Welcome November! First frost has come and gone, and temps are still perfect for planting. It’s a good time of year to think about how you can work with nature to help your garden through the winter. If you’re choosing to cut back annuals or vegetable plants, consider just cutting them back and not ripping them out. Leaving the root system in the soil helps maintain structure. Consider laying the plants down as you cut them and letting them decompose in place. If you read last month’s newsletter, you’ll remember that mulch of any kind in the fall helps protect your soil from blowing away or running off in the wintertime.
When your deciduous plants begin losing their leaves they don’t need as much water but remember that it’s not until the first few inches of soil freeze that we are entirely off the hook. And even then, we are never completely off the hook. In the wintertime when there is a break in the cold weather, and we have one of those odd warm spells lasting a couple of days, your outdoor plants may need a drink! Monitor our social media account over the winter because we will keep you up to date with watering tips from there!
Almost every day folks come into the nursery asking about whether it’s still a good time for planting and I can tell you with confidence that it certainly is! November 1st through the 23rd all plant material will be 30% off in the nursery. A reminder that we will be closed November 24th through November 27th for the Thanksgiving holiday. Winter hours begin in December, and we will be open Monday through Friday from 8-5.
Martha O'Neill, Retail Nursery Manager
We've been taking advantage of this ideal planting weather to expand our demo gardens here at Unity. We planted a strip of about 600 perennial and grass plugs at the edge of our front field next to Rt. 213. We are in the process of planting shrubs in a bed at the end of our production tunnels to trial Physocarpus and winterberry cultivars and potentially serve as "mother plants" to propagate from. And, we recently made a trip to New Jersery to visit a wholesale nursery with a wide selection of native plants including some unique, hard-to-find cultivars, and brought back some plants to add to our Demo Gardens including Maryland Dwarf American Holly (Ilex opaca), American Smoketree (Cotinus obovatus), 4 different cultivars of American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) (including Vincent's Red pictured below), Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina) and 3 cultivars of Little Bluestem to name a few. We are always on the lookout for new cultivars and varieties, and we are currently putting together our list of plants to grow next year, so if there is a plant you are interested in but haven't been able to find, please let us know.
Theresa Mycek, Production Manager
Unity Landscape Design and Build
Unity Landscape Design/Build has some exciting updates on both recent and ongoing shoreline projects to share.
The private residential shoreline that Unity was constructing over the summer was planted in early August. The crews made one site visit in September for a round of maintenance and the results can be seen in the photo below. All shoreline grasses have taken hold and established a high and low marsh. The upland was left as a natural meadow and the rows of native grasses can be clearly seen. We will follow this project over the next two seasons as the plantings mature and to evaluate the success of the erosion control measures.
One of Unity’s shoreline restoration teams is currently working on a joint living shoreline project for two contiguous property owners outside of Chestertown. Both property owners were suffering tidal and stormwater erosion. Access for each site was challenging however, and it prevented the removal and replacement of the existing dock. Currently, the crew is working from the South access point up to the dock which sits in the middle of the project site. Once this side of the project is complete, the crew will disassemble the access and move to the North side of the dock on the adjoining neighbor’s property. The living shoreline approach used on this project is a segmented sill. Segmented sills are intended to retain the new, clean sand fill and provide a defense against high tides and forceful waves generated from storms.
Creating a living shoreline has multiple benefits. Not only does it protect and beautify your waterfront investment and increase property value, living shorelines also incorporate natural elements to create and maintain valuable habitats in the environment. Unity handles total project management from design and permitting through the construction phase, so customers can enjoy the benefits of an ecologically sensitive and functional outdoor space.
Lucas Lees CBLP, ASBPA, Coastal and Environmental Design
Sandy Appel, Chief Operations Officer
Welcome our newest team members!
Administrative Assistant Kate Maxwell comes to Unity with more than 30 years of experience serving in similar office roles, though the landscaping and nursery industry is brand new to her. She previously worked for the past 16 years as an Executive Associate at Chesapeake College.
When not at Unity assisting customers and staff, Kate enjoys spending time with her husband and their two cats and going to concerts. She also volunteers locally at Church Hill Theatre and Chesapeake Cats and Dogs.
Please also join us in welcoming Rhandi Brown to the Unity Nursery Production team. Enjoying the outdoors, Rhandi has spent most of her professional life working in horticulture. Her time at Longwood Gardens, where she worked behind the scenes growing and creating the basket displays greatly influenced her career goals, and she is looking to continue growing and learning while here at Unity. Outside of work, she devotes her time to her dog and three cats.
Landscape Lighting Demonstration at Unity Church Hill Nursery
Stay tuned for date and time.