Posts Tagged 'waterfront park'

How Does Our Garden Grow?

With the unusually mild winter, it appears that gardens, orchards, and fields along the East Coast are blossoming and producing earlier-than-usual crops. This includes the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park in front of the National Aquarium, Baltimore. Its greenery is particularly lush this year, and there are a lot of flowers and fruits for curious guests and foraging birds alike.

Bee Balm—Monarda didyma


Bee balm, or scarlet balm, is a shrub that grows on the edges or understory of forests throughout the eastern U.S. and Asia. Often used as an ornamental plant, its brilliant red chandelier-like bloom is a favorite for butterflies and hummingbirds. It also has strong medicinal properties and was relied on by Native Americans for its use as an antiseptic and a poultice for skin infections and wounds. They brewed its leaves and stems as a tea to treat mouth and throat infections, as well as gingivitis. Amazingly, bee balm is a proven natural source of the antiseptic thymol, an active ingredient in most commercial mouthwashes!

Pitcher Plants—Sarracenia purpurea


Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants often referred to as “flytraps.” The purple pitcher plant is native to Maryland and can be found in acidic bogs and marshes. Excellent for controlling pests such as flying insects, slugs, and snails, these plants use nectar and scent to lure their prey into their “pitcher death traps.”

The cylindrical “pitcher” has very smooth and slippery sides and fills with water. Insects attracted by the nectar walk into the slippery pitcher only to fall in and drown. The dead bugs are then liquefied and absorbed as food by special enzymes produced in the plant.

Pitcher plants are commonly used in herbal remedies for treating fevers and increasing fertility in women. An infusion of its roots was once used to treat smallpox.

Shadbush—Amelanchier arborea


The shadbush is laden with ripe berries, providing a much-needed source of food for both migrating and local birds.

The next time you find yourself walking in the Inner Harbor area, stop by and check out our fantastic assortment of native plants in the Waterfront Park!

Thoughtful Thursdays: Celebrate Earth Day All Weekend

Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. At the Aquarium, our goal is to practice conservation every day of the year, but this weekend, in honor of Earth Day, we thought we’d do a little extra celebrating!

We have lots of fun activities lined up for Saturday and Sunday at our Baltimore venue, between 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Enjoy special animal encounters, repurpose recyclable materials into cool crafts, check out our eco-fair, and learn the tooth about sharks!

We’re also holding an e-cycle event, to send old or broken electronics to a second-life program, rather than to a landfill. Bring in your old cell phones, CDs and DVDs, and any other small electronics you’d like to dispose of, and we’ll give you a gift in return!

On Sunday, you’re invited to join Aquarium CEO John Racanelli and special guests Governor Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at 11 a.m. for a tree-planting ceremony, as we celebrate our new partnership with the National Wildlife Federation. The event will take place in the Aquarium’s Waterfront Park, just outside the main entrance on Pier 3. Meet Ranger Rick, sign a pledge to plant a tree, and take one home to plant and nurture. Also on Sunday, if you ride your bike to the Aquarium, you can get a free tune-up courtesy of Joe’s Bike Shop!

Simple Action: Share your yard with wildlife

Today’s Simple Action is to share your yard with wildlife.

Spring has arrived, and for many, yard maintainance and gardening has been added to the weekly to-do lists. There are very simple things you can do in your yard that will make a world of difference for our environment and wildlife.

 Americans directly apply 70 million pounds of pesticides to home lawns and gardens each year and, in so doing, kill birds and other wildlife and pollute our precious water resources. Instead of using pesticides, control insects using natural controls.

Also, plant native trees and shrubs because they use less fertilizer. Landscaping with natives, commonly referred to as “bayscaping,” also provides better food and shelter for wildlife, and requires less maintenance. These plants are adapted to local soil, rainfall and temperature conditions, and have developed natural defenses to many insects and diseases. Because of these traits, native plants will grow with minimal use of water, fertilizers and pesticides. 

Continue reading ‘Simple Action: Share your yard with wildlife’

Blue flags wave in Waterfront Park

Blue flags are irises that are native to our area.This week at the Aquarium, plant-loving visitors can enjoy a flower called a blue flag. A member of the iris family, this flower is unusual for its beautiful blue color (it is not a natural color typically found in flowers). 

Because the blue flag can tolerate sun to part sun and moist to wet soils, it can be found along fresh to moderately brackish tidal marshes, meadows, swamps, forest wetlands, and in the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park (an outdoor Aquarium exhibit that is free an open to the general public). The park is a great spot to relax in the bustling harbor, and has nearly 70 other species of native plants among the landscaping and 120,000 custom-made recycled pavers.

 


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