Alexandria, VA – In October 2003, Scott Knudsen organized the first Parkfairfax Native Plant Sale in his northern Alexandria neighborhood. Helping him were several friends from the Tree Stewards of Arlington/Alexandria and many members of the Parkfairfax Woodland and Landscape committees. Five vendors attended, neighborhood residents came to buy plants, and the sale was a success.
Many people, including the vendors, wanted to know if there could be a spring sale in 2004. Unsure about repeating the amount of work required to pull off the first sale, the two Parkfairfax committees declined to join a new effort to host a spring sale. Still determined, Scott and his wife, Jennifer Pease, enlisted a friend, Susan Crawford, to see if just three people could organize a second sale. And they did.
Again, they managed to have a successful sale. With that, a tradition of hosting a twice-a-year native plant sale in northern Alexandria was established. The Parkfairfax Native Plant Sale was repeated in the spring and fall from 2004 through the spring of 2014, for a total of 22 events. The event’s popularity grew within the neighborhood and throughout the DC metro area, eventually hosting 16 native plant vendors.
In the summer of 2014, the sale moved to the nearby Church of St. Clement on North Quaker Lane and became the Northern Alexandria Native Plant Sale. The event worked much better for the arrangement of vendor stalls in the church parking lot, and customers approved. At the new location, the sale hosted 15 events through spring 2023. (It had to be canceled during the worst of the pandemic from spring 2020 through spring 2021.)
Interest in gardening with native plants has grown dramatically over the past two decades in our area, with the number of sale customers climbing well past 1,000 for spring and 700 for recent fall sales. People are increasingly aware of the place their gardens have in our suburban ecosystem. Many publications, like the seminal book Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy and the locally celebrated Native Plants for Northern Virginia by the Plant NOVA Natives Campaign, have dramatically increased this awareness.
On September 30, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, 11 vendors from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and DC will gather to sell native plants, shrubs, and trees for sun or shade in the Church of St. Clement parking lot at 1701 N. Quaker Lane for the sale’s 38th run! Parking will be available at Christ the King Church across the street at 1801 N. Quaker Lane. Live music will be provided by local guitarist Jim Sheats. Admission is free and all are welcome!
For a listing of vendors and their contact info to order plants ahead of time, visit NorthernAlexandriaNativePlantSale.org. If you have any questions, please send Scott an email at [email protected]. Note that masks are no longer required at the sale, but free masks will be available at the information tables if you want one.