Adkins Arboretum’s Candlelit Caroling Celebration on December 9


Ring in the holiday season with an evening of music, light and merriment when Adkins Arboretum hosts its annual Candlelit Caroling Celebration on Sat., Dec. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m.

At the Visitor’s Center, enjoy seasonal live music in the gallery by Chestertown performers Dovetail and Nevin Dawson, along with hors d’oeuvres and a cash wine bar. Take a candlelit walk along the woodland paths, stopping along the way to sing carols and roast marshmallows over a roaring bonfire. Join Delmarva Stargazers in the meadow to view the winter sky, and top off the evening with a winter tram ride to see light displays around the meadow. Wildlife tree decorating and a gingerbread playhouse will be of special interest to children.

Tickets for adults are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Children ages 3–18 are $10, and children 2 and under are free. This event tends to sell out; please register by Tues., Dec. 5.

To reserve tickets for the Candlelit Caroling Celebration, visit or call 410.634.2847, ext. 0.

Mid-Shore Gardens: The Satisfaction of Co-Design


The Adkins Arboretum hit on something quite popular when their Native Landscape Design Center started offered co-designing programs. Amateur gardeners looking for help with their projects, but also wanting to fully participate in the design process, are paired with professional landscape designers to accomplish this goal.

And that’s what Mid-Shore resident Chip Heartfield decided to do for his home in St. Michaels and began parting with designer Christina Pax, who heads up Annapolis Native Landscape Design. 

We caught with both of them recently at the Bullitt House to talk about this horticultural match and how both the home gardener and the professional designer both benefit from this new way to create something unique for Eastern Shore homes and their surroundings.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Adkins Native Landscape Design Center please go here

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


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 . 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 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.

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


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 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 or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

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


“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


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


A Blast from the Past – Flower Show & Contest


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



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 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


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