A few shots from Fairfax County’s 2017 Sustainable Garden Tour:
This year the gardens were in the Alexandria area — some down around Mason Neck, others near Mount Vernon, and then all the way up to the Rose Hill area. There were 9 in all but I only made it to four because it was 95 degrees out today.
This place was in a nice old neighborhood just off Rte 1. It had about an acre of land. You never would have expected it to be there:
It had an amazing artificial stream, which they had landscaped very skillfully. Note the little bridge in the distance. What is it about those little bridges? You just HAVE to cross them.
Very nice fountain:
The bright blue birdbath and the variegated hostas. Very bold. I like it.
They had another project underway as well. Very busy, these folks:
Garden #2…they converted their front yard to a meadow just a few years ago. You can tell they probably don’t have an HOA:
The mulched paths really help the wildness look intentional. If you’re in suburbia doing the no-lawn thing, it’s definitely helpful to have some element within the landscape that says, “Yes, I meant to do this”…like paths or sculptures or a bit of nice hardscaping.
Even a short, narrow path lends a sense of adventure to the suburban yard. Actually, to lure kids around a garden, the narrower and curvier the better:
The backyard of this house actually looked much neater and more traditional than the front yard. It had a great little artificial pond and waterfall. Check out that purple weeping beech.
A few other random items. I thought this was a very classy looking rain barrel:
I sooooooo wish I could have chickens, but our property is too small. This place had more than 7 acres for these birds to roam:
Not on the tour, but I loved this guy’s workshop/shed:
One last thought: I’m not sure what Fairfax County’s definition of “sustainable” is when it comes to residential gardens. A couple of these gardens seemed fairly resource intensive to me. Oh well. Sometimes all of the arguing back and forth about what makes a garden ecologically virtuous gives me a headache.
What I loved is that all of these homeowners were hanging around, eager to talk about their gardens. They loved tending their yards and were proud of what they’d created. I think the love has to be there before anything else can be sustained.
Click here to learn more about the properties on this tour.