Manassas Journal Messenger | Natural Beauty

From neighborhood to national parks, Prince William has many to choose from. But for the natural setting of Virginia’s native plants, Marie Davis doesn’t need to leave her yard on Moor Green Drive in Manassas.

She’s dedicated eight acres to a woodland garden and will open it to the public Sunday as part of the 20th annual Wildflower Garden Tour hosted by the Prince William Wildflower Society.

“I manage a place so I get the best of what Mother Nature puts here,” Davis said.

Davis’ and two other gardens in the Manassas area – on Heather Green Drive and Chardon Court – are accessible to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Each will have society members on hand to answer questions about the vegetation.

 Wildflower Garden Tour

• Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

9613 Heather Green Drive, Manassas, 9900 Moor Green Drive, Manassas, 7388 Chardon Court, Manassas

• Wildflower Plant Sale May 7, 9 a.m. to noon, Bethel Lutheran Church parking lot, Sudley Road and Plantation Lane, Manassas

The tour began with Davis’ garden at a different home 20 years ago as a means to educate and inform people about native plants. It also serves as a preview of the group’s annual wildflower plant sale on May 7.

Wildflower gardens “are not necessarily the most manicured gardens because that’s not our focus,” said Nancy Vehrs, the tour’s organizer.

The Wildflower Society members, as part of the Virginia Native Plants Society, enjoy the natural settings of wildflower gardens and use mulch and landscaping adornments for the walkways, not the plant beds. Leaves and sticks aren’t necessarily picked out of beds.

“You have to appreciate what Mother Nature has put down there for nourishment,” Davis said.

Her current garden has an understory of mountain laurel, dogwood, American holly and blueberries. Wide paths connect beds of spring wildflowers of creeping phlox, Jacob’s ladder, foamflower and Christmas fern. The tour includes her labyrinth garden, butterfly garden and a wet garden with 20 species of wildflowers.

The tour usually attracts garden enthusiasts and conservationists, said Nancy Arrington, chairwoman for the wildflower sale. It’s also helpful for people who want to add native plants to their gardens.

“What you can see are ideas for what you can grow if you have a garden in a shady area,” she said.

Gardens for the tour are selected from the members’ gardens, depending on who has spring-blooming plants, Arrington said, “so there’s color and something to look at.”

The sale in May consists of bulbs from members’ gardens, many of which are visible on the tour. People are encouraged to visit the gardens in any order Sunday afternoon and can pick up directions to the other gardens at any location. Refreshments will be available at Davis’ garden.

Deanna High’s garden on Heather Green Drive includes a

moss garden connected to a stone walkway bordered by native azaleas, oakleaf hydrangeas and bluebells. Close to her home is a stone-edged perennial bed with camassia, ironweed and Solomon’s seal.

Bonnie Fulford-Nahas’ Chardon Court garden is a Backyard Wildlife Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

Woodchip paths connect beds of white violets, wild ginger and bloodroot. The yard has two small ponds and a greenhouse, and natural wooded areas line the back and side lawns.

The tour is a way to get ideas for using plants already adapted to the area in landscapes, Davis said.

Staff writer Emily Brown can be reached at (703) 878-4650. 

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