Christmas in St. Michaels Names 2017 Grant Beneficiaries

Christmas came early this year for 18 local non-profit organizations thanks to grants from the 2017 Christmas in St. Michaels. The newly named beneficiaries provide services to the Talbot County community in a wide range of areas from environmental protection to education and childhood development.

“The grants go to help local organizations provide important services that might otherwise go unfunded,” says Pat Martin, Chair of Christmas in St. Michaels. “Some of the grants go to support ongoing programs while others help fill a one-time need.”

The actual grant amount will be based on the proceeds from the 2017 Christmas in St. Michael’s events including the Tour of Homes, The Yuletide Party, Marketplace and sale of Gingerbread Houses. Over the past 31 years, hundreds of grants worth over a million dollars have been given to local organizations providing an important source of funding for needs both large and small.

The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center in Tilghman used its 2016 grant from Christmas in St. Michael’s to build a community garden.

Last year, the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center used its grant to create a community garden at its location on Tilghman Island. This summer, local kids spent time in the garden, learning to identify plants and how to take care of them. Their efforts paid off in more ways than one. Not only did the garden produce a bountiful harvest but it was such a hit that it has now been integrated into Phillips Wharf’s regular education program.

Another summer program, this one from the St. Michael’s YMCA, used its 2016 grant to pay for staff, snacks and activities for its Summer Learning Program. The program helps kids in grades 1-5 improve their math, science and reading skills. There is also a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) program where kids learned to build a small motorized boat. And there was even more fun—a day of sleuthing “CSI-style” through the wetlands, and a cooking class hosted by Environmental Concern based on a Bay theme.

While there were no such fun and games at the St. Michael’s Fire Department, its grant was put to equally good use. The Department used its 2016 grant to purchase two infra-red cameras. This potentially lifesaving technology enables firefighters to see through smoke or darkness to find people or hot spots during a fire.

These are just a few examples of how Christmas in St. Michaels spreads Christmas cheer all year.

The 2017 grant recipients include:

Bay Hundred Community Volunteers, Inc.
Character Counts Mid Shore, Inc.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Classic Motor Museum of St. Michaels
Critchlow Adkins Children’s Center – St. Michaels Site
Drew Landis Memorial Fireworks Fund, Inc.
Imagination Library of Talbot County
Pickering Creek Audubon Center
SOS: Sink or Swim
St. Luke’s School
St. Michaels After School Help (SMASH)
St. Michaels Community Center
St. Michaels Family YMCA/Carepacks of Talbot County
St. Michaels Food Pantry
St. Michaels Middle/High School After Prom
Talbot Interfaith Shelter
Tilghman Area Youth Association
Tilghman Youth Band

Although the Christmas holiday comes around once a year, the Christmas in St. Michaels Grant Fund is truly the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. To find out more about 2017 Christmas in St. Michaels, please visit:

Talbot County Garden Club Upcoming Lectures and Events

The Talbot County Garden Club announces its public events for fall 2017 through winter 2018:

October 24, 2017, 1:30 p.m., Talbot County Free Library:  “Autumn Splendor: Floral Design with Ellen Frost”Come celebrate the beauty and splendor of autumn as Ellen Frost demonstrates using locally grown flowers and foliage to create a naturally beautiful arrangement.   Ellen is the founder and owner of Local Color Flowers, a design studio in Baltimore, Maryland. This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, please email Dede Hoopes at

January 23, 2018, 1:30 p.m., Talbot County Free Library:  “Garden Design Inspiration from all Corners of the Globe” Join conservatory horticulturist, Karl Gercens III, as he whisks us through a few of the 2,500 gardens he has visited in 28 countries since his full-time employment at Longwood Gardens 20 years ago! This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please email Dede Hoopes at

February 27, 2018, 1:30 p.m., Talbot County Free Library:  “Bay-Wise Gardening in Talbot County” Perhaps you have seen the blue Bay Wise signs in local gardens and wondered what they signified. Come learn about the Bay Wise program conducted by the Maryland Master Gardener program.  Through the use of beautiful garden photography, presenters will share local gardens that are certified Bay Wise and discuss their journey to become certified. For more information, please email Dede Hoopes at

March 28, 2018, 1:30 p.m., Talbot County Free Library:  “The Photographic Garden – Mastering the Art of Digital Garden Photography” With an emphasis on creative technique and technical literacy, world renowned photographer Matthew Benson will share a comprehensive introduction to creating powerful, beautiful, dynamic images in the garden. For more information, please email Dede Hoopes at

About the Talbot County Garden Club

The Talbot County Garden Club was established in 1917 to enrich the natural beauty of the environment by sharing knowledge of gardening, fostering the art of flower arranging, maintaining civic projects, supporting projects that benefit Talbot County and encouraging the conservation of natural resources.  Noteworthy projects include maintaining the grounds of the Talbot Historical Society, Talbot County Courthouse, Talbot County Free Library, the fountain and children’s gardens at Idlewild Park and numerous other gardens and activities.  There are currently a total of 101 active, associate and honorary members.

CBHS to Hear About Biblical Food and Herbs

How appropriate that a talk on “Food, Spices and Herbs of the Bible” will be given at a church.  Local author Katie Barney will present the topic to the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society during its Oct. 12 meeting at Christ Church, Easton.

Barney is the co-author of “The Best of Newport”; author of “Annapolis: The Guidebook”, “Eastern Shore of Maryland: The Guidebook”, “God’s Bounty”, “Chesapeake’s Bounty”, “Chesapeake’s Bounty II”, “New England’s Bounty”, “Nantucket’s Bounty”; “Maryland’s Western Shore: The Guidebook” and several publications on the fiber optic telecommunications business, and is a consultant on international business and protocol.  Her hobbies include gourmet cooking, fine wines, history, sailing, genealogy, gardening, theology and travel.

Born in Baltimore, she is a descendant of the Clagett (Claggett) family of Maryland, and many old New England whaling families.  She has lived in many of the .country’s great architectural, historical and waterside gems besides Annapolis:  New Castle, DE; Newport and Providence, RI; Cold Spring Harbor, NY; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Greenwich, CT; Alexandria, VA; Washington, DC; and New York City. She presently resides in Easton, MD.

With an avid interest in history, Barney has developed a program for the War of 1812.  She gives a talk on early food and history leading up to the War of 1812 and then discusses what was consumed during that time period and how it was provided.  In addition Barney gives a cooking demonstration with foods typical of the period.  She also gives lectures and cooking demonstrations for any part of the world, including the Middle East, North Africa, the Chesapeake Bay region, the Pacific Northwest, French herbs, British herbs, early American herbs, Italian herbs, Latin America, Spices, Greece, and Southeast Asia.

She is currently working on an international cookbook and an edible flower cookbook.

The society usually meets the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at Christ Church, 111 S. Harrison Street, Easton.  Meetings include an herbal potluck dinner, a short business meeting and a presentation on an herb-related topic.  The theme for the October meeting is herbs for the zodiac sign Libra (catnip, elderberry, thyme and bergamot).

CBHS was formed in 2002 to share knowledge of herbs with the local community.  The group maintains the herb garden at Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

For more information, call (410) 827-5434 or visit

One Remedy: The Chesapeake Bay Herb Society’s Special Garden

“Gardeners, I think, dream bigger than emperors.”
— Mary Cantwell  New York Times journalist

Mary Cantwell might have been thinking of herb gardeners when she talked about dreaming “bigger,” and could well include members of the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society when looking at the results of their thirteen years of hard work at the Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

Formed in 2002 by a small group of enthusiastic herb gardeners who placed a small ad in the Star-Democrat asking for volunteers, the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society’s membership now stands at fifty, with once a month gatherings to discuss the region’s remarkable herbs and their care.

But, as our Spy interview with some of the Herb Society’s founders (Denis Gasper, Spencer Garrett, and Dana McGrath) indicate,  it has always been their beloved herb garden at Pickering that has been the central focus of the organization’s mission and labor of love.

Drawn by the culinary or medicinal purposes that herbs can be used for, the Society has collected an extremely robust variety for the general public to observe and also take home with them. It also welcomes new volunteers to help with the weekly management of the site.

The benefits of both activities can be keenly felt by those that participate, but perhaps the greatest attribute for the CBHS’s garden is that of being a sort of remedy; a place to see, smell and taste some of the world’s wonders in a sanctuary setting that allows all those that enter a chance to “dream bigger.”

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society please go here

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.

Kent Island Flower Show Highlights ’50s and ’60s

Flowers, retro “cars”, awards, and visitors celebrated the flower show sponsored by the Kent Island Garden Club on Thursday, September 21 at the Kent Island VFD. Guests were treated to 300+ specimens of horticulture and 60 floral designs created by members of the 11 clubs that are part of the Maryland Federated Garden Clubs.

Winners walked away with awards for overall design, use of color, petit designs, wit and whimsical designs, and table artistry.  In keeping with the theme, A “Blast From the Past” that focused on the trends and music from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, designs on display  interpreted “A Whole LottaShakin’ Going On,” “Cha ChaCha”, the “Stroll”, the “Prom”, and “Splish Splash” among others.

​President of KI Garden Club and Chair of the flower show Linda Elias congratulating Sally Boden on her winning horticulture entry.

“We were so excited to see so many entries and so many visitors to the show,” said Linda Elias, president of the Kent Island Garden Club. “The music, the cars, and especially the flowers made the day so entertaining and fun for everyone.”

Judging took place in the morning and over 200 guests viewed the show in the afternoon. The Kent Island Cruisers displayed 2 retro fitted carts at the entrance of the fire hall and the Maryland Historical Society contributed a display of the history of Kent Island that focused on Senator Samuel Kirwan, an earlier advocate and protector of Kent Island.

The Kent Island Garden Club is a member of District I of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc.  The main mission of federated garden clubs is to care for historic and public properties in their locales, promote care of the environment, and to teach gardening and love of nature to children and others in their communities. For further information go to

Spy Investigation: The Talbot County PawPaw

A few days ago, a Spy subscriber left a plastic bag with two pieces of very exotic-looking fruit at our international headquarters on Dover Street for our sampling pleasure.  While the reader did not indicate as such, the Spy believes that he/ she may be associated with the PawPaw Appreciation Association – Cooke’s Hope chapter, since the fruit is a Talbot County product.

The PawPaw is not new. It was discovered and named Asimina in 1541, and actually is the largest edible fruit indigenous to the North American continent. And it certainly helps to know that the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew the plant to offer as a dessert. It also served as a critical part of Lewis and Clark’s food supply.

But how does it taste?

Good. The Spy took our sample and did a tiny and uncontrolled taste test on Goldsborough Street. It was served at room temperature (Washington liked his chilled), and it had a softer texture than pyataya. Is that enough to bring back the PawPaw to restaurants and fine dinner parties shortly? You’ll need to contact the Cooke’s Hope chapter representative for that answer but they left no contact information.


Environmental Concern Celebrates 45 Years with Upcoming Native Plant Sale

In celebration of 45 years working for wetlands, water quality and beneficial habitat, Environmental Concern (EC) will offer the largest selection of quality native plants in the region at their upcoming Fall Native Plant Sale. Join the EC staff for a festival of the senses – see the vivid red bloom on the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis); smell the scent of the wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa); and hear the birds, bees and bullfrogs that live in our wetland habitats.

EC’s native wetland plant nursery was the first of its kind in the nation – long before wetlands were accepted as anything but mosquito infested swamps. Since 1972, EC has expanded from a group of interns and biologists working out of an oversized garage to a 6 acre horticulture, education, and restoration facility.

EC’s campus, located at the headwaters of the San Domingo Creek, now supports 19 greenhouses, a wetland education building with classroom and creative activity spaces; a seed propagation and research workspace; the technology and resources required to provide wetland restoration design and construction services, and over 20 full time employees – all focused on improving water quality and increasing crucial habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

Thanks to the support of the community, students, teachers, businesses and our partners, since 1972 EC has educated over 40,000 teachers, students and community members; propagated, grown and planted over 30 million native plants on shorelines and landscapes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed; restored over 1.6 million sq. ft. of eroded shorelines and constructed hundreds of ponds, rain gardens and other types of stormwater management facilities.

With your help, we’re continuing our mission to increase the quantity of native species in our local habitats, and in your gardens. We invite the public to join EC for the 16 th annual Fall Native Plant Sale and Open House. In addition to the plant sale, Community Workshops will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 am each day. “Monarch Rearing” is the feature presentation on Friday, September 8 th , and “Late Season Nectar Sources for Monarchs” will be offered on Saturday, September 9th. Participants will see the Monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed. If the time is right, you may see a Monarch emerging from its chrysalis. What is the chrysalis? Pre-register for the workshops at to find out!

This fall, we have invited Eat Sprout to join us on Saturday. Eat Sprout will be offering delicious, breakfast and lunch specials for purchase. Enjoy a leisurely lunch while enjoying the serenity of the San Domingo Creek.

EC’s Campus is located at 201 Boundary Lane in historic St. Michaels. The sale hours are Friday, September 8 th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 9 th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Visit for more information

Talbot County Garden Club was ‘Putting on the Glitz’

The Talbot County Garden Club held its biannual Symposium on April 18, 2017, at the Milestone in Easton, MD.  It was a sell out event with 245 attendees, 32 patrons and 14 sponsors.  The majority of the attendees were from Talbot County and the surrounding areas, but quite a few travelled in just for the event.

Chris Olsen (Photo Credit: Marsie Hawkinson)

The all day affair titled Putting on the Glitz featured three nationally acclaimed guest speakers who spoke on an array of topics ranging from Landscape design to Style to Floral Artistry.  The day kicked off with Chris Olsen – Master Designer from Little Rock, Arkansas.  Chris shared amazing ways to take your landscape from “Drab to Fab”, emphasizing color, shape and size in the landscape.  Bettie Bearden Pardee – lecturer and garden connoisseur from Newport, Rhode Island, followed Chris.  Bettie took everyone through the beautiful mansions and gardens of Newport, Rhode Island, sharing excerpts from her book “Living Newport”.  The final speaker of the day was Paige Canfield – owner / designer of Sumner B. Designs in Washington DC.  Paige’s presentation was chock full of bits of information on floral design which she demonstrated through a handful stunning arrangements.  Between speakers, attendees were treated to a farm to table lunch, and they were able to shop on “Roseo Drive”, a marketplace consisting of 14 vendors selling items including home décor, pottery, jewelry, and other accessories.  It was truly a day of day full of style and entertaining, enjoyed by all.

The event is this year’s largest fundraiser for the Talbot County Garden Club.  The funds support the club’s projects throughout the community.

About the Talbot County Garden Club

The Talbot County Garden Club was established in 1917 to enrich the natural beauty of the environment by sharing knowledge of gardening, fostering the art of flower arranging, maintaining civic projects, supporting projects that benefit Talbot County and encouraging the conservation of natural resources.  Noteworthy projects include maintaining the grounds of the Talbot Historical Society, Talbot County Courthouse, Talbot County Free Library, the fountain and children’s gardens at Idlewild Park and numerous other gardens and activities.  There are currently a total of 101 active, associate and honorary members.

Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Announce Bay-Wise Landscape Consultations

Homes on the Eastern Shore are within a half mile of a stream or other waterway flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Creating an attractive yard is important to all of us, but how we do it can make a huge difference in property value and environmental impact. We all contribute–knowingly or unknowingly—to run-off, seepage, and airborne pollutants that affect the health of the Bay. Critical awareness of the environmental effect of our landscape choices and practices underlies the University of Maryland Extension Bay-Wise Master Gardener program.

pictured L-R: Master Gardener Jane Smith, Master Gardener Cindy Riegel, homeowner Laura Rocco, Master Gardener Betty McAtee, and Master Gardener Joyce Anderson.

The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners’ Bay-Wise program kicks off the 2017 season of Bay-Wise landscape consultations. Master Gardeners, are volunteers who are trained by the University of Maryland Extension, will come to your home or business to evaluate your property. They can answer landscape and gardening questions and offer advice on sound environmental practices. This is a free service sponsored through the University of Maryland’s Extension office. Home owners and businesses are encouraged to schedule a consultation.

Call or email the University of Maryland Extension Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator, Rachel Rhodes, at 410-758-0166 or to initiate a consultation on your property. A Bay-Wise trained Master Gardener will then contact you to arrange a convenient date and time to meet with you at your property. A consultation usually takes about one to two hours, depending on the size and complexity of your yard. Consultations focus on practices of healthy lawn maintenance, storm water management, insect and disease control, composting waste, and selecting native plants and trees that enhance your property with minimum upkeep.  You are welcome to request advice about flower, fruit, and vegetable beds that beautify your yard and provide friendly habitat for wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and humming birds.

Complimentary Bay-Wise signs are given homeowners and businesses that demonstrate sound Bay-Wise practices. The University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners hope to reach even more homeowners this season. Advice on improving your landscape, while helping the environment and saving time and money, is only a phone call away.  For further information on the Bay-Wise Program and other environmentally sound practices, please visit or see us on Facebook @

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.