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.

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! 

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2020 programs

April meeting cancelled due to pandemic situation.


March 2

Creating A Flood-Free Paradise: Managing Water in the Garden

Falls Church and Fairfax County have faced more than their share of flooding. Award-winning landscape designer and Falls Church resident Elisa Meara, founder/owner of the Native Plant Landscape Design Corp. (http://www.nativeplantld.com), will share before-and-after stories and photos of properties that have undergone conservation landscaping to manage stormwater and prevent erosion. She also may touch on rain gardens, infiltration trenches, swales and other approaches to water management, as well as provide a list of plants suitable to a wide variety of conditions.

BIO: Elisa Meara grew up in the Dominican Republic, where nature and plants always played a big role in her life. Living in a country where the weather allows people to enjoy the outdoors year-round, she became interested in the beautiful array of textures, colors, forms, fragrances and shades of the Dominican flora. This was the beginning of her passion for beauty and design. During the last fifteen years she has lived in five different countries. In each place, she faced the challenges that come with working with unfamiliar plants, soils, and weather, but says that the difficulties were always more than compensated for by the joy of learning and the adventure of working with things new and exotic.  While living in England, Meara trained at the Inchbald School of Design, one of the most demanding and prestigious garden design programs in the world. As a certified Virginia Master Gardener who has worked as a landscape designer in England and Italy, she aspires to create personalized garden designs that support the local ecosystem. Her Native Plant Landscape Design Corp., launched in Falls Church in 2013, received the 2019 Virginia Conservation Assistance Program Leadership Award and has won Best of Houzz Service Award from 2016-2019. In 2019, the Chesapeake Stormwater Network awarded her 2nd place for Best Residential BMP in the Bay for a local project that captures and treats 100% of the runoff from the property(https://chesapeakestormwater.net/the-bubbas/2019-bubbas/2019-best-residential-bmp/)




February 3
Fireflies: Hosting Nature's Light Show into Your Garden

Lightning bugs (aka fireflies) are part of the magic of growing up in the eastern U.S., yet most people know very little about them. Nature education specialists Kris and Erik Mollenhauer have studied fireflies, seen "blue ghosts" and "synchronizing fireflies,” and explored some of the dark secrets of the Night Country. This program explores the "fairies of the night" and how we can create habitat in our gardens to keep them flashing for years to come. 

BIO: Erik and Kris Mollenhauer are retired educators but committed volunteers. Erik taught high school science for 15 years, then worked as an educational program developer for 24 years. He developed a program with Costa Rica based on songbird migration as well as an international teacher exchange program that led groups to several countries, including Russia, Australia and Japan. For 5 years he helped National Geographic improve geography education in NJ schools; for 30 years, he’s used a portable planetarium to teach the night sky to people of all ages in the US, Canada, Russia and Japan. 

Kris was an elementary school teacher for 14 years, then spent 12 years as a Reading Recovery teacher, teaching struggling students how to read. Working with the Monarch Teacher Network, the Mollenhauers have taught monarch butterfly workshops across the US and Canada for the past 20 years and guided groups to the winter monarch colonies in Mexico and California. They’ve also developed many educational projects together, including the East Coast Vulture Festival, the Mad Hatter’s Tree Party,  the Gloucester County Bird Quest and, most recently, the Gloucester County Firefly Festival.   
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Future Programs

April 6 Update on monarchs and monarch habitat, how to support butterflies
Club members Cindy Wackerbarth and Teresa Lim. CANCELLED.

May 4 Edible landscaping with an emphasis on attractive, year-round front-yard gardening (this is in response to the county’s new ordinance allowing front-yard gardening)
Cory Suter, owner, Suters Glen Permaculture Farm, and co-chair of the Fairfax County Food Council Urban Ag Working Group

*May plant sale delayed until further notice. September 19 is being considered.

Sept. 14 Practical actions for gardening to cope with climate change
Elaine Mills, master gardener

*September 19 --proposed date for rescheduled Spring plant sale

Oct. 5 Seed saving
Irena Hollowell, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Nov. 2 Composting and fall leaf management (with some education about the nutrients in fallen leaves and why you might want to leave some/all in your yard)
Ashley Palmer, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District



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2019 programs

December 2
Holiday Social for members. Bring your favorite foods or garden tips to share.

November 4
Shrubs through the Seasons
Ruth Rogers Clausen

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.

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.

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.

No meetings in July and August.

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.

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

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. 





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