Since 1945, this family-owned landscaping business and garden center has helped locals transform their yards into lush landscapes and bountiful gardens. The company's secret to longevity is enlisting a staff of passionate expert gardeners and cloning them to populate future generations. Among its members, the landscaping team shares almost 200 years of collective experience, with foremen holding between 12 and 20 years apiece. Company president James Campbell began cultivating his love of all things flora on a farm crew at age 14. In college, he studied ornamental horticulture and then spent four decades working at Campbell & Ferrara, ascending from crew member to foreman to president.
You might get lost in the meandering paths of the indoor-outdoor garden center with 8 acres of trees, shrubs, and seasonal flowers. Thankfully, horticulturists and garden experts roam the grounds, ready to offer you directions and advice. To deter pests, for example, they'll tell you to plant a border of marigolds or a handful of sacrificial Skittles. Hand them a picture of your yard, and they'll predict which plants and flowers will likely thrive there. They also make DIY-ing easy by arranging over 1,000 trees and shrubs into user-friendly categories such as privacy screening, Virginia natives, and four-season. For customers who prefer an expert's help, landscapers offer degrees of assistance, ranging from installing customer-selected plants to completely redesigning yards with putting greens, outdoor kitchens, or waterfalls.
Holly, Woods and Vines bedecks its year-round garden center with a blossoming bevy of annuals, perennials, shrubs, fruit trees, and berries. Gild rooftop gardens with a scented selection of herbs and vegetables ($2.99/pot) or peruse HWV's assortment of colorful pottery, from 6-inch ceramics to human-sized terra-cotta grub salesmen. Co-owners John and Vanessa also furnish their grounds with a floral flotilla of mandevilla vines ($17.99–$59.99), tropical hibiscus ($7.99–$59.99), and a diverse selection of Japanese maples ($79.99+). HWV's well-educated staff can offer shoppers a treasure trove of gardening knowledge, including advice on proper planting procedures, soil amendment tips, and bird and bee couples counseling.
For 350 years, the Middleton family has proudly worked the 280 acres of Cedar Hill Farm. Their fields used to be only sewn with tobacco and corn, but now, the Middletons have carved out space for their annual fall festivities. In their 6-acre corn field, they've devised a maze where guests can test their navigation skills through towering stalks of corn. They've also summoned the Great Pumpkin to endow them with a pumpkin patch filled with jack-o-lantern-ready gourds, accessible via a rumbling 30-minute hayride. Nearby, farm animals await to meet families, so kids can finally learn about country life from someone other than an imaginary scarecrow friend.
Each of Merrifield Garden Center’s three locations overflows with thousands of plants throughout the year, encompassing such variety that a reporter for CNN’s Eatocracy claimed “I might as well endorse my paychecks straight to them…because I always want to grow what they've got.” Knowledgeable garden experts, 25 of whom have been with Merrifield for 25 years or more, guide customers through row upon row of flowers, trees, shrubs, and other plants, or help them sort through an extensive selection of bulbs and seeds. Visitors may also bump into the founders themselves, or their children and other family members, 38 of whom still work at the thriving business that started 40 years ago. Merrifield doesn’t just proliferate plants, however; amenities such as cafes in Gainesville and Merrifield and a dog park in Gainesville make each garden center into a leisure destination as well. Three of its garden gurus run an hourlong TV show that's been going for more than two decades, and other staff publish gardening advice on the website and Facebook. The staff also work to protect the environment with a variety of eco-friendly initiatives. Besides stocking native plants and water-saving devices for their customers, they also compost more than 20,000 tons of soil and 25,000 cubic yards of brush left over from their comprehensive landscaping services every year. The Gainesville location also gathers old concrete, metal appliances, and rusted Optimus Primes for recycling free of charge.
The green-thumbed lawn specialists at Grass Geeks DC offer a range of services designed to keep yards lush and healthy. Their services include routine maintenance work?such as gutter cleaning or monthly lawn-mowing visits?as well as full lawn makeovers, which might involve planting new trees, spreading mulch, or topping a bush with a ten-gallon hat. The staff members focus on environmental friendliness, striving to reduce their carbon footprint by using recycled mulch and more energy-efficient push mowers, and by never employing harmful pesticides.