Master Gardens

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Master Gardeners Program


Daylily walkway

The Eastville Master Garden blooms along the brick walkway between Eastville Inn and the County Administration Building. Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Master Gardeners Program is a tremendous resource for folks who are interested in gardening or just enjoy rejuvenating themselves in a garden setting.

There are 14 gardens total on the Eastern Shore maintained by the Master Gardeners. Seven of those gardens are located in Northampton County. The gardens are a beautiful asset to our public spaces. Plants are labelled with markers in the Latin and common name.
Bench and plants with markersThis is a great way to learn the names of our flower friends. The gardens have something interesting to see in every season!

The program spans all of the Eastern Shore but we'll focus on five of the supported gardens that can be found in Northampton County; Eastville Garden at the County Administration building, Indiantown Park, Kiptopeke State Park Native Plant Garden, New Roots Youth Garden in Cape Charles and Northampton Free Library Garden in Nassawadox. 

The master gardens are as dynamic as the folks who tend them!

Volunteers put in many hours of their time to maintain the gardens and provide educational outreach. We deeply appreciate the hard work that goes into maintaining the gardens. The garden in Eastville at the County Administration building is a favorite respite during work breaks. Much inspiration comes from just being among the flowers!

We want to thank the Eastern Shore of VA Master Gardeners and especially ESVMG publicist, Jane McKinley, who graciously provided us with information about the gardens. Also, thank you to David Boyd who got us in touch with the right people.

Thank you to Bob Shendock for providing a map to all the Master supported gardens on the Eastern Shore.

A big thank you to all the volunteers whose hard work make Northampton County a beautiful place to live and work!


​About the Master Gardeners Program

 

Are you interested in learning more about gardening and horticulture on the Eastern Shore? Do you long to grow vegetables or fruits but don’t know where to start? Or what types of plants grow well on the seaside?

​If you are among the many local residents who enjoy gardening but who want to learn more, the Eastern Shore Virginia Master Gardener (ESVMG) program is for you.

Master Gardener volunteers receive 50 hours of intensive training in all areas of Eastern Shore horticulture, sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

​After completion of training, each Master Gardener volunteer educator selects from a wide variety of activities designed to provide the public with current, reliable information on Shore gardening and horticulture.

​Learning, volunteering, and sharing your knowledge offer great personal rewards --join our group of men and women of all ages in these satisfying activities.

To learn more about becoming a Master Gardener please visit their website at Eastern Shore Virginia Master Gardeners.


If You Go...

ESVMG Supported Gardens

Please click on the image for a larger PDF version of the map.

For more information, please visit Eastern Shore of Virginia Master Gardeners website and Facebook page.



Eastville Gardens

 Master Garden at Eastville County Admin building
Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn

Purple Perilla Bluebells
Plants are labeled with the Latin and common name.

Eastville Gardens is located in the historic town of Eastville on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, in a complex of county government and administration buildings both old and new. The county courthouse is the repository for the oldest continuous court records in the United States dating from the early 1700s to the present.

A plan for the Gardens, situated between the 1789 Eastville Inn and the Courthouse and Administration buildings, was conceived and begun in 2002. This undeveloped ‘plain space'  was designed by two Eastern Shore ladies in 2002, and executed by a young boy scout working for his Eagle badge.

Pebble walkways dissect the garden square
Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn

The garden’s design is based on a 60-foot square plot divided into quarters with pebble walkways dissecting the square diagonally. A bench, located in the center where the paths meet, invites the visitor to sit and enjoy this cool, breezy spot.

Four crepe myrtles were planted at the center of each quadrant in 2002, and the garden at that time was sunny all day.

In 2007, kitchen herbs were planted in the Gardens, for the use of the restaurant then occupying the Inn. Today, the lovely blue rosemary hedge along the southern border is all that remains of that herb bed. Although the ensuing ten years brought neglect to the Gardens, the Master Gardeners have restored and developed its beauty since that time.

Today, with the growth of the crepe myrtles, the once sunny garden is now quite shady. Efforts are made annually to trim back the four trees to allow more sun to come through. Shade loving plants have been introduced, with an effort to include as many native plants to the garden as possible. The map of the Eastville Gardens, developed in 2018, will identify and locate all these plants for the visitor. The Master Gardeners who maintain this garden weekly hope you will enjoy your visit and come back soon!


Indiantown Park

Perennials bloom outside the Indiantown Park office
Photos courtesy ESVMG

The Indiantown garden started as a Master Gardener Intern project about five years ago. It is located in Northampton County’s Indiantown Park which offers soccer fields, baseball fields, a frisbee golf course and walking trails. The garden is a foundation planting along the front of the park’s administrative and indoor activities building. As such, it is long and narrow, bordered on one side by the building and on the other by a sidewalk. At its inception, the only goal was to make it “colorful”.

Over the years the garden has matured and is now definitely colorful. The larger plantings consist of red Knockout roses, Orange/yellow Lantana, and Big Blue Stem grasses which provide a vertical punch. The remaining plants include Black-eyed Susan, Daylilies, Shasta Daisies, Dusty Miller, Blue-eyed Grass, Yarrow, Dragons Blood Sedum, and Verbena bon Ariensis. The garden is in bloom from mid-Spring into late Fall and is easy to maintain since the plants cover the ground and keep the weeds at bay. It does grow quickly, however, and can extend across the sidewalk which must be kept clear since it is a public building. There is no regular maintenance schedule since the garden is mature and only requires cleaning up along the sidewalk and an occasional thinning of the sedum and the Blue-eyed grass which spread like invasives.

This garden is a beautiful, colorful and perfect example of mixing natives with non-natives in a hot, sunny location. And…the Park staff is very pleased with their garden and often have cut flowers on their front counter.

LantanaA beautiful addition to the Indiantown garden, Lantana is a very desirable plant for the home garden. It is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. The heartiest varieties, such as ‘Miss Huff,’ will die back in our area and re-sprout from their root crowns in spring. Lantanas thrive in full sun and warmth and can grow up to 10’ tall. Some varieties have a trailing habit, perfect for spilling over a container or hanging basket. Upright varieties of Lantana offer great pops of color, providing high-impact and summer-long vibrancy. Flowers generally start as a light color and darken as they age. Once the blooms have aged through all of their colors, they simply fall off—saving the time of removing spent blooms. Lantanas are extremely attractive to pollinators. It's common to see numerous butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds swarming around these plants, drinking up the abundant nectar produced in their small, tubular blooms.




 


Kiptopeke State Park Native Plant Garden

 

 

Kiptopeke State Park Plant ES Natives garden

In 2011, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Master Gardeners designed and installed this garden in Kiptopeke State Park on the 26-acre CZM/Taylor Tract. Over 900 native forbs, shrubs, vines and small trees (17 species) were planted in this garden measuring 40 feet by 120 feet. The garden is one of the nine Eastern Shore demonstration gardens that are part of the “Plant ES Natives” Campaign. The goal of the garden is to expand native habitat in the park.

Native vines cling to a pergola arching over a bench in the garden inviting visitors to relax and enjoy the garden and a view of Taylor Pond. Signage highlights the value of native plants. Since its inception, many additional species of native plants have been added to the garden bringing the total number of species to 35.

Some noteworthy plants in the garden include butterfly weed, crossvine, American beautyberry, mist flower, swamp sunflower, seaside goldenrod and Atlantic wisteria.


New Roots Youth Garden

New Roots Youth Garden
Photos of garden credit: Jean E. Flynn

The New Roots Youth Garden is not hard to miss for all those headed into the beautiful town of Cape Charles, Virginia. It sits right across from the official town welcome sign, and is a perfect representation of the values that the Town of Cape Charles has prioritized. New Roots Youth Garden was at first just a seed of an idea that sprouted and grew in the mind of Laurie Klingel as a Masters Graduate Project. In partnership with Tammy Holloway, ESVMG Master Gardener, they took it from the armchair and into the real world.
Raised beds of veggies and herbsThe entire town, from the Town giving NRYG the land that was previously just an empty, barren lot, to the countless volunteers who wrote grants and did fundraising and dug the beds themselves, embraced the idea with the enthusiasm that comes from working as a community to create a community space. At first there were 8 raised beds...then Brown Dog donated two big deep raised beds...then two more trug beds were added...a pollinator garden took root...a little herb garden appeared on the side of the fence…

And now in 2019, in the 8th year of the New Roots Youth Garden being an active teaching youth garden, we have 12 raised beds, two waist-high beds, two garden trugs, a Littles Learning Space, a gorgeous pollinator garden, an herb garden, a fence-side garden full of summer cantaloupe, a wonderful pumpkin/melon patch that overflow into the yard, two happy little fig trees and a lovely 3 Sisters Garden and a 3-section compost system. Little's Garden and Pollinator garden

 The Garden continues to grow and will keep flourishing under the love and care of the volunteers and children that tend to the veggies and fruits. We grow a broad range of garden vegetables including tomatoes, squash, peppers, beans, kale, spinach, radishes, carrots, turnips, garlic, cabbage, and peas. The gardens also include cantaloupe, watermelon, and pumpkin which allow children and adults to see that it doesn’t take much space to eat a little more healthy.


Caterpillar on parsley Bee good!  Pick a Pepper
Photos courtesy: ESVMG

 The next time you are in Cape Charles, come see the magic growing at the corner of Fig and Mason! 


Northampton Free Library Pollinator Garden

Northampton Free Library Master Garden
Photos courtesy of ESVMG

The Pollinator Garden is located at 7745 Seaside Road, Nassawadox, VA.—near the intersection of Seaside Road and Rogers Drive. This Garden was envisioned by Sam Pitts of the Master Gardeners and the Nature Conservancy as a Native Plant Garden for pollinators. It was established by Karen Howell, Laura Stewart and other Master Gardeners, circa 2008, shortly after the Library was built and is maintained by the Master Gardeners of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

In the spring of 2017, a new trellis for the climbing vines—native Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemiun sempervirens) – was installed. Both these natives are frequented by hummingbirds and butterflies. The Coral honeysuckle has covered the trellis.

Volunteers and trellis  Trellis with flowering vines

Native plants in the Garden include Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata), Dwarf Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium dubium) Beebalm (Monarda fistuulosa) Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa).

Tickseed and butterflies Monarda and bee

Over the years, some of the Native Plants have been replaced by non-native cultivars, such as Fennel which provides food for larval Swallowtail and other butterflies, intended to provide a diversity of host and nectar plants for a wide variety of pollinators. 

Yellow zinnia and Monarch butterfly Pink zinnia and butterfly

 



We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it's our garden that is really nurturing us. -Jenny Uglow 
We hope you will visit the gardens in Northampton County often. Maybe you will be a Master Gardener who coaxes beauty from the soil.

Happy gardening, everyone!