State workers dig in to start model garden

May 28, 1999|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

More than 50 state employees ditched their desks yesterday for shovels, spades and gardening gloves to plant the inaugural garden in MaryLandscapes, a project to create "environmentally sensitive" gardens throughout the state.

The volunteer gardeners, including Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, planted 900 shrubs, trees and flowers native to Maryland on the lawn of the Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Building in Annapolis.

Sponsored by Maryland's Commission for Celebration 2000, the garden will serve as a model for future MaryLandscapes projects using native plants.

"These plants don't require a lot of water, fertilizers or pesticides that would eventually end up in the Chesapeake Bay," said Dave Minges, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a partner in MaryLandscapes.

Throughout this year and 2000, Minges said, MaryLandscapes plans to award up to 20 grants of up to $10,000 to community groups, civic associations, schools, municipalities and other nonprofit organizations to plant "bay-friendly" gardens in public places. More than 70 groups have applied, he said.

Yesterday, Schaefer's secretary, Mary Doepkens, crouched in the grass alongside co-workers and patted down earth around on a columbine plant. She said Treasury staff members are determined to maintain the first MaryLandscapes garden.

"We're all going to pull out one weed a day," she said.

Information about applying for a MaryLandscapes grants: 410-260-6346, Christine Duray, Maryland Commission for Celebration 2000.

Native plants

MaryLandscapes officials identified 10 native Maryland plants that require little watering or maintenance and help control runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.

Serviceberry tree

Fringe tree

Sweet pepper bush

Winterberry holly

Mountain laurel

Butterfly milkweed

Blazing star

Bee balm

Wild blue indigo

Little blue stem grass.

Pub Date: 5/28/99

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