Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Conduct Bay-Wise Landscape Consultations

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The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners’ Bay-Wise team has been busy conducting fall Bay-Wise landscape consultations in Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. On October 4th, a team of Bay-Wise trained Master Gardeners conducted a consultation of the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) in Grasonville. CBEC is a 510 acre wildlife preserve that showcases pristine wildlife habitat and is a true model of environmental sustainability on our beautiful Eastern Shore. Its programming and stewardship ethics reach a diverse audience through their restoration-based environmental educational outreach programs.

On October 23rd, another team of Bay-Wise trained Master Gardeners conducted a consultation of Wilmer Park in Chestertown along with Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator with the Town of Chestertown. Wilmer Park encompasses nearly seven acres of Municipal Park along the Chester River. It was dedicated in the 1970’s and includes: a living shoreline and water trail, a wetland restoration area, numerous native trees, two rain gardens, the Lelia Hynson Pavilion, a gazebo, and the recently dedicated Broad Reach sculpture and playscape.

The month capped off with a final team of Bay-Wise trained Master Gardeners conducting a consultation of Galilee Community Garden at Harbor View in Chester on October 24th. A year ago, Galilee Community Garden started as an empty field. Today, the community garden has 15 raised beds and four specialty beds, including an herb garden and a pollinator garden to encourage bees and butterflies. Master Gardener and dedicated Galilee Community Garden volunteer, Nancy O’Conner, spearheaded the community garden in 2016 putting the dream into reality in 2017.

Bay-Wise Certification at Deerfield Farm, Jenny Rhodes pictured.

Additionally, Bay-Wise consultations and certifications have taken place at numerous private properties throughout Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties this fall, including our first farm certification. Deerfield Farm located in Centreville is a 12 acre farm that has thoughtfully incorporated a wide variety of native plants with all of their foundation and buffer plantings. Deerfield Farm was the first poultry farm in Maryland to receive a Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program Certification through the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts. This program was established to acknowledge those farmers who are good stewards of their natural resources and to encourage and reward farmers to put more conservation best management practices (BMPs) on the land.

To schedule a Bay-Wise consultation call or email the University of Maryland Extension Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator, Rachel Rhodes, at 410-758-0166 or rjrhodes@umd.edu . Master Gardeners, are volunteers who are trained by the University of Maryland Extension and will come to your home or business to evaluate your property. They can answer landscape and gardening questions and offer advice on sound environmental practices. This is a free service sponsored through the University of Maryland’s Extension office. A consultation usually takes about one to two hours, depending on the size and complexity of your yard. Consultations focus on practices of healthy lawn maintenance, storm water management, insect and disease control, composting waste, and selecting native plants and trees that enhance your property with minimum upkeep.  You are welcome to request advice about flower, fruit, and vegetable beds that beautify your yard and provide friendly habitat for wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and humming birds.  Complimentary Bay-Wise signs are given to homeowners and businesses that demonstrate sound Bay-Wise practices. For further information on the Bay-Wise Program and other environmentally sound practices, please visit www.extension.umd.edu/baywise or see us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/QueenAnnesCountyMasterGardeners

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Discover Oxford’s Native Gardens on Adkins Arboretum’s Annual “Celebrating Natives” Tour

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The fall garden is a study in contrasts. Fiery color competes with the subtle structure of stems that have shed their flowers. Tall grasses turn golden in sunlight, while berries and fruits hang low on vines and branches to tantalize wildlife. On Sat., Nov. 4, discover the colors and textures of the fall garden when Adkins Arboretum brings its fifth annual “Celebrating Natives” Garden Tour to the Oxford area.

The self-guided driving tour features five private gardens and two public areas in and around Oxford, each demonstrating varying commitments to native plantings and uses of sustainable practices such as rain barrels and composting. The gardens range from Preservation Green—an in-town research center for horticultural studies—to a 3.5-acre “sanctuary” garden that takes found objects to a new level, to stands of pines mingled with organic vegetable beds and native perennials on Island Creek. Explore the new Oxford Conservation Park, an 86-acre parcel planted with more than 5,000 native plants and 800-plus native trees and shrubs to provide habitat for wildlife and appeal to local pollinators. Hop on the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, established in 1683 and the nation’s oldest privately owned ferry operation, to explore a rambling 5-acre freeform garden on Plaindealing Creek near the mouth of the Tred Avon River.

The first garden tour of its kind on the Eastern Shore, “Celebrating Natives” focuses on sustainable approaches to Eastern Shore gardening and exemplifies the Arboretum’s mission of teaching about and showing by example the importance of using native plants in restoring balance to the ecosystem and fostering community relationships. Native plants are those that grew and thrived on the Eastern Shore before the introduction of European settlers. Because these plants have adapted naturally to the region’s ecology of climate, insects and wildlife, they are a better choice than non-native plants. The tour not only highlights the beauty of the gardens but emphasizes their importance in a biodiverse landscape.

“Celebrating Natives” will take place rain or shine on Sat., Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance at adkinsarboretum.org or $30 the day of the tour at the Oxford Community Center200 Oxford Rd. Check-in will begin at 10 a.m. at the Community Center. Refreshments and restrooms will also be available there. A list of local restaurants will be provided. For more information or to order tickets, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Mid-Shore Gardens: The Chesapeake Bay Herb Society’s Remedy at Pickering

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“Gardeners, I think, dream bigger than emperors.”
— Mary Cantwell  New York Times journalist

Mary Cantwell might have been thinking of herb gardeners when she talked about dreaming “bigger,” and could well include members of the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society when looking at the results of their thirteen years of hard work at the Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

Formed in 2002 by a small group of enthusiastic herb gardeners who placed a small ad in the Star-Democrat asking for volunteers, the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society’s membership now stands at fifty, with once a month gatherings to discuss the region’s remarkable herbs and their care.

But, as our Spy interview with some of the Herb Society’s founders (Denis Gasper, Spencer Garrett, and Dana McGrath) indicate,  it has always been their beloved herb garden at Pickering that has been the central focus of the organization’s mission and labor of love.

Drawn by the culinary or medicinal purposes that herbs can be used for, the Society has collected an extremely robust variety for the general public to observe and also take home with them. It also welcomes new volunteers to help with the weekly management of the site.

The benefits of both activities can be keenly felt by those that participate, but perhaps the greatest attribute for the CBHS’s garden is that of being a sort of remedy; a place to see, smell and taste some of the world’s wonders in a sanctuary setting that allows all those that enter a chance to “dream bigger.”

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society please go here

Kent Island Flower Show Highlights ’50s and ’60s

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Flowers, retro “cars”, awards, and visitors celebrated the flower show sponsored by the Kent Island Garden Club on Thursday, September 21 at the Kent Island VFD. Guests were treated to 300+ specimens of horticulture and 60 floral designs created by members of the 11 clubs that are part of the Maryland Federated Garden Clubs.

Winners walked away with awards for overall design, use of color, petit designs, wit and whimsical designs, and table artistry.  In keeping with the theme, A “Blast From the Past” that focused on the trends and music from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, designs on display  interpreted “A Whole LottaShakin’ Going On,” “Cha ChaCha”, the “Stroll”, the “Prom”, and “Splish Splash” among others.

​President of KI Garden Club and Chair of the flower show Linda Elias congratulating Sally Boden on her winning horticulture entry.

“We were so excited to see so many entries and so many visitors to the show,” said Linda Elias, president of the Kent Island Garden Club. “The music, the cars, and especially the flowers made the day so entertaining and fun for everyone.”

Judging took place in the morning and over 200 guests viewed the show in the afternoon. The Kent Island Cruisers displayed 2 retro fitted carts at the entrance of the fire hall and the Maryland Historical Society contributed a display of the history of Kent Island that focused on Senator Samuel Kirwan, an earlier advocate and protector of Kent Island.

The Kent Island Garden Club is a member of District I of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc.  The main mission of federated garden clubs is to care for historic and public properties in their locales, promote care of the environment, and to teach gardening and love of nature to children and others in their communities. For further information go to www.fgccofmd.org

 

A Blast from the Past – Flower Show & Contest

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Kent Island will be the site for an Eastern Shore floral design and horticulture competition on September 21st from 1:30 to 5:30 at the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department.  The competition, hosted by the Kent Island Garden Club, is open to the public, but all entries must comply with the guidelines of the National Federation of Garden Clubs.

Representatives from all 11 federated clubs on the Eastern Shore will interpret the theme “A Blast From the Past.” The era of LP’s, poodle skirts, and letter sweaters will be depicted in the floral arrangements, memorabilia, and photos submitted by participants. Ideal specimens of horticulture from participants’ yards and gardens will be in another competitive class.

“The Kent Island Garden Club is proud to be the host for this great event,” said Linda Elias, President of KIGC. “The show gives the members an opportunity to display their own talents and to appreciate the creativity of others.”

Judging will occur on the morning of September 21st.  The public is invited in the afternoon after the judging to come meet the designers, club members, and judges. Admission is free. For further information call 410-827-6981.

Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Hold “Insect Hotel” Workshop

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Class participants with their finished insect hotel

The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners held an Insect Hotel Workshop on Monday, June 12th at the Centreville Library. Attracting Native Pollinators and good bugs are the major focus for many gardeners. Some of our smallest bees only fly a few hundred feet by providing nesting and foraging sites in the same habitat allow them to conserve energy and allow for more efficient use of resources by insects of any size. Providing overwintering sites for these pollinators and good bugs significantly increase nesting opportunities. Here are some steps to insure pollinator populations benefit the most from your home landscape:

  • Provide nesting and egg laying sites for a variety of pollinator species
  • Clean and replace artificial nests regularly
  • Don’t move native bees or previously used nest materials outside of their native ranges
  • Leave some bare, unmulched ground.
  • Hang nesting blocks in a protected location with light shade
  • Make sure that nesting blocks or “insect hotels” are mounted firmly and do not shake or move in the wind

4-H’er Kelsey Higgs, of Centreville shows off her insect hotel

For further information on pollinators and other environmentally sound practices, please visit extension.umd.edu or see us on Facebook.

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

The All Seasons Garden Club Show on May 23

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The All Seasons Garden Club (ASGC) will hold its biennial flower show on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, from noon until 3:00 PM in Wesley Hall of the Heron Point Retirement Community, 501 East Campus Avenue, Chestertown.  Attendance is free and open to the public.

2015 Blue Ribbon-winning entry, Best in Show, “Mothers Day” arrangement by Holly Boulanger.

The theme for the 2017 show is America the Beautiful.  Floral arrangements in five Design Classes will be presented. Each entry will satisfy rules of a specific design category and reflect one of the following lines chosen from the popular and patriotic anthem:  “For Spacious Skies”; “For Purple Mountain Majesties”;  “Above the Fruited Plain”; “From Sea to Shining Sea”; and “For Patriot Dream”.

In addition to the five Design Classes, there will be entries in as many as eighteen Horticultural Classes, which include dish gardens; window boxes; terraria; as well as individuals specimens of bulbs, evergreens, Columbine, Hosta, Lily, Peony, Rose, Iris, Baptisia, and Sedum.

The All Seasons Garden Club was organized in 1985 and draws most of its members from Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. The ASGC is pleased to have its 2017 show open to participation by members of garden clubs in the two county area.

Flyers describing the Design Classes for the show as well as other aspects of the judging are available by emailing Frank Creegan at fcreegan2@washcoll.edu.

Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Announce Bay-Wise Landscape Consultations

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Homes on the Eastern Shore are within a half mile of a stream or other waterway flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Creating an attractive yard is important to all of us, but how we do it can make a huge difference in property value and environmental impact. We all contribute–knowingly or unknowingly—to run-off, seepage, and airborne pollutants that affect the health of the Bay. Critical awareness of the environmental effect of our landscape choices and practices underlies the University of Maryland Extension Bay-Wise Master Gardener program.

pictured L-R: Master Gardener Jane Smith, Master Gardener Cindy Riegel, homeowner Laura Rocco, Master Gardener Betty McAtee, and Master Gardener Joyce Anderson.

The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners’ Bay-Wise program kicks off the 2017 season of Bay-Wise landscape consultations. Master Gardeners, are volunteers who are trained by the University of Maryland Extension, will come to your home or business to evaluate your property. They can answer landscape and gardening questions and offer advice on sound environmental practices. This is a free service sponsored through the University of Maryland’s Extension office. Home owners and businesses are encouraged to schedule a consultation.

Call or email the University of Maryland Extension Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator, Rachel Rhodes, at 410-758-0166 or rjrhodes@umd.edu to initiate a consultation on your property. A Bay-Wise trained Master Gardener will then contact you to arrange a convenient date and time to meet with you at your property. A consultation usually takes about one to two hours, depending on the size and complexity of your yard. Consultations focus on practices of healthy lawn maintenance, storm water management, insect and disease control, composting waste, and selecting native plants and trees that enhance your property with minimum upkeep.  You are welcome to request advice about flower, fruit, and vegetable beds that beautify your yard and provide friendly habitat for wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and humming birds.

Complimentary Bay-Wise signs are given homeowners and businesses that demonstrate sound Bay-Wise practices. The University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners hope to reach even more homeowners this season. Advice on improving your landscape, while helping the environment and saving time and money, is only a phone call away.  For further information on the Bay-Wise Program and other environmentally sound practices, please visit www.extension.umd.edu/baywise or see us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/QueenAnnesCountyMasterGardeners

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Ecosystem: Through Gaian-Colored Lenses by Leigh Glenn

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No matter the season, life always seems to want more life, especially as we observe it in other species. The beautyberry in our front yard outside Annapolis is one example. It appears dormant late into spring, even after a good pruning. By mid to late summer, it’s magenta berries, bright against brilliant green leaves, are a wonder to behold. Through winter, robins and cedar waxwings balance, sometimes precariously, on its stems and devour the dried berries. And then before I know it, it’s time to prune again.

All species cycle through birth-death-rebirth as they work to sustain themselves, reproduce and rest. In contrast, human technologies and cultural artifacts — from language to money — have erected a barrier between us and these cycles and the systems they represent. But the barrier is an illusion. Our lives depend upon the consistent functioning of these systems. What will it take for us to respect these cycles and behave as part of these systems? To appreciate our powers of observation and our creativity, to cultivate our innate biophilia?

I felt relieved last month when Maryland legislators and Gov. Larry Hogan supported the ban on the unconventional gas extraction method known as fracking, short for hydrofracturing. My fellow Marylanders out west, who stood to make money off gas leases, were not wrong for wanting to do so. But like all of us in a variety of ways, they still operate under a dying story — the story of infinite growth, in which we constantly trade the living (the natural world) for the dead (money).

If I have any worldview, it’s a Gaian one. The Gaia Theory, now Gaia Paradigm, was developed by NASA researcher and chemist James Lovelock and co-developed by the late microbiologist Lynn Margulis. The science of Gaia demonstrates that Earth is a self-regulating, complex, non-linear, emergent system — emergent in the philosophical definition of the word, describing a property that is more than a sum of its parts. No single entity coordinates the multiple actions required to maintain homeostasis that is conducive to life on this planet. The emergent property of homeostasis cannot be reduced to the aspects that created it and now sustain it. More simply, Gaia reaffirms what many indigenous people have long understood — everything is connected.

Today, humans are the wild card in this system because of the enormous scales at which we operate — from fracking, which is spreading around the globe, to our vast factory farms, from our dams to the huge amounts of waste we all generate. We’re at a crossroads: The story of infinite growth is collapsing under the weight of living realities. It’s time for a new story — one rooted in the principles of earth systems science, Gaian science.

“The motivating story of ‘growth for growth’s sake’ is a losing proposition for humanity,” says Martin Ogle, former chief naturalist for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and founder of Entrepreneurial Earth, LLC, based in Colorado. “We need a completely new underlying story,” says this long-time proponent of the Gaia Paradigm, “[a story] that reflects that we are a seamless continuum of Earth’s living system, not disconnected beings on a rock transforming that rock to our satisfaction.”

But what does this new story require?

For starters, we need to understand the story we’re outgrowing, which portrays each of us as a discrete being, separate from everything else and acting only in our own interest. The idea that we’re separate is what allows us to frack, to decapitate mountains hundreds of millions of years old, to clear-cut communities of trees, to spray herbicides and pesticides without thought.

We also need to vigorously examine our core fears: fear of abandonment, of not having “enough,” of death. In trying to outrun these fears rather than work with them, we often create more of the same — more comparing ourselves with others, questioning whether we are “good enough,” and continuing to live small instead of realizing that each of us, just like snowflakes, clover leaves and redbud blossoms, is unique. We each have something to offer that is beyond ourselves and beyond our wildest dreams — if we permit ourselves to dream and not act according to some old script.

Our converging calamities confirm that we are connected to what brought us to life and sustains us. We share DNA with myriad others and many of the building blocks of our physical selves are the same elements that make up Earth. When we intervene in those systems, modify them to suit our purposes, we deprive ourselves of access to clean air, clean water and healthy soils. But the harms go beyond the physical, whether we want to admit it or not. Our biophilia — our innate love of life, of living things — takes a direct beating and can easily lead to despair. Then we reach for distractions that keep the infinite-growth story in place.

If the Gaia Paradigm is to be read closely, yet metaphorically, then fracking is like drilling a hole in one’s body and injecting chemicals. How long and how much of that could a body sustain before getting sick and dying? Earth is vast, but it’s not immune to our perturbations. We humans need to mature. Our continued existence depends upon our growing up.

Which leads me to this: The new story can be a beautiful one — abundant, fulfilling, allowing us to grow into our best selves. How do we see ourselves in this story? In truly accepting that we are an aspect of Gaia — that there is expansion, not diminishment, in this — and in working with our fears, what great things might we achieve?

We may need look only as far as our front yard for ideas. When pruning the beautyberry recently, I found a welcome oddity: A side stem had broken during the winter, but stayed connected to the shrub. It had coppiced itself, taking root in the narrow mulch path next to the plant. How might we coppice the best of ourselves?

Leigh Glenn is a freelance writer, hooking artist, permaculture practitioner and herbalist based in Annapolis, MD.