By Peggy Riccio
About 13 GWA members attended the Frederick, MD, GWA regional meeting on Saturday June 9. Planned by Denise Schreiber, Region II Director, with assistance on last minute changes from Kathy Jentz, National Director, this day was chocked full of beautiful gardens, nurseries, and an entertaining lunch. We started early at Tina Flook’s Edgewood Garden, which is actually a 15-acre property, some of it forested. The home was built in 1986 and Tina, who admitted to no formal training, created a series of enchanting small gardens with peacocks roaming around and a large chicken coop nearby. There were so many inspirational design pieces that it felt like we were darted to and from taking photos and reconnecting with fellow GWA members.
Afterwards we drove to Surreybrooke Garden Center, owned by Nancy and Ronnie Walz. Purchased in the 1970s as part of a dairy farm, Surreybrooke grew to be a nursery/garden destination complete with greenhouses, plants, containers, statues, fairy gardens, historic outbuildings, and a newly constructed pavilion for events. Nancy gave us a tour of the gardens, explaining how they came to be, pointing out interesting plants, and answering our questions.
We enjoyed a networking lunch at the Main Cup restaurant where each of us obtained a gardening book, tool, or seeds. We then drove to Long Creek Homestead. Michael Judd is known locally for edible gardens, permaculture, and paw paws. We were able to see a variety of paw paw trees, ju ju trees, nanking cherries, goumi shrubs, herbs, and vegetables. Michel invited us into his home which was quite literally built by hand. This unusual structure is a circular wood timber frame strawbale home with a green succulent living roof.
Next stop: a quiet neighborhood where Louisa Zimmerman Roberts lives with her family. Amidst the plain vanilla homes, Louisa’s iconic house, painted in colorful blue, teal, orange, pink, and burnt red, signaled a unique owner and a unique property. Sure enough, a walk behind the house revealed a stunning garden for such a small space and a gorgeous, colorful she shed. Perfectly proportioned, her garden was able to fit everything from a small bridge, water feature, statues, a deck, and a picnic bench.
We then drove to Thanksgiving Farms, which was started by Louisa’s parents but now she and her sisters manage the retail nursery, the market place/garden shop, and CSA (community supported agriculture). Louisa explained the challenges and joys of managing a retail operation including an employee who works in the buff. I personally thought that was one easy way to get poison ivy. Fortunately he now wears clothes because of OSHA regulations.
At the end of the day, we said our goodbyes in front of Louisa’s husband’s Mad Science Brewing, a “tavern” where customers can enjoy his own “home grown” brews. Denise got her bourbon flavored pretzels for the road and we hugged and said goodbye until the next GWA event.
Regional meetings are like mini conferences for me. I am able to spend a day meeting fellow GWA members and taking photos in nurseries and private gardens. I learn from my colleagues’ experiences in gardening and in speaking, teaching, and writing. For every image, I can hear a story and come home with new friends, a camera full of photos, and a mind full of potential articles.
Meet the Author
Peggy Riccio is a horticulturist and garden communicator in Northern Virginia. Peggy has written for a variety of gardening magazines for 20 years and now manages her website, pegplant.com. Pegplant.com features gardening news, resources, and plants in the Washington DC metro area. Peggy has recently launched a free monthly newsletter called Pegplant’s Post which features local gardening events, a giveaway, newly published books, articles, and tips and advice for gardeners.