Adkins Arboretum Hosts Magic in the Meadow Gala

Howard and Mary McCoy of Centreville arrive at Adkins Arboretum’s Magic in the Meadow gala.

Perfect weather and delightful company made for an enchanted evening when Adkins Arboretum hosted its Magic in the Meadow gala on Sat., Sept. 23. Featuring a live auction, hoop dancing by Baltimore performance artist Melissa Newman, world-class jazz by the Peter Revell Band and sumptuous food by Peach Blossoms Events, the event brought both new and old friends together to garner support for the Arboretum’s education programs that promote the conservation and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay region’s native landscapes.

Next year’s gala is scheduled for Sat., Sept. 22. Mark your calendar, and join us for this wonderful evening!

Magic in the Meadow was sponsored in part by Unity Landscape Design/Build, Shore United Bank, Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, The Hill Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Warrington Builders, Accounting Strategy Group, Joanne Shipley Graphic Design, Booth, Booth, Cropper & Marriner, PC, Delmarva Business Network, Piazza Italian Market, St. Michaels Fine Woodworking and numerous private sponsors.

Discover Oxford’s Native Gardens on Adkins Arboretum’s Annual “Celebrating Natives” Tour

The fall garden is a study in contrasts. Fiery color competes with the subtle structure of stems that have shed their flowers. Tall grasses turn golden in sunlight, while berries and fruits hang low on vines and branches to tantalize wildlife. On Sat., Nov. 4, discover the colors and textures of the fall garden when Adkins Arboretum brings its fifth annual “Celebrating Natives” Garden Tour to the Oxford area.

The self-guided driving tour features five private gardens and two public areas in and around Oxford, each demonstrating varying commitments to native plantings and uses of sustainable practices such as rain barrels and composting. The gardens range from Preservation Green—an in-town research center for horticultural studies—to a 3.5-acre “sanctuary” garden that takes found objects to a new level, to stands of pines mingled with organic vegetable beds and native perennials on Island Creek. Explore the new Oxford Conservation Park, an 86-acre parcel planted with more than 5,000 native plants and 800-plus native trees and shrubs to provide habitat for wildlife and appeal to local pollinators. Hop on the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, established in 1683 and the nation’s oldest privately owned ferry operation, to explore a rambling 5-acre freeform garden on Plaindealing Creek near the mouth of the Tred Avon River.

The first garden tour of its kind on the Eastern Shore, “Celebrating Natives” focuses on sustainable approaches to Eastern Shore gardening and exemplifies the Arboretum’s mission of teaching about and showing by example the importance of using native plants in restoring balance to the ecosystem and fostering community relationships. Native plants are those that grew and thrived on the Eastern Shore before the introduction of European settlers. Because these plants have adapted naturally to the region’s ecology of climate, insects and wildlife, they are a better choice than non-native plants. The tour not only highlights the beauty of the gardens but emphasizes their importance in a biodiverse landscape.

“Celebrating Natives” will take place rain or shine on Sat., Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance at or $30 the day of the tour at the Oxford Community Center200 Oxford Rd. Check-in will begin at 10 a.m. at the Community Center. Refreshments and restrooms will also be available there. A list of local restaurants will be provided. For more information or to order tickets, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Call for Artists: Adkins Arboretum to Sponsor 2018 Juried Art Show

Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely, Md., will sponsor its nineteenth annual Juried Art Show, to exhibit in February and March 2018. The theme of the show—Discovering the Native Landscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore—celebrates the Arboretum’s mission of conservation. Named in honor of the Arboretum’s first benefactor, the Leon Andrus Awards for first and second places will be awarded.

“Chives” by Paige Billin-Frye was awarded first prize in Adkins Arboretum’s eighteenth annual Juried Art Show.

The juried show is open to original two- and three-dimensional fine arts in all mediums, including outdoor sculpture and installations. It will be juried by Benjamin T. Simons, director of the Academy Art Museum in Easton. Simons previously worked for the Smithsonian American Art Museum/Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and was chief curator of the Nantucket Historical Association. He holds a master’s degree in art history from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, a master’s degree from Yale University and an AB from Harvard University. He also attended the Getty Leadership Institute for museum professionals in Claremont, Calif. Simons has authored collections and exhibition catalogues, written two books on private art collections and served as editor of the award-winning quarterly Historic Nantucket.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 28, 2017. Digital images of up to three pieces of art by each artist should be sent to Submissions should include title, medium, dimensions (maximum of 6 feet in any direction, excluding outdoor sculpture) and artist’s name, address and phone number. Works should reflect or interpret broadly the show’s theme of wild nature and landscapes of the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain region.

Artists whose work is selected will be contacted by Jan. 13 to submit the original work ready to hang by Feb. 3. The exhibit will run from Feb. 5 to March 30, 2018, with a reception on Sat., Feb. 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. There is no entry fee, but artists are responsible for all shipping expenses. Selected artists may be considered for future exhibits at the Arboretum.

For more information, visit, call 410-634-2847, ext. 0 or send e-mail to

The 2018 Juried Art Show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists.

Paintings and Drawings by William Willis at Adkins Arboretum

A powerful and mysterious energy runs through William Willis’s work. In Presence and Place, his show of paintings and drawings on view through Dec. 1 at the Adkins Arboretum Visitor’s Center, his compelling, semi-abstracted trees and water, snakes and flying birds pulse with a vitality that is barely held in check. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Sat., Oct. 21 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Being out in nature is key to Willis’s art. At least once a week, he bicycles with his son and other members of the Talbot Mountain Bike group on the trails in Tuckahoe State Park. Many of the paintings in this show grew from encounters with the park’s trees and waterways, and a strong feeling that they are living entities permeates the show.

Anyone familiar with the way Tuckahoe Creek swells in a rainstorm and floods into the forest will recognize the trees rising from swirling water in “After the Rain.” As water streams around their trunks, gray paint marked with white scratches identifies a beech, while peculiar cream-colored spots on a bluish trunk denote one of the forest’s many sycamores.

“After the Rain” by William Willis

Willis’s need to be out in nature came early. Growing up in Florida, he often visited the woods near his home and began developing his keen sense of observation. Although he taught for two decades at the Corcoran School of Art and several other colleges and universities and has exhibited in numerous solo museum and gallery shows, he has continued to spend time hiking, bicycling and camping since settling in the Eastern Shore town of Preston in 1980.

Willis is keenly interested in how a sense of living presence can be picked up by honing one’s awareness. He has long been interested in Hindu and Buddhist philosophies that emphasize developing awareness, but he also traces this back to earlier times when it was essential for humans to use all their senses in order to survive.

Noting how a hunter will sit still for hours on end, not focusing on anything specific but being aware of everything around him, Willis said, “There’s a kind of side vision, a kind of indirect approach where your vision starts to open up to everything. There’s an obvious theory that meditation came from that kind of silent watching and sitting still. As they say, when you do that, the world comes to you—you don’t have to go to the world.”

Whenever he paints or draws, Willis goes through a deeply intuitive process of search and discovery. It’s obvious that the finished image doesn’t come easily. The trees, logs and meandering vines he paints are almost cartoonishly simple, but they are scarred and worn. Often, seemingly unrelated images partially show through from underneath. It’s as if he is thinking on the canvas, painting, then scraping parts of the image away, then painting some more. He may even cut up a canvas and collage part of it into another artwork. It’s a process of intense interaction, paring it down and building it up again in new ways until it hums with energy.

Certain motifs frequently recur in Willis’s work. There are pine trees with sweeping zigzag branches, sinuous lines that evoke snakes or twisting vines, and concentric rings of water borrowed from traditional Japanese screen paintings. Each of these contributes to the multilayered themes that give his work its astonishing richness. One favorite image is a flying goose.

“That image happened when I moved out here from the D.C. area and I was into lots of Hindu mythology,” he explained. “My friends teased me, ‘So you’re doing waterfowl paintings now.’ Hamsa is a Hindu mantra, but it’s also the goose. The whole thing is about how the goose can dive down out of the darkness and live on the surface of the water. At the same time, it can fly away to freedom.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Dec. 1 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Rd. near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum’s Enchanted Fairyfest is Oct. 14

Bring your wings and wands for a day of magic at Adkins Arboretum! The Arboretum’s second annual Fairyfest, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 14, celebrates fancy, fantasy and fun in the forest. Follow a trail of fairy houses along enchanted forest paths, and join in a meadow maypole dance. Search for gnomes in the Funshine Garden, craft magical treasures to take home, and wave to the Billy Goats Gruff from atop a hay wagon.

The event includes live entertainment throughout the day in the woodland theatre, shimmering fairy face painting, rainbow bubbles, archery and fairytale games. Unicorn rides provided by Snapdragon Stables and refreshments will be available for purchase.

Kicking off the fun, Master Naturalist Beth Lawton will offer a special Fairy Makers crafting program for ages 12 and up on Fri., Oct. 13. Crafted of felt, silk flowers, wooden beads and seed pods, the tiny acorn fairies made in the workshop will delight fairy lovers of all age. Each participant will create a one-of-a-kind fairy to take home. The workshop is $10 for members and $15 for non-members; spots are limited, and advance registration is required at

Admission to Fairyfest is $10 for adults and children ages 3 and up. Children ages 2 and under are admitted free.

Fairyfest is sponsored in part by Garden Treasures of Easton and Soistman Family Dentistry. For more information, call 410-634-2847, ext. 0 or visit

Adkins Arboretum Hosts Author Jill Jonnes Talk Oct. 5 at AAM

Nature’s largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinary role in our landscapes. They are living landmarks that define space, cool the air, soothe our psyches and connect us to nature and our past. Learn about the fascinating natural history of the tree in American cities when Adkins Arboretum hosts author and historian Jill Jonnes for Urban Forests on Thurs., Oct. 5 at the Academy Art Museum in Easton. The talk begins at 4 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing.

Jonnes’s latest book, Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape, celebrates urban trees and the Americans—presidents, plant explorers, visionaries, citizen activists, scientists, nurserymen and tree nerds—whose arboreal passions have shaped and ornamented the nation’s cities. Ranging from Thomas Jefferson’s day, to the postwar devastation of magnificent American elm canopies by Dutch elm disease, to the present, Jonnes lauds the nation’s arboreal advocates, from the founders of Arbor Day, arboretums and tree surgery to the current generation of scientists who engage technology to illuminate the value of trees as green infrastructure and their importance to public health.

Jonnes holds a Ph.D. in American history from Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of numerous books, including Eiffel’s TowerConquering Gotham and Empires of Light. Founder of the nonprofit Baltimore Tree Trust, she is leading the Baltimore City Forestry Board’s new initiative, Baltimore’s Flowering Tree Trails. As a staff member of the 2010 Presidential National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, she wrote the first chapter of the report Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling. Jonnes also has been named a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar and has received several grants from the Ford Foundation.

The talk is $15 for Arboretum members and $20 for non-members. Advance registration is requested at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Peter Revell Band, Mina Bear to Perform at Adkins Arboretum

World-class entertainment is promised when the Peter Revell Band and Mina Bear perform at Adkins Arboretum’s Magic in the Meadow gala on Sat., Sept. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. Set against the Arboretum’s backdrop of forests, meadows, wetlands and streams and featuring all the trimmings of a first-class affair, the event showcases the magic and enchantment of nature. Proceeds benefit the Arboretum’s education programs that promote the conservation and preservation of the Chesapeake Bay region’s native landscapes.

Peter Revell (right) and Mina Bear.

The Peter Revell Band comprises members of the U.S. Navy Commodores, one of the world’s premier jazz ensembles. Led by Revell on bass, the quartet includes trumpeter and vocalist Tim Stanley, guitarist Shawn Purcell and drummer and percussionist Kevin McDonald. Together and separately, these world-class musicians have performed throughout the country and around the world. The group will perform throughout the evening.

Known for her work with fire hoops and custom programmable LED hoops, Baltimore hoop dancer Mina Bear has performed her unique brand of art around the region. Far removed from old-school hula hooping, hoop dancing is an entirely different form of movement. Mina Bear will perform on the Arboretum’s wetland overlook as guests arrive at the event and again at dusk.

As twilight falls, Magic in the Meadow guests will enjoy signature cocktails on the wetland bridge, wine and local craft beer, passed hors d’oeuvres and a full mezze table, along with other delicious food and desserts prepared by Peach Blossoms Catering. While enjoying a moonrise over golden meadow grasses, guests can “raise the wand” during a live auction to bid on an array of interesting and adventurous items, including art, a dream vacation in Taos, N.M., jewelry, a “Board’s Choice” wine package and much more.

Guests are encouraged to have fun with a “fairy formal” dress code and to wear flat shoes for walking in the grass. Tram tours through the forest will also be offered.

Tickets for Magic in the Meadow are $125 per person and may be reserved at or by calling 410.634.2847, ext. 0.

Join Adkins Arboretum for CHIHULY at the New York Botanical Garden

Artist Dale Chihuly has mastered the translucent and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass and neon to create works of art that transform the everyday experience. He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific installations in public spaces as well as exhibitions in museums and gardens worldwide. For the first time in more than 10 years, Chihuly’s artwork is on view in a major garden exhibition in New York. CHIHULY, on view through October at the New York Botanical Garden, showcases more than 20 installations and includes drawings and early works that reveal the evolution and development of Chihuly’s artistic process during his celebrated career. Join Adkins Arboretum on Sat., Oct. 28 for an afternoon and evening adventure to NYBG to view Chihuly’s breathtaking works of art that dazzle with color, light and form in both day and night.

Set within NYBG’s landmark landscape and buildings, this sensory-filled exhibition is a must-see as the Garden’s dramatic vistas become living canvases for work created specifically for NYBG, showcasing Chihuly’s signature shapes and brilliant colors. The exhibit includes a monumental reimagining of his storied 1975 Artpark installation, with new works enlivening the Garden’s water features and reflecting the interplay and movement of color and light. One-of-a-kind installations highlight the synergy between Chihuly’s organic shapes and the natural environment. 

The trip includes CHIHULY Nights, when the artworks are spectacularly illuminated amid NYBG’s sweeping vistas and magnificent Conservatory. The after-sunset atmosphere is thrilling as the exhibition is infused with magical energy, heightened drama and luminous colors and forms when works are lit under the evening sky.

This trip is offered during the final weekend of CHIHULY and CHIHULY Nights. The bus departs from the Easton Firehouse on Aurora Park Drive at 10 a.m. and from the Route 50 westbound Park and Ride at Route 404 at 10:20 a.m. An additional stop at the 301/291 Park and Ride will be added upon request for Chestertown-area residents. The bus will depart for home at 8 p.m. The program fee of $150 for members and $205 for non-members includes transportation, admission to NYBG and CHIHULY Nights and driver gratuity. To ensure the trip proceeds, please register by Fri., Sept. 29 at or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature, conservation and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Science Programs for Homeschool Students Begin Sept. 5 at Adkins Arboretum

Homeschool students of all ages can get down and dirty with science this fall at Adkins Arboretum!

In Animals of the Arboretum, an eight-session program for students ages 7 to 10, budding scientists will explore the Arboretum’s wetland, forest, stream and meadow habitats to study the native animals of Maryland. From squirrels to skins, foxes to finches, this program uses a hands-on approach to develop key scientific skills, including observation, experimentation and documentation. Scientific equipment will be part of the learning process. Animals of the Arboretum meets every other Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Dec. 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

In Forestkeepers, for ages 11 and up, students will learn how forestry—the science of planting, managing and caring for forests—is critical to the preservation of healthy forest ecosystems. Homeschoolers will develop their science skills as they explore the field of forestry through hands-on outdoor experiences. Forestkeepers meets every other Tuesday, Sept. 12 to Dec. 19, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Advance registration is required for both programs. Visit for more information or to register your student, or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0. 

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Paintings by Kathryn O’Grady on View at Adkins Arboretum

Artist Kathryn O’Grady will make you think differently about the flocks of blackbirds that are such a familiar sight in the Chesapeake region. In “Four and Twenty,” a series of blackbird “portraits” on view in Adkins Arboretum’s Visitor’s Center through Sept. 29, every bird is an individual with its own quirky personality.

In Close to the Big Pond, her show of oil paintings and watercolors augmented with crayon and metallic pigment, O’Grady zeros in on nature’s mind-boggling diversity and its irrepressible energy. There will be a reception on Sat., Aug. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. to meet the artist and learn how she became so entranced with Maryland’s birds and rural landscapes.

O’Grady has always been in love with color.

“It’s a deep-seated obsession,” she admitted. “I remember when I found out that Crayolas came in more than eight colors when I was two or three, I felt like my mother had been holding out on me.”

“Panic, Mayhem and Ullabee” by Kathryn O’Grady

Exhibiting at the Arboretum courtesy of Baltimore’s Steven Scott Gallery, O’Grady earned her BFA from Michigan State University and an MFA from the University of Texas and has shown her work widely in the U.S. In 1997, she moved from Texas to the tiny, rural town of Tracys Landing, south of Annapolis, where she has been painting the landscapes and birds near her house ever since.

“When we first moved here from Texas, my first overwhelming impression was I’ve got to find more colors of green paint,” she said.

As it turned out, she began to discover the many colors that underlie the green of plants and make it so lively. Like an Impressionist artist, when she painted an old tobacco barn sagging under the weight of a complicated tangle of vines, she did it with thousands of tiny strokes of scarlet, maroon, yellow, lime, pine green and shadowy blue. A riot of color and activity, it brilliantly captures how plants reclaim any building or field left vacant.

“I like seeing the plants take over,” O’Grady explained. “In Texas, it’s so hot and dry, it takes a lot longer for the plant life to reclaim the structures. Here it happens as soon as you turn your back.”

O’Grady had already been keeping chickens and peacocks when her daughter rescued a lost mallard duckling eight years ago and brought it home. Less than a day old, the exhausted bird fell asleep in O’Grady’s hand. Rather than put it in the aviary with her other birds, she raised it in the house until it was old enough to move to a nearby pond. Not long afterward, the duck returned, bringing along a new mate that she presented to O’Grady. The pair soon nested and began an extended family that still lives near the artist’s home.

“It changed the way I look at all birds,” O’Grady said. “I learned from my ducks that birds are individuals.”

In several portraits she has painted of her ducks, there’s no doubt of this. Each bird has its own distinctive personality. To make it even better, some of the portraits are accompanied by the ducks’ own stories engagingly told by writer Peter Guttmacher.

Throughout her paintings, O’Grady has a knack for capturing the vivacious energy of birds and plants, amiably conveying her awe of the indomitable spirit and incredible complexity of the natural world.

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Sept. 29 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum is the region’s resource for native plants and education programs about nature, ecology and wildlife conservation gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.


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