Garden Centers and Nurseries in the Washington DC Metro Area

I have updated my list of garden centers and nurseries in the Washington DC metro area. If I missed one, please let me know.

Maryland

Ace Hardware stores in MD, check website to see which sell plants, http://www.acehardwaredc.com

American Plant
5258 River Road, Bethesda, MD (301) 656-3311
7405 River Road, Bethesda, MD (301) 469-7690
http://www.americanplant.net

Chesapeake Natives
9640 Rosaryville Road
Upper Marlboro, MD
by appointment only or at select times, check website
http://www.chesapeakenatives.org

Country Nursery
3330 Spencerville Road, Burtonsville, MD (301) 471-9593
http://www.countrynurserylandscape.com

Denchfield Nursery and Garden Center
5950 Ager Road, Hyattsville (301) 949-5000
http://www.dlandscaping.com

Fehr Nursery
4340 Sandy Spring Road
Burtonsville, MD (301) 384-5222
http://www.fehrnursery.com

Gambrills Flower Farm
800 Annapolis Road, Gambrills, MD (443) 292-6999
http://www.gambrillsflowerfarm.com

Greenstreet Gardens
1721 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA (703) 998-3030
5905 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA (no phone)
391 West Bay Front Road, Lothian, MD (410) 867-9500
http://greenstreetgardens.com

Grey Goose Farms, 5539 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Laytonsville, MD (301) 977-7555
http://www.greygoosefarm.com

Homestead Gardens
743 W. Central Avenue, Davidsonville, MD (410) 798-5000
522 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD (410) 384-7966
http://www.homesteadgardens.com

Johnson’s Florist and Garden Centers;
5011 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Olney, MD (301) 987-1940
10313 Kensington Parkway, Kensington, MD (301) 946-6700
http://www.johnsonsflorists.com

Meadows Farms
Over 20 locations in Maryland & Virginia, check web site or call headquarters
(703) 327-3940
http://www.meadowsfarms.com

Patuxent Nurseries
2410 North Crain Highway, Bowie, MD (301) 218-4769
http://www.patuxentnursery.com

Potomac Garden Center
12024 Darnestown Road, Potomac, MD (301) 948-8890
8710 Fingerboard Road, Urbana, MD (301) 874-3400
http://www.potomacgardencenter.com

Putnam Hill Nursery, 2105 Putnam Road, Forest Hill, MD (443) 722-2012
http://www.putnamhillnursery.com

Stadler Nurseries
6815 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Laytonsville, MD (301) 944-1190
5504 Mt. Zion Road, Frederick, MD (301) 473-9042
10200 Stadler Place, Bristow, VA (703) 257-2800
http://www.stadlergardencenters.com

Sun Nurseries
14790 Bushy Park Road, Woodbine, MD (410) 442-2090 or (301) 854-6107
http://www.sunnurseries.com

Susanna Farm Nursery, 17700 White Ground Road, Boyds MD (301) 972-7513
http://www.susannafarmnursery.com

Thanksgiving Farms, 1619 Buckeystown Road, Adamstown, MD (301) 662-1291
http://www.thanksgivingfarmandgarden.com

Virginia

Ace Hardware stores in VA, check website to see which sell plants, http://www.acehardwaredc.com

Abernethy and Spencer Greenhouse and Garden Center, 18035 Lincoln Road, Purcellville, VA (540) 338-9118
http://www.abernethyspencer.com

Betty’s Azalea Ranch
12507 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA (703) 830-8687
http://www.bettysazalearanch.com

Burke Nursery & Garden Centre
9401 Burke Road, Burke, VA (703) 323-1188
http://www.burkenursery.com

Campbell & Ferrara
8351 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA (703) 354-6724
http://www.campbellferrara.com

DeBaggio’s Herb Farm and Nursery, 43494 Mountain View Drive, Chantilly (703) 327-6976
http://www.debaggioherbs.com

Greenstreet Gardens
1721 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA (703) 998-3030
5905 Richmond Highway,  Alexandria, VA (no phone)
391 West Bay Front Road, Lothian, MD (410) 867-9500
http://greenstreetgardens.com

Heather Hill Gardens, 811 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA (703) 690-6060
http://www.heatherhillgardens.com

Holly, Woods and Vines
8453 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA (703) 799-1607
http://www.hollywoodsandvines.com

Hybla Valley Nursery, 2801 Beacon Hill Road, Alexandria, VA (703) 768-1100
http://www.hyblanursery.com

Lake Ridge Nursery and Garden Center
3705 Old Bridge Road
Woodbridge, VA (703) 590-0178
http://www.lakeridgenursery.net

Meadows Farms
Over 20 locations in Maryland & Virginia, check web site or call headquarters for closest one (703) 327-3940
http://www.meadowsfarms.com

Merrifield Garden Center
8132 Lee Highway, Merrifield, VA (703) 560-6222
12101 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA (703) 968-9600
6895 Wellington Road, Gainesville, VA (703) 368-1919
http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

Nalls Produce, 7310 Beulah Street, Franconia, VA (703) 971-4068
http://www.nallsproduce.com

Silverbrook Nursery and Landscaping
8408 Monacan Road, Lorton, VA (703) 690-1231
http://www.silverbrooknursery.com

Stadler Nurseries
6815 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Laytonsville, MD (301) 944-1190
5504 Mt. Zion Road, Frederick, MD (301) 473-9042
10200 Stadler Place, Bristow, VA (703) 257-2800
http://www.stadlergardencenters.com

Wolf Trap Nursery, 9439 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA (703) 759-4244
http://www.wolftrapnursery.com

Washington, DC

Ace Hardware stores in DC, check website to see which sell plants, http://www.acehardwaredc.com

Ginkgo Gardens
911 11th Street, Washington, DC SE (202) 543-5172
http://www.ginkgogardens.com

Little Leaf Shop (houseplants)
Logan Circle, 1401 S Street, NW Washington DC (202) 506-2131 and pop up shop at Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE Washington DC
http://www.littleleafshop.com

Urban Jungle (houseplants, orchids, succulents)
2603 Sherman Avenue, NW Washington DC (202) 740-8483
http://www.urbanjungledc.com

Cooperative Extension Offices Can Help You With Your Garden

The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network designed to help individuals with many activities, one of which is gardening. It is actually managed on a federal level within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA provides federal funding to the system. Each state and territory has a state office at its land grant university. The state office then manages county extension offices. For gardening assistance, you will want to reach out to your county extension agent and depending on the office, you can:

  • Get your soil tested free
  • Find out what is wrong with your plant
  • Get plant/pest information
  • Obtain publications on specific topics
  • Attend lectures and workshops sponsored by them
  • Get involved in the Master Gardener Program

In Maryland, the University of Maryland manages the Maryland Cooperative Extension. For gardening assistance contact your county extension agent or the Home and Garden Information Center, 12005 Homewood Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042, (410) 531-5556.

In Virginia, the Virginia Tech University manages the Virginia Cooperative Extension program. Headquarters is at Virginia Cooperative Extension, 101 Hutcheson Hall, 250 Drillfield Drive, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327; (540) 231-9347.  Contact your Virginia county extension agent for gardening assistance.

In DC, the University of the District of Columbia manages the Cooperative Extension Service through its Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education. This is part of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences at 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20008, (202) 274-5000. They offer classes, workshops and the Master Gardener program.

Bunny Mellon’s Gardens at Oak Spring Garden Foundation

The Formal Garden is enclosed by buildings and white washed stone walls

This past April, I was fortunate to visit the Oak Spring Garden Foundation with one of my gardening clubs. I say fortunate because the estate is not open to the public yet. They have just started to open to gardening clubs by lottery, with a limit of three clubs per year. Because they could only accommodate 30 people and very few cars, we carpooled on a misty Friday morning to Upperville, Virginia. The short trip put us in horse country, very remote with no other property in sight.

Bunny and Paul Mellon

The Oak Spring Garden Foundation was established by Rachel Mellon, known as “Bunny,” before she died in 2014 at the age of 103. Bunny was born to a wealthy family in New Jersey. Her grandfather was the inventor of Listerine and founder of Lambert Pharmacal Company. She married Stacy Barcroft Lloyd Jr. in 1932, divorced him in 1948, and married Paul Mellon. Paul, a recent widower and son of Pittsburgh financier Andrew W. Mellon, had already purchased the estate then known as Rokeby.

Espaliered fruit tree

Bunny and Paul renamed the 4,000-acre property Oak Spring. This was a working farm, with cattle raising, thoroughbred horse breeding and racing, fox hunting, and gardening. They also owned residences in Cape Cod and Nantucket, Massachusetts; New York City; Washington, DC; and Antigua. Together they were very interested in collecting artwork, much of which has now been donated to museums. Bunny was a keen gardener and landscape designer. She was especially interested in the art of pruning and topiary. Bunny was friends with Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy and redesigned the White House Rose Garden and redesigned the White House East Garden that was later dedicated to and renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden. She actually designed other gardens as well including the gardens of her other properties. Bunny liked all things French and was an avid collector of horticultural books and manuscripts. She amassed a collection of 16,000 books, manuscripts, and botanical artwork now housed in a singular building on the property. Today, this library is open by appointment for researchers and scholars but the Foundation is digitizing some of the collection. Several books have been written about Bunny. Paul, who predeceased Bunny at age 91 in 1999, wrote an autobiography.

Formal Gardens

Part of our tour was to see the Oak Spring Garden Library but we were not able because of the humid weather. Angie Ritterpusch welcomed us and although she showed us other parts of the estate, this article is solely about the gardens.

We gathered under the famed crabapple allee, with our umbrellas and boots. The allee, made up of Mary Potter crabapples trained to arch over and create a tunnel, connected the Formal Garden with the Lord & Burnham Victorian-style greenhouse. Horticulturist Judy Zatsick led us through a large wooden gate into the walled, formal garden (see video below). It was like stepping into a forgotten secret garden that flourished during war-torn France. Evidence of time passed was reflected in the white washed walls, the lichen encrusted trees, and the old brick paths. Bunny’s garden was restrained and purposeful. The half-acre was a composite of many, small garden beds enclosed by stone walls and small buildings, such as the basket house and guest houses. The land was laid out in three levels ascending (from the gate) to the back of the house.

We immediately walked towards the backside of the house and on to the Sunday Kitchen Patio, which afforded us the view of the Formal Garden and the greenhouse in the distance. From there we could see the three levels and the central axis path that went directly from the house to the gate as well as a parallel path to the left side of the enclosed garden. Because it was spring, pansies, tulips, aquilegia, viola, and daffodils were blooming. The fruit trees had greened up and there were large hostas, untouched by deer. You would think that with their wealth the garden would be ostentatious but it wasn’t, it was relatively formal because of its geometric design and symmetry. However, the plantings made it simple and delightful. The garden encapsulated Bunny’s motto that “nothing should be noticed and nothing should be obvious.”

Sunday Kitchen Patio

The Sunday Kitchen Patio was a brick-laid patio directly off the house and kitchen. There was a small dogwood tree and seating area with a narrow bed of irises. From there we stepped on an old circular millstone down to the next level, the Upper Terrace. The Upper Terrace was paved with fieldstone so old that plants grew in the cracks. There was a small White Garden and a Rose Garden off to the side.

Square Garden in foreground with Upper Terrace in background

Using the main axis, we descended down stairs to the Middle Terrace. The paths were paved with fieldstone. The Square Garden on the left was a square patch of lawn. The Tea Garden and Butterfly Garden were on the right. The Tea Garden was full of herbs for making tea and the Butterfly Garden had butterfly shapes in the ground with plants to color the wings. Descending down stairs again was the Lower Terrace with gravel paths. On the left and right were large vegetable and herb gardens with a wishing well. Throughout the formal garden were espaliered fruit trees on the walls, cordon-style fruit trees to border the small gardens, a few clipped trees as well as large old trees.

East Vegetable Garden with Croquet Lawn on right

On the perimeter were more garden spaces such as the croquet lawn, pantry garden, and shade bed. This is the type of garden where you could spend a lifetime exploring and enjoying each small space, differentiated by plants, season, and light. Bunny’s design motto was that “Nothing should stand out. It all should give the feeling of calm. When you go away, you should remember only the peace.”

Oak Spring Garden Foundation

Bunny established the Oak Spring Garden Foundation so her library, gardens, and home would be a resource for those who love horticulture. The vision is to host scholars, writers, artists, and interns to not only learn about horticulture but also to learn from her library of over 16,000 original manuscripts and books.

View of South Vegetable Garden from Basket House

The Foundation also hopes to serve as a site for academic conferences. The Foundation mission is to support and inspire fresh thinking and bold action on the history and future of plants, including the art and culture of plants, gardens, and landscapes. Access to the gardens and library is by appointment only.  In 2020, the Foundation plans to open the gardens to the public for Virginia Historic Garden Week, which takes place in April/May.

Formal Garden map, courtesy of Max Smith and the Oak Spring Garden Foundation

Smithsonian Gardens’ Campus-Wide Habitat Exhibition

Sign of the Dragonfly exhibit

The Smithsonian Gardens staff have installed a campus-wide exhibition with a single theme: habitat. From now until December 2020, fourteen exhibits across the Smithsonian campus in Washington DC, both inside and outside, will be available for the public to view.

This Habitat exhibition illustrates diverse stories about habitats and the plants, animals, and humans that exist within those habitats. The message is simple: Protecting habits protects life. This theme was selected for its relevance to the Smithsonian Grand Challenge of “understanding and sustaining a biodiverse planet” and to the Smithsonian Gardens’ mission to “inform on the roles people and plants play in our cultural and natural worlds.”

Dead Wood Is Life exhibit

Three key messages are woven into all the exhibits: habitats are homes, habitats are interconnected and fragile, and habitats need to be protected. Informative signage at each exhibit explains concepts such as indicator, keystone, and foundation species; symbiotic relationships; and ecosystems.

During the exhibition’s run, Smithsonian Gardens staff will host a variety of habitat-related events and educational programs. A map showing the location of the exhibits is on the Smithsonian Gardens website.

  • Sheltering Branches, west side of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Dead Wood Is Life, east side of the National Museum of American History
  • Life Underground, west side of the National Museum of American History
  • We Need You, Victory Garden, east side of the National Museum of American History
  • Nests, northwest side of the National Museum of Natural History
  • Bug B&B, Pollinator Garden, east side of the National Museum of Natural History
  • Biomes, S. Dillon Ripley Center
  • Foundation of the Sea, Enid A. Haupt Garden
  • Key to the Forest, Enid A. Haupt Garden
  • Sign of the Dragonfly, Moongate Garden, Enid A. Haupt Garden
  • Homes, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden
  • Habitat of Flight, Northeast side of the National Air and Space Museum
  • Native Landscape, National Museum of the American Indian
  • Monarchs on the Move, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Bugs B&B exhibit

U.S. Botanic Garden’s New “Gardens Across America” Exhibit

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Flamingo Display

The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) has a new exhibit called Gardens Across America. The exhibit showcases 21 public gardens through vignettes created by each garden displaying plants and items illustrating the gardens’ stories. The displays were chosen from a call for entries to all gardens across the country. The vignettes are located throughout the outdoor area of the USBG in Washington DC and range in size and scope. For example, Fort Worth Botanic Gardens is showcasing its begonia mascot; Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is demonstrating cleaning mine water and creating new gardens; Tucson Botanical Gardens has cacti and agaves in its barrio garden; Atlanta Botanical Gardens has carnivorous pitcher plants; and the State Botanic Garden of Georgia has native pollinator plants. The exhibit demonstrates the diversity and beauty of the more than 600 public gardens in the United States. Throughout the exhibit run, which ends on October 1, the USBG will offer programs, workshops, lectures, and tours related to the exhibit.

Tucson Botanical Gardens’ Barrio Garden

The USBG is open to the public, free of charge, every day of the year from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with outdoor gardens having extended hours until 7:00 pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The USBG is at 200 Maryland Avenue SW on the southwest side of the U.S. Capitol. Photos are courtesy of the USBG and gardens include:

  • Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia
  • Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Colorado
  • Bookworm Gardens, Wisconsin
  • Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado
  • Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Florida
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Ohio
  • Lockerly Arboretum, Georgia
  • Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, South Carolina
  • Mt. Cuba Center, Delaware
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden, Virginia
  • North Carolina Botanical Garden, North Carolina
  • Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, North Carolina
  • Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Pennsylvania
  • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, California
  • Sarah P. Duke Gardens, North Carolina
  • Smithsonian Gardens, Washington DC
  • State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Georgia
  • The Botanical Research institute of Texas and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Texas
  • Tucson Botanical Gardens, Arizona
  • U.S. National Arboretum, Washington DC

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Water Filtering System

The Magical Flowers of Butterfly Pea Plants

In August 2017, I visited the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was beautiful and I took many photos. As always the plants that stayed with me were the ones I had not seen before. I remember vines with beautiful pea-like flowers, about 2 inches wide, wrapped around dead trees, which were painted (“art”). The flowers were blue/purple with a yellow inner strip and the green leaves reminded me of Kentucky coffee trees. Obviously it was a tropical vine in the legume family (Fabaceae) but I could not find a sign. Later when I got home, I stumbled across the same plant on Facebook only with cobalt blue flowers. Its name, I learned, was butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea).

The Facebook post said the flowers were used for an herbal tea. I had no idea this pretty vine had herbal qualities.  I researched online and discovered that the cobalt blue variety is well-known in Asian countries. The flowers are dried and sold in bags but one can purchase a powdered form or an extract. The flowers can be brewed alone or combined with other herbs such as lemongrass, ginger, and mint. The blue comes from anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds, similar to blueberries.

When brewed with water the tea is cobalt blue. However, when an acid is added, such as lemon juice, the tea turns purple. When an alkaline liquid such as roselle tea is added, the tea turns red. Apparently butterfly pea tea acts like a litmus strip, the color of the drink changes with the pH of what it is mixed with. This does not affect the taste but has transformed butterfly tea into a novelty cocktail drink. The cobalt blue flowers also are used to dye food such as custards, puddings, rice dishes, and sticky rice.

Butterfly pea is native to Africa. Here in Virginia it would be grown as an annual. The vine grows rapidly in the summer and needs support so an arbor is ideal but would be interesting to try it in a hanging basket. As a member of the pea family, the plant fixates nitrogen and is good for the soil. The vine can take full sun to light shade and is drought tolerant. There are several varieties, some have cobalt blue, lavender, or white flowers in single or double flowered forms.

This is not an easy plant to find here in Virginia but it seems that once you have the plant, you can let some flowers go to seed and collect the pods for next year. Last week I was in Florida and toured a friend’s garden. He was growing this plant in a large container with a trellis. I was so excited to see the butterfly pea again and explained how I was interested in growing it. He had a plastic bag full of the seed pods and offered me some. I took a handful of pods which by now had dried and split open and brought them home. This week, I plan to sow the seeds outside and grow butterfly pea plants in order to experiment with novelty drinks!

Great Garden Plant: Baptisia

Baptisia ‘Lemon Meringue’ flowers up close

Baptisia, also called false indigo, is a shrub that does well in our hot and humid summers. Recent breeding efforts have expanded the range of flower colors creating a new look for an old favorite. I myself have been taken by two top performers according to Mt. Cuba Center’s 15-page report, Baptisia for the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Mt. Cuba Center’s Trial Garden, managed by George Coombs, research horticulturist, evaluates native plants and their related cultivars. From 2012 to 2015, staff evaluated 46 selections of Baptisia including representatives from 11 different species to determine which performs best in the mid-Atlantic region. Over 60 percent of the plants tested receive 4 or 5 stars. Among those, 10 superior cultivars outperformed the rest. Fortunately for me my two recent Baptisia additions to my garden are included in the ten.

I have two Lemon Meringue and two Dutch Chocolate plants. I purchase them three years ago as small plants. Last month they were heavy with yellow or chocolate brown flowers. Although they look like shrubs, these plants are herbaceous perennials. They die back in the fall and come back in the early spring. By summer, the plants grow to their mature height of about 3 feet high and wide, each year. Mine had pea-like flowers on tall spikes, similar to lupines, in April. In the fall, the flowers produce dark brown pods that be used for dried flower arrangements. Baptisia plants are deer resistant, heat and humidity tolerant, and drought tolerant once established. These natives make great additions to the garden. I am thinking of adding more!

Lemon Meringue and Dutch Chocolate

Fringe Tree: Native Tree with Showy Spring Flowers

If you live in the Washington DC metro area, you may be seeing fringe trees blooming now — its wispy cream flowers, like an old man’s beard, swaying in the breeze. Fringe trees (Chionanthus virginicus) are native, deciduous trees that prefer full sun to part shade and moist fertile soil. Their natural habitats are damp woodlands. Fringe trees are named after their sweetly scented flowers, comprised of 4 to 6 one-inch long straps. Although fringe trees are dioecious (male and female plants), they both flower. Some produce what are called “perfect” flowers (having both male and female parts). Therefore, female flowers and perfect flowers produce fruit that resemble dark blue olives. Fringe trees belong to the olive family and the birds love the fruit. These slow growing trees mature around 15 to 20 feet and are perfect for the home as specimen trees.

 

Garden Clubs and Plant Societies in the Washington DC Metro Area

There are many local garden clubs, plant societies, and horticultural organizations in the Washington DC metropolitan area, too many to list here. But here is a start for those of you who are new to the capital region or new to gardening. If you cannot find what you are looking for here, search the internet for a larger umbrella organization to inquire about the local unit or search by plant name or city for a neighborhood garden club. If you know of a local club that I missed, feel free to let me know via the comments section.

The American Horticultural Society

The American Horticultural Society is a national membership organization and its physical location is River Farm, 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, VA. The property was part of George Washington’s tract along the Potomac River. It is open to the public but best to call first as they also rent their space for weddings and private events. River Farm has a beautiful view to the river, gardens, a children’s garden, and a gift shop. They also have annual events such as plant sales and sometimes they have special lectures.

River Farm in Alexandria, home to the American Horticultural Society

National Garden Clubs, Inc.

The National Garden Clubs, Inc., has 50 state garden clubs that are further broken down into regional clubs and local clubs. The National Garden Clubs is headquartered at 4401 Magnolia Avenue, St. Louis, MO. In this area, the state level clubs are the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, headquartered at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA; and the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc., at 4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore, MD. The local regional unit is the National Capital Area Garden Clubs and within the National Capital Area Garden Clubs are many “neighborhood” clubs with differing meeting times so it is best to contact them for a local unit near you.

Garden Club of America

The Garden Club of America is headquartered at 14 East 60th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY. There are only a few in this Zone VI area (according to their map). There is the Garden Club of Chevy Chase, MD; and the Trowel Club and the Georgetown Garden Club in DC.

Clubs can often gain access to visit private gardens

Garden Club of Virginia

The Garden Club of Virginia is headquartered at the Kent-Valentine House, 12 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA. There are many local units across the Commonwealth so contact headquarters for one near you. The Garden Club of Virginia is famous for its annual Historic Garden Week in April when private and public gardens are open to the public for a week and the local units’ volunteers not only help to put on this event but make floral arrangements for the homes.

Local Chapters of Plant Societies

Many clubs have plant sales and are great resources for unique plants

There probably is an association for every type of plant and most have local chapters. Search the internet for the plant and related association or call your local public garden or extension office. These are the local chapters in order of the plant name in boldface type.

Mid-Atlantic African Violet Society and the Baltimore African Violet Club

Northern Virginia Chapter of the Azalea Society of America

Potomac Branch of the American Begonia Society

Northern Virginia Bonsai Society

Potomac Bonsai Association

Baltimore Bonsai Club

The American Boxwood Society

National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society

Camellia Society of the Potomac Valley

Old Dominion Chrysanthemum Society

Potomac Chrysanthemum Society

American Conifer Society

Maryland, Virginia and DC Daffodil Societies

National Capital Dahlia Society

National Capital Daylily society

Free State Daylily Society

Northern Virginia Daylily Society

American Fern Society

National Capital Area Chapter of the Gesneriad Society

American Gourd Society. There is a Virginia Lover’s Gourd Society

Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America

Colonial Virginia Holly society

Potomac Hosta Club

Chesapeake and Potomac Iris Society

National Capital Orchid Society

Mid-Atlantic Peony Society

Middle Atlantic Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society

And Potomac Chapter

And Mason-Dixon Chapter

Potomac Valley Chapter of the Northern American Rock Garden Society

Potomac Rose Society

Arlington Rose Foundation

Local Chapters of Native Plant Societies

There is a Maryland Native Plant Society in Silver Spring and a Virginia Native Plant Society headquartered at 400 Blandy Farm Road, Unit 2, Boyce, VA. Contact them for local chapters.

Private Garden Clubs

Annapolis Horticultural Society

Bethesda Community Garden Club

Burtonsville Garden club

Beltsville Garden Club

Falls Church Garden Club

Four Seasons Garden Club

Greater Brookland Garden Club

Greenbelt Community Garden Club

Horticultural Society of Maryland

Hyattsville Horticulture Society

Sandy Spring Museum Garden Club

Silver Spring Garden Club

Takoma Horticultural Club

Friends of Organizations

The All Hallows Guild takes care of Bishops Garden at the National Cathedral in DC

There are opportunities to volunteer at public gardens, which is like being a member of a garden club. For example, there is a Friends of Green Spring in Alexandria, VA; Friends of Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD; and the Friends of the National Arboretum. There is an organization called the All Hallows Guild of the National Cathedral, which has extensive grounds and a garden at Massachusetts & Wisconsin Avenues, NW, Washington, DC.

Historic Garden Week: Tour Private Virginian Homes and Gardens

Historic Garden Week has begun! Starting yesterday, Saturday April 27 through Saturday May 4, 2019, you can tour private and public gardens throughout the commonwealth of Virginia. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV), Historic Garden Week (HGW) is an annual event for the public to tour almost 200 private homes and gardens and historical sites in Virginia.

Private McLean home will be open on Tuesday, photo by Donna Moulton

A non-profit organization, the GCV is comprised of 47 member clubs. Proceeds from the annual HGW, which originated in 1927, fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historical gardens and provide graduate level research fellowships for building comprehensive and ongoing records of historic gardens and landscapes in the Commonwealth. For more than 80 years, the grounds of Virginia’s most cherished historic landmarks including Mount Vernon, Monticello, and the Executive Mansion in Richmond have been restored or preserved using proceeds from this statewide house and garden tour.

Private Roanoke home open on Saturday, photo by Sharp Top Studios

This year there will be 31 tours hosted by volunteers at local GCV member clubs. The 31 tours are divided into 8 regions: Northern Virginia, Potomac, Coastal, Tidewater, Capitol, Southwest, Blue Ridge, and Foothills. This annual event is coordinated and managed by 3,300 volunteers who spend months planning in advance. Many members create beautiful floral arrangements for the homes. It is estimated that 2,200 floral arrangements will have been made for this year’s event.

Private Lynchburg residence open on Tuesday, photo by Becky Giles

The schedule is available online and tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour at numerous locations or in advance. Tours are held rain or shine. Properties can be visited in any order. Also available is the Guidebook, a 216-page, beautifully illustrated publication, which can be downloaded, purchased online, or picked up free at designated public places. The Guidebook has descriptions of the tour sites, directions, refreshments, special activities in the area, and other places of interest which usually include historical sites that can be toured at other times of the year (for future reference). The Guidebook is a snapshot of the touring area; it lists names of the sponsoring Garden Club member organizations; area information such as Chamber of Commerce & historical societies; and advertisements from local businesses such as garden centers, antique stores, and restaurants.

An example of one of the many arrangements made by volunteers, photo courtesy of GCV