Passersby intrigued by the flowers can be seen stopping for a better view or for a photograph of the bright purple Cosmos planted along the interstate.
The Georgia Department of Transportation Wildflower Program is funded in part by the sale of specialty wildflower auto tags.
“In November 1998, Georgia residents voted to amend the Constitution in order to create a roadside enhancement and beautification fund supplemented by the sale of special wildflower motor vehicle tags. Senate Bill 97, proposed in the 2001 legislative session, designated the Wildflower tag a specialty tag,” states the GDOT website. “Few people enjoy long hours spent driving on the road or being in traffic congestion; however, you make these experiences more enjoyable by adding a burst of color and a wave of brightness to state roadways through purchasing a Wildflower Auto Tag.”
District 6 Roadside Management Coordinator Genise Printup oversees the GDOT Wildflower Program for northwest Georgia out of the Cartersville office.
“I pick the plots where they are planted and I have gotten so many calls this year,” Printup said. “I try to plant them where people will see them, so people can see what their money is doing and let others know about the wildflower tags.
“When local people spend their money, I want them to see the results.”
Currently, motorists can see Cosmos, a purple wildflower of the Aster family, along Interstate 75 in Bartow County at the Emerson-Allatoona Road exit, Red Top Mountain Road exit and the Cartersville-Main Street exit.
In the past, dafodils have been visible at the U.S. Highway 41/U.S. Highway 411 cloverleaf and on U.S. 41 near Cartersville High School. Come spring, color will again brighten the roadways with wildflowers on I-75 and Highway 411.
“I’ve got some plated on 411 toward Rome from mile post two to mile post nine and we’ve got some coming up also this spring at [I-75] mile marker 296, Cass-White exit,” Printup said. “And I’ve got some more in Bartow County at the [I-75] mile 306 off ramp and those will be coming up this spring as well.”
A $35 fee is charged for the specialty wildflower license plate, which can be obtained from the Bartow County tag office, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Building, 135 W. Cherokee Ave., Cartersville.
The GDOT Wildflower Program also offers residents a free packet of wildflower seeds to spread the growth of native wildflowers. For more information, call 404-631-1829, or contact GDOT through mail at One Georgia Center, 600 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta, Ga. 30308.