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Garden Centers Abloom

Local nurseries offer flowers, tips and knowledge

Spring has finally arrived, and garden centers around the area have begun stocking up on annuals and perennials in an explosion of colors.

Jay Meadows of Meadows Farms, which has two locations on Route 7 in the Great Falls area, predicts this is going to be a good year for gardeners and suggests homeowners start planting soon. “I advise people to get out and get started early. Spring is out now,” said Meadows. He cautions against planting vegetables yet, but says for the best selection of flowering plants, now is the time. “Get out early for the complete selection,” said Meadows.

Stanley Mehr has been operating Mehr Brothers in McLean since 1952 at the same location. Though not as big as some other garden centers, Mehr Brothers has a loyal following. “We use the same old formula that works,” said Mehr. That formula is a knowledgeable staff that has worked there for years and often know what plants have and haven’t worked for the individual client in the past.

Mehr has the added attraction of exotic chickens roaming the premises and a flock of homing pigeons that are a nod to his early years in Brooklyn.

Mehr Brothers is also well-known for its cut flowers, which can be seen from the road and often draw customers in. “We have a niche here for our flowers. We cut a zinnia today; we sell it today,” said Mehr. Until the cut flowers are ready, Mehr Brothers offers a variety of flowering annuals and perennials.

GREAT FALLS HAS a new garden center this year on Georgetown Pike, just past the Village Center. The Great Falls Garden Center will hold its grand opening on May 1 but opened for business this weekend. David Trumbull explains, “We’re going to have stuff people have never seen before — especially patio tropicals.” Trumbull acts as landscape architect for the Great Falls Garden Center.

Part owner Matt Statz said, “We have a little bit of everything here. We’ve got landscape services, and out here in the front, people can come look at some examples of the types of things that we can do for them.”

The Great Falls Garden Center sits on a location that was a previously a nursery. It has reclaimed one of the greenhouses toward the back of the lot for tropical and indoor plants and has substantially cleaned up the location to make it more appealing.

“I just thought Great Falls needed a quality garden center that sold more than annuals and perennials,” said Statz.

On Leesburg Pike, Meadows Farms, which has more than 20 locations around the area, will have some new items for gardeners this year. “Every year we’re having new types of plants, flowering plants. This year we’ve got lots of new hardy shrubs out of Oregon,” said Meadows.

Stalcup Garden Center in the Chesterbrook section of McLean has a plethora of blooming plants on-site for customers. Its selection covers everything from pansies to primroses blooming around a big green tractor that attracts and fascinates children.

Giant and Safeway grocery stores will offer a limited selection of bedding flowers again this year. Though their array is not as remarkable as some of the garden centers in the area, many people still usher in spring with plants bought there. “Getting them here is just convenience. I’ve got two kids. I don’t have the luxury of time,” said Carol Downs of McLean.

<ro>Where They Are

<lst>Stalcup Garden Center

6254 Old Dominion Drive

703-241-7477

Mehr Brothers Flowers

7166 Old Dominion Drive

703-356-4877

Great Falls Garden Center

10106 Georgetown Pike

703-438-8375

Meadows Farms

10618 Leesburg Pike

703-759-3400

11254 Leesburg Pike

703-450-4240