By Nursery Manager Rob Jenkins
According to Punxsutawney Phil we are due for an early spring in 2024, and that suits us at the Nursery just fine!
Spring is considered the time of new beginnings and transformation. The changes we see range from the subtle, such as the swelling of the buds on trees, to the spectacular. One of my favorite memories is of having hiked the Billy Goat Trail on the C&O Canal in the late winter, and coming back a few short weeks later to see the forest floor carpeted in Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).
Organizationally, Blue Water Baltimore has moved our offices to the Broadway East community, but the nursery is still where we have always been, and 2024 will be a year of new beginnings and change for the nursery as well!
We are excited to have a new full time nursery associate in Jenny Wierschem! Jenny has both interned with, and volunteered at, the nursery. She has her Horticulture Tech certification from CCBC, as well as being a certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP). She will be assisting the senior nursery staff in retail and production, as well as providing consultation services to our customers. Fun fact: Jenny also plays in Baltimore’s other orchestra—the 100-year-old Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra!
Visitors to the nursery know that we do a lot of work with native plants in a limited space, during limited times, but that is no longer, beginning this spring!
We will continue to offer shopping through our online store, but will be increasing the days and times where customers can shop in person. You can look forward to extended hours throughout the year, which will include a later closing time and additional weekends when we are open.
In order to better utilize the existing space we have, we are going to be changing the layout of the Nursery. The main display area will remain the same, with all plant material still grouped by category and organized alphabetically by botanical name within each group. We will be shifting all the bagged goods on pallets towards the front of the office where customer carts are located. Customer checkout will shift to where the bagged goods were, allowing a better flow as customers complete their purchases.
The shifting of the bagged goods will allow us to move our “pot jungle” (please keep bringing back pots for us to re-use!) and our production area. This will provide more shade for our (fantastic!) volunteers to work on production, as well as making better use of unused space.
Local Ecotype Native Seeds
In order to provide the greatest amount of ecosystem service possible it is important to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse, and local population. Ecotypes are the varieties of plants that have adapted best to their local environment. This past fall, we began the harvesting, sowing, and production of local ecotype native seeds. We are in our first trials of over 60 species of native plants!
The area that formerly housed the pot jungle and soil pile, along with the addition of irrigation to, and extension of, an existing bed, will give us space to grow more than 1,000 local ecotype natives.
Spring is less than a month and a half away, and we are looking forward to sharing all of the newness and transformation with you!!