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A Different Type of Garden: Oyster Gardens!

By Margaret Herbers, Member & Volunteer

South River from London Town
South River from London Town

For six months a year since 2017, Historic London Town and Gardens has been hosting a different kind of garden: oyster gardening.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation provides volunteers with cages for seedling oysters (called “spat”) to give them a year protected from predators to become established. This requires access to a dock to suspend the cages in water deep enough to keep them above the muddy river bottom but still immersed at low tide during the winter.

Our family moved to Anne Arundel in 2017 and while I was searching for access to a suitable dock I was delighted to discover London Town. When executive director Rod Cofield graciously gave permission to hang four cages between the dock pilings, the first “garden” started that September. Every two or three weeks until November, the cages get pulled up and rinsed with fresh water to discourage parasites, and left on the dock for 30 minutes or more. From November until March the oysters are dormant; then in April the process begins again.

In May the Chesapeake Bay Foundation staff collect the oysters for permanent placement. A number of people do oyster gardening on South River, and all these oysters are placed in an oyster bar (also known as an oyster reef) in Glebe Bay.

I’m grateful to London Town making possible this little contribution toward helping the environment. My grandchildren are fascinated with all the critters that ride along when the cages are pulled up, as are London Town visitors who happen by and ask questions.

And we're grateful to Margaret for the wonderful work she's doing! Thank you!


Grow the ReLeaf Fund

Recently, London Town launched the ReLeaf Fund. This newly created fund was inspired by the cycle of renewal in our gardens. Donations to it will ensure that London Town will grow again. Funds will be matched up to $35,000! Learn more and donate today!

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