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

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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 adkinsarboretum.org 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 adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

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