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The Hawthorn

The Hawthorn
Fall 2009

Have a Green Holiday:
Mark your calendars now so you won’t miss the Merryspring Holiday
Bazaar on Christmas by the Sea weekend. Shopping at the Bazaar is not
only an opportunity to purchase wonderful, locally-harvested, volunteer-
crafted holiday decorations and gifts; it is also a chance to double your gift
giving by supporting Merryspring’s environment-friendly mission with
each purchase.
Members will have the first choice of the bounty at the Ross Center on
Thursday, December 3 (2 – 7 p.m.). The general public is invited to shop
on Saturday, December 5 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.). If you are not a member, we
One of an infinite variety of wreath designs crafted by invite you to become one at the Bazaar. Members get a 10% discount on
the Merryspring Elves. purchases.

Wreaths, evergreen swags, bundles of greens, and centerpieces will be available at the sale, but we strongly encourage
pre-ordering to be sure you get the decorations and color scheme you seek. The Merryspring elves are waiting to create some-
thing just for you! Go to the Holiday Bazaar page of the Merryspring website and click on the Bazaar
link for a copy of the catalog.
In addition to holiday greenery and books for the gardener or naturalist on your list, we always have an array of unique gift s that
will be available only at Merryspring during the sale. Here are just a few samples to whet your holiday shopping appetite:
delicious, homemade jams, preserves, and candy; compounded spice mixes; herbal sachets; paperwhites in their holiday best;
supplies to make your own decorations; pet treats; botanical greeting cards; and hand-crafted Della Robbia wreaths, decoupage
boxes and picture frames, ornaments, and more made by our talented volunteers.
We are very grateful to our sponsors, Long’s Landscaping and Scholz & Barclay Architecture, for helping us bring you this festive
event. All proceeds from the Bazaar benefit Merryspring Nature Center.

Enter the Holiday Raffle!
Be sure to enter the Holiday Raffle (tickets $1 each or 6 for $5) for a
chance to win an epicurean gift basket from Lily, Lupine and Fern ($200
value); an original sea glass sculpture, “Ari the Starfish,” by Lynette
Walther ($190 value, pictured at right); or a Merryspring signature fresh
balsam wreath decorated with natural materials ($35 value). See the
catalog for details at
Page 2 The Hawthorn Fall 2009

Merryspring A Year Full of Thanks Inside this issue:
Nature Center The board and staff of Merryspring extend our thanks to all Holiday Bazaar 1
P.O. Box 893, Camden, ME 04843 the volunteers who enable Merryspring to function. All Holiday Raffle 1
Tel: (207) 236-2239 summer long you’ve been gardening, mowing, clearing,
Fax: (207) 230-0663 hosting programs, putting on events, and helping in the office, Thanks 2
Email: library, and gift shop. We couldn’t do it without you. Wish List 2
Our profoundest gratitude goes to the penultimate volunteer,
Mission Statement Rachel Potter, our 2009 AmeriCorps Environmental Education Calendar 3
Merryspring’s mission is to practice, Educator/Maine Conservation Corps Member, who spent
teach, and advocate sound principles of Summer Scrapbook 4-5
countless hours assisting Merryspring with her wealth of
ecology, conservation, and horticulture in
order to protect our natural environment knowledge and resources and her quiet patience and good Winter Color Natives 6-7
and to provide natural landscapes and cheer. There is not an aspect of Merryspring’s operations she
cultivated areas for public enjoyment. has not helped improve, from expanding our children’s Kitchen Tour 7
programs, to modernizing our community outreach, to Horse Chestnut 8
Hours of Operation reassessing our site management plans, to reworking our
The park is open free of charge from
volunteer program. We wish her well in her life beyond
dawn to dusk every day of the year. Our
offices and library are open Tuesday- Merryspring and look forward to collaborating with her in the Wish List:
Friday from 9am to 2pm, or by appoint- future as she moves into teaching in the local school system.
Wall Cabinet—If you have a
ment. Merryspring is very grateful to the sponsor of the 2009 spare cabinet of the approximate
Membership Summer Tuesday Talks, The First, proudly serving the dimensions (12-14” deep x
Individual $35 banking needs of coastal Maine with a "can do spirit," and to
24”maximum width x 72” high )
Family $50 all those who shared their knowledge and expertise with
Business $50-100 give us a call. We will be happy
others through our education programs: Tom Atwell; Julie
Beckford, Rebel Hill Farms; Didier Bonner Ganter; Hammon to move it for you.
Board of Trustees
Ray Andresen, President Buck, Plants Unlimited; Paul Cates, Cates Family Glads; David Venetian Blind Slats—If you
Kathleen Kull, Vice President Coomer, SolarMarine; Phillip deMaynadier, ME Fish & have broken blinds, don’t throw
Margaret E. Barclay, Vice President Wildlife; Ellen Dyer, Gen. Henry Knox Museum; Eric Evans; Dr.
them away. We use the slats to
Richard Ailes, Treasurer David Field; David Foley, Holland & Foley Architecture; John
Frank Callanan, Secretary make plant labels.
Forbes, USDA/APHIS; Wanda Garland, Coastal Senior College;
Susan Dorr Kathie Gass; Joe Gray, Mid-Coast Audubon; Arthur Haines,
Cynthia Dunham New England Wildflower Society; Kerry Hardy; Jenny Hartung;
Joanne Fagerburg
Tom Hopps; Rebecca Jacobs, Gabriella’s Gardens; Glen Jenks;
James Sady
Susan Shaw Shelley Johnson, BreathEasy Farm; Patrick Keenan,
Carol Woodbury -Witham BioDiversity Research Inst.; Clay & Magy King, Green Hive
Honey; Clay Kirby, UMaine IPPDL; Neil Lash, Medomak Valley
Staff High School; Stephen Leavins, Maine Sport Outfitters; Ken
Toni Goodridge, Administrative Mgr. Liberty, Peony Society of ME; Greg Marley, Mushrooms for
Gail Sutton, Buildings & Grounds Mgr.
Health; Dennis Milliken, Hoboken Gardens; Morten
Bill Sutton, Buildings & Grounds Assist.
Moesswilde, Maine Forest Service; Diane O’Brien; Fredda Paul
AmeriCorps Environmental & Leslie Wood, Kuwesi-medicine; Antje Roitzsch; Kathie
Educator Savoie, U. ME. Extension.; Rick Sawyer, Fernwood; Susan
Rachel Potter Shaw; Lee Schneller Sligh; Lesia Sochor; Barbara Tomlinson,
©2009—All Rights Reserved Wild Haven; Cindy Tibbitts, Hummingbird Farm; Cheryl
Wixon, MOFGA; and Tom York, York’s Hardy Rhododendrons.
We would especially like to thank Wendy Andresen,
Sign up for our eUpdates at
Merryspring’s “Julia Child of the Garden.” Her five-part series to receive on caring for the Perennial Garden through the season was
the latest news on programs and an amazing contribution to our program.
We deeply appreciate our education partner organizations:
Aldermere Farm; AmeriCorps; Ashwood Waldorf School;
Visit Merryspring’s Facebook Central Maine Astronomical Society; Coastal Maine Botani-
page where you can check on cal Gardens; Five Town Communities That Care - STAR
upcoming programs and events. Program; Knox-Lincoln County Soil & Water Conservation One of the many Forest Beings
District; American Chestnut Foundation—Maine Chapter; brought to life on Merryspring’s
Go to
Maine Conservation Corps; Maine Daylily Society; Mid-Coast eastern boundary trails by the
merryspring-facebook/ We hope Ashwood Waldorf School for the
Audubon Society; Otolith Education; Pen Bay Health Care;
you’ll become a fan. Plants Unlimited; The Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary; and All Hallows’ Eve Celebration. Come
Youthlinks. Without their co-sponsorship or participation, visit them before winter winds and
many of our events would not be possible. snow do their work.
The Hawthorn Fall 2009 Page 3

2010 Winter/Spring Calendar

Noon on Tuesdays; bring a bag lunch. Members & Children Free, Others $5
January 12 The Inspired Garden: 24 Artists Share Their Vision—Judy Paolini, Author & Designer
January 19 Houseplant Clinic: Expert Advice on Caring for the Indoor Garden—Dennis Milliken, Green Thumb Nursery
January 26 Mercury Pollution in Maine—Patrick Keenan, BioDiversity Research Institute
February 2 To Be Announced
February 9 Maine is a Garden—Cathy Melio, Center for Maine Contemporary Art
Live Animal Program to be Announced
February 23 What’s New for 2010—Hammon Buck, Plants Unlimited
March 2 Stories Around a Katahdin Campfire—John Neff, Maine Appalachian Trail Club
March 9 Winter Tree I.D.—Morten Moesswilde, Maine Forest Service
March 16 Composting with Worms—Mark Follansbee, WormMainea
March 23 The Best Vegetable Varieties for Maine Gardens—Dr. David Handley, UMaine Cooperative Extension
March 30 Heirloom Plants are for the Birds! (Bees and Butterflies, too!) - Diana George Chapin, The Heirloom Garden
April 6 Grow More, Work Less with Square-Foot Gardening—Shelley Johnson, BreathEasy Farm
Going Green: Small Changes for a Big Impact—Keith Crowley, Chewonki Foundation
April 27 Trees for the Maine Landscape—Doug Fox, Unity College
May 4 Alpine Primula—Richard May, Evermay Nursery
May 11 Plant Fever: Tips for an Organized Growing Season—Rebecca Jacobs, Gabriella’s Gardens
May 25 Soil Health in Plain English—Mark Hutchinson, UMaine Cooperative Extension

A monthly Family Program Series and School Break Family Programs are currently under construction. Keep your eye on the
Merryspring website and weekly eUpdates for the latest postings.

Winter Ecology Festival: Saturday, February 13, from 10am - 12pm —A fun event for the whole family: Maine mammals and
birds; winter trees; birdfeeder making; winter sports ; and more; hot drinks and refreshments throughout the day
Astronomy Day, co-sponsor—Central Maine Astronomical Society: Saturday, April 24, afternoon and evening—Mark you calen-
dar for this annual event when astronomers share their joy of astronomy with people of all ages

Some dates may be subject to change and additional workshops and field trips will be added. Be sure to check our website for the latest
postings. If you’d like to be sent news of new programs and reminders of upcoming events, send your name and email address to We will
never share or sell your email address.
Page 4 The Hawthorn Fall 2009

Fort Building &
Fairy Houses
at Merryspring
September 13, 2009
The Hawthorn Fall 2009 Page 5

September 20 - Arthur Haines (seated) demonstrates
a fire starting technique during the Fall Foraging
August 14 - Tomm Tomlinson and Ziggy the
Turkey Vulture visit Merryspring’s Ross Center.

2009 Summer and Fall Education Programs

September 22 - District Forester Morten Moesswilde September 16 - 6th and 7th graders at the
addresses a large group at the Tree Identification 2009 Knox-Lincoln Conservation Fair learn
workshop. about the effects of invasive species.
Page 6 The Hawthorn Fall 2009

Native Plants to Help Keep Your Season Bright
Formerly dismissed as plants of waste spaces, many of Maine’s native
species have taken root in cultivated landscapes for the boons they provide:
habitat and food for native wildlife and winter beauty.
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) is named for its velvety, forked branches
which resemble the new antlers of a stag. Considered a large shrub or small
tree, it looks best planted in a dense stand bordering a cleared, sunny area.
In fall, the lance-shaped leaflets turn brilliant, flaming hues and the conical,
upright fruit clusters ripen to deep rust. Harvested early in the autumn,
these berries can be made into pleasantly tart “lemonade” by crushing
lightly, soaking in cold water, then straining the resulting liquid through
cheesecloth. Fall rains wash away all flavor, but the berry clusters persist
throughout the winter, providing a nutritious food source for birds, sculp-
tural interest for the landscape, and dramatic accents for floral arranging.
Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) is common in moist, sandy, sunny
lowlands. Its signature characteristic is the deep red bark, which shows to its
best advantage against a white blanket of snow once the leaves have fallen.
This low, berry-bearing shrub forms dense clumps, providing food and cover
for mammals and birds. The red stems are a traditional basket-making ma- Staghorn sumac’s fuzzy, red fruit clusters
terial and can easily be bound into long-lasting wreaths. Inserted amidst atop velvety stems add sculptural interest to
evergreen boughs, the burgundy branches create contrasting notes in holi- the winter landscape .
day decorations.

Christmas fern’s (Polystichum acrostichoides) leathery, dark green, tapering fronds make a popular Yuletide decoration
because they remain green through the holiday season. This common evergreen fern of our wooded slopes adds year-round
color, structure, and erosion control to the shade garden and serves as cover for frogs. Easily grown and readily available at
most nurseries, they look most natural when planted in masses.
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is the native holly of Maine. Unlike the holly associated with European Christmas traditions,
winterberry is a shrub rather than a tree, and its leaves are deciduous and spineless. Nonetheless, its bright red berries,
persisting on the branches long after the leaves have dropped and the snow has begun to fly, bring cheer to our winter
landscape and the numerous species of birds who feast on them. For use in holiday arrangements, the leafless, berry-laden
branches should be gathered by Thanksgiving before the birds have stripped them bare.
(continued on page 7)

Red osier dogwood stems show their winter color. The Christmas fern is hardy and evergreen.
The Hawthorn Fall 2009 Page 7

(continued from page 6)
This hardy, easily grown plant occurs naturally in wet,
acidic soils in sunny locations. In wetlands and bogs it
can form large, impenetrable thickets. However, it can
be grown in the average garden if provided with ade-
quate sun.
There is now a winterberry suited to almost any
landscape. Dozens cultivars have been developed that
range in plant shape from upright to spreading to dwarf
and vary in berry size, color, and density. Like other
hollies, winterberry is dioecious, so at least one male
plant must be present for the pollenization and fruiting
of female plants.

The fruit of Winterberry is a favorite of birds and
holiday decorators. In this photo it is seen before the
leaves have dropped and the fruit has dried.

The Kitchen Tour is a Community Effort
Each year it takes an amazing community effort and a lot of coordination to make Merryspring Nature Center’s biggest fund-
raiser of the year possible, and many people and businesses work together to make the tour a success. The work is always worth
the result: the enjoyment of the approximately 600 attendees sampling the culinary skills of local chefs while admiring the
craftsmanship and design skills exhibited in eight beautiful kitchens. Merryspring is very grateful to all who contribute to the
Our deepest gratitude goes to the gracious homeowners, without whom there would be no tour: Louise & Dick Cadwgan; Deb-
bie & Mark Masterson; the Fraley Family; Barbara & John Davidson; Sarah Price & Stephen Florimbi; Annemarie Ahearn; Jill &
Michael Roy; and Janet Redfield & Scott Dickerson.
Special thanks goes out to the chefs who served up their gustatory delights in the kitchens: 3 Dogs Café; Amalfi on the Water;
Blue Sky Cantina; Brevetto Kitchen & Wine Bar; The Brown Bag; Cappy’s Chowder House; Laura Cabot Catering; The Market
Basket; Megunticook Market; Mid-Coast School of Technology; Natalie’s; Paolina’s Way; Peter Ott’s Fine Food & Tavern;
Prism Glass Gallery & Café; and Salt Water Farm.
We would also like to express our appreciation to EBS Style Solutions, our business sponsor, and Francine Bistro, provider of the
door prizes, as well as the other businesses, designers, and craftspeople who supported the tour: 17-90 Lighting Showroom; A.E.
Sampson & Son, LTD; Agren Appliance & Television; Atlantic Baking Co.; Atlantic Design Center; Bayview Gallery; Beckstrom
Architecture & Planning; Bench Dogs, Inc.; Bernhard & Priestley Architecture; Brown Appliance & Mattress; Chatfield Design;
Chez Michel; Classical Wood Floors; Cold Mountain Builders, Inc.; Cornerstone Kitchens; Crestwood Kitchens & Bath Design Cen-
ter; David C. Olivas, DDS; Dennis J. King Masonry, Inc.; Distinctive Tile & Design; Dominic Paul Mercadante Architecture; Dream
Kitchen Studio by Mathews Brothers; Freshwater Stone; Handle It!; Holland & Foley Architecture, LLC; John Gillespie, Architect;
John Morris Architects; Silverio Architecture & Design; Kelsey’s Appliance Village; Landmark Construction, Inc.; Landworks De-
sign; Landscape Services; Laurel Wood Floors; Liberty Cabinet & Design; Linconville Family Dentistry; Logan Woodbridge, Inc.;
Lorraine Construction; Maine Coast Construction; Metaphor Bronze Tileworks; Midcoast Marble & Granite; Morningstar
Marble & Granite; New View Interiors; Northport Bath, Inc.; Oliver Builders, Inc.; Once a Tree; Optimum Performance; Party Fun-
damentals; Peter T. Gross Architects, P.A.; PHI Home Designs, LLC; Pro Source Installations, Inc.; Qualey Granite & Quartz; Rock-
ers, Inc.; Schelble Brothers, Inc.; Scholz & Barclay Architecture; Stancioff Building & Design, Inc.; Surroundings; The Good Table;
The Store; The Well Tempered Kitchen; Treekeepers LLC/Johnson’s Arboriculture; Viking, Inc.; and Windsor Chairmakers.
Finally our thanks goes out to the more than 65 volunteers who gave their time to act as hosts, hostesses, or parking guides, and
the community members who turned out to support Merryspring by attending the tour.
Congratulations to an outstanding Kitchen Tour Committee: Meg Barclay; Susan Dorr; Dorothea Graham; Kathie Kull; Edie Kyle;
Harrah Lord; Aileen Lubin; and Pris Wood.
P.O. Box 893
Camden, ME 04843

Don’t Roast These by
the Open Fire!
They look so much like chestnuts, you might be tempted to
eat them. But don’t be fooled into foraging nuts of the
Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) for your holiday
fare. The nuts, while not poisonous to touch, contain
saponins and glycosides that cause sickness or death when
eaten. They are poisonous enough that crushed nuts,
thrown into a lake, can stun fish.

Spiny husk of the American chestnut (Castanea dentate) is shown at the upper right, while
the smoother, thorned husk of the Horse-chestnut is shown at the upper and lower left.
Note the characteristic large, white, eye-like area on the nuts themselves, center.

The Horse-chestnut, a European shade tree commonly planted around homes for its
dramatic spikes of flowers and palmate leaves, is not a chestnut at all. It belongs to the
Soapberry family (Sapindaceae) along with our native Buckeyes, which are also poison-
ous. The nuts or “conkers” can be easily distinguished from those of the true chestnuts
by the husks. The husks of all true chestnuts (Castanea species) are aptly dubbed
“urchins” for their bristling, spiny appearance. The husk of the Horse-chestnut is much
smoother with short thorns (see photo).
A bowl of Horse-chestnuts ready to use
for holiday crafts. Remember, never eat any plant unless you are of its identity.