Volume 13, Issue 41 ~ October 13 - October 19, 2005
Taste Buds Promises a Spring Crop of Flowers
Annapolis’ hanging baskets and planters don’t bloom by magic
by Carrie Steele

By 2:30am, Annapolis seems a ghost town. The city sleeps peacefully — except for stragglers from O’Briens or Acme Bar & Grill. And the graveyard crew from Homestead Gardens. Elf-like, they work secretly in the small hours, watering, fertilizing and shaping up hanging baskets and sidewalk flowerpots.

That’s how the city’s 200 huge balls of petunias and 100 planted containers look so magically vibrant by daylight.

Some chilly night this month, the baskets of fragile annuals will disappear.

Over winter, new baskets of petunias will germinate in Homestead greenhouses for next spring. A week after Mother’s Day — or as soon as the danger of frost passes — the new baskets appear on streetlight poles. In 2006, there’ll be more baskets than ever: 300. On West Street, the planters and baskets used to end at Sean Donlon’s but now extend down to Lafayette Street. Next year the baskets will grow as far as Westgate Circle.

It seems like magic, but there’s money behind it.

Each basket costs about $100 — multiplied by the cost of nightly watering and trimming.

“It costs some $50,000 or $60,000 each year,” says Tim Hamilton of Homestead Gardens. “The city contributes about $10,000 a year. “We don’t make any money on this.”

The real magic happens each year at the Taste Buds fundraiser, sponsored by the Annapolis Business Association, which backs and helps bankrolls the flower baskets.

This year, your chance to sow the seeds of magic at Taste Buds comes October 25. With fine cuisine from 25 Chesapeake restaurants, there’s plenty to please palates, including offerings from Phillips Seafood, Lebanese Taverna, Rams Head Tavern, Harry Browne’s, Reynolds Tavern, Severn Inn, Hard Bean and Booksellers, City Dock Café, O’Leary’s, John Barry at the O’Callaghan Hotel, Acme Bar & Grill, Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs, Sean Donlon’s, The Breeze at Loews Hotel, Rockfish, Aromi d’ Italia, Galway Bay, Wild Orchid, McGarvey’s and U.S. Naval Academy Catering.

As you graze, feast your ears on the local music of Meg Murray, Bryan Ewald and Caribbean Cocktail. Between tastings, rub elbows with the guest of honor, signature Bay photographer Marion Warren, and bid on silent auction items.

One night of dining makes for a season of magic, and your $80 tickets are the magic beans. But you’ll have to wait until May to reap what you’ve sewn.

Tuesday, October 25, from 6:30-9:30pm at Naval Academy Banquet Facility at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. Buy tickets on-line or at Ram’s Head Tavern, Laurance Clothing, Zachary’s, Loews Hotel or the Bestgate branch of Bank Annapolis.) $80 ticket includes tastings from 25 of the best restaurants in town; a chance to win a work of art contributed by one of a dozen local artists; parking; beer, wine and cocktails: www.annapolisbusinessassoc.com.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.