welcome self-guided visits during our open business hours. Explore and take advantage of the numerous interpretive and individual plant identification signs that are found along the garden pathways.

A map of the garden is available at the site near the main entrance to our building. Please stay on the designated pathways, and do not take plants or plant parts.

Guided group tours of the demonstration garden are available by advance reservation. Indoor presentations by EcoScapes staff regarding sustainable land use and landscaping practices are also available to accompany group guided tours.

Location Map

Directions

The EcoScapes Sustainable Landscaping Native Plant Demonstration Garden is located at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s Brunswick facility: 715 Bay Street, Brunswick, Georgia. The facility is on the Brunswick River, about a half-mile south of downtown Brunswick.

From I-95 – Take Exit 36 Brunswick onto US-341 South. Continue south on US-341. Before entering historic downtown Brunswick, bear right on US-341 just past the marina. US-341 becomes Bay Street, and merges into one lane. The entranceway to UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is on the right, across from Albermarle Street. After crossing the railroad track, bear left and enter the fenced area.

From US-17 – Turn onto Gloucester Street toward historic downtown Brunswick. Continue through downtown until Gloucester Street ends at US-341. Turn left onto US-341, which becomes Bay Street and merges into one lane. The entranceway to UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is on the right, across from Albermarle Street. After crossing the railroad track, bear left and enter the fenced area.

Donations

Donations to assist us in maintaining and enhancing the garden are sincerely appreciated. For more information, please contact Keren Giovengo at (912) 280-1586 or at giovengo@uga.edu.


Garden Guide

There are many different landscapes in the EcoScapes Demonstration Garden.

Throughout the garden, you will find individual garden signs indicating groupings of native plants specific to that particular sustainable landscaping theme. Plant lists for individual garden themes and the master list for the entire garden are available as a reference.

Many of the plants in the garden are labeled, but feel free to ask the staff to identify a plant for you. We encourage you to take pictures of plants you like or bring our EcoScapes Demonstration Garden plant list along on your tour, and circle the ones that are particularly alluring to you.

To experience the diversity of native plants, we encourage you to visit the garden throughout the different seasons. Prior to making a final decision on what plants you would like to consider for your landscape, feel free to investigate each individual plant’s landscape condition needs and characteristics on our Native Plant Search Engine.

Here are some of the landscapes available in the demonstration garden:

Salt Tolerant Garden

Plants growing at or near the beach or other coastal waters are subjected to salt spray. Most plants will not tolerate salt accumulating on their foliage, making plant selection for beachfront or marsh front landscapes particularly challenging. Georgia coastal native plants that exhibit different degrees of salt tolerance are highlighted in this garden.

Drought Tolerant Garden

In coastal Georgia, plants may frequently encounter drought stress. The use of drought tolerant native plants in a landscape can reduce the likelihood of plant injury due to drought stress. Because they have coevolved with the local climate, soils and rainfall, many native plants are well suited to drought tolerant conditions, once established. Converting a landscape to include established drought tolerant plants will also conserve water.

Native Grasses Garden

Native warm season grasses make up an important component of any sustainable landscape. Once established, they are drought tolerant and disease free. Like other natives, they have coevolved with the local climate, soils and rainfall and are well suited to the growing conditions in different regions throughout Georgia. The deep root systems of native grasses hold soil in place, reducing erosion and decreasing runoff, which helps keep waterways healthy and recharges groundwater. When native gasses die, their roots decay and add significant amounts of organic matter throughout the soil, replenishing fertility. Native grasses also provide optimum food, cover and shelter for wildlife.

Rain Garden

A rain garden is a shallow depression that collects stormwater runoff from a roof, driveway, walkway, parking lot or yard, and allows it to infiltrate the ground. Rain gardens are typically planted with native shrubs, perennials and grasses, which have coevolved with the region’s local climate, soils and rainfall. This green infrastructure best management practice reduces stormwater runoff by allowing the stormwater to soak into the ground as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters where it can cause erosion, water pollution, flooding and diminished groundwater.

Pollinator Garden

Pollinators are vital to maintaining the healthy ecosystems upon which all living things depend. Due to biodiversity threats such as loss of habitat, pesticide poisoning, climate change and the spread of diseases, we are losing pollinators around the world at an alarming rate. Pollinators need a diverse, flower-rich foraging area and suitable host plants or nests where they can lay eggs. A garden with diverse native plants can provide an important component of the habitat that pollinators need. Native plants are four times more likely than non-native plants to attract native bees, and native plants support three times as many species of butterflies and moths as introduced plants.

Wildlife Garden

Plants and animals are facing increasing pressure from human activities. Quality wildlife habitat continues to dwindle at a rapid rate. Urban and suburban sprawl destroys and fragments natural areas. Invasive plants from our gardens run rampant in the remaining natural habitats and replace the native plants upon which wildlife depend. Overuse of pesticides poison their food sources and can kill beneficial insects and other wildlife. A garden can be a refuge that provides wildlife with all their daily needs. Planting species native to your region attracts birds, pollinators and other native animals that have co-evolved and survived with the plants over the millennia.


Volunteer Programs

Volunteering enriches your EcoScapes experience.

Volunteers play an essential role in the maintenance and enhancement of the EcoScapes Demonstration Garden. EcoScapes hosts volunteer days throughout the year. Some recent volunteer projects have included:

  • Planting and watering new plants
  • Sustainably eliminating turf grass beneath the mature live oak tree with newspapers, dirt and mulch
  • Weeding nutgrass and other weeds from the walkways and garden beds
  • Trimming and transplanting

Anyone can be an EcoScapes volunteer. If you are interested, contact Keren Giovengo at giovengo@uga.edu or (912) 280-1586.

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