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Sprucing Up

Tony Foreman

Sudden summerlike heat has prompted a flurry of activity. Man and nature are suddenly abuzz in the Greater Roland Park area. Bees are hovering around our Yoshino cherry tree that is about to break forth and join its cousin, the pinker Okame cherry, already in full blush. I like to think these bees fly over from our Woodlawn Road neighbors’ hives. Daffodils pop open almost hourly in our garden, which becomes greener every day.
 
From my third-floor perch, I see a wide, old tulip magnolia in full bloom across Roland Avenue. The window is open and the seasonal mix of Carolina wrens and sirens begins. 
 
On Cold Spring Lane, a line of skip laurels was just planted outside of Roland Springs. A decorative corner wall is being built on the parking lot by S’ghetti Eddie’s. Judging from the attractive plantings in front of those restaurants, new landscaping will likely take place on that former gas station corner.
To encourage further planting, two new tree initiatives have begun this spring. One is sponsored by the Roland Park Civic League. Homeowners who have paid full Roads & Maintenance fees may request that a tree be planted in the grass plot between their front sidewalk and the street. The Civic League will pay for the tree and its installation if residents agree to water the tree in its first two years. 
 
The second tree initiative was in full force on a recent Sunday. Students canvassed the area and recorded fruit trees for the Baltimore Orchard Project. The project is working to inventory and map fruit trees in the city, help owners harvest existing trees, clean up what has fallen to the ground and distribute fruit to those in need.

All tree locations are being kept confidential. The project plans to work with communities to expand the orchards. I wonder if there is a sunny location along Stony Run that might be used. 
 On University Parkway, lots of tree trimming and brush clearing has mercifully occurred in Centennial Park (formerly known as “the dell”). Gone is the weedy overgrown feeling that had prevailed in recent years. This Civic League initiative dovetails with the Greater Roland Park Master Plan to “Take Back Our Sidewalks.”

Residents are encouraged to trim greenery encroaching the wonderful network of sidewalks in the area. (I know Ruxtonites who have severe cases of Roland Park sidewalk and footpath envy.)  On daily walks up Roland Avenue, I have noticed several long hedges recently pruned, including one that has been lowered in front of the Roland Park Shopping Center. Pruning not only keeps shrubbery neat and sidewalks wide but also makes properties safer.
 
Construction is in full gear at the shopping center, where an investment firm seems to be moving in next to Eddie Jacobs. After severe termite and structural damage was revealed during the renovation of the former Roland Park Bakery & Deli, renovation of the new Tony Foreman-Cindy Wolfe restaurant has stopped, but structural repair is underway.
 
More structural issues are being addressed on Falls Road, where the $2 million water main replacement along Falls Road is still snarling traffic, but is supposedly almost complete. More city construction is underway on Roland Avenue near Northern Parkway.
 
Some homeowners on our street discovered severe termite damage. After complete basement cleanout, rebuilding is underway. Painting is underway at others. Ditto shutter replacement, bathroom remodeling and air conditioning installation. Along the back fence at the Woman’s Club of Roland Park, new plantings are a welcomed green backdrop for winter jasmine. 
 
At our house, the back garden is half-weeded. My husband has raked and pruned diseased branches from the front boxwoods. Our containers still sport dusty miller and spiky dracaena that never died this past winter, and I am off to Schneider’s for lavender pansies.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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