The 2020 Sustainable Garden Tour will be held VIRTUALLY this year throughout the month of June.
For this year's Sustainable Garden Tour, NVSWCD is partnering with the Fairfax Food Council Urban Agriculture Working Group to highlight front-yard gardens and edible landscapes. You'll also see garden tour favorites like rain gardens, native plant landscaping, rain barrels, backyard wildlife habitat, composting and more. Local residents open their gardens and share their experiences landscaping with natural resources in mind. Hidden treasures and verdant landscapes await you!
Virtual experiences from each of this year's incredible garden tour sites will be added throughout the month of June. Follow NVSWCD on Facebook to see garden tour materials as they are released, and view a complete list of our gardening resources in Resources for Sustainable Gardeners. See the links to each site's garden tour below.
June 2 - Backyard Transformation: 600 Plants in 1/6 Acre
These homeowners took on a house under foreclosure and turned it into a true home, complete with a backyard to envy! After receiving VCAP cost-share funds for conservation landscaping, the homeowners were able to deal with the large amounts of standing water and bare spots in their backyard. This series of YouTube videos shares their gardening journey as many small changes create a big impact. This is the first video in a series, watch the videos in order to get the full effect of the backyard transformation. Here is the direct link if the viewer does not work for you.
June 4 - Conservation Landscaping and Infiltration Trench in Burke
These homeowners addressed their drainage issues, pooling water, and significant erosion with two projects - one to plant conservation landscaping, and a second to install an infiltration trench. This Sway presentation shares the process the homeowners went through to obtain and implement a VCAP cost-share project. This insight is incredibly valuable for anyone considering such a project, and the finished project is truly phenomenal! View the Sway presentation by clicking on the embedded presentation and scrolling down to view more of the presentation. Click the image at left to access the presentation, or click here.
June 6 - Charming Front Yard Garden in Alexandria
You can truly imagine yourself in this garden as the homeowner walks us through the amazing landscape that she has created over 10 years of gardening! Learn great tips and tricks for soil amendments, inexpensive and effective groundcovers, and enjoying your garden throughout the year as it goes through seasonal changes. Here is a direct link if the viewer does not work for you.
June 8 - Lessons Learned in Our Native Plant Garden - Fisher/Rosenthal Residence in Clifton
This series of videos from one of the coordinators of the Plant NOVA Natives Campaign covers many lessons learned over many years of gardening with native plants. Learn more about groundcovers, container gardening, creating paths, edible plants, meadows, and much more! This virtual tour is sure to give you plenty of ideas for what you can try at home. This is the first video in a series, watch the videos in order to get the full effect of the backyard transformation. Here is a direct link if the viewer does not work for you.
June 10 - All Aboard for a Garden Journey
These homeowners have spent many years turning their suburban lot into a native garden oasis. Their invasive plant removal and creation of habitat for native wildlife, as well as their work to reduce on-site runoff and erosion, create a great model for others facing similar concerns. In this clever and funny Sway presentation, these homeowners share their gardening journey and lessons learned. View the Sway presentation by clicking on the embedded presentation and scrolling down to view more of the presentation. Click the image at left to access the presentation, or click here.
June 12 - VCAP and Veggies in Clifton: A Tour of Camp Canestra
These homeowners were interested in helping with water run off on their sloped property. They were approved for a VCAP cost-share grant for conversation landscaping and they choose an area of their yard that was hard to mow and a visible location to share the beauty of native plants. They have a cute vegetable garden complete with a pond, ducks, chickens, a pig, and a dog. Their two ponds attract frogs of all types including a very vocal bull frog, dragonflies, and birds. Here is a direct link if the viewer does not work for you.
June 14 - Our Gardens, Our Refuge - A Labor of Love
To this gardener, spending time in her yard and growing her gardens each year brings her closer to her loved ones. Like every host on this tour, she has a personal connection to her gardens, and shares this experience with you as she showcases her rain garden VCAP cost-share project and how her garden has changed each year since its installation. Here is a direct link if the viewer does not work for you.
June 17 - Front Yard Edible Landscaping at Suters Glen Permaculture Farm
This property is owned by a co-chair of the Fairfax Food Council Urban Agriculture Working Group, and the passion he has for edible landscaping, regenerative agriculture, and permaculture is evident throughout his farm. He has worked to increase the amount of organic matter in his living soil and promote soil health. In this unique garden tour you'll see no-mow meadows, and abundance of edibles, and yes, adorable lambs. Here is a direct link if the viewer does not work for you. This homeowner has also compiled a collection of even more information about his farm and their agricultural practices, which you can view here.
June 20 - Karen's Native Plant and Vegetable Garden
These homeowners will guide you through their native plant landscape as well as their VCAP cost-share grant project and Invasive Management Area (IMA) site adjacent to their property. They have been working on the property for 17 years, spending time clearing invasive plants, planting native plants to attract wildlife, and enjoying a yearly feast of black raspberries and home grown sugar snap peas. Enjoy this tour through sunny and shaded locations, a mini meadow, and a view overlooking a wetland. Here is a direct link if the viewer does not work for you. This homeowner has also created a video tour of the Invasive Management Area (IMA) Site adjacent to her home, which you can view here, as well as a video slideshow of aspects of her property which couldn't be included in her main garden tour video, which can be viewed here.
June 23 - Homegrown Habitat for Native Plants and Wildlife
These homeowners guide us through their nine year garden transformation which features over 120 native plant species, expansive wildlife habitat, and an impressive seasonal colorscape. They also treat stormwater on their property through seven rain barrels and have installed solar panels on their roof. Join this tour to see their gardening tips, tricks, highlights, and surprises! Here is a direct link if the viewer does not work for you
June 25 - Gardening in the City with LIVE Q&A
These homeowners are gardening in "the City". The City of Fairfax that is! Adria is the Fairfax County Horticulture Extension Agent and has been a vegetable grower since her teen-aged years. Adria and Angie are four-season vegetable gardeners; they have a passion for growing their own food! You will see herbs, potatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes, carrots, cukes, squash, beans, and of course, tomatoes. At this live tour, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and perhaps get some help to troubleshoot some of your gardening challenges.
The Sustainable Garden Tour is coordinated by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. Special thanks to Garden Tour partner: Fairfax Food Council Urban Agriculture Workgroup. Thank you!
For more information or to nominate a future site, please email us or call 703-324-1423, TTY 711.
2019 Vienna/Oakton Garden Tour Makes a Splash!
The 2019 Sustainable Garden Tour was held on Sunday, June 9 and featured nine homes and community areas in Vienna and Oakton. Each year, the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District highlights sustainable gardens and watershed-friendly projects in Fairfax County through our Sustainable Garden Tour. Local residents open their gardens and share their experiences landscaping with natural resources in mind. Homes on the garden tour have voluntarily installed conservation practices such as rain gardens, porous pavers, pollinator gardens, and other practices that not only help conserve soil and water, but are also environmentally friendly.
NVSWCD staff and tour site hosts prepared for the event by creating maps of sustainable features on the site, labeling native plants, and creating plant lists for those who were interested in obtaining them. And on Sunday, the day of the garden tour, it began to rain!
While rain at any other event would scare away the crowd, if anything, the weather attracted more participants to the Garden Tour to see sustainable drainage and erosion control features in action! At the Kahn-Furlong Residence, visitors saw how the homeowners dealt with runoff from their neighbors on a downhill slope by covering the terraced slope in native plants. Visitors at the Hoffman Residence observed the water moving into their newly-built rain garden. One visitor commented that she was glad that the rain gave her the opportunity to see a rain garden fill and understand the impact a it might have in her landscape.
The Holtz Residence featured not only the homeowner’s front yard conservation landscaping project, but also hosted several Boy and Girl Scouts who had worked with the homeowner to accomplish conservation projects. They presented projects on reducing plastic pollution, establishing monarch butterfly habitat, and invasive plant removal. Flint Hill Elementary School had several sites located around the school where knowledgeable students spoke about the sustainable garden features established by the students and used in their learning. One of these tour guides proclaimed that his favorite thing in the courtyard was a small pond that had turtles and frogs.
In all, 182 hosts, volunteers, and visitors took part in this year’s Sustainable Garden Tour. The engagement we saw from the community was inspiring, and we hope to see more sustainable gardening practices installed in Fairfax County as a result of this program and programs like it. Expect to see information in spring 2020 about next year’s garden tour—we hope to see you there!