Garden Journal


A family's discovery of sustainable gardening, native plants, local food and other treasures in their mid Atlantic backyard.
February 7th, 2014

Highlights of an Abundant 2013!

Final Indiv Biz LogoAnd they say 13 is an unluckyIMG_3489 number!  On the contrary, this past year was full of so many projects and new connections in three rewarding areas.

Sustainable Landscaping and Design.  As I indicated in my last post, The Abundant Backyard  was delighted to be a part of the first group of certified Green Landscaping Businesses inIMG_3549 Montgomery County Maryland!   IMG_3498Permeable pathways, meditation gardens, children’s enchanted playspaces, and seasonal arrangements are a few examples of the work completed.  Check photo gallery for samples for other work.

Harper descendants discover their great, great,great grandparents home originally located in historic Jonesville MD.

Harper descendants discover their great, great,great grandparents home originally located in historic Jonesville MD.

Natural History and Heritage  Also in 2013, I completed Maryland Master Naturalist training and hours at Brookside Nature Center.   Master Naturalists study the flora and fauna, natural history, geology and human impact on the Maryland landscape.   My class project would end up reconnecting the Poolesville Harper family to the home of their ancestors- the 1870s Harper Cabin,  now located on the Brookside Nature Center grounds.   The project started with research on ways one freed African American family used natural resources to survive post Empancipation, installation of  a demonstration kitchen garden and recommendations for a new Interpretive plan.    It evolved into a moving journey with the privilege of meeting five of the most recent generations of the Harper family from Maryland to Philadelphia and learning more about the Maryland African American story after slavery from local historians like Tony Cohen, Shirl Spicer, and Claire Kelly.  Getting to work with Harper descendant Sylvia Ford George was the added bonus as she was so gracious in providing the missing pieces in documenting  updated Harper history for a slide show for Brookside Nature Center.  http://www.montgomeryparks.org/naturecenters/brookside/outdoor.shtm   Much thanks to the nature center staff, Geri Drymalski, Master Naturalist Training Coordinator and Scilla Taylor, Facilities Manager for approving the project and providing support.  Click on the Harper family photo to see an article on the cabin in the Poolesville Gazette. 

Enironmental Education

Work continues IMG_3384in  The Abundant Backyard partnership with Broad Acres Elementary School and culminated in 2013 with a Green Apple Day of Service organized by Silver Spring Green.  The Abundant Backyard led a team of community and school volunteers in removing turf and mulching the garden space in the Living Classroom Courtyard.  The Abundant Backyard also connected students to the landscape through garden lesson plans and teachers toured the garden to see language arts ties to their curriculum.  Many thanks to Assistant Principal Bob Geiger and his teaching teams in K through 2 Grades for their enthusiasm and embracing the project!   This Spring I taught at the Audubon Naturalist Society to 3 and 5 year olds and started a spring garden for the preschool.  Seeing the wonder of nature through their eyes is such a gift.  Continued garden installation and lesson plans occurred with parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.

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