Responsible Gardening Benefits Water Quality and CBF
Eastern Shore Nursery Launches “Greener Plants” Program
By Andrea Moran
For decades, the owners of Eastern Shore Nursery of Virginia and the communities
they serve have reaped the benefits of the
nursery’s diligent water-conservation practices. Now they want to preach what they
practice, sowing watershed-friendly seeds
far and wide. Husband and wife team Nick
Covatta and Robin Rinaca and staff have
sprouted “Greener Plants,” a new outreach
program designed to educate the nursery
industry and home gardeners about water
protection and conservation. CBF worked
side by side with the nursery as it developed its management practices.
Located in Keller, Virginia, Eastern Shore
Nursery of Virginia grows more than 700 vari-eties of trees and shrubs for garden centers,
re-wholesalers, and landscapers from North
Carolina to Maine. Touring their prolific
fields, you won’t find stark paths of gravel or
concrete between the beds. What you will see
are weeds and grass doing their job as natural
runoff filters. “We’d rather put up with some
weeds to have cleaner water,” explains Rinaca.
ANDREA MORAN/CBF STAFF
Eastern Shore Nursery owners Nick Covatta and Robin Rinaca have partnered
with CBF to teach “green” gardening.
All of the nursery’s “Greener Plants” are cultivated using recycled surface water for irrigation. The nursery grounds are contoured to
send water to ditches and sediment ponds so
that the runoff stays on their farm and out of
creeks that run into the Chesapeake Bay, just a
few miles away. Trees are watered using trickle
irrigation, and plants are fed
with slow-release fertilizer.
Eastern Shore Nursery has
taken extraordinary care to
assure that runoff is managed conscientiously, earning them kudos
such as Conservation Farmer of the Year Award
and a Ground Water Award from the Eastern
Shore Soil and Water Conservation District.
A generous donation from the “Greener
Plants” program has been designated to
support CBF’s future growth in the
Hampton Roads region.
“We salute Eastern Shore
Nursery of Virginia for
managing a successful
enterprise that is rooted
in a sound environmental ethic focused
on improving water quality,” comments
David Greer, CBF Virginia Director of
Development. “The ‘Greener Plants’ brand
has and will continue to engage and educate the end-user of the importance of
It’s good business to do the right thing. “ ”
complicated or cost you an arm and a leg,”
“Whether it’s Boston Harbor or the
Chesapeake Bay, the message is: Don’t let
the nutrients get in the water,” says Covatta.
Educational outreach is the main focus of
“Greener Plants.” Eco-conscious gardening
tips are distributed through plant tags, garden center flyers, and the nursery’s website
( www.greenerplants.com). “We’re not trying to sell you something, we’re trying to
teach you something,” says Rinaca.
“It’s good business to do the right thing,”
notes Covatta. “And it doesn’t have to be
The nursery has customers throughout the
United States, so its conservation campaign
will benefit areas beyond the Mid-Atlantic.