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April 26, 2012

Horticulture club starts gardening

by Hannah Weintraub, Print Features Editor and Ruth Aitken, Print Features Editor
Blair's Horticulture club broke ground on the school's new water conservation landscape on April 14 with the cooperation of parents and student volunteers.
Students ready soil for the installation of a conservation landscape. Leah Hammond
Students ready soil for the installation of a conservation landscape.


A conservation landscape, similar to a diverse and carefully-planned garden, uses indigenous flowers, trees and bushes to soak up excess rain water run off, preventing polluted water from flowing into waterways.

Over 25 students and ten adults participated in the landscape planting and preparation efforts last Saturday. The club created the landscape with help from a $5,000 grant from Montgomery County's Department of Environmental Protection (MCDEP) in accordance with its efforts to reduce water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. "The money covered all of our costs," said the president of the Horticulture club Dylan Greer.

The club is also installing a bench in the new landscape in partnership with the Blair Bench project, a PTA initiative aimed at installing more benches and creating more seating areas on the Blair campus. "The conservation landscape project raises awareness for the Blair Bench Project too," said Greer.

Eventually, Greer said, the Horticulture club would like to expand the landscape around the building toward the Colesville lot. The club will finish mulching the walking path and planting on Saturday, April 28. Students who would like to volunteer and help with the planting will receive Student Service Learning hours.

Blair's conservation landscape, located outside the main entrance, replaces existing non-native vegetation with numerous plant species indigenous to Silver Spring, such as golden rod herb and winterberry. "The native plants will hopefully attract native insects, improving the ecology of the area. We want to keep everything sustainable," said Horticulture club sponsor Christopher Brown.

The landscape's water-leeching soil collects water run-off from the roof and surrounding area, reducing water waste and hydrating the ground more deeply, said Greer. Greater water retention will increase the fertility of the landscape's soil, and accommodate more vegetation, said Brown.

"It will look beautiful," Greer said.

To help, talk to Mr.. Brown in room 332 or join Horticulture club every Thursday from 2:10 to 3:00.



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