The Shade Garden, the first of our demonstration gardens, was established in 1989 on the site of an old rock quarry provided by the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation. The purpose of the garden was to educate Northern Virginians about gardening in shade. Plants, many native to this region, were donated by local nurseries, individuals, and organizations. Master Gardeners provided the labor. To learn more about the history of the Shade Garden, read the 25th anniversary article.
Over the years, the Garden has evolved to meet changing conditions. It underwent a major transformation in 2000 when the last of the large shade trees, a chestnut oak, fell. More recently, the lower beds have been flooded with the overflow of nearby Four Mile Run. As plants have had to be replaced, more native plants have been added. The Garden has been certified as a National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”
The Shade Garden is located at Bon Air Park, Wilson Blvd. at North Lexington Street between Ballston and Seven Corners. Park in the lot next to the Rose Garden and follow the paved walkway at the far end of the parking lot by the Sunny Garden into the park. A plant list is available for visitors.
Here is the most recent brochure (2018) with information about the Shade Garden and the current plant list as well as the 25th Anniversary edition (April 2014) of Tips for Gardening in the Shade.
Shade Garden throughout the Seasons