Taste Buds Promises a Spring Crop of Flowers
Annapolis hanging baskets and planters dont bloom by magic
by Carrie Steele
By 2:30am, Annapolis seems a ghost town. The city sleeps peacefully except for stragglers from OBriens 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.
Thats how the citys 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 Mothers Day or as soon as the danger of frost passes the new baskets appear on streetlight poles. In 2006, therell be more baskets than ever: 300. On West Street, the planters and baskets used to end at Sean Donlons but now extend down to Lafayette Street. Next year the baskets will grow as far as Westgate Circle.
It seems like magic, but theres 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 dont 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, theres plenty to please palates, including offerings from Phillips Seafood, Lebanese Taverna, Rams Head Tavern, Harry Brownes, Reynolds Tavern, Severn Inn, Hard Bean and Booksellers, City Dock Café, OLearys, John Barry at the OCallaghan Hotel, Acme Bar & Grill, Buddys Crabs & Ribs, Sean Donlons, The Breeze at Loews Hotel, Rockfish, Aromi d Italia, Galway Bay, Wild Orchid, McGarveys 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 youll have to wait until May to reap what youve 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 Rams Head Tavern, Laurance Clothing, Zacharys, 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.