As the summer peaks, I like to visit the local demonstration gardens to see how well the plants and vegetables performed in this area. Demonstration gardens are a great way to learn what works in the Washington DC metro area and how to manage our local issues, such as deer and rabbits. The gardens are open to the public, every day, from dawn to dusk, free. Each county that has a Master Gardener program usually has at least one demonstration garden, managed by the volunteer Master Gardeners. To find such a garden, call your local county Master Gardener program representative (your local extension agent). Some have several to showcase various environmental conditions and some use the garden as a place to teach or host workshops.
The Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia (Arlington and Alexandria) have five demonstration gardens:
- Glencarlyn Library Community Gardens, corner of S. Third and S. Kensington Streets, off Carlin Springs Road, Arlington
- Simpson Park Gardens (E. Monroe Avenue at the end of Leslie Avenue, next to the YMCA in Alexandria
- Organic Vegetable Garden, Potomac Overlook Regional Park, Marcy Road, Arlington
- Rock Quarry Shade Garden, Bon Air Park on Wilson Boulevard and N. Lexington Street, Arlington
- Sunny Garden, Bon Air Park, Arlington
The Prince William County Master Gardeners manage a very large “Teaching Garden” at St. Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA. Within this large garden are mini gardens to illustrate certain conditions or issues, such as a deer resistant garden, shade garden, vegetable garden, and pollinator garden.
The Loudoun County Master Gardeners uses Ida Lee Park on Ida Lee Park Drive, Leesburg as a teaching garden.
The Montgomery County Master Gardeners have a demonstration garden at the Agriculture History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Road, Derwood, MD.
The Prince Georges County Master Gardeners are fortunate to use the Kitchen Garden at the Riversdale Gardens and House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD.
In addition some plant societies such as the National Capital Dahlia Society have demonstration gardens specific to their plant of interest. Contact the society directly to see if they have one. The National Capital Dahlia Society has the Nordahl Exhibition Garden for displaying dahlias at the Agricultural History Park in Derwood, MD.
Written by Peggy Riccio, pegplant.com; June 2018