Oh, Those Maryland Gardens!

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Group photo at Historic Londontown in Edgewater, MD

By Gloria Day

The final Region II meeting of 2018 culminated on October 12 and 13 with tours of the Annapolis, MD area. Autumn temperatures greeted us at our first stop to Dovenest, the home and mini arboretum of Tony and Della Dove. This property has a very personal story behind its evolution, beginning with the purchase of the four acres in 1959. Today, it is a sensuous landscape, with a four-season design planted with diverse collection of trees, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers.

We were the FIRST group to tour this private garden and to be offered a guided horticultural tour of many of the treasures and gems within.

Always looking to further our knowledge, copies of Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States authored by Tony Dove and Ginger Woolridge with exquisite photography by Della Dove were available for purchase and personal inscription.

A lunch break at Homestead Gardens and shopping spree was provided next. Homestead offers everything garden related for the retail customer and many happy faces entered the garden center to take advantage of post-season plant discounts, fall décor and to catch a glimpse of Holiday inventory arriving.  

Homestead is notable for their large growing operations located nearby, keeping costs low without incurring the shipping and middle-man costs.

Their Fall Festival is a huge event on weekends for children with family-centered activities and the permanent on-site petting zoo. Additionally, in true Annapolis style, the garden center is dog-friendly.        

Historic London Town and Gardens, a short distance away in Edgewater, MD, is as diverse in its function as the collection of plants it showcases. It serves as an historic site, an educational facility, an event destination, an ornamental garden and a future home for preservation of wild-collected and declining plant specimens. Director Lauren Silberman welcomed us; Tony Dove offered information about his early involvement planning and planting the initial site of the gardens adjacent to the historic buildings and the chief horticulturist gave us an overview of the property and plans for the future. With just two horticultural staff persons, London Town relies on community assistance and maintenance. An opportunity for several story angles and photographs was provided through this visit.

Next on tour was the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Again Dove led us into the past with a visit to the ruins on a hillside overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Structurally reinforced and preserved with a contemporary steel infrastructure it gave us a glimpse to the architectural innovation we were to see at the laboratory. Amidst a native landscape, incorporating a rain garden and a natural pond, we arrived at the LEED-certified laboratory facility. Sustainability and research go hand-in-hand at this environmental research center as evidenced by our stream side visit with senior scientist Tom Jordan.

An add-on tour the next morning took us to the recently opened Glenstone Museum and sustainable landscape in Potomac, MD, was highlighted by our in-depth walking tour with chief sustainability officer Paul Tukey.

Paul structured our hike through the grounds,  detailing the conditions of the original site, architectural planning and incorporation of the green roofs, multi- million dollar costs for planting installations covering massive amounts of acreage with native tree and meadows and the challenge of planting and maintaining the Jeff Koons’ “SplitRocker” sculpture with annuals. Every question was answered and every photo opportunity was taken advantage of. This is a site to be visited as soon as possible and for generations to come.

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Contee Farm ruins at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
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Stream restoration project at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
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Cypress trees at Tony Dove’s home garden the Dove’s Nest in Harwood, MD.

Meet the Authorday.jpg

Gloria Day is president of Pretty Dirty Ladies Inc. Garden Design & Maintenance; a member of Gardenwriters and the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association; she serves on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence Horticultural Advisory Committee and the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council.  She recently received a Silver Award from GWA for her column “Get Growing”. Gloria gardens organically on two acres in Southeastern PA and can be reached at Gloria@prettydirtyladies.com.

Author: GWA

GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, formerly known as the Garden Writers Association, provides leadership and opportunities for education, recognition, career development and a forum for diverse interactions for professionals in the field of gardening communication. GWA members includes book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GWA members.

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