Earth Day at Pleasant View -- over 100 volunteers worked despite light rain.  Check out the photos below.  If you have some to add, email them to Merikay at

Click on the photo above to see a slideshow of our Pleasant View landscaping project.  

We're not yet done.  See additional volunteer dates below.  We can still use cardboard and newspaper (through Saturday, April 29).  Drop off at the Pleasant View site behind the church.  Use boards or rocks to weight cardboard and paper down.

Click to see some of our Pleasant View friends.  Please send me photos to add here.

Pleasant View Project

Earth Stewardship East has been awarded a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to complete a major storm water management, native plant landscaping and public education project on the Historic Pleasant View Site, 11810 Darnestown Road, Gathersburg, MD. Funds will be used to purchase plants and supplies -- work will be done primarily by volunteers from throughuot the community. Please join us in this amazing opportunity to make a significant positive environmental impact -- and share in an historic celebration.  

Our project will be completed in 2018, in time to mark the 150th anniversary of the purchase of this property by freed slaves. 

Earth Day - Saturday, april 22, 2017 is our first big work day.  9 AM - 1 PM (video invite for April 22)

Wednesday, April 26, LDS Church Youth, 7 pm

Thursday, April 27, Cub scout Pack, 4:30 pm

Saturday, April 29 is Youth Volunteer Day, 9 am - 1 pm


Youth aged 8+ are welcome at any of our work days.  April 29 is especially for the youth from the middle and high school years.  They can earn MCPS SSL hours for volunteer time.  Scout and church youth groups particularly welcome on April 26 or April 27.  Please share info about these events.  Email Merikay if you want digital flyers to share with others (  

Let us know if you want to help.  We can use volunteers on days before and after too!


Update - April 1

Thanks to Dara Ballow-Giffen we are receiving 100 donated native plants from Pope Farm Nursery.  This is a great help, particularly since Dara is willing to pick up the plants for us.  Also, Matthew Hanson has expressed interest in doing an Eagle Scout project at Pleasant View to create a path linking the sidewalk to our conservation landscaping.  I have been in contact with the MD State Highway Department and they have approved our plant list and planting design.  There is a drainage easement where Route 28 borders the property.  We have been distributing flyers throughout the community.  Please feel free to invite friends and neighbors to join us.  Carolyn Thompson of the Pleasant View Trustees is recruiting people from the Pleasant View and Fairhaven community.  The Trustees have had dead limbs removed from the large old tree at the corner of the property to prevent any hazards from falling branches.  They are also having an outside spigot installed at the school so we will have access to water for our plantings.

Old photo of the Pleasant View Church.  Unfortunately all of these mature trees are now gone and the front steps are overgrown.  As I talk to people in the community, many think the church is no longer in use.  They're wrong.  A small (~9) group of friendly folks meets there each Sunday - Mt. Olive Christian Church.  Helen Woods is their Pastor.  Stop by one of their services on Sunday morning. Sunday School at 10 am; Worship Service at 11:30 am.

Old photo of the Pleasant View Church.  Unfortunately all of these mature trees are now gone and the front steps are overgrown.  As I talk to people in the community, many think the church is no longer in use.  They're wrong.  A small (~9) group of friendly folks meets there each Sunday - Mt. Olive Christian Church.  Helen Woods is their Pastor.  Stop by one of their services on Sunday morning. Sunday School at 10 am; Worship Service at 11:30 am.

The plan

Above is a rough draft of the landscape design plan we will be developing.  Our proposal calls for planting more than 500 native trees, shrubs and perennials in a landscaped area just under 5,000 square feet along Darnestown Road.   This area is currently a mix of weeds and turf grass which slopes away from the church to a drain.  Our landscape will provide a visual buffer between the cemetery and street as well as improved storm water management and natural habitat. Additional trees and landscaping will be placed as noted in the design plan, including a shade garden under the mature tree at the property corner and landscaping at the front of the Quince Orchard Colored School.  We will install two rain barrels at the gutters of the church.  

Funds for a bench and stone path were not allowed in our grant.  We are looking for individuals or groups who might donate funds for these amenities which will greatly enhance the public's pleasure in visiting this site.  Contact Merikay if you wish to make a tax deductible donation towards these items.  

We welcome any individuals or groups to join with us on this project.  Leaders of the following environmental and faith groups have expressed support for our project:  Pleasant View Trustees, Muddy Branch Alliance, Seneca Creek Watershed Partnership, Fairhaven United Methodist Church, Mt. Olive Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Kentlands Ward), and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.  If your community group would like to participate in this project, please contact Merikay Smith at

Funds for this Pleasant View project come from the Montgomery County Water Quality Protection Fund through the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

History of Pleasant View

"According to the Pleasant View Historical Association historian, Vernon Green, the property was purchased in 1868 for $54 for the establishment of a Methodist Episcopal Church to serve the African-American community that resided in the area. The congregants originally worshiped in a school on the property until they could afford to build a church. The church was built in 1888. In 1901, the Quince Orchard Colored School burned down under suspicious circumstances. In 1902, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to move the old school for white children that was located across the street to the Pleasant View site to be used for the black students. A new school was built for the white population." - from The Quince Orchard Project.

For more on the history of Pleasant View:

For a very interesting video (17 minutes) on the Quince Orchard Colored School and the history of segregated schools in Montgomery County, see

For extended interviews with community members who attended school at the Pleasant View site, see the following:

Native Plants

Pleasant View Plant List

Trees:  24 total  – others by donation.  Some of these trees will be planted in Spring 2016, others in Fall 2017.  3 gallon – 15 gallon

Latin Name                                        Common Name                                Number of plants

Acer saccharum                               Sugar maple                                      2

Betula nigra 'Heritage'                     River birch                                       3

Cercis candensis                             Redbud                                              7 or more*

Cornus florida, ‘Appalacian’           Dogwood                                           7

Magnolia grandiflora                        Southern magnolia                          3* 

Magnolia virginiana                         Sweetbay magnolia                           2


We hope to include the non-native quince tree for Quince Orchard.   Cydonia oblonga.

Shrubs: 115 various sizes

Hibiscus moscheutos                      Rose mallow                                     22

Hydrangea quercifolia                     Oakleaf hydrangea                            8

Ilex glabra                                          Inkberry                                        13

Ilex opaca 'Maryland Dwarf'           American holly dwarf                       14

Ilex verticillata                                   Winterberry                                    20

Juniperus virginiana ‘Gray Owl’       Juniper                                             18

Lindera benzoin                               Spicebush                                           5*

Morella caroliniensis                        Bayberry                                              6

Callicarpa Americana                       American beautyberry                         3*^

Cephalanthus occidentalis                Buttonbush (fall 2017)                       3^

Cornus stolonifera                            Red-osier dogwood                            3*^


Perennials:  395, various sizes

Asclepias incarnata                         Swamp milkweed                               5*

Asclepias tuberosa                          Butterfly milkweed                           16

Aster laevis, ‘Bluebird’                    Smooth blue aster                              5

Aster novae-angliae                        New England aster                           10**

Baptisia australis                              Wild blue indigo                              7** 

Coreopsis tripteris                            Tall tickseed (sign)                           15

Coreopsis verticillate, ‘Zagreb’         Tickseed                                           15  

Echinacea purpurea                          Purple coneflower                           50  

Eupatoreum maculatum                   Spotted Joe-pye weed                      15

Heliopsis helianthoides                     Ox eye sunflower                              9

Lilium canadense                              Canada lily                                      10

Monarda punctata                            Spotted bee-balm                            13

Monarda didyma                              Bee balm                                          15

Panicum virgatum                            Switchgrass                                      13

Penstemon digitalis                           Beardtongue (2018)                         13

Phlox paniculata, ‘David’                  Garden phlox (2018)                       10^

Phlox subulata                                  Moss phlox                                       20

Physostegia virginiana                      Obedient plant (2018)                       5

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium             Narrow-leafed mountain mint         10*

Rudbeckia fulgida                            Orange coneflower(20 sign)            45

Rudbeckia hirta                                Black-eyed susan                               50

Rudbeckia triloba                             Brown-eyed susan                               *

Schizachyrium scoparium                 Little blue-stem                                   7

Solidago canadensis                          Goldenrod                                           6*

Solidago rugosa, ‘Fireworks’             Goldenrod                                           6*

Yucca filamentosa                            Adam’s needle (sign)                           10


Brown-eyed susan will be transplanted from my garden as filler for gaps where shrubs will eventually grow. 

**Asters will be added in the fall to fill in gaps.

^ Beautyberry, buttonbush, red-twig dogwood and garden phlox will go in front of fence near drain.

Native grass: Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' and 'Northwind' are of the blue-green leaf variety and 'Huron Solstice' has more burgandy-green foliage.  Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium is a smaller, blue-green grass.  Select based on available options.


Plants for shade under mature tree to be planted in 2018: 156 plants

Adiantum pedatum                          Northern maidenhair fern               5

Aquilegia canadensis                         Eastern columbine                         10

Athyrium filix-femina                       Northern lady fern                           5

Clethra alnifolia                                Summersweet                                   3

Dennstaedtia punctilobula               Hay-scented fern                               5

Dryopteris intermedia                      Evergreen wood fern                       10

Dryopteris marginalis                       Evergreen shield fern                         5

Kalmia angustifolia                          Lambkill                                            3

Lobelia siphilitica                             Great blue lobelia                              5

Mertensia virginica                          Bluebells                                           10

Polystichuym acrostichoides            Christmas fern                                  10

Arisaema triphyllum                         Jack-in-the-pulpit                             10

Asarum canadense                           Wild ginger                                        10

Dicentra canadense                          Squirrel corn                                       5

Dicentra eximia                                Wild bleeding hearts                          5

Iris cristata                                        Dwarf crested iris                             10

Delphinium tricorne                         Dwarf larkspur                                 10

Geranium maculatum                       Wild Geranium                                 10

Tradescantia virginiana                     Spiderwort                                         10

Zizia aurea                                        Golden alexanders                               5


Plants marked * are donated and not counted in the total for cost estimates.

No plants are listed for beds around the schoolhouse.  This area will only be planted if there are enough volunteers and extra plant funds. 

Substitutions may occur depending on plant availability and price.  I will contact three local vendors and will select the best combination of price and plant quality.  I have some information from Stadler Nurseries but they do not yet have their final 2017 plant list or pricing.  I have not yet heard back from the other vendors.  The Stadler pricing shows trees as less (except for magnolias) but perennials and some shrubs for more than the estimated costs.

I don’t yet have the actual costs.  Comparing this plant list pricing against the grant application, there is an increase of about $600.  As these prices are all only estimates, I may have to adjust our plant list to stay within budget.