Flowers, Herbs, Vegetables and More

Flowers, Herbs, Vegetables and More

Vienna plans to create a community learning garden.

An example of raised garden boxes.

An example of raised garden boxes.


Photo of a flower garden.

“The goal for this project is to provide an interactive display of the various types of gardens you can have in Vienna, no matter how large or how little space you have.”

Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Salgado

Someday, spring will come again. And when it does, the Town of Vienna will be busy creating a new garden for its residents.

Previously, the town and School Board established a 30x100-foot garden, just for school use, at Vienna Elementary. Now, the Town Council has given a thumbs-up for a new garden to be built on the same site.

“We’d like to expand what we have and create a community learning garden,” said Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Salgado. “It’s a volunteer project, and we hope this site will provide two or three Scout projects a year. It’s also a great way to bring people together for the community.”

In September 2013, the town received a $4,000 Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program grant to bring water to the garden. The money will partially fund an underground water line.

THE PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT will develop the new garden, which will be fenced and will be comprised mainly of raised beds hosting different types of gardens.

“We hope to break ground in late March, and we’re asking for advice from the garden clubs on what to plant,” said Salgado. “The goal for this project is to provide an interactive display of the various types of gardens you can have in Vienna, no matter how large or how little space you have.”

Bob McCahill, president of the Northeast Vienna Citizens Association met with Salgado and others last fall to discuss possible kinds of gardens to plant there. For example, butterfly or pollinator gardens would be planted with particular flowers and herbs to attract bees and butterflies to pollinate them.

Gardens such as these may be comprised of a variety of flowering plants that provide food for monarch butterflies, black swallowtails, native bees and more. A bee box may also be placed in the garden.

Straw-bale gardens are being considered, as well. Conditioned straw bales would be placed in rows or another shape to create the bed for planting. And herbs including rosemary, chives, basil, oregano, sage, thyme, parsley and dill could be grown in raised, garden boxes.

Those types of boxes would also make it easier for wheelchair-bound people to garden. The boxes would be between 24 and 32 inches tall and wouldn’t require excessive bending to maintain their contents.

A mixture of beds would give the garden a homey feel, with each bed having a different focus, such as plants, vegetables or flowers. And an arbor entwined with native wines could serve as the entrance to welcome people to the garden.

Different types of paths – such as permeable pavers/bricks, mulch, flagstone, fieldstone or porous concrete – leading to the various parts of the garden would also add interest. And porous concrete works particularly well in handicap-accessible gardens.

“We’re excited; it’s going to be great,” said McCahill. “We’ll grow native crops and ornamental plantings that grow in our climate, and we’ll also experiment with some things. A learning wall could be created along part of the fence. We could make one with 4x8 plywood boards with PVC pipes or gutters on them so children could grow things.”

VOLUNTEERS AND TOWN STAFF would maintain the garden. “We envision students, citizens and garden clubs participating in the planting,” said McCahill. “The garden plot will be pie-shaped, an estimated 44x30x90 feet. The fencing is for security and to deter deer.”

“I think this project will be a great collaboration between the Parks and Recreation Department, Northeast Vienna Citizens Association and other community-service organizations,” added Salgado. “It will be something that will grow over the years and can change and evolve.”