The Glencarlyn Library Community Garden is located at the corner of
Third Street S. and S. Kensington Street off Carlin Springs Road.
Located in one of the old historical neighborhoods of Arlington County, Virginia, the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden began as a Boy Scout Eagle project in the early 1990s. When the garden had fallen into disarray by 1999, two longtime Glencarlyn residents who trained as Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) began to invest time and energy into its rejuvenation. It was recognized as a Virginia Cooperative Extension demonstration garden in 2004 and approved by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia (MGNV) Board in 2005. Today, this community gathering space and teaching garden not only has an intriguing built environment with a gazebo, entrance arches, and a curving brick walk but is home to a wide variety of native and nonnative bulbs, herbaceous perennials, grasses and sedges, shrubs, trees, and vines.
Envisioned as a model of the botanical diversity and gardening choices possible in the Northern Virginia area, the garden features a variety of themed areas, including an herb garden, sun and shade beds, a wooded area devoted to native plants, an Asian garden, and an exotics garden. The central patio area offers benches for relaxation and many container plantings with annuals that are varied each year.
A major focus of the garden is providing habitat for wildlife. It has been recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® by the National Wildlife Federation and has been certified as an official Monarch Waystation by MonarchWatch.org. In 2019, the garden met the strict standards of the Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary Program by committing to the principles of the Healthy Yard Pledge and documenting the presence of at least 10 designated sanctuary species, including the ruby-throated hummingbird, swallowtail butterflies, and a DeKay’s snake. That same year, two Master Gardener interns refurbished a bed for pollinators complete with an attractive trellis.
The garden includes many examples of climate-conscious gardening practices. Cisterns, timers, and drip hoses demonstrate sustainable watering techniques. Lawn areas are kept to a minimum and serve as pathways. Extensive plantings along the parking lot model drought-tolerant plant species.
This demonstration garden provides numerous opportunities for teaching and learning. The coordinators regularly host work days for EMGs, demonstrate hands-on propagation techniques for training classes, and mentor interns. They welcome visitors to learn from the careful plant identification signage, materials offered in the patio’s education box, periodic garden tours, and their Spring Celebration and Plant Sale in May and AutumnFest event in September. They also share information on a variety of gardening topics through the garden’s Facebook group; articles they prepare for the Glencarlyn neighborhood’s newsletter,The Village View; and articles and a series of short videos on the MGNV website.rlyn neighborhood newsletter, The Village View, and the MGNV website; and a series of short videos.