Cover Story

Greenstreet Gardens Is Creating a Spring Full of Surprises

Ray Greenstreet in Greenstreet Gardens’ newly expanded Gift Shop. (Photo: Susan McLain Sullivan)

Alexandria, VA – With the highly anticipated arrival of springtime, Greenstreet Gardens and owner Ray Greenstreet are preparing exciting changes for novice and expert gardeners and those who want to develop a reputation for having a green thumb. Along with fresh paint and lighting upgrades, Greenstreet Gardens at 1721 W. Braddock Road will soon christen a handsome, custom-built wooden project bar for small-scale potting and retail gatherings in the Gift Shop. Other upgrades, including installing more LED lighting, are underway at the larger plant project bar in the White Shed. All aim to create more personal gardening pleasure for customers.

“We will keep the garden décor and fun stuff (referring to its decorative pots and home accessories), but we want to have a place for customers to ask questions, sit down, and enjoy a gardening experience,” said Greenstreet. Among the bright spots in Greenstreet Garden’s spring line-up are a remodeled Gift Shop hosting the new Gardening Bar for hands-on gardening and in-person gatherings, a spruce-up of new pavers, redesigned space, and more room for larger gardening projects in the White Shed, and new varieties of plants including colorful Passionfruit Lantana, Beacon Impatiens, and Limelight hydrangeas, along with more familiar favorites. Innovative soil preparation products will be on hand soon, including the new organic fish byproduct, Foop (pleasantly scented with lavender oil).

Like most expert horticulturists, Greenstreet said the gardening center’s philosophy is based on spring preparation of healthy soil. Customers often bring in cups of soil with questions about what plants or seeds to purchase, noting the multiple shelves of soil conditioning products.

“Soil is an investment—it is living dirt,” said Greenstreet, adding that it needs a healthy composition before planting anything. Also, during this pre-planting time, Greenstreet said gardeners should be “cleaning and edging, cutting your Knock Out roses, trimming back Limelight hydrangeas, and looking at perennials—get the dead and leaves out.” He said early spring is also a good time to put in a “bit of mulch”—about 1 to 3 inches depending on the variety—enthusiastically adding that “not all mulches are created equal.”

Ray Greenstreet among the thousands of plants gearing up for spring. (Photo: Susan McLain Sullivan)

A new offering at Greenstreet Gardens for those keen on mulches is “pitt moss,” comprised of virgin recycled cardboard and composted pine bark. Among other varieties stocked at Greenstreet Gardens are shredded hardwood, pine fines, silver dollar, and cedar mulch. With a word to the uninformed, Greenstreet warned gardeners not to buy dyed mulch, noting that some are often colored shredded pallets, typically labeled with dye as an ingredient.

Greenstreet knows about this. His acres of soil and numerous greenhouses that supply Greenstreet Gardens are located at Greenstreet Growers, and his facility and home property are in Lothian, MD. For more than 40 years at Greenstreet Growers, Greenstreet has directed operations before, during, and after planting installations. His businesses, including Greenstreet GreenWalls, provide on-site advice and consultation for customers regarding specific plant choices, gardening challenges, green arrangements and displays, and custom color palates. His landscape projects include the magnificent grounds of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV, and many cities and businesses, including The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria.

For challenging aspects of Northern Virginia’s gardens and yards, Greenstreet noted that native plants can address trouble spots and significantly improve drainage issues.

“Natives function well,” said Greenstreet, noting the wide variety of options available for the region and at his center. “People don’t always realize that.” He suggested that people consult “The Value of Native Plants in Virginia,” produced by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (

Greenstreet Gardens are at 1721 W. Braddock Road, Alexandria; (703) 998-3030;

ICYMI: Paul Pedroso Takes Oath as Alexandria Police Department’s Interim Chief


Related Articles

Back to top button