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Gardening

Bay Weekly's annual Home & Garden Guide

Antique and vintage items can be used to enhance the garden and other outdoor spaces, even pools and ponds. Japanese fisherman’s floats, small garden sculptures and metal pieces can become focal points and can add whimsy and flair. –Jane Walter and Paula Tanis, A Vintage Deale  
A Bay Weekly conversation with landscape architect Sheila Brady
      We’re all converts, right? We’ve learned by heart the advantages of native plant gardens.       They’re amenable to the peculiarities of our climate, which nowadays is peculiar indeed.

How one little church restored a bit of nature

      The woods behind St. Luke’s Church in Eastport looked pretty natural. But if you’d trained your eye to nature’s ways, you saw a tangle of invasive plants strangling the native trees and shrubs. Deeper in, a 42-inch wide underground pipe drained stormwater along with sediment, ­toxins, pet waste and other unpleasant things from 28 surrounding acres directly into Back Creek.        Not so pretty. Or natural.

To connect with nature you must open yourself to its embrace

      In the woodland is a nice place to be. Here in Chesapeake Country we are fortunate to have some beautiful woodland. Sometimes the wood comes close to the house. Deer, birds, squirrels, hawks and other wildlife often show themselves along the boundaries of the woods or over the treetops. 
        Add a birdfeeder in your garden, and birds will be your visitors.          So you’ll want to make your home safe for them.          Did you know that your home poses dangerous risks to the birds that visit your yard and garden? Window strikes are common among many species of migrating birds, and millions of wild birds are killed annually flying into windows.

How to get the most out of less space

        Downsizing has become a familiar term. When children leave home to enter a new life, parents consider downsizing as they will no longer have the help to care for things. As one approaches retirement, it is not uncommon to see couples downsize so they can spend more time traveling, playing golf or becoming snowbirds.  The aging body also encourages downsizing. You can’t do the things you used to do. The Bay Gardener is now facing the same problem.

We have 1,800 volunteer gardeners helping gardeners

      Serving Maryland’s home gardeners are 1,800 volunteer Master Gardeners.       A program of the Maryland Cooperative Service of the University of Maryland, Master Gardeners have branches in all but Caroline County. The director is Jon Traunfeld, and under his leadership the program has gained nationwide recognition.

The Frugal Gardener’s advice

      Frugal gardeners save unused seeds from previous years, thinking they’ll save money.        Like everything else, the price of seeds increases almost every year. But you don’t save money if the seeds you saved and planted did not germinate or grow as expected.

Do seeds like salt and vinegar? 

      A good science project can be conducted within a month’s time if you start with seeds. Such studies do not require much space or special light conditions. Seeds are readily available, inexpensive and will provide the diversity you need to make comparisons. For many studies, quart canning jars with screw lids, paper towels, water, salt or vinegar and measuring tools are all you need to study how seeds germinate in different conditions.

Ideas, research and preparation

      It’s about that time of year when parents come to me seeking ideas for their child’s science project. Most of the time, they are desperate because their children procrastinated in announcing they had to turn in a project idea yesterday.        Here’s what I tell them: