When Cathy Tunis’ neighbor recruited her to the Reston Garden Club in 1976, she heard the group wasn’t one where members wore white gloves or didn’t dig in the dirt.
True to that description, Tunis noted a 50th anniversary luncheon at Hidden Creek Country Club had members who have participated in gardening projects throughout the decades to beautify their community.
The club celebrated longstanding and new members, drawing over 50 attendees for the luncheon. It also raised money with a silent auction to create a $1,000 scholarship fund for South Lakes High School graduates to pursue horticulture or related studies.
“We’re here to celebrate the history of the garden club,” said Tunis, the chair of the group’s 50th Anniversary Committee.
Kathleen Driscoll fended off bidding over one such auction item: a “Munchkin Fire” hosta featuring a miniature home in the pot next to the perennial. Driscoll noted she had the perfect place to put it on display at her own house.
The 75-member group has had numerous milestones throughout the decades, from holding a weekly TV show from 1978 to 1983, raising money for an abstract art sculpture outside the Reston Regional Library that was dedicated in 1992, delivering gardening projects at schools, new intersections and more, holding an annual sale of holiday decorations, helping support the planting of memorial trees and other activities.
Several of its members stopped their involvement to pursue careers over the years but have since returned. Barbara Pelzner did so to teach fifth grade but is now back in the club — able to attend its daytime meetings.
Some of the club’s key outreaches continue to remain, such as providing Holiday Greens arrangements to support public service facilities, maintaining the Wildflower Trail at the Walker Nature Center and tending to plants at the center and the Reston Regional Library.
The club started in 1970 when a few residents noted the need for such a group. Joanna Davis and Diane Jowett Shoup shared their ideas with Reston’s outdoor director, Vernon Walker, and the two women soon assembled a group of interested participants, from those with green thumbs to others with little gardening experience.
Shoup teared up during the luncheon when speaking about her friend, who died in 2012.
“Little did we imagine where this club would go and what it’s legacy would be,” Shoup said. “I never, ever could [have imagined] that this club would go this long.”
Body of Missing Man Found — The body of Ganesh Chandrabhata, 60, who was last seen in the area of River Bend Park in Great Falls, was found over the weekend along the shore of the Potomac River in Prince George’s County in Maryland. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Reston Garden Club Celebrates 50 Years — The club celebrated its anniversary with three gifts, including a bench next to The Lake House and $500 for native plants at the Walker Nature Center. [Reston Association]
Attempted Robbery in Reston — A man and a woman attempted to rob a man while was he walking his dog on Sept. 21 along the 1200 block of Exbury Street. No injuries were reported. [FCPD]
Stuff the Bus Returns — The county government and local nonprofit organizations are collecting nonperishable food donations for the annual drive. The next drive takes place on Saturday at various locations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Reminder: Excessive Heat Watch Takes Effect Today — Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area will be under an Excessive Heat Watch from noon to 8 p.m. The heat index could reach 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, so the National Weather Service advises drinking plenty of fluids, staying inside as much as possible, and checking up on neighbors and relatives. [NWS]
Hunters Woods Garden Thieves Resurface — Thieves that reportedly stole thousands of dollars in plants and other materials from two community garden plots at Hunters Woods Park in May have returned with the harvest season. Reston Association increased security around the gardens, including the installation of fencing and flood lights with sensors, but the culprits evidently have not been deterred from stealing vegetables. [Patch]
No Trespassing at Silver Line Phase 2 Stations — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority issued a reminder that, while Metro’s six impending Silver Line stations look finished, they are still closed “because of ongoing construction work and potential safety hazards.” MWAA maintains that they will “most likely” open in early 2022, but there is some conflict over the timeline with the project’s contractor. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
County Board Endorses Dog Park Study — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board gave its support on July 28 to a countywide dog park study that calls for at least one new park and highlights concerns about inattentive visitors, insufficient water, and surface conditions at existing parks. A draft version of the study came out in March, and the full, final report will become available next month. [FCPA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Recent thefts at Reston community gardens are leading to increased security and involvement of the police, Reston Association announced in a statement yesterday (May 10).
Just last week, thieves stole hundreds of dollars of plants from a community garden plot in Hunter Woods Park, Patch reported.
This isn’t the first time this has happened at the garden, which is located at 2501 Reston Parkway. Incidents of this nature date back at least two years, with thieves stealing materials, supplies, tools, and even a little girl’s garden gnome.
Reston Association previously installed a 10-foot chain link fence and motion detector lights, but that didn’t prevent this past month’s robberies.
“Before this season, there was no real fencing or locked gate,” Reston Association spokesperson Mike Leone told Reston Now in an email. “So, this is the first break-in.”
The Fairfax County Police Department has received 23 theft reports from this particular community garden since last year, a police spokesperson tells Reston Now.
However, that number reflects the number of victims, rather than separate incidents, with many of the thefts occurring on the same day.
There have been six reported thefts in this past year alone, with three of them occurring on the same day. Many are happening between the months of May and July, according to the police spokesperson.
As a result, RA says it will ramp up security efforts at the community garden.
The organization is looking into upgrading the lighting and installing a trail camera that would help identify anyone coming or going from the garden. Its Central Services Facility team is also asking all gardeners to constantly check if the gates are locked and not to share the combinations with anyone.
Additionally, FCPD is increasing its presence in the area overnight to deter further thefts and break-ins.
Beyond safety concerns, gardeners spend a lot of time, money, and energy working their plots.
“We know how much the Reston’s garden plots mean to our community members,” Reston Association CEO Hank Lynch wrote in a statement. “Gardeners give their time and energy to help us manage these facilities and they get immense personal satisfaction out of growing their own plants and vegetables. We want residents of all ages to feel they can pursue this wonderful hobby in a safe and secure manner.”
The motives behind the thefts remains unclear, though one person told Patch that the nature of the stolen items and the methods used to obtain them, such as the unscrewing of wooden frames around the garden, suggest the culprits could be landscapers.
FCPD is continuing to investigate and follow-up on the reported thefts and encourages community members to report any suspicious activity they see in the garden’s vicinity.
Monday, Feb. 8
- Have a Heart (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) – Give a heart to all of your Valentine’s. Using wet felt techniques (and no needles) create and decorate a heart as you see fit. Hosted at Sully Historic Site, the program is 30 minutes and can accommodate up to four people within the same family.
Tuesday, Feb. 9
- Indian Desserts, No-Bake (2:00 p.m.) – Join for a virtual demonstration on how to make popular easy, no-bake Indian desserts. Hosted by the Kings Park Regional Library in Burke, the event is designed for adults and teens.
Wednesday, Feb. 10
- Before 1964: The History of Reston’s Predecessors (7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) – Travel back in time to learn about Reston before there was a Reston. Join the Reston Historic Trust & Museum to discover the origins of names like Baron Cameron, Wiehle, and Bowman.
Thursday, Feb. 11
- Crash Test Dummies (4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) – Get a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety‘s Vehicle Research Center. Crash test engineer Becky Mueller is the guide, explaining the importance of the institute, introducing crash test dummies, and running a real crash test.
Friday, Feb. 12
- Date Lab Comes To Life (5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) – The popular Washington Post Magazine Date Lab column is coming to virtual life. Presented with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Date Lab writers and editors are discussing what it’s like to date during the pandemic. Plus, there’s a Q & A with a successfully matched Date Lab pair.
Saturday, Feb. 13
- Afternoon with Culinary Historian Michael W. Twitty (3:00 p.m.) – Hear from famed author and historian Michael Twitty, who’s most known for tracing his culinary ancestry from Africa to America. The talk takes place at the Reston Community Center, but with very limited seating available and masks required.
- Starting with Seeds (10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.) – Learn to grow your garden from seeds by heading out to Alexandra’s Green Spring Gardens. Staff member Susan Eggert will walk attendees through potting mixes, containers, seed treatments, lighting, fertilization, watering, sources, and timing. At the end, all will get a few seeds to take home and try themselves. Limited tickets available and masks required.
Sunday, Feb. 14
- Galentine’s Day Cycling (10:30 a.m.) – New Trail Cycling and Fitness Studio is hosting a fitness class and “virtual shop party” with local, women-owned businesses to celebrate Galentine’s Day (a holiday celebrating female friendships created by the show Parks & Recreation). 100% of ticket sales goes to Shelter House, a local non-profit dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse.
Photo via kaboompics/Pixabay
Vandalism and theft were reported at the Hunter Woods Garden Plots earlier this week, according to the Reston Association.
RA is encouraging residents to “be aware of your surroundings when at the plots.” Anyone who notices suspicious behavior should contact the Fairfax County Police Department’s nonemergency line at 703-691-2131.
Mike Leone, RA’s spokesperson did not detail the type of vandalism reported, noting RA’s Hunters Woods Garden Plots Coordinator noted that vandalism and theft had taken place in the past week.
In recent days, two separate incidents of vandalism were reported elsewhere in Reston. Last week, North Point Village Center was vandalized when red swastikas and the word “Lucifer” were spraypainted across sidewalks and buildings. Police also discovered a swastika drawing in a local garage this week.
Photo via Reston Association/Twitter
People with green thumbs can now return to their rented garden plots from Fairfax County.
The county’s Park Authority reopened its 671 garden plots yesterday, according to Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust’s newsletter.
The plots are now available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and all of the rules apply except for active gardening guidelines, according to the county.
“Gardeners must self-sanitize water hydrants after use and no tools may be shared,” according to the county.
More from the county:
Gardeners are expected to comply with all COVID 19 health and social distancing requirements.
We ask that gardeners:
- Maintain the recommended social distance of six feet from other gardeners.
- Please wipe the handles of the water hydrant after you use it.
- Do not share garden tools with others.
- Wearing gloves and a mask are recommended when interacting with others.
- Please begin to wrap up gardening activities by 5:45 p.m. so that staff can close the gates and replace parking lot barricades by 6 p.m.
Parks and park amenities are still closed in the county. The Reston Farmers Market will open on May 9 with new social distancing guidance.
The Reston Chorale is presenting a self-guided tour of private gardens on Saturday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The third annual event, which is called Gardens of Note, will also feature pop-up performances by members and friends of The Reston Chorale and a Hidden Lane Garden Party at the end of the day.
Tickets, which are $22, can be purchased online in advance or in-person at the following locations:
- Mayflowers (11959 Market Street)
- Chesapeake Chocolates, Wine, Gifts & More (11426 Washington Plaza W)
- The Wine Cabinet (1416 North Point Village Center)
- Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue)
Prices rise to $25 on tour day. All proceeds benefit The Reston Chorale.
Visitors will pick their first stop after receiving a list of the gardens on this year’s tour. Tickets will then be exchanged for a program guide with a tour map and more information.
The event concludes with a Hidden Lane Garden Party at 4 p.m., which features light refreshments, guided tours of the property, and ensemble performances by The Reston Chorale. The party is hosted by Hidden Lane Residential Landscapes on their grounds.
This year’s gardens of note were selected by tour organizers and garden specialists:
- The Agnew garden in North Point
- The Over and Vongsavat gardens at Lake Anne
- The Horr garden and West Market
- Pond in Reston Town Center
- Fannie Mae gardens and ponds
- Reston Association Garden Plots in Hunters Woods
Attendees can also purchase the perennial of the year — wood betony — at the event.
Photo via Carol Nahorniak
Reston Town Center will host a home and garden marketplace for all plant lovers next month.
The “HGRTC” marketplace brings live music, presentations, plants and vendors to RTC (11900 Market Street) on May 5 from noon to 5 p.m.
WTOP’s Mike McGrath will teach attendees how to
grow tomatoes in gardens and give a lecture called, “Grow a Crazy Mixed Up Garden.” McGrath will offer two lectures at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. McGrath has been a garden editor for WTOP since 1999. He also hosts the nationally syndicated public radio show “You Bet Your Garden.”
At 12:30 p.m., Mina Fies, a remodeling expert with Synergy Design and Construction, will offer a workshop on how to transform your home into a zen zone.
Vendors include Mayflowers, L’Occitane, Fairfax Master Gardeners, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Virginia Master Naturalists, Synergy Design & Construction, Pick-A-Pot Pop-Up and more.
The event concludes with a 5:30 p.m. showing of “Hometown Habitat” at Bow Tie Chinemas. Free tickets will be distributed from 12-5 p.m.
Photos via Myers Public Relations
Weird Brothers Coffee is saving up its coffee grounds and chaff for gardeners.
“Just bring your own bucket and scoop and help yourself!” the Herndon coffee shop posted on Instagram.
Weird Brothers Coffee is a disabled-veteran-owned, small-batch coffee roaster at 321 Sunset Park Drive that was started by two brothers.
Gardeners can use coffee grounds as fertilizer, help alter pH levels of the soil, deter pests and attract worms, according to CNET.
Woo hoo! @weirdbroscoffee is #sustainable! I need these for our hydrangeas! https://t.co/je4O928sHu
— Mayor Lisa Merkel (@MayorLisaMerkel) March 22, 2019
Photo via Weird Bros Coffee/Instagram
An environment-focused nonprofit has raked in funding for long-awaited community garden plots at Bruin Park.
The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a funding request from the Herndon Environmental Network (HEN) for $20,000 at its Nov. 14 meeting.
HEN will use the grant money to help develop 40 garden plots on the west side of the tennis courts at the park, which is located at 415 Van Buren Street. The plan also includes adding fencing to protect the plots and accessible trails, according to a county press release.
The project’s budget totals $42,496.22 — a combination of the grant money with a $7,966.06 cash contribution and $14,530.16 of in-kind donations from HEN.
Plans for the community garden sprouted several years ago.
The Master Plan for Bruin Park was amended in January 2014 to allow for community garden plots. In April 2017, an agreement between HEN, the Town of Herndon — which owns the park — and the Park Authority authorized HEN to develop, manage and maintain community garden plots at the park, according to the press release.
HEN is set to celebrate the grant award at the monthly Bruin Park Community Garden planning meeting — free and open to the public — at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the Herndon Fortnightly Library.
Are you a fan of pickleball? The Reston Association hopes you are, because they just approved the addition of new pickleball clinics to be added to local recreational offerings soon.
The new pickleball program, as well as a new gardening program, were approved at Thursday night’s RA board meeting.
Beginning and advance pickleball clinics will be offered in the near future alongside the usual tennis programs at the Colts Neck recreation area. Each clinic would be able to accommodate between 3 and 8 people, and would cost $36.50 for Reston residents and $38 for nonresidents.
The classes aim to “teach the fundamentals of pickleball, including game rules, scoring and basic strategies to give you all the tools you need to play,” according to the RA proposal documents.
A new gardening program was also approved, to feature classes taught by a Master Gardener. The classes will offer instruction and tips for gardening, utilizing Reston’s existing community garden plots.
Tips from the Master Gardener will also aim to help people interested in growing their own gardens. Students will learn how to determine what kind of garden their land is best suited to, the best placement for it, how to choose the best soil, and what to plant, as well as where to plant it. Help for everything from new plants to transplants will be given, in fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers and more, including how to deal with pests.
Instruction in basic plant knowledge will be given, including the different parts of plants, how they bear fruit, and why “composting is a gardener’s best friend.”
According to the proposal, the classes will be able to accommodate between 5 and 12 people per class, and will cost $40 for Reston residents, or $45 for nonresidents.
It’s not just Amazon — Apple is considering Northern Virginia for 20,000 jobs, in what could be the company third major U.S. hub. The governor pitched three sites: Tysons Corner, Loudoun and Crystal City. [The Washington Post]
What’s coming to your neighborhood — Zoning changes are afoot, including plans to expand areas where community gardens are allowed and how Airbnb and other short-term lodging options are regulated. Informational sessions are planned in the coming weeks. [Fairfax County Government]
Member Services closed for part of the day — Reston Association’s member services department will be closed today from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to allow staff to attend a session by local police about workplace violence. [Reston Association]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
It will be another busy weekend in the Reston/Herndon area.
Among the highlights will be the 34th annual Reston Triathlon, which will start at 7 a.m. Sunday at Lake Audubon. Those taking part will swim 1,500 meters in Lake Audubon, bike 40 kilometers on area roadways and run 10 kilometers on Reston pathways, ending at the South Lakes High School stadium.
Some traffic in South Reston will be affected by the event. Take note of the attached map of which roads will have bike traffic during the event, which is scheduled to last until about 11 a.m.
Volunteers are still needed for the event, as well.
Even if you aren’t taking part in the triathlon, though, there is plenty else to do around the area this weekend too. Listed below are some other events that you can enjoy.
(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)
- The JamBrew series continues tonight in Herndon. Aslin Beer Co. will be pouring frosty mugs, Weird Brothers Coffee will be offering tasty drinks, Nordic Knot Pretzels will provide tasty snacks, and there will be much more. Live music will be offered from MK Skillz, Shane Gamble and Burn the Ballroom. The free event is slated for 6-10 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.).
- North Point Village Center will celebrate the arrival of fall Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a Fall Kick-Off event. Washington Redskins great and former All-Pro defensive end Dexter Manley will meet fans at Glory Days Grill (1400 North Point Village Center) from noon to 2 p.m., while the event will also feature carnival games, roaming characters for kids, a DJ playing music, a moon bounce and more.
- DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a charity event to benefit Canine Companions for Independence, will be at Reston Town Center on Sunday. Admission and parking are free.
- The next exhibition at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.), featuring the work of D.C.-based artist Sue Wrbican, opens Saturday with a free public reception Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at the gallery. “Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view through Nov. 18.
- The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
- Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
- There will be a ChalkFest workshop Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.). The free event will be hosted by Public Art Reston.
- Pulitzer Prize-winner display “Disgraced,” exploring Muslim assimilation and identity in America, will be performed at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) tonight at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.; and at a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets range in price from $17.50 to $55.
- The Water Mine (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) will “go to the dogs” Sunday for its annual Dog Daze event. Suggested donation is $10 per dog. In addition to the doggie splashing, there will be a canine resource fair, door prizes, demonstrations and more.
- The Herndon Garden Tour, slated for Sunday, will feature five private gardens, as well as the Monarch butterfly waystation at Runnymede Park. Painting demos, garden music and more will also be offered. Gardeners will be on hand during the self-guided tour to discuss their gardens and answer questions. Cost is $15; children 12 and under can participate for free.
- An open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Drive) is planned for 10 a.m. to noon Sunday.
- At Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive), the movie “Musicals” will be shown from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.
- United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive) will host a panel of community and faith leaders on Sunday at 2 p.m. for what it is calling a “post-Charlottesville town hall.” According to information provided by the church, residents are invited to take part in the “[discussion of] bigotry and unconscious bias as we seek to work together to heal the wounds.”
- Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
- Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Catchin’ Toads tonight from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits during those hours Saturday night.
Bonita Weinstein and her husband, Lowell, took over ownership of the Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave.) on Aug. 1 and immediately realized they had a lot of work to do.
“When we took on this project, I just thought ‘Yeah, we’ll get in there and we can do it quickly,'” Weinstein said. “We’ve been working on this place for a month now.”
The full renovation project at the business near Leesburg Pike is still in progress, as crews could be seen on the site Thursday morning working to set the new patio and continuing to revamp the barn’s interior. Bonita said they are getting ready for a “soft opening” Tuesday, with a grand-opening celebration scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23.
A website that celebrates the “original” Reston Farm Market gives some information about its history. It opened in 1976 and was under the guidance of its founder, Hall Kern, through 1997. It has been owned by several different people since, Weinstein said, and she and her husband are hopeful they will usher in its return to prominence.
“In recent years, the reviews weren’t so great,” she said. “It was run down, but my husband said, ‘We can make it nice [again].'”
The Weinsteins are owners of Seasonal Celebrations garden centers. They have nine locations in the region, including in the Fox Mill and Sugarland Crossing shopping plazas. Bonita said they have high hopes of bringing the success they’ve had with those stores to the Farm Market.
“When people come here, they’re going to be shocked that it’s totally different,” Weinstein said. “We’ve put a lot of money into revamping this place.”
The renovated market will sell fresh produce from local farmers, pies, dairy products, garden supplies and more. Fall decorating supplies including pumpkins and gourds will be available, as will mums and firewood. Christmas trees will be sold when the season arrives.
Kids’ favorites including train rides, moon bounces and an expanded petting zoo will also be on the premises. Parking for the property has been expanded, Weinstein said, and Hoggmeister BBQ will provide a food truck on the weekends.
“This place is going to be totally different from what it has ever been,” she said. “I think this place is going to be extraordinary, I really do.”
The grand-opening event Sept. 23 will include a DJ, face painting and more. Food trucks will provide items for purchase, including ice cream, Weinstein said.
The Reston Farm Market is scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day beginning Tuesday. Weinstein said it will be open through December, and will reopen in March for the spring season.
For more information, call 703-759-0000.