Digging into the Library Garden Story . . .
by Judy Funderburk, Extension Master Gardener
Have you ever been to the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden in South Arlington? Did you know that, once upon a time . . . there was no gazebo, no benches, no herb beds, no signage, no pots. 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. By 1999, the garden had fallen into disarray and when it rained, the garden area looked like this:
Two longtime residents, Judy Funderburk and Paul Nuhn, both trained as Extension Master Gardeners, began to invest time and energy into the garden’s rejuvenation. As the garden grew, so did the vision of its possibilities as a teaching garden. Paul and Judy applied for and were approved to become a Virginia Cooperative Extension and Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia teaching/demonstration garden in 2004/2005.
Today the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden is not only a community gathering space with an intriguing built environment, including a gazebo, entrance arches, and a central patio area offering benches for relaxation. It is also a place for teaching and of year-round beauty, home to a wide variety of native and nonnative bulbs, herbaceous perennials, grasses and sedges, shrubs, trees, and vines, plus container plantings with annuals that are varied each year. Weekly work parties where we are joined by other EMG volunteers provide regular maintenance and upkeep. Throughout the summer, neighborhood volunteers take on the responsibility of watering one of 10 designated garden areas. We could not do it without them.
Envisioned as a model of the botanical diversity and gardening choices available in the Northern Virginia area, the garden also teaches through informative signage that provides identification even when we are not physically present. Walking through, one notices the beds dedicated to pollinators, herbs, sun, shade, a wooded area devoted to native plants, an Asian garden, and a parking lot garden where sun-loving and drought tolerant, mostly native plants greet our visitors who arrive by car.
A major focus of the Library Garden is providing habitat for wildlife. It has been recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® by the National Wildlife Federation, certified as an official Monarch Waystation by MonarchWatch.org, and met the strict standards to become an Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary. Climate-conscious sustainable gardening practices are demonstrated through planting native species, using cisterns, timers, drip hoses, and wood chip paths, and reducing lawn.
Come visit anytime from dawn to dusk!
But especially come visit on Sunday, April 30, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to experience our yearly Spring Celebration and Plant Sale.
This year our sales include
- Hive Hive Honey
- Hand-made pots
- Recycled bags
- Mushroom impregnated logs
- Free saplings
- Used books from Friends of the Arlington Public Library (FOAL)
- Papazian hand-crafted jewelry
- Garden t-shirts
- Kids’ Activities
- Tree Stewards
- Family Crafts in the Library
- Ball-Sellers House
There will be an Invasives Presentation at 1:00 p.m. in the library.
Glencarlyn Library Community Garden
300 South Kensington Street, 22204, off Carlin Springs Road
For more Information, email email@example.com