Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia
NATIVE PEACE GARDEN

NATIVE PEACE GARDEN


Sautee Nacoochee Native Peace Garden

The Native Peace Garden was dedicated on June 22, 2019. About eighty people - elders of the community, garden volunteers, family, friends and SNCA board members and staff - gathered to celebrate the event. The idea for the garden began in 2015, when Helen and Jack (now deceased) Mott gifted a portion of their adjoining land to SNCA.

A large oak tree on the site - estimated to be 150 to 200 years old - overlooks a creek sitting above a floodplain behind the Sautee Nacoochee Post Office.

"This tree and garden came not from Jack and me, but through us," Helen said. "We honor the Cherokee tradition of our earth belonging to the ALL."

Allen Stovall, landscape architect, was asked to create a plan for the garden. Allen grew up in the Sautee Valley. He is professor emeritus in the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. Back in 1982, he authored The Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys: A Preservation Study. The study was a precursor to the establishment of the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2017, Allen asked several people to help create a native plant garden. In an early meeting, he showed the group his initial drawing, and the work moved off the page and onto the land.

Next, volunteers transformed the site - once covered with invasive privet shrub - into a woodland garden. Native plants were purchased and donated from community members. In his design, Allen considered water diversion, a gravel pathway through the garden and seating areas.

Helen Mott emphasized the importance of remembering the native people who were here before us. In accordance with this priority, the garden name has a double meaning: native for plants native to the area and native as a remembrance of those people who came before.

The Native Peace Garden is the first part of an overall master plan that will improve and unite the many features of the SNCA campus. The plan was developed in 2016 by the SNCA board of directors, working with the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission.

Special thanks to Helen and Jack Mott, donors; Allen Stovall, landscape design; Bob Slack, construction; Lynda Doll, coordinator; and Johnna Tutttle, naturalist.

Open from sunrise to sunset, the Native Peace Garden is available for the public's enjoyment.



The bulk of this narrative is courtesy of the White County News, first published July 11, 2019.