By Kathy Jentz
Plant lovers don’t know how to say “No.” Let’s face it, we are a greedy lot and our passion can quickly grow into a life-long mission of acquiring one of every kind of a favorite flower or shrub. On the upcoming Region 2 Meeting on the last Friday of May (5/24), we will be touring through gardens that were created by several obsessive gardeners and collectors.
We start off the day at McCrillis Gardens for an early morning photo shoot. This little-known public garden is a hidden gem in a prosperous suburban neighborhood. William McCrillis made the garden and it is best known for the collection of azaleas, but it also has many rare ornamental trees and shade-loving perennials. He was assistant to Harold Ickes, the secretary of the interior from 1933 to 1946. McCrillis became friends with the chief horticulturist for the National Park Service, who helped him acquire trees and plants globally.
Next, we visit Glenstone, which houses the collection of post-World War II art of Emily and Mitch Rales in a sustainable landscape. We’ll also get to experience their newly opened Environmental Center is a multi-use maintenance and education facility that offers experiential learning. Here you can learn about our efforts in composting, organic landscape management, waste reduction, materials recycling and water conservation—and how to take these practices home with you.
The Seneca Park Shwartz Peony Garden is thanks to Edward P. Schwartz, a wealthy realtor, who put together a massive personal collection of peonies from dealers in Holland, France, England, and Germany as well as the United States. The field on display is only a portion of that original collections, but is still impressive.
Susanna Farm Nursery is offering our attendees a 20% discount: off any purchase, but it is Brant Baker’s obsession with dwarf conifers and Japanese maples that make this a “do not miss” stop. The “farm” looks more like an arboretum with its large specimen collection in a spectacular landscape setting.
Join us at the end of the day for an old-fashioned champagne punch cocktail at LilyPons Water Gardens, the perfect cap-off to a truly filling day. You can explore this 100+-year-old family business that was founded by G. Leicester Thomas, Sr., who turned his goldfish and water lily hobby collections into a thriving business.
Finally, those of us who want to avoid the worst of the evening rush hour can join us for Dutch-treat dinner at May’s Seafood, known for classic Maryland crabcakes.
I urge you to sign up TODAY as there are only 30 spots available and they will fill fast!
Meet the Author
Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener Magazine and a long-time DC-area gardening enthusiast. To book her for a garden talk, find her at Great Garden Speakers. She also edits the IWGS Water Garden Journal and is a columnist and guest blogger for several other publications. Her latest foray is as the social media voice for horticultural brands. She can be reached at KathyJentz@gmail.com.