Quiet Waters Park
Welcome to the Quiet Waters Park Pollinator Pathway! We are a 359 acre park run by the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation & Parks with over one million visitors a year. The Friends of Quiet Waters Park worked with the park to get it on the Pathway as it is a pesticide-free habitat offering meadows of pollinator plants, several planned gardens of native plants, and many acres of forested woodlands. The park borders the South River and Harness Creek with a view of the Chesapeake Bay beyond, beckoning birds and Monarchs to stop and refuel along the Atlantic flyway. Full of native bees, butterflies, other pollinating insects and wildlife, Quiet Waters attracts visitors to walk along its many. trails, exploring nature and our local ecology up close.
We hope you will come experience all the beauty of our environment and leave having learned more about the importance of native plants and trees to protecting wildlife and our pollinators. Below five areas of specific appeal to pollinators are highlighted.
Gardens at Quiet Waters Park Pathway
Reading & Butterfly Gardens
The Reading & Butterfly Gardens is an interactive watershed education experience. Featuring environmentally sensitive design solutions, this outdoor classroom includes a rain garden area to filter stormwater runoff. This habitat is replete with native trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials offering nectar and food for insects, larval plants for caterpillars, and shelter for butterflies, moths and bees. There are a variety of berries for birds and a "bee hotel" nearby. Reading nooks provide contemplative spaces for children and adults to enjoy this naturalistic setting. This project was developed in conjunction with Garrett's Light.
Currently Quiet Waters Park has two acres of meadows containing numerous stands of milkweed, grasses and other pollinator friendly plants such as Goldenrod, Boneset and Joe-Pye. This area is never mowed. Part of the meadows backs up to a swampy area where Spring Peeper frogs create a loud chorus of song in the Spring. A series of monitored Eastern bluebird nesting boxes are located next to the meadows and 118 babies hatched in 2021!
Native Garden in Compost Area
Located just beyond our Compost Demonstration Area, these garden beds are maintained by Maryland Master Gardeners. There are numerous beds of carefully labeled native plants. These signs provide information to visitors on the needs and size of each plant, the bloom time, and whether sun or shade is best. The mission is to educate the public on the array of native plants that could be grown in home gardens to help the environment and attract pollinators. The Master Gardeners also periodically demonstrate how to set up and maintain a compost area in backyards.
New Pollinator Native Plant Meadow
Over the summer of 2021 the horticulturalist, his staff and the Park Rangers began work creating a new two acre meadow from a former open grass field. Turning over the soil multiple times with a tractor (without using any herbicides) prepared the area for planting a winter cover crop of rye seeds. This was then followed by planting an Ernst Seeds Mesic to Dry Native Pollinator mix, including many local ecotype seeds. Three Swamp Oak trees are being planted to help define the area and natural pathways will wind through the meadow, encouraging people to explore the abundance of birds and insects this meadow should start attracting in 2022.
Visitor Center Formal Garden
The formal garden area lies between the Quiet Waters Park Visitors Center and the Blue Heron Center and is utilized for gatherings and special events. A number of sculptures stand in the center of various beds and there are many benches to sit on and enjoy the view of the gardens, surrounding forest and wide open sky. While a number of the existing plants attract bees, skippers and other insects, the emphasis going forward is to bring in new native trees and shrubs to replace some of the existing non-natives that may be invasive. The best example of this effort was the removal this year of the Bradford Pear trees that were replaced with native Sweet Bay Magnolias.
This is a public park and everyone is welcome. Entry is free to walkers; vehicle fee is $6.
The Friends of Quiet Waters Park Facebook link and Friends of Quiet Waters Park website: FQWP.org.
The Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation & Parks and The Friends of Quiet Waters Park