Adkins Arboretum Completes Parking Lot Alive!


June marked the completion of Parking Lot Alive!, a parking lot retrofit project at Adkins Arboretum. The project transformed a barren sea of asphalt into a parking lot that demonstrates best practices for managing stormwater and benefits from lush plantings and added shade.

Over the span of four months, Unity Landscape Design/Build implemented a design by Campion Hruby Landscape Architects and DesignGreen, LLC to create a beautiful, functional and innovative cultivated garden designed as a series of stormwater management devices. The parking lot is now outfitted with six erosion sediment control devices and seven additional planted gardens. Eleven areas throughout the lot have been densely planted with 17,000 native plants.

Areas of the lot were excavated and regraded to help direct stormwater, slow its flow and allow it to be absorbed into the landscape instead of flowing unchecked to the Arboretum wetland, Blockston Branch, the Choptank River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. Asphalt was removed and replaced with permeable pavers that also function as a pathway to the entrance bridge. An underground hydraulic bridge connects some of the gardens and now serves as an overflow redundancy for heavy rain events. The past month’s heavy rains have been held by planted swales that allow the rainfall to gradually percolate and transpire.

Photo by Kellen McCluskey

The dense plantings of trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials have already attracted numerous species of birds and pollinators and will offer much-needed shade once they become established. A broad variety of native plants was selected for both dry and wet conditions, and plants were installed densely to reduce weed pressure.

Arboretum volunteers assisted in planting five of the garden beds and continue to help keep weeds at bay. Volunteers and staff have already dedicated more than 300 hours to planting and caring for the gardens. The public is invited to visit, enjoy the gardens and learn about best practices for managing stormwater.

Parking Lot Alive! was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust G3 Implementation Phase Grant Program and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund. The Arboretum has been fortunate to partner with project designers Campion Hruby Landscape Architects and Design Green, LLC and contractors Unity Landscape Design/Build, and to consult with the Caroline County Department of Planning and Codes and the University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Project WILD Professional Development is Aug. 3 at Adkins Arboretum


Adkins Arboretum will host Project WILD, a professional development workshop about wildlife and conservation, for K–12 teachers on Sat., Aug. 3 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Presented by Kerry Wixted, wildlife education and outreach specialist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the workshop is perfect for teachers in both formal and informal settings, as well as anyone with an interest in environmental education.

A project of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Project WILD is dedicated to helping students learn how to think, not what to think, about wildlife and the environment. All curriculum materials are back by sound education practices and theory and represent the work of many within the fields of education and natural resource management from across the country.

The workshop will cover pollination, field investigations, inquiry-based learning and more. All participants will receive two free Project WILD guides filled with more than 100 lesson plans. The course counts as professional development for Maryland Green Schools and for Maryland Master Naturalists.

The Project WILD workshop is $25 for Arboretum members and $30 for non-members. Advance registration is required at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

July Pollinator Programs at Adkins Arboretum


Solitary bee. Photo courtesy of Pollinators Prospering People.

Adkins Arboretum will host a trio of programs this month aimed at educating about pollinators, their needs and ways to increase their vital habitat. All programs will be led by Melinda Fegler and Lindsay Hollister of Pollinators Prospering People (PX3), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable pollinator habitat. Programs include:

Befriending Bumblebees, 1–4 p.m. on Sun., July 14. Learn about the bumble’s importance for wildlife and for humans’ edible gardens. Participants will learn Maryland bumble ID and how to design a garden to attract bumblebees, as well as build a bumblebee hive box.

Solitary Bee Beginnings, 1–4 p.m. on Sun., July 21. What is a solitary bee? Learn about the ecology, life cycles and groupings of these lone workers. Participants will also learn about garden additions for solitary bees, build a solitary bee condo and practice identification.

Caterpillars to Butterflies, 1–4 p.m. on Sun., July 28. Learn about the mysteries of and threats to these beautiful pollinators and the important role they play in the natural world. Participants will build a chrysalis tree, learn to use identification resources and practice skills during a NABA butterfly count.

Each program is $35 for Arboretum members and $40 for non-members. All three sessions count as continuing education for Master Gardeners and for Maryland Master Naturalists. Advance registration is required at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

From Moth to Monster


A few weeks ago you were sitting back admiring your freshly planted garden. Neat little rows of tomato, pepper, squash, and cucumber plants accompanied by flowers and herbs were all planted in view from your back deck. As you sat there basking in the evening sun, relishing in your hard work, a little moth fluttered from flower to flower sipping nectar.  With her hummingbird like flutters, the Carolina Sphinx moth floated through your garden, unassumingly laying her eggs on your newly planted tomato and pepper plants. Within a few days, from her little green eggs emerged a tiny but very hungry green caterpillar. Since that day, the ravenous little green Tobacco Hornworm caterpillar has spent his days munching away, perfectly hidden by the copious green foliage of your tomato plants, growing bigger and bigger. You begin to notice stems of complete defoliation. Maybe you think it’s a bunny or deer having a nighttime nibble as the little green caterpillar stays camouflaged, until the moment you notice the red-tipped horn and the very large green body of a caterpillar measuring almost 4” in length hanging on your prize winning tomato plant. During the last month the hornworm caterpillar has gone through 4-5 instars (growth stages) while feasting in your garden. If the hornworm reaches the final growth stage he will begin to wander looking for the perfect site to pupate. Once the perfect site has been found the caterpillar will form a pupal cell below the leaf litter or soil.

Hornworm parasitized by Braconoid wasps. Photo taken by Rachel Rhodes.

However, in our area there are many natural predators that love to make a meal of the delicious protein rich hornworm caterpillar or eggs. Birds, small animals, and insects find the hornworm caterpillar particularly delicious. Paper wasps use the caterpillars as a future food source in nest cells containing the wasp’s eggs. In sci-fi movie fashion, parasitic wasps (Braconid wasps), also use hornworms as a food source for their young, but in a much more diabolical manner. The small parasitic wasp inconspicuously stings the caterpillar depositing her eggs inside the hornworms body. As the larval wasps develop they devour the caterpillar, feeding on its blood as they grow. In the final pupal stage, the immature wasp spin small white cocoons that resemble grains of rice that protrude from the body of the living hornworm. Eventually, the parasitized hornworm will fall victim to the wasp and will stop eating and die. Using nature as your method of control is perhaps the best way to rid your garden of this very hungry caterpillar, so just sit back and watch the show.

For further information, please visit or see us on Facebook @ For more information contact: Rachel J. Rhodes, Master Gardener Coordinator at (410) 758-0166 or by email at

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.

Horning in on your tomatoes-Tomato and Tobacco Hornworms:

Tobacco-Tomato Hornworm:

Featured Creatures: University of Florida

Floral Paintings by Lani Browning on View Through July at Adkins Arboretum


So lush, delicate and exquisitely colored that you can almost smell them, Lani Browning’s floral oil paintings on linen fill the gallery in Adkins Arboretum’s Visitor’s Center. This Centreville artist is well known for her award-winning landscape paintings, but in her show Bloom, on view through July 26, she focuses exclusively on flowers. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Sat., June 22 from 3 to 5 p.m.

“I simply love flowers,” Browning said. “Always have. They make me happy. I’m enjoying a more intimate way of expressing myself by observing flowers and ‘listening’ to their stories.”

It’s a tribute to Browning’s exceptional skills as a painter that each of the flowers she paints is an individual. Each blossom in her “Casablanca Lilies” seems to reach out with its own particular animated gesture, and each is at a different stage in its development. The multicolored flowers in “Daffodils” appear to be engaged in a lively conversation, and every tiny, purplish floret in “Redbud” seems to be dancing with those around it.

Browning is a master at rendering exquisite shading and the subtleties of light and shadow with loose, deceptively casual brushstrokes. She deftly captures the intricacy and nuances of each five-petaled flower in the billowing branches of “Cherry Blossoms.” While the foreground blossoms catch the light on their delicate, pale pink petals, those behind fade back into the shadows, becoming more mysterious and impressionistic as they recede into the distance.

Browning explained, “I am interested in the flowers as personalities—the elegance of a rose, the perkiness of a daffodil, the romance of a peony—and playing with how they ‘emerge’ in my field of vision, thus the ‘pulling in and out’ of details.”

“Cherry Blossoms” by Lani Browning

There’s a glow to Browning’s flowers that makes them feel distinctly alive. Many are caught in the act of opening their petals, and the stems of those in full flower bend just a little, bringing to mind the phrase “heavy with blossom.”

“I paint the flowers from life,” Browning said. “It’s a challenge inside or outside. You must paint quickly! I rarely cut them unless there is an abundance of blossoms and/or a storm is coming. When I do cut them for a vase, it allows me to study them more closely, and my studio is filled with heavenly fragrance.”

Adding to a long list of honors, Browning recently won an award from the Oil Painters of America for her luminous painting “Hydrangeas,” which was included in its National Spring Online Exhibition, as well as in the Adkins show, and a People’s Choice Award from Chestertown RiverArts for her landscape “Chesapeake Environmental Center” in its Art of Stewardship Exhibit.

Despite her current focus on flowers, Browning continues to paint landscapes, finding particular inspiration in the Eastern Shore skies and water reflections and sometimes traveling to Cape Henlopen to paint the waves or even to Chestertown’s Downrigging festival to work on her series of paintings of the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel.

“The main thing is I like to change things up,” she said. “Tackle things I haven’t fully explored while still keeping my hand in those subjects that I’m more known for. I don’t like to repeat myself.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through July 26 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum’s Medieval Forest Fair


Revel in a day of forest fun when Adkins Arboretum celebrates its second annual Medieval Forest Faire from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., June 15. Inspired by legends and lore of the medieval period, Forest Faire offers a wide variety of activities and entertainment for families in search of outdoor fun.

Adventurers of all ages are invited to embark on a forest quest and search among the trees for the Green Man of the ancient Celts. Some of the many activities planned include building with wattle and daub, guided foraging, archery practice, a labyrinth, cooking pottage over a campfire, medieval crafts and constructing “castles” with sections of tree stumps.

Medieval ballads and madrigals will be performed throughout the day by Ampersand and the Allegro Women’s Chorus. Fortunetelling and demonstrations by a local falconer will be ongoing, and the festivities will close with sword dancing by the Sammati Dance Company of Caroline County.

A local peasant (Shane Brill of Chestertown, at center) leads a discussion on foraging at Adkins Arboretum’s 2018 Forest Faire. Forest adventurers of all ages are invited to attend this year’s Medieval Forest Faire on Sat., June 15 from 11 to 3. Photo by Kellen McCluskey.

Fairegoers are encouraged to wear Camelot-inspired costumes and to bring their cameras for photos with notable nobles. Unicorn rides by Snapdragon Stables and refreshments, including ice cream by local Nice Farms Creamery, will be available for purchase.

Admission to Forest Faire is $10 per person for adults and children ages 6 and over. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free. Advance registration is appreciated. To register, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

UME Forestry Program Offers Certification Course


Learn to be a steward of the land this fall with the University of Maryland Extension General Forestry Course.  Both paper and online versions of the course will be offered, beginning Sept.1 through Dec. 15, 2019.  Registration opens June 1, and interested participants can register online at

This is a non-credit course with no formal classes‒ work from the comfort of your home using your own woodlot, a friend’s or a public forest. The course covers how to protect your trees from insects, diseases, and fire; step-by-step procedures walk you through a forest inventory and stand analysis; and the details of the forestry business are presented, including tax nuances and the sale and harvest of forest products. Ultimately, the course exercises help you develop the framework for a stewardship plan for your forest.

The cost for this forestry course is $150. Included in the cost are copies of the supplemental readings (“A Sand County Almanac, The Woodland Steward, American Forests: A History of Resiliency and Recovery,” a small pamphlet entitled “What Tree Is That?” and “Common Native Trees of Virginia Tree Identification Guide”). The paper version text and appendices for the course are in binder form. Online users receive a flash drive of the paper version of the text and appendices. A certificate of completion is awarded when all assignments are completed.

To learn more about the course and what it entails, go to  There you can read a lesson from the text, view an interactive exercise, read through detailed course information and FAQs.

For more information, contact Nancy Stewart at the University of Maryland Extension, Wye Research and Education Center, P.O. Box 169, Queenstown, Md., 21658, 410-827-8056, ext. 107, or Check for details on our website and mark June 1 for open enrollment on your calendar!

Garnet Good Seeds Garden Committee to Launch June 6


The Garnet Good Seeds Garden Committee is very excited to announce our launch event on Thursday, June 6, at 10:00 am. The ceremonial tree planting with Henry Highland Garnet Elementary students will officially begin the transformation of the school’s front grounds into a beautiful native landscape and education space. Please  join us as we start this powerful placemaking effort with Garnet families, neighbors, and supporters of the project. As Henry Highland Garnet, great abolitionist, and orator affirmed, “In every man’s mind the good seeds of liberty are planted.”

Thanks to an incredible outpouring from local businesses, foundations, and individual donors, the Garnet Good Seeds Garden is almost fully funded and ready to launch. This ambitious project was designed pro bono by the visionary South Fork Studio, who incorporated input from students, parents, and community members. the new landscape will include a pollinator garden, playful pathways, edible herbs and berries, and a great variety of native shrubs, trees, and flowers that will host birds, insects, and happy kids. the keystone feature will be a new front entrance paved in brick with a large cast stone compass rose in the center. The garden will be maintained by the Chestertown Garden Club, whose members have been invaluable to the project.

We are still seeking tax deductible donations: become a partner today and plant a good seed! Contributions can be sent to Chestertown Garden Club/Garnet Project, Attn: Carolyne Grotsky, P.O. Box 415, Chestertown, Md 21620

Partners Include:Chestertown Garden Club, South Fork Studio, Bartlett Trees, Kent County Public Schools, The Town of Chestertown, Unity Churchill Nursery, Jjohn’s Concrete, Hoyle Stone, Shore Rivers, Kent County Commissioners, Designer, Robbie Behr, Artist, Rob Glebe, Gillespie and sons, Royal Farms, Tidewater Nursery, Downtown Chestertown Association, Kent County Bar Association, Native American Nursery, and individual donors.


Women’s Civic League of North East Annual Secret Garden Tour


The Women’s Civic League of North East announces its Annual Secret Garden Tour on Saturday, June 8. The event takes place, rain or shine, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and features eight gardens in and around the town of North East, Maryland.

A self-driving tour showcases the gardens which include a charming town garden and waterfront properties with views of the North East River. Highlights include meticulous landscaping, water gardens, whimsical statuary, mature wooded areas, and late-spring floral containers. A new, highly anticipated feature will be a “ surprise culinary delight” at one of the gardens.

This annual garden event, sponsored exclusively by Nowland Construction Services, is the major Spring event for the Civic League. The League, established in 1951, is celebrating over 68 years promoting literacy in North East, particularly by supporting the North East Public Library.

Tickets are $15.00 in advance and may be purchased at North East Town Hall, Kathy’s Corner Shop, and Silver and Sassy on Main Street. Tickets are available for $20.00 on the day of the tour only at St. Mary Anne’s Parish House, 315 South Main Street, North East. Tickets include a map and driving directions.

For further information visit the website or the Women’s Civic League of North East Facebook page.

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