Kollar Nursery, a Northern Maryland Ecological Oasis

| General, Nursery Tours

by Miska Redmond ✎

MEMBERS AND FRIENDS of Wild Ones Greater Baltimore had the honor of touring Kollar Nursery at summer’s end. The family has owned and operated Kollar since 1985. Located in rural Harford County near the Pennsylvania border, the nursery is the brainchild of an exceptionally knowledgeable and ecologically minded family. Started by Stanley and Sharon Kollar in 1985, the property has been a source of ecological renewal for many decades.

The entrance to the Nursery is tucked away on a little country lane that weaves through forest and grassland near Pylesville, Maryland. It is clear when you enter the property that it is an oasis for both native plants and wildlife alike.

This event had a large turn out. After arriving, the chapter met at the top of the property near the main greenhouse, greeted by owner/operator Stan and Sharon Kollar.

The Kollars work together seamlessly to create a holistic customer service and ecologically focused business based on strong environmental science and years of cultivation experience. Stan is an ecologist and botanist who holds a Master’s Degree in Ecology from UC Santa Barbara. He has been dedicated to native flora for most of his life. A professor at Harford Community College, his welcome was part greeting, and part environmental lesson, which delighted multiple members.

Members and friends of Wild Ones Greater Baltimore are gathered around Stan Kollar in his Nursery listening to him describe the history of the nursery.

Members learned about a variety of ecological topics in the Central Maryland area, from invasive species such as the Sponge Moth, and the Spotted Lantern Fly, to the issues plaguing the Chesapeake Bay. Stan shared some history of bay restoration, including his part in restoring native sea grasses to the area.

After the question-and-answer session, we split into teams and headed off on tours of the property. While Stan holds the knowledge and has a great educational demeanor, Sharon cultivates strong relationships with many of her customers. Her knowledge of people and what they were in need of in their yards was apparent as she discussed the needs of repeat visitors. Speaking to the plants with love and familiarity as she guided us, along with Stan’s ecological perspective, we wandered through the greenhouse.

The next portion of our education had begun. Without missing a beat, Sharon and Stan proceeded to teach the group about the plants located in the greenhouse, explaining the importance of plants such as Lobelia, and Aster, to pollinators and other beneficial insects, as well as the significance of shrubs, like serviceberry, for our local bird population. Sharon seamlessly promoted plants for their beauty, giving ideas for possible arrangements as Stan explained the history of many of the plants, where they could be found locally, and their importance as a species native to the area. It is important to note that Stan was interested in promoting native plants long before it became fashionable, and his knowledge is built on decades of study.

As we went along looking at the various plants on the property, many members asked valuable questions about the benefits of specific plants, and the uses of them in the natural areas of our yards. Kollar nursery possesses a massive repository of plants, both straight species and cultivars.

They also add to the environment by providing spaces for various wildlife. Butterflies, bees, moths, frogs, and various other insects bobbed around the plants, the ponds, and woodland features. Their son, Jeremy, who is a landscape architect, led the second part of the tour, which took members down to the grounds beyond plant retail space. Groves of trees that had been growing for 30 years, a large pond that supplied valuable water for frogs and birds, and beautiful northern Maryland scenery sprawled out for acres.

Truly a gem, this woodland nursery and retreat is responsibly run by educated members of the larger ecological restoration and renewal effort in Maryland. It is a scenic forty-five minute drive from Baltimore, providing both native plants and education.

We, at Wild Ones Greater Baltimore, look forward to future events with Stan and Sharon, and more educational opportunities at Kollar Nursery. ❀

Photos by Anne Gneo and Amanda Wray