Meeting Calendar

Unless otherwise noted, the Falls Church Garden Club  meets :

WHEN: the first Monday of every month at 7:30 pm 

WHERE: American Legion Post 130 building at 400 N. Oak Street in Falls Church. Plenty of  parking in the lot and nearby streets.

No meetings during the months of  January,July and August. We have a potluck in June and Holiday Annual in December.  Check here for any changes if the first Monday falls on a holiday.

Meetings feature a short discussion of club business, a scheduled speaker, delicious home-made refreshments, door prizes, and time to mingle and exchange garden tips. We welcome volunteers to help with miscellaneous tasks. Bring friends and garden tips to the meeting!


2019 programs


November 4


Shrubs through the Seasons


This illustrated talk will focus on the role that shrubs play in residential gardens, in relationship to other plants: perennials, bulbs, and annuals. Basically, shrubs provide the major structure upon which the garden has developed. How do you use them? As hedges, as screens, for their flowers, for their fall color, for their evergreen foliage in winter, as contrast with grasses or as specimen plants, perhaps in containers? We will discuss plants for sun and shade, wet and dry spots, and for where the soil is not very rich. You will be given a hand-out sheet so you can follow along and make notes if you care to do so. I hope you will want to take this home for further reference.



Ruth Rogers Clausen was trained in horticulture at Studley College in England, and received her MS in Botany from Kent State University, Ohio. Since 1976, she has freelanced as a teacher, lecturer, and author in the US and Canada. In 1989 she co-authored Perennials for American Gardens, which was awarded the Quill & Trowel award from the Garden Writers of America Association in 1990. She has written for The American Garden Guides: Perennial Gardening(1994) with The New York Botanical Garden; Annual Gardening (1995) with Missouri Botanical Garden; Trees (1996) with Chicago Botanic Garden.  Hearst Books published Dreamscaping in 2001.  50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants(2011), Essential Perennials (2015), and The Proven Winners Garden Book(2019), all from Timber Press, are currently in print. The two latter titles were co-authored by Thomas Christopher. Ruth has contributed articles to several Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbooks, to horticultural magazines, and consulted on horticultural books. She was Horticulture Editor for Country Living Gardener magazine for 7 ½ years.  Currently Ruth is a consultant, and free-lance writer and lecturer at symposia, shows, and to garden clubs across the country. In 2017, she was awarded the Garden Media Award from the Perennial Plant Association. Formerly, she was on the Board of Lasdon Park & Arboretum, NY.  She is on the Board of Directors for Delaware Botanic Gardens, DE. She is also a Member of the Corporation for The New York Botanical Garden and serves on the Advisory Committee for the School of Professional Horticulture. 




Ruth will be selling and signing the following books after her talk, just in time for the holidays (cash or checks only, please). 


Essential Perennials (Timber Press 2015, $39.95)  

50 Beautiful Deer Resistant Plants (Timber Press 2011, $19.95)

The Proven Winners Garden Book (Timber Press 2019, $19.95

October 7

A workshop/demonstration entitled Found, Foraged, and Locally Grown: Designing from the Garden by Kim Pawley Helfgott .

This workshop will explore strategies for arranging a wide variety of seasonal flowers, greenery and seed pods that are readily available in the Fall. Techniques for prolonging the life of tender annuals, strategies for holding flowers in place, and approaches for combining color and textures will be shared. As a bonus, participants will also learn about cut flowers that grow well in this area, collecting seeds, and propagation techniques. Three floral arrangements will be created in different vases and containers that will illustrate the creative options possible for the backyard gardener.

About our presenter:

Kim Pawley Helfgott is the owner of The Garden Studio in Annandale and has created floral designs inspired by the garden for hundreds of weddings and events in the DC metro area. Her floral designs have been featured at The Big Fake Wedding and published on A Princess Inspired. She has worked for/at the Galleria Florist in Falls Church, Gathered Stems in McLean, Bloom in Old Town Alexandria and assisted with large scale events with premier floral designers. page2image9432 page2image9516

Members are encouraged to bring cut flowers and other interesting natural items to the meeting to be used by the presenter during arrangement demonstrations.

Arrangements created during the demonstrations will be available for FCGC member purchase ($25) at the end of the meeting. 

September 9


"Conservation at Home with Local Ecotype Natives"

Matt Bright is the Conservation Manager at Earth Sangha, a local environmental non-profit dedicated to the conservation of local-ecotype native plants. Matt manages the day-to-day operations of the Wild Plant Nursery, a collection of over 300 locally native species ranging from ferns to forbs to graminoids to trees, grown primarily for ecological restoration. In this talk Matt will describe how the Earth Sangha operates its exclusively local-ecotype native plant nursery, discuss why provenance and seed sourcing matters, and how gardeners can use ecological restoration principals to design more ecologically effective gardens and wildlife habitat at home.

June 8
Members-only garden tour in the morning.  Meet for  Lunch at the Lodge around noon..Bring your own if you have not pre-purchased. 

July and August will be our summer break.

May 6

Gardening with the Soil Food Web


Beth Suddaby

Beth has been enthusiastically teaching young students about why plants need fungi for some time.  At this meeting, she will be presenting a more sophisticated discussion of the organisms in the soil that promote good soil and plant nutrition.  She will cover mycorrhizal fungi and their relationship to plant root systems.  The concluding section will provide techniques to apply soil food web concepts for all types of gardeners. 


She has spent the last 30 years “Townhouse” or “small space” gardening, mostly in the shade.  She is a graduate of the 2014 Green Spring Master Gardener class, as a “retirement” activity.

Beth is a strong supporter of native plants and planting to support wildlife diversity, in particular birds. 

April 1

Mitigating Climate Change

 Climate change is a current matter of great concern to residents of the world.  According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientific evidence for warming of the climate system of the world is unequivocal. In fact, ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that the current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.

While it is easy to dismiss this evidence as being global in nature, there are small things that all of us can do on a local level. This practicable presentation will go into some of the significant effects that the urban heat island - as well as climate change - has on vegetable gardening practices, plant selection, and landscape management, and what best practices can be adopted by gardeners to help mitigate these effects.


Kirsten Ann Conrad

Agriculture Natural Resource Extension Agent

Virginia Cooperative Extension

3308 S. Stafford St. 

Arlington, VA 22206


Kirsten Conrad joined Arlington’s office of Virginia Cooperative Extension in September 2007. Born and raised in Oxford Ohio, she holds degrees from Auburn University in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design (BS’80), and from Indiana University in Outdoor Recreation Management (MS’94). 

March 4
Lessons Learned in 5 Extraordinary European Gardens: Details Do Matter
We are living in a time of great energy in garden making. In Europe, homeowners and professionals are using gardens to express ideas about beauty, place, wildness, and sometimes fantasy. In this talk, Carolyn Mullet will take you on a slide tour of 5 exceptional gardens. The focus will be on details that help make each garden noteworthy and ways for you to adapt those ideas for your own garden. The talk will be illustrated with photos taken on Carolyn's garden tours to Europe.

Carolyn Mullet leads garden tours to Europe each spring, summer, and early fall through her company, CarexTours. She is currently writing a book called Private Gardens of Europe that will be published by Timber Press in late 2019. In addition, she is active on social media where she daily showcases gardens from around the world for an international community of over 23,000 on Instagram and 1.4 million on her Facebook page, Garden Design by Carolyn Mullet. Carolyn is also a retired garden designer who practiced in the Washington, DC metro area for over 30 years. She received her formal training in residential landscape design from George Washington University.

February 4
Combining Perennials
In this lecture, Karen Rexrode will break down the various ways that a gardener can create perennial combinations. Using harmonious colors versus contrasting, and working with shapes both in flowers and foliage, these are a few key points that will be illustrated in this presentation. Karen will also highlight something she refers to as "seasonal stacking", where a gardener can include bulbs to extend the season and borrow from surrounding colors to inform plant choices.

Karen Rexrode is an accomplished horticulturist, professional photographer, and estate gardener. Her horticultural career began in 1976 when she worked as a cashier for Kenny Robert’s Garden Center. Taking college classes by night and ringing up customers by day, Karen worked her way up to manage multiple tropical greenhouses, eventually developing an expertise in roses and perennials. With the birth of her daughter, she began her own business – Windy Hill Plant Farm – which she ran for 25 years. Today, Karen manages two estates, and until recently, spent weekends giving lectures and working in the perennials section of Merrifield’s Fair Oaks location. When she’s not in the garden, Karen spends her time working on many other forms of creative expression.