Queen Anne’s County Bay-Wise Master Gardeners Offer Summer Tips

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Summer’s here and mid-shore gardeners are bracing for plenty of dry hot days that can stress gardens and landscaping—and gardeners as well. The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners’ Bay-Wise committee, which regularly consults with homeowners about their gardening practices, has come up with 10 guidelines to help gardeners keep plants and lawns healthy, and protect often substantial investments of time, effort, and money.

Yet the ultimate reason for the Bay-Wise guidelines is protecting the Bay from further pollution. According to the University of Maryland Extension, which trains and sponsors Master Gardeners, most homes in Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties are within a half-mile of a stream or other waterway flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. What we do in our yards rapidly impacts, drains, or runs into the Bay waters. It’s important we all get it right and not rely insecticides, weed killers, and fertilizers to get us through summer.

Bee on Eastern Purple Coneflower (Photo Taken by Rachel Rhodes)

1. Water generously in the morning. Make sure you’re aiming for the roots and not the foliage. It’s tempting to give drooping foliage a shower on extremely hot days but such showers encourage leaf mildew. Pots should be watered until it drains out the bottom. Some people prefer using a watering can over using a hose.

2. Mulch. Mulch and mulch if you haven’t already, but no more than 2 to 3 inches. This protects the roots and helps the soil to retain moisture. Plus it cuts down on weeds that steal moisture from your plants. Use whatever works for you. There are a variety of options available.

3. Move anything that’s in the wrong place. If something seems to be suffering from too much sun or too much shade, a cloudy day is a good time to rescue those tender plants and move them to where they will prosper.

4. Mow smart. Set your mower at 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Slightly longer grass blades shade the roots, conserve moisture and discourage weed growth. Remove no more than 1/3 of the grass height each time you mow. Make sure that your lawnmower blades are sharp.

5. Encourage pollinators by using native plants. They’re genetically equipped to survive the vagaries of weather and provide habitat for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. To prompt re-blooming, remove spent blooms on flowering bushes and plants.

6. Watch for invasive insects and disease. They’re destructive. Keep up your vigilance and remove or treat them. Japanese Beetles, for example are looking for lunch anywhere they can get it. Unfortunately, rose bushes seem to be their favorites. Hand removal works; then drown them in a jar of soapy water.

7. Trim off suckers and tie up your tomato plants before they get heavy and droop. This will ensure a good summer long harvest. Check the beans, squash, peppers, peas, and whatever else you have planted for problems or invaders. Daily vigilance is key.

8. Compost your plant-based kitchen scraps and yard waste. Diseased plants or foliage should go in the trash.

9. Weed like your garden depends on it.Weeds steel moisture, nourishment, and even sunlight. Weeding after a rain makes it easier on you and morning makes it more pleasant. Most of the weeds can go in the compost.

10. Be grateful. We all live within the embrace of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. We all are then stewards of the land and bear the awesome responsibility of gardening wisely. We need to minimize the use of fertilizers and other pollutants that sadly end up in the Bay.

To arrange for a Bay-Wise Master Gardener team visit to consult on your gardening practices, questions, or problems, contact Rachel Rhodes, Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator at 410-758-0166 or email rjrhodes@umd.edu. Master Gardener visits and advice are always free and generally, a visit to go over your yard, identify problems, and suggest solutions takes somewhere around two hours. Two links that might be helpful for you: The first, a charming visit with some young gardeners at Washington College explaining what Master Gardeners are all about http://www.washcoll.edu/live/news/10129-gardening-wisdom and 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.

Queen Anne’s & Talbot County Master Gardeners Visit Honeybee Flower Farm

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Stepping onto Honeybee Flower Farm in Cordova, MD you are immediately transported into a sea of varying shades of yarrow that flow from pink to white intermingling with green mountain mint, pink cone flowers, blue bachelor’s button, asiatic lilies, and black and yellow black-eyed susans as far as the eye can see. As rows and rows of flowers, shrubs, and trees intertwine, owner Carrie Jennings describes how each plant has a purpose on the farm and their purpose when designing arrangements for her clients or for the Easton Farmers Market.

Along the way, bees buzz from flower to flower, birdschirp happily, and you begin to realize how transforming a landscape can create a habitat that not only you enjoy but one that can service a greater purpose. Slowly the farm transforms from a cottage garden to neat and tidy rows of flowers that are destined for bridal bouquets, rehearsal dinners, and anniversary parties.

Photo taken by Rachel Rhodes

Long before the start of Honeybee Flower Farm, owner and operator Carrie Jennings was in the landscape industry. During this time, Carrie developed a passion for creating garden landscapes and habitats. While working full time for the Maryland Department of Agriculture at the Soil Conservation District in Queen Anne’s County for the last 17 years, Carrie’s dream of running a cut flower farm came to fruition in 2012, when Carrie and her husband Chris built a home and developed the 5 acre property into what is now Honeybee Flower Farm. Throughout this six year period, Carrie has been working full-time and running her part-time business, which caters to several full service events every year offering cut flowers for weddings, dinner parties, and special events. As the years have gone by, the farm has evolved with the addition of a hoop house which helps Carrie get an early start to the season and a walk in refrigerator which helps preserve flowers until they can get to the market.

Like any small business owner knows, taking the leap from a dream into reality can be a bit unnerving. Carrie says “her passion to create her own vision of beauty” helped drive her, whether that includes designing her landscape or bouquets for the Easton Farmers Market, she does it all.  As Carrie transitions into the next part of her career she says she’s “focused on spending more time creating beautiful arrangements for her clients.”

The Queen Anne’s & Talbot County Master Gardeners visited Honeybee Flower Farm on June 22, 2018.

For further information about Queen Anne’s County Master Gardner programs please 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 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.

Adkins Arboretum’s Forest Fair is Saturday July 7

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Revel in a day of forest fun when Adkins Arboretum celebrates its inaugural Forest Fair (with a Medieval Flair), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., July 7.

Adventurers of all ages are invited to embark on a forest quest, visit Robin Hood’s hideout and join in medieval games. Entertainment includes falconry and beekeeping demonstrations, ballads, dance, and performances by Shore Shakespeare. Archery and swordplay will add to the fun. The truly stout-hearted may visit the apothecary for a lesson on natural remedies or forage with a local peasant.

Medieval costumes are encouraged, and imaginations are a must. Forest Fair is $10 per person. Admission is free for ages 5 and under. Refreshments from Smoke, Rattle & Roll and unicorn rides are available for an additional fee. Advance registration is appreciated. To register, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 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 adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Jill Koski Receives Garden Club of the Eastern Shore Scholarship

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Jill Koski, a 2018 graduate of St. Peter & St. Paul High School, is the recipient of the 18th Annual Garden Club of the Eastern Shore (GCES) Scholarship. The $4,500.00 merit scholarship was awarded to Koski in recognition of her outstanding academic record, strong work ethic, and commitment to environmental science and sustainable agriculture.

Koski will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall, where she will major in biology and minor in environmental studies.

“In a field of outstanding candidates, Jill stood out because of her stellar academic record, maturity, and commitment to agricultural advocacy,” Dr. Virginia Blatchley, scholarship committee co-chair says. “We were particularly impressed with the amount of time and effort she has already put into learning about the issues that effect farmers and meeting with Maryland state legislators and the governor to discuss the importance of protecting the state’s agricultural industry.”

The GCES offers a scholarship annually to graduating seniors from Talbot County public and independent high schools. Students being home schooled are also eligible. The scholarship is available to students with outstanding academic records, who are also considering careers in botany, horticulture, agriculture, landscape architecture or design, environmental science, or related fields.

The GCES is committed to promoting environmentally sound landscape practices and to providing programs for the community that explore conservation practices and environmental issues. It spearheaded the extensive restoration of Easton’s Thompson Park. It also maintains several gardens in the community including those at Thompson Park and the Academy Art Museum in Easton.

“In addition to our other community involvement, our annual scholarship has the full support of every member of the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore, “Jill Meyerhoff, GCES President says. “I personally believe that this investment in the future of the talented,hardworking young people in our county is the most important thing that we do as a group.”

For additional information about GCES programs or to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, please call Dorothy Whitcomb at 410-385-0486.

The Humane Gardener Author to Speak June 1 at Adkins Arboretum

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Hailed as “a passionate and well-researched rallying cry” and as “a palatable and beautifully produced message that…gardeners need to hear,” the best-selling book The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife is an eloquent plea for compassion and respect for all species. Join the author, Nancy Lawson, Fri., June 1 at Adkins Arboretum to learn how and why to welcome wildlife to your backyard.

A longtime columnist for All Animals magazine, Lawson is the founder of Humane Gardener, an outreach initiative dedicated to cultivating compassion for all creatures great and small through animal-friendly, environmentally sensitive landscaping methods. Her book fills a unique niche in describing simple principles for both attracting wildlife and peacefully resolving conflicts with the creatures that share our world. Through engaging anecdotes, inspired advice, profiles of gardeners throughout the country, and interviews with scientists and horticulturists, Lawson applies the broader lessons of ecology to our own outdoor spaces.

The talk begins at 1 p.m. and is $15 for Arboretum members, $20 for non-members. Advance registration is appreciated at adkinsarboretum.org 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 adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Environmental Concern Holds 18th Annual Spring Native Plant Sale

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More and more homeowners are planting rain gardens, butterfly gardens and stormwater management gardens. Home gardeners are reaping the benefits by reconnecting with nature and bringing the practice of planting native into their own backyards.

The 18th Annual Spring Plant Sale at Environmental Concern’s Campus in St. Michaels is the perfect place to get inspired, and to pick up native plants grown in EC’s nursery. This year’s sale takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, Friday, May 11th and Saturday, May 12th   from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Garden lovers will find new species, and the popular favorites that have made this event an annual tradition for Eastern Shore gardeners for nearly 2 decades. Growing more than 100 species of shrubs and herbaceous plants for over 46 years, Environmental Concern hosts one of the largest native plant sales on the Eastern Shore.

In addition to the plant sale, EC will host workshops that will inspire and educate customers. “Milkweeds for Monarchs” will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. each day. Participants will learn about the Monarch butterfly, and the dependence of the Monarch caterpillars on native milkweed for survival. Recommendations for plant selection and habitat creation techniques will encourage even first time gardeners to dig in, and get wet and muddy – and don’t forget to shop for the perfect Mother’s day plant. Our experts will be on hand to help you with your plant selection.

There will be a large selection of flowering herbaceous perennials and hardy shrubs. Highlights include colorful red columbines (Aquilegia canadensis) with red and yellow showy, drooping, bell-like flowers, and the Joe pye weed (Eupatorium dubium) which is very attractive to beneficial pollinators. Additional offerings include the Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), Blue flag iris (Iris versicolor), and the Northern sea oat (Chasmanthium latifolium), known for its interesting flat foliage and unique seed heads.

Visit Environmental Concern’s Nursery in historic St. Michaels at 201 Boundary Lane. Watch for signs along St. Michaels Road. For more information, call 410-745-9620.

Environmental Concern is a 501(c)3 public not-for-profit organization. All proceeds from the plant sale will help fund EC’s mission to improve water quality and enhance native habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Adkins Arboretum’s Forest Fair is Sat., May 19

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Hear ye, hear ye! All are invited to revel in a day of forest fun when Adkins Arboretum celebrates its inaugural Forest Fair (with a Medieval Flair), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., May 19.

Adventurers of all ages can embark on a forest quest, visit Robin Hood’s hideout and join in medieval games. Entertainment includes falconry and beekeeping demonstrations, ballads, dance, and performances by Shore Shakespeare. Archery and swordplay will add to the fun. The truly stout-hearted may visit the apothecary for a lesson on natural remedies or forage with a local peasant.

Medieval costumes are encouraged, and imaginations are a must. Forest Fair is $10 for ages 6 and over and free for ages 5 and under. Advance registration is appreciated. To register, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 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 adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

QA’s County Master Gardeners Plant Sale and 20th Anniversary Celebration

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Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners are busy getting ready for their 5th Annual Plant Sale and 20th Anniversary Celebration slated for Saturday, May 12th at the University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County Office (505 Railroad Ave, Centreville, MD 21617) from 9-noon, rain or shine.

Master Gardener Jane Chambers helps a gardener pick out the perfect plant at our 2017 plant sale.

In addition to mingling with a group of passionate and knowledgeable gardeners, you can buy plants, introduce the kids to pollinator friendly gardening, or ask those questions about your landscape you’ve been wondering about all spring. Master Gardeners are volunteers who are trained by the University of Maryland Extension and will help you select the perfect plant for your garden. Maybe you’ve been longing to have some herbs by the kitchen door, or to grow that perfect heirloom tomato, or try a new variety of eggplant but don’t know how or where to find the plant. You are welcome to request advice about flowers, fruits, vegetable beds and plants that can beautify your yard and provide friendly habitat for wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and humming birds at our ‘Ask A Master Gardener Plant Clinic.’ While you’re there selecting the perfect plants stop by the Bay-Wise table and learn about turning your garden into a Bay-Wise friendly landscape. And don’t forget to pick out the perfect present for the mom in your life.

For further information please 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 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.

“For the Love of Nature” with Jim Brighton on May 9

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Photo by Chris Polk

The Garden Club of the Eastern Shore presents a lecture on “For the Love of Nature” with Jim Brighton. The event will take place on May 9, 11:15 am at Christ Church Parish House, Etherton Hall, Willow St., St. Michaels. Admission is free. It is open to the public and seating is limited.

Jim Brighton’s love of nature led him and web developer Bill Hubick to create the Maryland BioDiversity Project, an online listing and cataloging of eventually all the plant and animal species in Maryland. Maryland Biodiversity Project (MBP) is a non-profit organization focused on cataloging all the living things of Maryland. Their goal is to promote education and conservation by helping to build a vibrant nature study community.

“It is not enough to say that our environment is important. We must act accordingly…..we must all accept the responsibility and act. Action is what will make the difference.”
Jim Brighton upon acceptance of Chesapeake Champion award. Quote from The Talbot Spy.

marylandbiodiversity.com