Project Branch Out
The original mission of Project Branch Out was to propagate rare and native flora of Western North Carolina and provide educational opportunities for local students, growers and plant enthusiasts. Project Branch Out was developed through Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council, Mayland Community College Horticulture Department, and the NC Cooperative Extension Service. Now, we have expanded our plant materials to include rhododendrons and azaleas native to the entire eastern North American region. We offer students the opportunity to learn greenhouse management and have become a source of healthy, high quality plants for landscapers and growers in the region.
The EnergyXchange greenhouse facilities include two greenhouses (30 x 98 feet), two shade houses (30 x 98 feet), and seven cold frames (14 x 96 feet). Inside, we tackle the challenging task of growing native flowering shrubs of the Appalachians—beginning from seed harvested by staff and volunteers in the fall. We grow several varieties of evergreen rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas from seeds that have been collected locally, and sell them in containers to local growers. Producing plants from seed is a sustainable process that does not harm the parent plant or its environment.
The best-selling and best known native plant grown at EnergyXchange is the Flame Azalea. The quilt block at EnergyXchange, titled “Flower of the Woods,” evokes the range of colors possible in the flower of the Flame. To learn more about the many varieties of native plants available, or to purchase plants, please visit the Plant Sales page.