Unity’s April 2023 Newsletter

Spring winds arrive to blow the pale and broken leaves of winter’s fall from our doorsteps. In their place, the peach, the cherry and the plum trees let go of tender petals, alive with color, to tumble like confetti in the breeze and whisper the promise of summer fruit and sun warmed shoulders.

Fruit trees are in bloom here in the nursery, including varieties that benefit birds and pollinators. Yoshino Cherry, Contender Peach, Purple Leaf Plum and other blooming varieties are showing off their colors! Spring is here, and we hope to see you soon!

Michelle Henry, Retail Nursery Associate

Meet our newest team member!
Introducing Michelle Henry to the Unity Church Hill Nursery family! Michelle is a Washington College student who enjoys being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, exploring new natural places, history, archaeology, writing and creating multimedia art.

Nursery Production
We grow a lot of straight or wild species of native perennials and grasses from seed, but there are also many cultivars of native species now available. Cultivars are natural variants that have been found and brought into cultivation or selections developed by plant breeders. Specific cultivars are selected because they have a unique trait such as a more compact size, disease-resistance, a unique bloom or foliage color, or more upright and less floppy structure. For example, 'Standing Ovation' Schizachyrium scoparium or little bluestem is often favored over the straight or wild species in the home garden because it is less likely to flop over. Another example is 'American Gold Rush' Rudbeckia fulgida or black-eyed Susan which is a compact cultivar with smaller leaf size but also has great disease resistance to septoria leaf spot which can afflict the straight species.

Because many of these are special selections, they are only reproduced by cloning such as rooting cuttings or tissue culture and not by seed. Many are often patented and are illegal to propagate and sell unless you have permission. We buy these in as little starter plants or plugs which we then pot up into quarts or gallons and grow out into bigger plants for our retail and landscape customers.

Pictured in the photo above is 'Brandywine' Tiarella cordifolia or foamflower. This plant does well in shade gardens with consistently moist soil and makes an excellent ground cover reaching 8-12 inches tall not in flower and 12-18 inches in flower. It is clump-forming, sending out only short rhizomes. Creamy-white flowers last for 6 to 8 weeks starting in spring. Foliage provides year round interest turning bronze in fall and winter, and rabbits and deer generally avoid this plant's astringent leaves unless they are extremely hungry.

Theresa Mycek, Production Manager

Unity Landscape Design and Build

The term landscaping is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of projects. Our Unity Landscape Design/Build teams handles this wide variety with a high level of skill and care.

One example is Unity’s recent installation of a large 5000-gallon cistern for a residence in Oxford, MD. The cistern is designed to capture and store all the stormwater that comes in from a majority of the house roof. All downspouts run underground into the cistern where the water passes through a leaf and debris filter before landing in the cistern. This particular residence also wanted an irrigation system which will be run from the stored gray water in the cistern. This will irrigate the lawn and landscape beds, as well as drain the cistern to make room for the water incoming from the next storm. This Graf cistern system is designed to be load bearing and will allow vehicular traffic to pass over it.

Depicted below is the installation of the cistern itself. The second image being once the tank was leveled and secured in place. Once the cistern was set, the downspout drain lines were all connected to the tank before it was buried beneath the driveway.

This innovative stormwater management solution provides a resolution to an all-too-common issue in the tightly packed, low-lying Eastern Shore towns and communities we know and love.

Lucas Lees, Coastal and Environmental Design

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