Olde Forge / Surrey Square. The most wonderful neighbors live here.

The Olde Forge - Surrey Square Neighborhood


Pollinator Garden PlansAs you walk along the bottom of Twinbrook you’ll see a bunch of red flags sticking in the ground along the open area by the sidewalk. This is the site of a new pollinator garden in Olde Forge Park (and yes, it is Fairfax County Park Authority grounds even though they took the sign down). On Saturday, October 21, several volunteers from the neighborhood and girl scouts helped plant over 70 young perennials that will mature and flower in the spring and summer, providing color and food and cover for wildlife.

In the near term, it still looks like a mess. But be patient. The week before, a lot of Japanese stiltgrass and other invasives were removed from the area. On Saturday, the volunteers cleared a small patch of ground for each young plant, and many of the plants have red flags marking their location. Most of the cleared plants were an invasive ground cover that hopefully will be replaced by the natives in the long term. We also had to pull some of the native wild aster (the low shrub with white flowers) to make room for the new ones. The aster will come back.

We have a sign in the front that says “Kindly keep out while our natives get established” and some information on the native plants. We planted early goldenrod (Solidago juncea), cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), mountain mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium), roundleaf thoroughwort (Eupatorium rotundifolium), New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) and Coreopsis verticillate. These were donated by the Park Authority through Earth Sangha, a wild plant nursery in Springfield.

We’re not done yet. Several people have offered to donate native perennial plants from their yard that we will use to fill in and add color. Keep an eye on the neighborhood listserve for additional workdays. You can help by NOT walking in and keeping your dogs off the area. It’s hard to see the new plants and we don’t want them stepped on. The Park Authority will continue to mow about 5 feet on either side of the sidewalk, and they are aware of the planting. Special thanks to our neighborhood volunteers for putting in the hours and getting dirty:

Barbara Farren, Kathy Augustine, Carly Trout, Dave Cote, Mason Du, Marvin Friedlander, John Hunter, Mollie Hunter, Mimi Krauss, Ann Lopez, and Joanne Elder and Cristina Olson, Scout Leaders for Girl Scout Troop 55084 and 18 girl scouts.

An historical note: Original homeowners may remember that this area used to be mowed grass with a dirt trail going up to the pool. The Park Authority no longer mows the whole area since it is considered “natural”. Over time, many invasive plants like multiflora rose have blocked the old path, though it probably still exists and could be cleaned up with a little work.