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What's Up Magazine

Impressionist Landscapes

May 30, 2013 05:49PM ● By Anonymous

Each June, many open their doors and gardens to the public in what has become a highly anticipated event planned by the Kent Island Federation of the Arts. In the three years since its inception, KIFA’s “Gardens by the Sea” self-guided tour has attracted thousands of green-thumbs, novice gardeners, plein air artists, and anyone seeking sun kisses and great views (weather allowing).

This year’s tour will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 8th and 9th, throughout Queen Anne’s County. Most of the gardens will directly overlook the Chesapeake Bay or be located on inlets of Cox and Thompson creeks, Eastern Bay, Prospect Bay, and the Wye River.

On a sun-drenched weekend last June, with sapphire skies and Bay breezes, we photographed several tour properties, some of which will be showcased on the forthcoming tour. We have highlighted several herein, with specific property information provided by KIFA’s Diana Coslick. If inspiration strikes, take the tour, and transform your garden into a Riviera paradise.


This artful design features a recently updated and extended outdoor train layout in a miniature garden complete with its own fairy garden. There are several ponds and a gazebo nestled amongst a variety of unusual shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Crape myrtles, red maples, nandina, peonies, and roses mingle with curly leafed holly, hybrid poplar, and iris. The gardens overlook an expansive view of Prospect Bay and are dotted with handmade birdhouses and statuary.


Toward the back of the house overlooking Eastern Bay, lovely hand-dug gardens that began 20 years ago greet visitors and remain a daily-tended work in progress. There is an evergreen garden with a decoratively trimmed juniper, and a shade garden with two English concrete seats and a table. Brick and stone walkways guide you through the perennials.

In an area next to the pool, two giant butterflies hover over two small crape myrtles, a deutzia, and some daylilies. There is a “mushroom garden” under a very large single trunk crape myrtle containing several varieties of ornamental groundcover grasses.

Between the pool and the house, there is a weeping Norway spruce trained to lay prostrate, thus preserving the view to the water while providing an artful shape to enjoy. Three whimsical birds perpetually frolic through the branches. There are beds near the house containing two Sangokaku maples with chartreuse leaves in spring and golden leaves in fall. Winter shows off the bright salmon pink twigs.


This intimate shade garden features a tree peony, azaleas, Harry Lauder walking stick, hydrangeas, hosta, and iris. The trickle of the fountain can be heard as you walk through the arbor to the backyard, where a vegetable garden grows and includes some very unusual asparagus, complements of sculptor Jan Kirsh. Large variegated lacecap hydrangea flank the gathering area overlooking a creek alongside Eastern Bay. Further toward the water is a children’s garden with play area, grasses, and pots of annuals decorating the dock area.

Fourth Annual Kent Island Federation of the Arts’ Gardens by the Sea Tour

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, June 8th and 9th
WHERE: Residential properties throughout Queen Anne’s County
COST: $20 per ticket
TICKETS: May be obtained online at or by calling 410-643- 7424. You may also order directly by sending a check to KIFA at 405 Main St., Stevensville, MD.

When you arrive at KIFA on Tour Day, you will be given your universal ticket/brochure with a map and directions to each of the gardens; public facilities and restaurants will be indicated.

Special thanks to the Kent Island Federation of the Arts, Diana Coslick, and Georgette Toews for their assistance with this article.