In the fall of 2021, Unity Gardens awarded funding to 12 community groups to undertake native gardening projects in Anne Arundel County.
Nearly $10,000 in grants were awarded to homeowners’ associations, places of worship, and local nonprofits to complete citizen-led conservation landscaping projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. What’s more, each of these projects will become a pollinator waystation on the new Maryland Pollinator Pathway!
Explore our fall 2021 grantee projects below!
Chesapeake Bay Foundation | Crofton Civic Association & EnSprout | Empowering Believers Church |
Fair Oaks Community Association | Historic Baldwin Hall | Historic London Town and Gardens | Hollyberry Garden Club | Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary | St. Andrews by the Bay | St. Anne’s Cemetery | Tawes Garden | Wilson’s Grove HOA
At the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Bay Ridge, nearly 30 Chesapeake Bay Foundation staff, their families, and additional volunteers planted 90 native shrubs and 180 perennial grasses in a stormwater retention area. These included Arrowwood viburnum, Serviceberry, Winterberry, Black chokeberry, and Carex grass.
Since the installation, this project has become a star attraction of the environmental education program at the Philip Merrill Center. The staff now include discussions about the project and stormwater management in their educational programming with the K-12 students and teachers who visit the Center three to five times per week.
The Crofton Civic Association and enSprout partnered to establish a new pollinator garden at Swann Park. The aptly named Pollinator Paradise was installed concurrently with the Crofton parks clean-up day, organized by the Crofton Civic Association. Approximately 30 Crofton neighbors and volunteers came together to unite, connect and keep our park beautiful.
Unlike many traditional pollinator gardens, the Pollinator Paradise is located in a shady site at Swann Park. All of the plants for this project were selected for their ability to grow in shady areas such as Chelone glabra, the primary host plant for Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies, and Physostegia virginian, whose tubular-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds. Many of Crofton’s homes are surrounded by mature trees, creating shade planting areas in our own yards. Residents can gather inspiration from the Pollinator Paradise to plant shade pollinator gardens on their own properties.
Empowering Believers Church of the Apostolic Faith in Pasadena was founded in 1963 with deep ties to Pentecostal faith traditions. The name “Empowering Believers” reflects a strong commitment to raising up the community and helping congregants feel empowered in all aspects of their lives.
Supported by Unity Gardens, Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Watershed Stewards Academy, the church’s Fall 2021 grant project included 1500 new plants for the congregation’s existing rain gardens to prevent severe flooding on the church’s property from stormwater runoff. Their planting day in early October was well attended by volunteers from different faiths and community groups.
Under the leadership of Apostle Larry Lee Thomas, the church’s ministries are very active and reflect the congregation’s dedication to fostering health, wellness, and social empowerment. Their Eden Ministry, under which the new gardens fall, promotes Creation Care and environmental stewardship of God’s green Earth. This is the church’s second Unity Garden’s grant.
Twenty-five residents worked together on their recent “Center Court” project. Community members planted a native Dogwood tree and several Inkberry Shamrock Hollies to stabilize the slope near the new retaining wall on one side of the court. They also planted two large River Birch trees, several Red Sprite and Jim Dandy Winterberry Hollies and Blue Muffin Viburnums on the flat area and slopes on the other side of the basketball court.
When there is heavy rain, these native trees and shrubs will help to absorb the runoff from the court and keep sediment out of Cattail Creek and Cool Spring Cove.
In Millersville, 20 new trees were planted at Historic Baldwin Hall, a church built in 1861 that is now used as a venue for weddings and other gatherings. Fourteen youth scouts and six scouting adults planted winterberries, American Holly, Witch hazel, and Sweetbay magnolia to create habitat and reduce road traffic noise heard in the building and in the gardens.
Unity Gardens was excited to help fund a new native garden at Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater. Located directly in front of the Visitor’s Center, a large berm was enhanced with nearly 1,000 plugs of new natives. Volunteers planted milkweed, goldenrod, coneflower, black-eyed Susan, and other pollinator friendly natives. These plants were selected not only because they attract pollinators but because they require little water for maintenance. The new bed will serve as a demonstration garden for sustainable landscape design and inspiration to those visitors looking for ways to be “Bay-wise.”
In early October, over a dozen volunteers for Hollyberry Garden Club got their hands dirty adding 152 new perennials to the 6,000 sq. ft. of garden beds surrounding the Severna Park Library. For many years, the Hollyberry Garden Club has maintained this native landscape. The two goals of this project are to make the heavily-trafficked area more attractive and to educate citizens about the benefits of native gardening. Severna Park Library has over 1,000 visitors daily.
On this fall’s planting day, volunteers planted 22 different varieties of ferns, flowering perennials, and shrubs. “We had library patrons stopping by through out the day, thanking us for the work we do and asking about the different plants and the benefits of planting native, explains Nicole Ferris, the project organizer. “Thanks to Unity Gardens we also installed an informational sign on Native Gardens and some plant labels which we hope to expand to label even more plants.”
The Hollyberry Garden Club was established in 1955 and is a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, District II. It is an organization of dedicated gardeners devoted to public service and community involvement.
The new garden features coreopsis, aster, milkweed, lobelia, monarda, black-eyed Susans, and little bluestem grasses. The plants were installed by a group of Elders from the Church of Latter-day Saints on their mission year. The Elders were in their late teens and early twenties and many came from states with little rain, so it was a great teaching moment, especially when they checked out a raingarden that was refurbished with a past Unity Gardens grant.
This fall, St. Andrews by the Bay Catholic Church in Annapolis received it’s second Unity Gardens grant. The project began last year when members of the parish Creation Care Team cleared invasives and planted new trees and shrubs in its Woodland Restoration Area. This October, they planted an additional 132 perennials in the St. Francis Garden. Black-eyed Susans, Little Bluestems, Asters, and Golden Ragworts will add color, interest, and a variety of wildlife food and habitat to the garden.
The church’s Creation Care Team, which leads the project, has a mission to care for the Earth, become better stewards of God’s creation, and raise awareness in the parish and community. The Creation Care Team is currently working with parish leadership on an Action Plan based on Pope Francis’s Encyclical, Laudato Si. The plan includes the creation of sustainable landscapes.
Cultivating landscapes that support life and provide sanctuary to our natural world is what’s it’s all about. We love working with St. Andrew by the Bay to build their sanctuary and share native gardening with the 2,000 households that attend the parish. Learn more information about St. Andrew’s effort here.
The gardening team from Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church recently held a planting day for their project to stabilize a hillside in the Saint Anne’s Cemetery next to College Creek. Veterans as well as famous and ordinary citizens of Annapolis are buried at the cemetery, which dates to 1790.
This project is the capstone project for Watershed Steward candidate Nancy Evans and the first step towards creating a meditation garden for reflection and the future installation of a columbarium.
The Cemetery Garden Committee has been working for ten years to restore the 17 acres of gardens and woods surrounding cemetery to prevent stormwater from running into College Creek. Invasive plant species were first removed before the native plants supplied by their Unity Gardens grant were planted. Many native plants were selected for their multi-seasonal interest, erosion control capability, drought and low maintenance tolerance and pollinator preference.
The new garden will provide bird and wildlife habitat as well as a beautiful and peaceful place for visitors.
Although the Plant Mural has traditionally been made up of annuals and non-native favorites like Day lilies, these volunteers are part of an effort to gradually bring more natives into the mural. This week Master Gardener volunteers planted Milkweed, Joe Pye weed, Echinacea, Liatrus, and Monarda to showcase the beauty and practicality of native plants, as well as the benefits of naturalization.
Tawes Garden is a five-acre public garden and arboretum located within a complex of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at Rowe Blvd and Taylor Ave in Annapolis. It showcases the state’s various geographic areas with a “Maryland-in-miniature” theme, including a Western Maryland forest, a streamside environment and an Eastern Shore peninsula. Learn more about how you can visit the Plant Mural at Tawes Garden.
In Gambrills, the Wilson’s Grove HOA used their grant funds to transform an empty lot in their community into the start of a native sanctuary and pleasant spot for neighbors to relax. The community had their hands full preparing the lot, and used tarps as an herbicide-free alternative to clearing grass for new beds. Over the course of the fall, they prepped the site and finally were able to plant Fringe trees, winterberry, inkberry bushes and a handful of pollinator-friendly perennials. The site has already been added to the Maryland Pollinator Pathway.