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Mohnen: “We want to beautify the county.”

One of the goals of Madison Garden Club is to add beauty to Madison County. President Susan Mohnen planned to do just that when she approached the County Commission Board on Wednesday, August 12 to ask the board to make Madison County a Wildflower County. “I am here today to request that you designate Madison County as a Wildflower County,” said Mohnen to the board. Designating Madison County as a Wildflower County will put it on the Department of Transportation's wildflower county map, along with Taylor, Jefferson, Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla and Franklin County. Being a candidate for a Wildflower County also makes Madison County eligible to receive flower seeds planted all around the county. Mohnen first heard about the Wildflower Counties after speaking with former Garden Club President and current chairman of the Wildflower Committee Martha Beggs. Beggs heard Highway Architect Jeff Castor speak about Wildflower Counties at a district meeting, and it has been an ongoing project ever since. “We want to beautify the county,” said Mohnen. “We're concerned about the environmental health of our wildlife and our vegetation, and wildflowers enhance that.”

Adding more wildflowers into the county will allow food for deer, rabbits, squirrels and mice and allow bees and other pollinating insects to spread the seeds around. The wildflowers will also have a positive effect on the local economy. The seeds need to be sowed in October to ensure that the wildflowers sprout. The Madison Garden Club will kick off their first meeting in September, allowing successful planning for the wildflower planting in October. Mohnen and the Garden Club hope to have wildflower areas at the entrance to the City of Madison, Hwy 90 East and West, State Road 53 South and Valdosta Highway. These roadways are frequently traveled and will be a sight for both tourists and Madison County natives alike. However, in order to make this happen, what first needs to be done is to maintain the existing native wildflowers currently growing in the county. Madison County has many species of native wildflowers displayed along the state and county roadways, including Coreopsis, the state wildflower. Once the existing flowers are maintained and made sure they can thrive, new areas for wildflowers can be identified. Mohnen also stressed to the board that the most essential part of this project is a mowing plan. “A correct mowing schedule is essential for the life cycle of the wildflower,” said Mohnen. The Garden Club will work with the county to develop a mowing schedule and plans to mark the areas where wildflowers are. Mohnen assured the board that property owners will be consulted before planting to determine if they want wildflowers in their areas. The board approved the motion to designated Madison County as a Wildflower County on Wednesday, August 12. Because of this, the County Commission, Garden Club, Florida Wildflower Association and Department of Transportation will all work together to make sure everything is in place in order to care for the wildflowers properly. Madison is about to get more beautiful: one petal at a time.

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1. Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo By Selina Iglesias, August 12, 2015. Madison Garden Club President Susan Mohnen and District 3 County Commissioner Ronnie Moore pose with the resolution for Madison County to be designated as a Wildflower County on Wednesday, August 12.

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