Nancy Curran loves gardening.
This is evident in every corner of her yard in Cape St. Claire, on the shores of the Little Magothy River. Framed by big Oaks and American Hollies, the driveway is bordered along one side by her shade garden, populated with Columbine, ferns and azaleas. On the other side, a natural rain garden is poised in just the right spot to catch the stormwater runoff from the driveway.
She likes to use Sedum here instead of mulch. A permeable path of brick leads into the garden, and to the composting area behind one of her sheds. The lawn outside the front entrance to the Curran home is surrounded by an assortment of gardens; a rose garden with Geraniums, Columbine and English Daisy, a perennial garden and a majestic grouping of Rhododendrons too.
Not only is Nancy an avid gardener, she is also one of Anne Arundel County’s Master Watershed Stewards, having graduated from the Academy at Arlington Echo. Among the many disciplines taught there, is the use of native plants wherever possible. Since they are accustomed to this climate and soil, they require minimal watering, no fertilizer and naturally complement, attract and feed the birds, bees and butterflies.
Along the pathway to the back yard you’ll pass a couple of rain barrels, very useful to catch roof water for slow release. There’s also an antique table top green house, for starting the annuals. The waterfront back yard begins with a deck and patio area, with large pots full of flowers and plants. A forested buffer runs along one side of the yard, with Oaks and blooming Bleeding Hearts. On the other side, in a depression once occupied by a swimming pool, there is now a big beautiful rain garden, with a river bottom stone path. Lots of rainwater rolls into it from the patio, the pathways and the yard. Brimming with natives and decoratives alike, it features three different types of Blueberries, Red Chokeberry, Winterberry and Foxglove. You’ll also find Phlox, Viburnum, Rudebekia, Purple Cone Flower, St. John’s Wort, Spiderwort and many more.
At the edge of the yard, the bank drops down to the river. Here we see one of the most effective treatments of all. There’s a lush growth on the hill, to hold it in place and absorb any water rolling down toward the river. A huge Rosemary bush crowns one side of the steps, and Northeastern Asters, Yellow Flag Iris and some nice size rocks hold down the hill on the other. The shoreline is living, with sand, grasses and stones instead of armored with revetment or bulkhead. This way, turtles, shrimps and minnows can make their homes, contributing to the health and vitality of the ecosystem.
From front to back, the Curran’s beautiful home exhibits loving care, and thoughtful use of landscaping to protect the precious waterways.