Big changes at our Davidsonville site!  The hilly part of our site next to the retail garden center is now a Wetland Restoration Project - a model one, at that!  It's the work of the South River Federation, with funds from the Chesapeake Bay trust, The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Homestead Gardens.   As our president Brian Riddle said in South River's press release, "We're trilled to have partnered with the Federation on this project, which is now both an amenity at our nursery as well as a benefit to the health of the South River."

The Project Details

Here's the South River Federation's project manager explaining the exciting project - which you'll see when you come to our Fall Festival any weekend through the end of October:

The effect of the $100,000 project will be to treat 12 acres of runoff coming from the parking lots, building roofs and nursery operations that would otherwise flow directly to a tributary of Beard's Creek within the South River watershed, all of which was previously untreated.  This project slows the movement of stormwater through the site through the use of a series of terraced wetland pools that trap sediment and process nutrients before the water leaves the property.

At the project's dedication ceremony, Homestead's president Brian Riddle (left) spoke, followed by Kirk Mantay and Federation executive director Erik Michelsen.

Brian is excited by the potential of the site to not just solve a stormwater problem, but to serve as an education center to help schools and youth organizations get a hands-on learning experience when they visit Homestead.

And their parents, gardeners in the South River watershed and beyond, will learn about plants and planting techniques that make a difference on their own property.  Homestead has contributed all the plants for the project, which so far include: American Holly "Jersey Princess"; Serviceberry; Magnolia 'Virginiana;' Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticulata) 'Winter Red' and 'Southern Gentleman;' Itea "Henry's Garnet;' Blueberry 'Blue Ray;' and Inkberry Holly (Ilix Glabra) 'Shamrock.'

All natives, of course.  And many more will be added - imagine sweeps of ferns along the banks!  Visitors will see these carefully chosen native plants happily withstanding both rain and drought, and looking gorgeous, too.

Final Thoughts

One final thought for now.  Put your gardener's hats on and imagine this site a couple of years down the road when the plants have filled in and the whole setting is stunning.  Now imagine yourself (or your wedding party!) relaxing in this gazebo, gazing on the now-naturalized scene and enjoying the sights and sounds of the wildlife that have made their homes here.

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