Transform Your Lawn and Prep for Spring Planting

The Sandy Spring Museum Garden Club wishes you a very Happy New Year!

Club members shout a great big “thank you!” to the outgoing co-Presidents, Amy Cohen and Marilyn Kessinger.  They graciously accepted an extra year in addition to the usual 2-year term.  Little did they know it would include a myriad of changes and challenges. Amy and Marilyn made a fabulous team and used their creativity to allow the Garden Club to continue productively in a difficult year.  When the pandemic arrived, they implemented virtual programs so that the Garden Club could continue providing excellent programs to the community.

Amy Cohen

Marilyn Kessinger

Amy and Marilyn also helped to continue several of the club’s traditions, despite the museum being closed to the public. With the cancellation of the annual Strawberry Festival, several young plants would have gone unsold without the quick thinking of Amy and Marilyn. They worked hard to put together the “Drive-Thru Plant Sale,” where community members purchased the plants online and drove to the museum for contactless pick-up. The club sold out of plants (!) and donated the proceeds to the museum. The annual Holiday Greens Workshops and Holiday Greens Sale were both cancelled, but the holiday spirit was kept alive with a virtual tour of one garden club member’s beautifully decorated historic home.

The Garden Club is very grateful to have had the leadership of Amy and Marilyn and know they will continue to be avid supporters of the Club and Museum. A warm welcome to the new Co-Presidents, Marge Combs and Kathy Ramienski. The Garden Club looks forward to their dynamic leadership over the next two years.

Lawn Alternatives

Manicured turf grass lawns cover most properties in suburban Montgomery County, but a new movement is challenging this conformity and providing food and shelter to birds and insects, diverting rainwater, and beautifying our front yards.

Allison Weiss, the museum’s Executive Director, shared photos of her journey to remove 100% of the grass from her property, and relocate the front brick walkway and replace it with stone.  There are two rain gardens in the center of each half of the front yard; the rest is conservation landscaping with native plants.



There are plenty of resources to realize your own new lawn:
low maintenance lawn ideas
lawn alternatives from the and the University of Maryland Extension
Naturescaping (nature-friendly landscaping)
– Using alternative groundcovers like Stepables, available at Stadler Nursery in Laytonsville.

The Montgomery County RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program offers rebates to property owners who wish to add gardens that slow water runoff in their yard.

Winter Gardening

In January you can start sowing perennials and hardy annuals in mini-greenhouses made from plastic milk jugs, soda bottles, or clear clamshell containers.  In February cold-hardy vegetable seeds can be planted.  Penn State Extension has helpful information on successful winter sowing. A video on this unique method can be found HERE.