Catonsville Residents Love Their Gardens
Residents use landscape design skills to accent their gardens.
Catonsville is a town of gardens. Look any direction, up and down our streets, and there will be a pretty vista worth pausing to take a look.
One of the newest gardens in this lovely town, or village, if you like the sound of that, is the one along the side of our Chamber of Commerce building. It looks like it grew to maturity overnight and is called Amy's Garden.
Amy Wieland has always loved gardens and gardening. I met her after her home garden was on the 2008 Garden Tour sponsored by the Catonsville Historical Society. It was during that tour that I took lots of photos and asked some of the gardeners what they thought of me painting a picture of their garden and putting it in a book. Based on their positive responses, I spent the next two years on this project!
A collection of pots, filled with assorted plants, on Amy's back porch, was my choice of one view to paint. At that time, I had no idea what the small tree in the largest pot was.
When I interviewed her I learned that it had grown from a clipping from her Grandmother's lemon tree. She told me the many white blossoms would become lemons. Then she brought out a super large lemon from her refrigerator to show me a sample. Amy had much to say about growing things.
I learned that she had a background in landscape design, having taken courses from George Washington University when she and Mark lived in Silver Spring. She recently has earned the title of Master Gardener from completing the very extensive Baltimore County Master Gardening Program. Included in this commitment is volunteer work, which includes maintaining her own Amy's Garden at the corner of Frederick and Melvin Avenue.
Amy's new, local business, called Amy's Garden Designs, is intended for small scale designs. She said she doesn't do patios or walls. But she does believe in container gardens which require little work, and can be placed anywhere. She recently told me that this is the time of year to start planning next Spring's plantings. What a lovely cold weather past time: to envision next year's pretty and restful garden with drawings, plant selections and garden design ideas. For assistance, contact Amy: email@example.com.
Just down a side street, between Frederick and Edmondson Avenue, and backing up to the neighborhood trail, is a shaded garden that another trained gardener opened to visitors during the 2008 Garden Tour. Meeting Nancy Foster was like meeting an old friend.
Nancy gave out a five-page list, single spaced, identifying her plant 'children.' And before we left she handed out seedlings of yellow coradylis that were from her plants and are now in bloom . She also gave Celadine poppy plants that have spread and flowered for twenty years in her shaded garden but the heat this past summer stymied the usual yellow glow, resembling buttercups.
Several years ago, Nancy and a former neighbor attended a landscape design two-year course at GW in D.C.. She said it was really tough and more demanding than the masters she earned in social work. The result is that she is a pro at growing things.
Her knowledge and preference in plants lead her to "solid plants, not fussy nor delicate ones", and she mentioned hostas as her favorites. She only has 18 varieties including the European ginger hosta which came from her mother's garden and her Grandmother's garden before that.
Raking leaves time is here and Nancy mulches hers over and over again with her lawn mower. Then they are put in one of two 6-by-6 compost bins she built years ago. They are left to rest while the second bin,filled last year, has become nutrient filled mulch to be used next spring.
Nancy and her husband, Rick, came to Catonsville 20 years ago, straight from graduating from a Ohio College. They feel lucky to have moved into such a beautiful area and friendly neighborhood. Parties, with all neighbors invited, have been enjoyed through the years including on New Year's Eve and an Easter Egg Roll for the children.
And gardens are shared! Nancy's former neighbor and she both got poison ivy clearing the mess of shrubs and weeds that filled the space between their two driveways. But then, together, they planted a common garden. Now Kathleen Karr continues this joint effort since she moved in next door.