Discover Caroline County’s Native Gardens on Adkins Arboretum’s First Native Garden Tour

_ASR8583 Baptisia portrait alt (261 x 400)On Saturday, May 11, when the vibrant blue false indigo and subtle pinxter azaleas are in bloom, Adkins Arboretum will host “Celebrating Natives,” its first garden tour featuring native gardens in Caroline County.

“Celebrating Natives” is a different kind of garden tour, one that focuses on sustainable approaches to Eastern Shore gardening. The Arboretum is the hub of this self-guided driving tour of seven outstanding gardens spread over a 20-mile circuit. The tour not only will highlight the beauty of the gardens but will emphasize the importance of their role in a bio-diverse landscape.

“The tour features seven unique gardens, each demonstrating varying commitments to native plantings and uses of sustainable practices such as rain barrels and composting,” said Native Plant Nursery Manager Joanne Healey, co-chair along with landscape architect and Arboretum Trustee Barbara McClinton. The gardens range from brand-new designs, to town gardens packed with plants, to established gardens that have been works in progress for 30 years. “It is a special tour because it highlights the work of homeowners who care deeply about what they are doing and the kinds of gardens they are creating.”

“Celebrating Natives,” the first garden tour of its kind on the Eastern Shore, exemplifies the Arboretum’s mission of teaching about and showing by example the importance of using native plants in restoring balance to the ecosystem and fostering community relationships. Native plants are those that grew and thrived on the Eastern Shore before the introduction of European settlers. Because these plants have adapted naturally to the region’s ecology of climate, insects and wildlife, they are a better choice than non-native plants.

“I believe in the science of native plantings, but this tour is to highlight the beauty of these plants,” said Healey. “We can surround ourselves with beautiful plants knowing all the while that what we have in our gardens is feeding the birds and native pollinators, controlling erosion, and not invasively choking our wetlands. It’s gardening with a conscience.”

“Celebrating Natives” will take place Sat., May 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 the day of the tour. For more information or to order tickets, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

In photo: Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) is among the plants that will be in bloom during “Celebrating Natives,” Adkins Arboretum’s first native garden tour, on Sat., May 11.