Constructed as part of the Fairlington Community Center (FCC) renovation in 2007, the small garden in an alcove at the back of the FCC has evolved from the Learning Garden to the Teaching Garden and, in 2021, to the Small Space Garden. Since its conception, this garden was intended to serve as an “edibles training area” and has included a mix of ornamental, vegetable, and fruit plantings. The Extension Master Gardener class of 2012 planted a “world garden,” reflecting the diversity of herbs and spices used by different ethnic groups living in Alexandria and Arlington.
The garden has also hosted classes in topics such as wreath making and cold-frame construction. An herb and container gardening class for senior citizens for whom English is a second language had the ancillary benefit of helping those seniors build English-language skills as they shared how the plants were used in their native countries.
Hoops to support row covers have been added to extend the growing season in the raised beds, and trellises over the raised beds now maximize the garden’s capacity by providing climbing space for cucumbers and other vines that also help shade vegetables underneath. With the assistance of the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, a cistern was installed in 2018. The cistern stores rainwater collected from the FCC’s roof to help water the garden.
Renamed the Small Space Garden in 2021, the goal of promoting native trees, shrubs, and plants was added to the garden’s ongoing mission of sharing information on how to grow vegetables, fruit, and herbs while making the most of the small spaces so many in our communities enjoy.