Unity’s May 2021 Newsletter

Unity Church Hill Nursery
It feels like summer has arrived, hasn't it? With these beautiful, sunny days, it is great to spend time outside in the garden sharing in the great energy of Spring.

Here at the nursery, we are well-stocked with beautiful perennials, grasses, ferns, shrubs, trees, and more. Most of the trees are leafing out at this point, although there are still a few that are slow wake up: Chaste tree, and Sourwood trees to name a couple. Our Unity-grown plug production is full speed ahead and we have a good variety now available with more coming available in the upcoming months. We start these from seed, so they are “straight species” of our native plants. It has been interesting watching these grow, seeing what they look like as they germinate into seedlings, and watching how
 quickly or slowly they mature. Some of the seeds were so small, (Juncus effusus, for example) it was like spreading dust and incredible to watch the microscopic seedlings germinate. Some plugs we now have ready include Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hair grass), Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed), and Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot), Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower), Lobelia siphilitica (blue cardinal flower), and Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem). Plugs are a great option if you would like to install a mass planting or meadow using plants instead of seed. Their root "ball" is about 2" wide and 4.5" deep requiring only a small hole, so they are easier to transport and can be planted much quicker than larger plants. Their deep roots establish quickly and require less initial watering than seed. They are quicker and more reliable than seed to establish, with erosion control starting in weeks rather than months. We post our inventory online and update it weekly. And, if you don't see what you are looking for, please send us an email and we'll do our best to find it for you.
Thinking about spending more time outside? In addition to plant material, we have plenty to help you create and improve your outdoor living space including a variety of flagstone, wall-stone, steppers and pavers for creating paths, steps, landings, patios and more, teak outdoor furniture, fountains, bird baths, statuary, wind chimes, bird feeders, and a huge selection of pottery perfect for brightening up a space. We have some examples of different hardscape/patio styles here at the nursery, so check them out when you come and visit.

With the warmer weather, now is an ideal time to start planting your summer vegetables. Sarah and our food production team and have been hard at work raising beautiful herb and vegetable plants for you to take home to plant in your own gardens. We have tomato plants (cherry, heirloom, red, and paste varieties), pepper plants (both sweet and hot varieties), eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini plants and soon will also have cantaloupe, watermelon, lima bean, okra plants, and sweet potato slips. Our own outdoor gardens are coming alive with peas, carrots, radishes, and more and soon we'll have even more of our Unity-grown produce to offer at the Chestertown Farmers' Market, Chestertown Natural Foods, and here at Unity Nursery.
Theresa Mycek

Unity Landscape Design/Build

Unity Landscape is currently underway on several living 
shoreline projects around the shore to kick off the spring and summer seasons. A few projects are still in permitting stages, but some are ready for action. The team is currently setting up on a residential site outside of Chestertown constructing a new stone sill right on the Chester River. See the accompanying photo which depicts the operator working from the shoreline to place the rock in a strategic manner parallel to the shoreline. This process begins with the placement of sand along the mean high water line (MHWL) to establish an elevated sand pathway to provide access for construction. One loader operator will alternate between bringing sand and stone down to the shoreline as the excavator operator works his way down the beach placing the stone toe and base layer. The photo shows the sill during the middle stages of construction before the armor layer of stone is added on top. Once the armor stone is set at the desired elevations, the structure is packed tight with smaller stone remnants. This process known as chinking allows the structure to have less pore space which is a side effect of using larger stone. After this is complete, the final sand layer is brought in and set to grade to create the marsh and planting media which will remain on the landward side of the new sill. After a period of time, the systems are planted and protected with a goose fence until the sand and plants become firmly established. Once the goose fence is removed the shoreline can be enjoyed as both a recreational access point to the water, and even offer exceptional habitat for estuarine wildlife. Next month our team will begin a quarter mile long restoration project in Deal Island, MD. Stay tuned for updates and photos.

On Saturday April 24th the Unity Team, Caroline County, Caroline County Parks and Recreation, the Town of Templeville, and members of their local community gathered at the Town of Templeville Community Park to mark its completed renovation with a ribbon cutting ceremony as part of an Earth Day celebration. Unity recently completed the planting and final stabilization phase of the park’s renovation which began just before the end of 2020. Unity worked through unique challenges around the existing stormwater, to create three new stormwater management features, all of which will be part of an education demonstration for stormwater best management practices (BMP’s) within our communities. The Caroline County Parks and Recreation Department capped off the project with beautiful new park furnishings to provide a place for the community to sit and have a picnic or just enjoy the newly renovated pond. Templeville community members were ecstatic about the results of the project and are looking forward to enjoying the park for generations to come. The park is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset.
Lucas Lees, CBLP
Coastal & Environmental Design 
Unity Landscape Design/Build

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