Habitat: Spring Fever at Unity


Unity Nursery is the destination for all things relating to landscape and gardens. The countdown to the Spring Equinox is over and the Nursery kicked off its spring season with their annual open house on March 23rd. The eye-catching giant “Big Rooster” near the entrance drive was soon a popular spot for selfies. As attendees strolled through the site, they discovered several new changes. Retail sales is now back at the Roadside Kiosk where a display of seed packets will soon be joined by items from the Nursery and fresh produce, vegetable and herb plants grown on site under the watchful eye of Farm Manager Teresa Mycek.

The area between the Kiosk and highway 213 will soon be enhanced by gardens to inspire the home gardening enthusiast. Benches will be strategically placed for rest or contemplation of sculpture and other garden art. On the other side of the Kiosk and beyond the bridge over the spring below is now a row of stacked planters and urns of many sizes and styles that are separated in groups of color for ease of selection.

The five greenhouses are ready for this year and in one greenhouse, seedlings were poking through their containers in anticipation of being planted in the ground. Brussel Sprouts were still sprouting and the garlic continue to grow. One of the previous owners of the property was a landscape architect and he planted many specimen trees that are now mature. Overlooking the vegetable garden is one of these trees, the “Ben Franklinia” tree, which is thought to extinct in the wild.

The main building is now dedicated to services relating to Unity Nursery’s sister business, Unity Landscape Design/Build. The showroom features work of local artisans, outdoor furniture and art. Around the walls are displays that illustrate products such as low voltage lighting, irrigation and hardscape products along with photographs of completed landscape projects. The day I visited, I was immediately captivated by a stunning handcrafted dining table by artisan Vicco von Voss. The table’s free form and mix of black walnut, maple burl, ebony and holly was hard to miss. Unity is also the exclusive representative of a line of teak furnishings by Three Birds Casual. Pieces on display include a rocking chair, side table, dining table and chairs whose stylish design would complement any screened porch or pool terrace. I liked the slightly flared top of the chair back that would make it quite comfortable for reading by the pool or dining al-fresco.

The education and credentials of the Unity team is quite impressive. Unity Landscape Design/Build’s president, Michael Jensen, attended the College at West Chester University for Architecture/Urban Planning where he grew to appreciate the symbiotic relationship between architecture, landscape and the environment. He transferred to the landscape architecture/horticulture program at Temple University in Philadelphia and returned to the Eastern Shore to found Unity Landscape Design/Build in 1992. He fulfilled a need for landscape design, installation and maintenance services to help homeowners in the Chesapeake Bay watershed fulfill their design goals and comply with Critical Areas restrictions to protect the Chesapeake Bay water quality.

The Unity Design/Build team’s Field Operations Manager, Cliff Westman and Environmental Designer, Lucas Lees, recently completed the Certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) workshop and received their certifications. This is a voluntary credential program for professionals who design, install and maintain sustainable landscapes.

Sustainability is key to the mission of Unity which is to serve as an “inspiration center offering services and on native plants and natural solutions”. Design is guided by principles of geometry from ancient Greece such as the Golden Ratio, which is a mathematical ratio commonly found in nature. The Greeks believed that the use of the Golden Ratio created beauty defined by symmetry, proportion and harmony. The result is organic, natural looking and aesthetic compositions.

To make your landscape harmonious, visit Unity Nursery to become inspired by the range of high quality plants, perennials, shrubbery, trees, native and seasonal plants of all sizes that would enhance your home and its outdoor environment. Unity Design/Build’s staff can work with you to create a plan that meets your budget. Then they obtain the permits, install the landscape and hardscape and provide maintenance.

Upcoming events include the popular “Beyond the Backyard” Series of Workshops every Saturday in April beginning at 9:00 am to inform and inspire participants to “think beyond the backyard”. Check their website for workshop topics.

Unity Church Hill Nursery is located at 3621 Church Hill Rd. For more information, call 410-556-6010 or visit their website www.unitychurchillnursery.com. The Nursery is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00, Saturday from 8:00 to 4:00 and is closed on Sunday.


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