A Native Plant Flower Show!

Kay McConnell sold me my very first native plant, a black chokeberry, shortly after I moved to Baltimore a few years ago so I suppose I should not be surprised to learn that she is co-chairing a native plant flower show! Seriously.

“Going Native: Food, Water, Shelter, Life” is a Garden Club of America Flower Show complete with everything that goes into a typical flower show: flower arrangements, horticultural prizes, photographs, judges, rules, and so forth. But, you know, with native plants!

From the rules for Division 1 (Flower Arrangement classes):

“Designers in all classes are required to include at least one native plant in their arrangement(s) and to note the plant(s) on their entry card.”

Cool, huh?

The flower show will be open the public on October 18th and 19th and is sponsored by the Guilford Garden Club, with support from Friends School of Baltimore which is also hosting the event.. Native plant aficionados from the area will know that the garden club has been working with Friends School for several years to design and install absolutely beautiful native plant gardens around the campus.  From the introduction to the Flower Show schedule:

“In partnership since 2005, Friends School of Baltimore and the Guilford Garden Club (GGC) have created a series of Native Plant Teaching Gardens throughout the campus. Conservation and education are at the heart of the project. The gardens employ Chesapeake Bay Watershed native plants that thrive with minimal care to attract pollinators and other wildlife and to absorb surface water on the school’s sloping campus.”

Friends School students enjoying a landscape filled with native grasses, trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Kay will be conducting tours of the gardens, which I STRONGLY recommend, at 2pm on the 18th and at 10am on the 19th. And, weather permitting, the Guilford Garden Club will be conducting a small native plant sale as well.

Click here for a one page PDF with dates, times, and the address.  Click here for the full schedule, with descriptions of the exhibit rules and whatnot.

Native Plants for Baltimore

Curious about using native plants in your Baltimore landscape?

On Monday, September 26th, I’m presenting at Roland Park Country School on that very topic as part of their “Kaleidoscope” adult education series.

The title of the presentation is “NATIVE PLANTS FOR ROLAND PARK LANDSCAPES” but the information will be just as useful to residential gardeners around the area as to those in Roland Park specifically.

Anise-scented goldenrod blooming in Roland Park.

I will discuss the use of native plants by the Olmsted Brothers and other turn-of-the-century designers, with a focus on identifying plants that can be used by modern Baltimore residents to beautify their landscape and benefit the ecological health of the neighborhood.  The presentation will cover a variety of topics, from wildlife value to aesthetics, so that everyone should be able to take away something from the evening.

There will also be handouts that will guide homeowners on ideas for plants as well as local sources for them.  Many residents want to have a healthier yard, but are overwhelmed with the choices available to them.  One of my main goals is to make the process easier, so that people realize that they can have gardens that look beautiful and also support plenty of wildlife.  Having a home surrounded not only by lovely plants but also butterflies, birds, fireflies, and the like is something that most people can agree is a rewarding goal.

There is a $15 fee for this presentation, and you can register by mail or by phoning (410) 323-5500 x 3045.  It’s not too late to register and there were still some spaces available the last time I checked.

For the full run-down of Kaleidoscope courses you can download a PDF version of the Fall 2011 Catalog by clicking here.

 

Park(ing) Day 2011

Park(ing) Day is coming to Roland Park, in Baltimore,  on Friday, September 16th! Roland Park Native, Blue Water Baltimore, Belair Road Supply, and Green Fields Nursery are collaborating to temporarily transform three metered parking spaces at 5201 Roland Avenue into a prototype for a landscaped and pedestrian-friendly space.

What is Park(ing) Day, you ask? I’ll let the folks at Park(ing) Day 2011 tell you:

PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

For us, it is a chance to explore the ways in which this particular piece of streetscape could be, well, more!  What if families walking to and from school had more room to walk?  What if  the parking spaces were replaced with a bioretention area filled with native plants that could filter polluted runoff on Roland Avenue before it is dumped into Stony Run?

Unlike many other Park(ing) Day events in Baltimore,  our organizers are not landscape architects or design students. Our goal is for everyone who stops by to think “Cool idea, but I could do better than that”.  And then, on the 3rd Friday in September of 2012, actually do it better.  Because THAT would be cool.

And, if you’d like to help set up or take down the park, send an email to info@RolandParkNative.org. We’d love a few more hands!

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